World Health Organization

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is working with the World Health Organization to make certain its science and public health messaging is credible in order to ensure there is trust in the Switzerland-based group's advice and that its guidance is followed.

The firm acknowledges there have been criticisms and assertions leveled against the WHO and media coverage that could undermine it as a trusted and critical information source on global health issues.

For instance, President Trump on July 6 formally notified it that the US intends to withdraw from the group because he believes it helped China cover up the outbreak and spread of COVID-19. Joe Biden promised to withdraw the exit notice if he's elected president.

H+K advises the WHO while the "temptation could be to react every time, a sound, considered and thoughtful approach will mitigate the risk of further inflaming the situation."

The firm began its work on May 20 focused on the areas of influencer identification, message testing and development of a campaign framework for a fee of $135K.

The WPP unit's core team includes Nick Driver, senior VP of the data & analytics practice; John Gillooly, senior VP; Ron Hutcheson managing director & ex-president of the White House Correspondents Assn., and Joe Householder, PA specialist.

AnnaMaria DeSalva, global CEO, and Sam Lythgoe, global chief business development officer, provide oversight of the WHO work on a pro-bono basis.