About HCNW

Healthcare Communicators Northwest (HCNW) is the Pacific Northwest’s only professional organization created for communicators in healthcare and public health

Meet our Board of Directors

Kelly Bantle, MS

Kelly Bantle, MS

HCNW Board President

Principal, Allegiant Strategies Northwest

A 20-year industry veteran, Kelly has worked on an extensive array of healthcare-specific strategic communications, issues management, public outreach, and marketing initiatives throughout her career. She has developed and executed numerous multi-platform branding and marketing campaigns promoting healthcare organizations and medical facilities and services. Kelly has also played key roles in highly successful public health and community wellness efforts both small and large scale for government agencies, nonprofits, and local healthcare entities. Her work in healthcare includes, as well, advancing legislative efforts and working with coalitions to secure government support for initiatives. Kelly has lived and worked in Oregon for the past 20 years. She holds a M.S. in Mass Communications and B.S. in Journalism and Broadcasting with a public relations option from Oklahoma State University. LinkedIn Profile.

Melissa Warner

Melissa Warner

HCNW Secretary

Content Strategist, Washington State Department of Health

Melissa (she/her) is a writer, content designer, and communications strategist with a decade of experience pursuing health equity in the Pacific Northwest. She currently supports external communications at the Washington State Department of Health, Center for Public Affairs, where she works closely with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. Melissa previously managed web content at Community Health Plan of WA, led communications for HealthierHere, the Accountable Community of Health for King County, and held communications and outreach roles with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the City of Seattle. Melissa graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington, with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing and minor in Diversity. Originally from NJ, she now lives in South Seattle and spends her downtime laughing at puns, veganizing recipes, and taking her dogs to local breweries.

Rivkela Brodsky Schraner, MA

Rivkela Brodsky Schraner, MA

HCNW Professional Development Co-Director

Strategic Communications Specialist, PeaceHealth

Rivkela (she/her) has more than 15 years of experience in communication and journalism. At PeaceHealth, she focuses on nursing communication and other topics that impact the nonprofit healthcare system’s 16,000 caregivers in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Before joining PeaceHealth, Rivkela led the communication strategy for the Oregon Primary Care Association, a membership association that supports Oregon’s community health centers. Rivkela began her career as a staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal, the state’s largest daily newspaper, covering the local business community. LinkedIn Profile.

Becca Thomsen

Becca Thomsen

HCNW Professional Development Co-Director

Communications Manager, CareOregon

Becca Thomsen has more than 15 years of experience in communications, public relations and public affairs. She currently leads internal and external communications for CareOregon, the state’s largest provider of Oregon Health Plan services. Prior to her current position, Becca worked as a communications consultant serving public and private sector clients in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. LinkedIn Profile.

Aaron Ragan-Fore, MS

Aaron Ragan-Fore, MS

HCNW Communications Director

Director of Marketing and Communications, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery

Aaron Ragan-Fore is an award-winning content strategist, brand manager, and writer-editor. At ABFAS, he provides leadership in marketing, print publications, digital communications, social media, public relations, and media relations. Previous appointments include the Oregon Medical Association and the University of Oregon. Awards include a 2019 iMIS website Great Things Award from Association Technology Solutions and the 2009 Leslie Bradshaw Fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts. Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Oregon. Aaron is an avowed nerd for comic books, science fiction, and tiki bars. LinkedIn Profile.

Mara Woloshin, MA, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mara Woloshin, MA, APR, Fellow PRSA

HCNW Membership Director

Principal, Woloshin Communications Inc.

Mara has been consulting and training adult audiences on strategic marketing, public relations, research and measurement for decades. Her special interest in advocacy and the rights of diverse and aging populations was sparked by the launching of Medicare Part D in 2003, when Mara was engaged as the Oregon and Washington spokesperson and outreach consultant for Burson-Marsteller. In addition to her full-service agency, she has taught marketing and public relations at Oregon universities since 1989. Mara has also been a trade show speaker for the following industries: solar energy, home building, medical products, insurance, automobile services, and others. A full-service PR and marketing consultant, Mara is also a licensed health insurance agent. She one of the few trainers and marketers with a depth of knowledge in federal and state compliance regulations, with expertise in lead generation, sales training for adult learners. She also specializes in outreach to untapped diverse audiences, including BIPOC, non-English speaking, and LBGTQ communities. LinkedIn Profile.

Vicki Guinn, MS

Vicki Guinn, MS

HCNW Strategic Partnerships Director

Public Relations Consultant, Legacy Health Systems

Vicki Guinn, a native Oregonian, is a healthcare public relations professional for Legacy Health where she is responsible for media relations, community engagement, strategic communications, issues management/PIO duties, social media and crisis management. Guinn previously worked as a marketing manager for a small Medicare provider. She’s held positions in media, community relations and organizational development for Kaiser Permanente and is a part-time communication instructor at a local community college. Guinn holds a BS in broadcast communication from Oregon State University and an MS in communication theory from the University of Portland. She serves on numerous boards. She enjoys partner dancing, bicycling and NW wines. LinkedIn Profile.

Kelsey Huwaldt, MBA

Kelsey Huwaldt, MBA

HCNW At-Large Director

Associate Director, Internal Communications, Oregon Health & Science University

Kelsey’s nearly 20-year employee communications career spans both health care and veterinary care. She has led, managed and enhanced organizational internal communications strategy, collaborating with executives and leaders to support large-scale change management and institutional initiatives. Kelsey also is well-versed in crisis communications, events planning and workplace culture. She has a M.B.A. and B.A. in Journalism: Public Relations from University of Oregon. LinkedIn Profile.

Christopher LeBouef

Christopher LeBouef

HCNW At-Large Director

Communications Strategist, Legacy Health

Christopher is a communications strategist specializing in provider relations and engagement at Portland-based Legacy Health. He is a focused leader skilled in forging relationships with clients, external organizations, and senior leaders. Christopher is a Baton Rouge, LA native who attended Louisiana State University and holds a BA in Communication Studies. He and his partner moved to the Pacific Northwest in March 2020 and work in the healthcare sector. With ten years of working directly with providers, Christopher brings experience in association management, grassroots lobbying and election strategy, physician membership recruitment and retention, and provider relations and engagement. In his spare time, he loves hiking with his five-year-old English Cocker Spaniel, Alfie, and enjoying the mild PNW summers. LinkedIn Profile.

Graham Short

Graham Short

HCNW At-Large Director

Associate Director of Communications, Washington State Medical Association

Graham helps direct the internal and external communications strategies for the WSMA, which serves and represents more than 12,000 physicians, resident physicians, physician assistants, and medical students across Washington state. His many hats at the association include managing editor of WSMA Reports, the association’s bimonthly magazine, strategic planning for the association’s media relations, messaging development, and more. With more than 20 years under his belt at the association, he is a passionate advocate for making Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. LinkedIn Profile.

Contact Us:

HCNW President-Kelly Bantle: kelly@allegiantnw.com