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April 17, 2013

PRSA Health Academy Honors Two Leaders with Annual Awards

John J. Seng receives 2013 Frank J. Weaver Lifetime Achievement Award, David P. Blom earns MacEachern Chief Executive Officer Award
NEW YORK (April 17, 2013) —Recognizing the best of health care public relations management and leadership, the PRSA Health Academy will honor John J. Seng and David P. Blom with its annual awards.  The awards will be presented at “Accelerate Your Success: Winning Strategies in Health Care PR,” the Health Academy’s conference in Indianapolis, May 1-3.

John Seng will receive the 2013 Frank J. Weaver Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of health care public relations and changed the practice of public relations in America. Seng is founder and president of Spectrum, an independent public relations firm in Washington, D. C., focused on health and science communications. He also chairs GLOBALHealthPR, which he co-founded as the first, and now the largest, independent public relations group dedicated exclusively to health and medical communications worldwide.
For more than 30 years, Seng has worked in health and life science public relations, first at Pfizer, and then at major agencies, including Hill & Knowlton and InterScience, before founding and leading his own agency. As noted in his nomination form, Seng “has established the standards for truly measuring results of health care public relations campaigns, to outcomes – not just outputs.” Seng and his team have developed campaigns that have impacted lives, including increasing embryo donations to benefit couples who desire children; promoting global identification of, and treatment for, children with Progeria, a rare, rapid-aging disease; and creating virtual coach-guided treatment options for newly diagnosed breast and colon cancer patients.
Expanding the body of knowledge for health care public relations, Seng has written extensively for publications ranging from PR Tactics to Communique and The Washington Post, and edited the Global Guide to Pharma Marketing Codes. His firm’s Health Value Study provided essential insights into how Americans value their health care. A recognized leader and award winner in public relations and health care, he has served on numerous boards for health care organizations. Seng has been a member of the PRSA Health Academy for 32 years, an active member of the PRSA National Capital Chapter and a mentor to staff, whom he supports as members of PRSA and the Health Academy.“Although I earned my degree in journalism, I’ve never regretted, even for one day, choosing public relations as my profession,” said Seng. “Helping organizations that focus on human health and life science achieve their business goals in the interest of improving lives is what I really care about.”
David P. Blom, president/CEO, OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio, will receive the MacEachern Chief Executive Officer Award, which honors a health care chief executive who has used public relations in a particularly effective way to advance the goals of his or her organization.
A CEO who believes in the business case for public relations, Blom elevated oversight of the public relations function from a department under Strategic Planning/Business Development to a senior vice president, with the added titled of chief communications officer. This is one of only six SVPs reporting directly to the CEO, with the SVP/CCO now involved on every major system-wide senior leadership council and team. The department reflects “best practice” in terms of structure and staffing, with a seamlessly integrated marketing, digital and public relations operation.
He actively encouraged and is supporting, with staff and budget, a current community leader/influencer communications program that will link existing public relations, community relations, corporate health and government relations efforts into a comprehensive reputation and relationship-building program. His commitment to employees includes making employee satisfaction one of four key indicators of organizational success, and OhioHealth has been recognized by Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work in the U. S.” for the last seven consecutive years.
Blom is also known for using OhioHealth’s resources to benefit the Columbus community, a contributing factor to his selection as “Businessperson of the Year” in 2013. For example, Blom ensures at least one member of the OhioHealth leadership team sits on every major not-for-profit organization board in Columbus (from food banks to United Way to universities), and even takes on a number of those assignments himself.  
All organizations need the support of the communities and audiences they serve — and this is particularly true in health care,” said Blom.  “There’s no doubt in my mind that public relations must be at the leadership table and be part of strategic and operational decisions.  Critical to an organization’s success is its reputation and credibility, and public relations helps drive that for all of us.”
“If you look at the list of recipients of the Weaver and MacEachern awards over the years, it’s a line-up of the very best people in our industry, those who have devoted their lives and their careers to advancing the knowledge and understanding of health care, enabling their clients to tell their stories and advocating for patients,” said Ben Garrett, 2013 Chair of Health Academy. “Their examples inspire us all and make us proud to be public relations professionals.”
About the PRSA Health Academy
The Health Academy is the largest Professional Interest Section within PRSA. Through the convergence of health care and public relations, the Academy promotes excellence in communications and an educational dialogue across the entire health care industry for the professional enhancement of its members.

About the Public Relations Society of America
??PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U. S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sectionsthat focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America(PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.

Joyce Lofstrom
PRSA Health Academy 
(312) 915-9237
jlofstrom@himss. org
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