2022 Fall Conference

Get Involved

HCNW 2022 Conference

Creating Pathways Forward

HCNW Fall 2022 Conference  |  November 4, 2022

Business as usual doesn’t fit our reality anymore—it’s time to create pathways forward. Professional healthcare communicators and advocates continue to contemplate strategies to emerge from the pandemic stronger, more creative, and more agile. How can we make the “new normal” a better normal for our patients, our providers and staff, and our communities…not to mention our own job satisfaction?

Register now to join your colleagues for “Creating Pathways Forward,” the Healthcare Communicators Northwest 2022 Annual Conference. Thought leaders hailing from healthcare, communications, and other sectors will lead us through a day of challenging our assumptions, realigning resources, and embracing new mindsets and approaches for a greater positive impact on both patient care and public health.

The daylong event will include compelling content and speakers centered on: innovating out-of-the box strategies; driving thought leadership, rethinking crisis communications, transforming public health; and adopting a genuine and lasting commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And there’ll be time to network in-person!

Topics and Speakers

Driving Thought Leadership + Tackling Big Issues

Featured Speaker: Todd Unger, Chief Experience Officer, American Medical Association (AMA)

As organizations ask their leaders to step into the role of recognized expert or thought leader, understanding the core elements of the journey from leader into thought leader is essential. Many executives and business leaders strive to become thought leaders in their respective fields as key pathways to building organizational reputation, brand, and trust for boosting relationships, innovation, and impact.

Join industry leader Todd Unger, Chief Experience Officer with the American Medical Association (AMA), for a deep dive into developing, activating, and establishing organizational thought leaders at HCNW’s 2022 Creating Pathways Forward conference on Nov. 4!

Todd is a transformational leader for the digital age, with the classic profile of a “productive disruptor.” He operates at the nexus of digital technology, content curation, marketing, and business development. As AMA’s Chief Experience Officer, Todd leads initiatives that seamlessly integrate marketing, commerce, community and service to acquire and retain members and increase the impact of mission initiatives.

The American Medical Association (AMA) quickly became an—even more—recognized and trusted name in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The AMA Update video and podcast cover a range of healthcare topics affecting the lives of physicians, residents, medical students, and patients. From private practice and health system leaders to scientists and public health officials, hear from the experts in medicine on COVID-19, monkeypox, medical education, advocacy issues, burnout, vaccines, and more.

New Mindsets to Re-Amplify Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Featured Speaker: Dr. Barbara Belk, Director of Equity Inclusion & Diversity – Pacific NW Market, Kaiser Permanente

In 2020, in the midst of social outcry, diversity, equity, and inclusion took center stage as a critical hot pressing issue. Long-standing disparities and inequities perceived within healthcare delivery and service became especially apparent amid the conjoining COVID-19 pandemic. How do we today carry forward the amplification of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and, more importantly, bolster opportunities to drive better healthcare experiences, innovation, and outcomes?

An experienced and skilled expert in elevating organizational culture and change, along with building working relationships with stakeholders, Dr. Barbara (Babs) Belk will lead an interactive session to help equip you in creating pathways that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Explore barriers and recurrent themes, coupled with insights on effective strategies and tactics, to holistically shift mindsets, behaviors, and practices for gaining short and long-term benefits.

This interactive group discussion will focus on three central topics/key questions:

  • What barriers to improving DEI organizational integration are you experiencing, hearing about and/or navigating through?
  • What strategies and tactics have you found useful in getting traction to overcome these challenging barriers internally and externally to your organization?
  • Thinking about pathways forward, what specific actions, practices, tools and tactics might we use to affect change both in the short and long-term?

Insights into Crisis Communications Post-Pandemic Panel

Featured Panelists:

  • Michelle Brence, Assoc. Director of Content Strategy, OHSU
  • Jennifer Smith, OHSU, Director of Communications for OHSU Health
  • Kennedy Soileau, Deputy Chief Communications Officer, Washington State Healthcare Authority
  • Brian Terrett, Berg & Associates Consultant + former Legacy Health Director of Public Relations and Communications

Thrust into an unprecedented pandemic of global scale in our modern time, crisis became a day-in and day-out reality dragging on for years. Within healthcare, the impacts are near countless and immensely profound, affecting operations, staffing, and service delivery, coupled with the health and wellbeing of our patients and communities. The far-reaching disruption and impacts of the pandemic did, however, illuminate many new mindsets and better practices, including around crisis communications. Gain insights on managing crisis communications going forward with lessons learned during the pandemic from top experts.

Michelle Brence, Assoc. Director of Content Strategy, OHSU
Michelle oversees the Digital Engagement Team, leading projects to improve OHSU’s website, extend its digital reach, and serve patients and the public. During the pandemic, Michelle and her team worked with stakeholders across the university to rapidly develop web pages on hospital safety, COVID-19, vaccines and vaccine appointments. More recently, her team created a family-planning site with pages on abortion services to help women in Oregon and beyond find care.

Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications for OHSU Health
Jennifer oversees communications that support member engagement and alignment, simultaneously celebrating the organization’s numerous accomplishments while sharing strategic decisions, financial performance, and other operational initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exercise in crisis communications. Jennifer is part of an integrated team charged with timely and trauma-informed information-sharing to the entire OHSU community. Lessons learned from this experience will inform OHSU Health communications for years to come.

Kennedy Soileau | Acting Chief Communications Officer | Washington State Health Care Authority
Kennedy leads strategic communications for the Washington State Health Care Authority. Her team helps tell the story of the innovative programs and initiatives that aim to provide equitable access to high-quality, high-value care. During COVID-19, Kennedy developed the communication plan that would eventually become the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” initiative. In partnership with other agencies, Kennedy and her team led mental health and substance use disorder communications, including standing up the Washington Listens hotline using disaster relief funds.

Brian Terrett, MBA, APR, Fellow PRSA, Berg & Associates Consultant + former Legacy Health Director of Strategic Communications
If you ask his children, they’ll tell you that crises have followed Brian for over 40 years. He currently serves as Of Counsel for Berg & Associates, as well as an instructor for the University of Oregon’s Strategic Communications Master’s degree program. Before retiring from full time work, Brian served as Director of Strategic Communications for Legacy Health. During his tenure, Brian has provided crisis communications leadership on a broad array of crises, inlcuding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state investigation of Legacy’s Unity Center for Behavioral Health, a domestic violence shooting resulting in an employee death at one Legacy’s facilities, the arrest of an emergency room nurse for multiple counts of sexual assault, and the wrong-site surgery of on a pediatric patient.

Lunch & Networking

Transforming Public Health Panel

Featured Panelists:

Strides are being made to transform public health for better access, equity, and outcomes through more audience-relevant and creative approaches. Our panel of regional experts will dive into recent real-world efforts that are driving behavior change at the individual and system level.

Cody Romero (Brink Communications) and Dean Carson (Oregon Health Authority) will dive into the Oregon Health Authority’s noted Safe + Strong campaign that elevated local voices to address vaccine hesitancy. Andres Rodriguez (C+C) will walk us through on the Washington State Department of Health’s Mentira Mariachi campaign reaching Washington’s Hispanic/Latino population to dispel myths around COVID vaccines. Candace Jackson (Pyramid Communications) will share how, through out-of-the box creativity, new insights and tools are being leveraged to shift the actions and norms of people within systems, moving us closer to addressing root causes of health inequities and accelerating community led systems change.

Andres Rodriguez, Multicultural Director, C+C
Andres is a multicultural marketer with over 10 years of experience managing campaigns for a wide range of clients including Fortune 500 companies and small local non-profits. Andres moved to the U.S. when he was 18 years old from Caracas, Venezuela. Before C+C, Andres worked at creative agencies focused on the US Hispanic Market and completed a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. Andres is the Multicultural Director at C+C, a social marketing agency based in Seattle. He executes behavior change campaigns in many industries including public health.

Candace Jackson, Health Director at Pyramid Communications
Candace is a visionary, values-based strategist committed to driving change in partnership with communities most impacted by intersecting injustices. With more than 10 years of experience in the government and nonprofit sectors, she helps organizations engage with communities from a place of clarity and purpose. Working from a conceptual framework that honors the realities of history, her work is grounded in anti-racist and disability justice principles. As a consultant, she designs and facilitates collaborative processes that center those most impacted by injustice, leading to lasting relationships and long term success. Her skill in bringing clarity to complex, dynamic problems for multiple audiences adds immense value to her work. Candace’s clients have included the Pacific Hospital Preservation District Authority, Cardea, the University of Washington, Black Future Co-op Fund, Cone Health Foundation, The BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition, and Choose 180. She co-founded the African American Health Board and the Community Health Board Coalition. She enjoys the ocean, good food, and connecting deeply with people.

Cody Ross Romero: Campaign Strategy Director, Brink Communications
Cody has supported campaigns at Brink for the past four years. His campaign strategies are audience-centered, equitable, accessible and grounded in research and community outreach. He approaches his work with creativity, innovation and a commitment to help organizations achieve their missions. Cody has touched dozens of accounts at Brink such as Metro’s Food Waste Stops With Me campaign, the Oregon Health Authority’s Heal Safely and Safe+Strong campaigns, Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave campaign, and Paid Leave Oregon.

Dean Carson, Communications Officer, Oregon Health Authority
Dean Carson (he/him) serves as the 988 Communications Officer at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Prior to joining the 988 team in July 2022, Dean worked on OHA’s COVID Communications Unit as Public Information Officer for Paid Campaigns, where he led content strategy and project management for paid media and advertising campaigns on pandemic safety and COVID-19 vaccinations, including www.SafeStrongOregon.org, www.OregonVaccineInfo.org and www.MyVaccineReason.org. Prior to joining OHA in November 2020, Dean spent four years on the communications team at the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), and six years as a communications consultant, primarily at the agency of record for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), where he led strategic communication campaigns and content development, especially around early childhood education. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Closing Remarks


September 2023

Get In Touch

We want to hear from you! Get in touch with Healthcare Communicators Northwest for details about membership, upcoming events, sponsorship opportunities, and more!