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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Oct. 01, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 39 (download PDF version)

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Nevada, one of only about a dozen states to have created a health insurance exchange as called for under the Affordable Care Act, is calling for agency pitches for public outreach and marketing in support of the exchange.

An RFP released Sept. 21 wants agencies to promote the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange with a goal to have 85% of Nevadans aware of the market for health insurance slated to open for enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013. The state hopes to sign up 145K enrollees during the first open period.

Creating a communications plan, brand identity, running a statewide education campaign with free media, PSAs digital outreach and “unconventional advertising,” are among tactics.

The New York Times reported that only 13 states and D.C. have committed to running their own exchanges while most of the remaining states are exploring options. If states don’t set up their own plans for exchanges by November, the federal government will step in to run them.

Hawaii released an RFP for health exchange PR earlier this month.

Proposals are due Nov. 1. RFP:


MSLGroup has named Shellie Winkler, most recently general manager of Edelman/New York’s corporate and PA group, director of its North America health and corporate practices.


That puts her in charge of health clients such as Eli Lilly, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Bayer, and Trius Therapeutics. United Technologies, Sealed Air, Marsh & McLennan, GM and Vivendi are members of the corporate collection.

Renee Wilson, president of MSLGroup North America, said Winkler is “among the industry’s top advisors in the corporate communications and health categories.”

She handled Edelman blue-chips like GE Healthmagination, Dannon, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and MeadWestvaco.

Prior to the stint at the No. 1 independent firm, Winkler was managing director of the corporate communications practice & chief learning officer of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, and executive managing director of Hill & Knowlton’s global health and pharmaceutical practices.

MSLGroup is part of Publicis Groupe.


Finn Partners has unveiled a dedicated health practice called Finn Partners Health, headed by 20-year veteran Miriam Weber Miller.

She guided the launches of BlissHealth and FischerHealth Life Sciences, which was acquired by Porter Novelli, and had key posts at Chandler Chicco’s Biosector 2 and Noonan Russo.

Miller has counseled Amgen, Atrix Labs, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Humana Novo Nordisk, Portola Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Watson Pharmaceuticals.

Peter Finn says FPH begins life with $2M in annual fees. Key health clients are American Assn. American Kidney Fund, Barlow Respiratory Hospital, Los Angeles County Department of Health and Pelican Biopharma.

The new group “is a strategic step forward for Finn Partners, as we continue to expand our geographic and marketplace leadership,” according to Finn’s statement.

With the senior partner/FPH director title, New York-based Miller reports to Alicia Young, managing partner of the Ruder Finn Group spin-off.


The U.S. State Dept. unit focused on the drug war in Mexico is searching for a strategic communications advisor to work with its public affairs operation in Mexico City.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, is dangling a one-year contract for a PR consultant to help engage Mexicans and serve as the principal advisor to the so-called Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion effort that has the U.S., helping Mexico and other Central American countries fight drug smuggling and organized crime.

Developing and disseminating PR efforts, managing strategic communications for the Merida Initiative, speech writing, media inquiries and other tasks are included.

PR consultants seeking the work must be U.S. citizens with eight to 10 years of PR or PA experience who can obtain a State Dept. security and medical clearance.

An initial one-year contract will carry four options years.


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