Task force maintains neutral voice in push to establish trauma center

The Chester County Trauma Services Task Force wanted to establish a medical trauma center in the county.

Client: The Chester County Trauma Services Task Force (Malvern, PA)
PR agency:
Schubert Communications (Downingtown, PA)
Campaign: It's About Time
Duration: July 2008-July 2009
Budget: $40,000 plus pro bono

The Chester County Trauma Services Task Force wanted to establish a medical trauma center in the county. To accomplish that goal, it had to first educate about 400,000 adult residents about what the county was lacking. In addition, the effort needed to educate its audience without outright endorsing the trauma center.

Strategy
The team needed sensitive, non-committal ways to discuss taxes and other financing issues. The Task Force, which included politicians, was non-partisan and had to stay politically neutral.

"We wanted to [include] all the elements of a political campaign, but also social media," says Andrew Wigglesworth, partner at TRG Healthcare, a healthcare management consulting firm behind the effort.

Tactics
"Our limited budget was the biggest challenge," he says. The effort included grassroots tactics, such as booths at community events, yard signs, car magnets, and canvassing.

Traditional tactics included story placements, press releases, and speaker placements. The team also used MySpace, Facebook, podcasts, and online video. Its Web site had a section for visitors to share trauma stories.

Results
The effort resulted in two interview segments on a regional cable talk show, talk radio spots, and placements in dailies and regional magazines. The site had 4,000-plus unique visitors.

A follow-up survey showed that 75% of respondents knew the county didn't have a trauma center. Additionally, 1,000 people signed an online petition for a trauma center in the county.

Future
The trauma center is expected to obtain state certification by 2011.

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