Health institute to assemble roster for up to $72m in work

WASHINGTON: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is planning to create a roster of firms for strategic support for communications, outreach, and education initiatives that it has in the pipeline.

WASHINGTON: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is planning to create a roster of firms for strategic support for communications, outreach, and education initiatives that it has in the pipeline.

The contracts are collectively worth up to $72 million over a five-year period, according to the RFP. The organization has not previously used this strategy when seeking communications support, said Kate O'Sullivan, executive officer of the institute.

“We are utilizing a [blanket purchase agreement] in the interest of enhanced efficiency and cost savings without compromise to the quality of outputs,” she said, via email.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Potential work for the winning firms includes PR, strategic planning, brand management, website design, and community outreach, according to the RFP. Responses are due August 10.  

Selected firms would be responsible for creating ideas for outreach, education, and communications programs, including health education campaigns and efforts targeting specific audiences or about particular diseases.

Other duties may include crisis communications, identifying key influencers and third-party validators, developing media messages, and providing recommendations for media placement. The winning firms would also be tasked with training staff for appearances before the public and the media.

In terms of community outreach, the winning roster of firms will be required to plan communications and education strategies with at-risk or other targeted populations, as well as community-based organizations. It will also be required to identify new and emerging communications channels and tactics to reach these groups, according to the RFP.

The US Food and Drug Administration created its own roster of three firms earlier this month that will be eligible for anti-tobacco outreach projects that target at-risk and underserved populations. The contracts are collectively worth up to $210 million.

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