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Public Relations promotes ggodwill, understanding: 11/14

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Public Relations promotes goodwill, understanding

by Heather Murphy Woolwine
Public Relations
Liken MUSC’s Office of Public Relations’ purpose to supporting the foundation of a great skyscraper. 

The best architects, the best materials, and the best plans mean nothing if the foundation isn’t strong. The case is the same for MUSC and the MUSC Medical Center; without a positive reputation and public favor, MUSC’s greatness is much more difficult to realize.

But for the practical types out there, here  is Webster’s take on PR, “The business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, form or institution with a degree of understanding or good will achieved.”

In order for MUSC to maintain a positive reputation, PR must first determine who cares about MUSC, namely, our public. But the issue is more complex, as our public is not just the general population, but specifically patients and their families, medical center and university staff, administrators, MUSC students, faculty, and consumers.

So in order to understand PR, one must understand the art of generating and enhancing constructive relationships with the groups on whom MUSC depends for support.

This means we communicate with our public in an effort to favorably influence external and internal opinion, monitor and respond to public issues and perceptions, and help administrators consider the public’s perspectives when making decisions.

MUSC has a great story to tell and PR’s mission is to disseminate that story to our public through the mass media, publications and other means.

One of the biggest functions is to deal with the media, in all its forms.

PR representatives work closely with faculty and staff, carefully examining issues such as upcoming scientific publications, upcoming results of clinical trials, and human interest stories. The PR representative acts as an intermediary between MUSC representatives and local, state, and national news media in order to obtain the best possible coverage for MUSC. Press conferences and press releases play an important role in this process.

PR often receives requests from television, print and radio media to respond to issues concerning MUSC, current events on a local or national scale, and to provide health care expertise in the form of interviews, stories and guest appearances. Media coaching is a service available in preparation for interviews, stories, or appearances.

Condition reports are an extension of this function involving patients’ status while cared for at the medical center. A PR representative is on call 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week to take these calls and handle other media requests.

Dealing with the media is sometimes related to another function of PR: crisis, emergency and disaster preparedness and management. The PR department remains actively involved in all levels of this type of preparedness, as noted with the development of the MUSC Hotline for emergency purposes.

One of the ways PR taps into its various publics is through The Catalyst, in print and online [].

Catalyst writers and editors strive to make everyone with an MUSC connection aware of new MUSC family members, procedures, breakthroughs, good deeds, interesting topics, current events, and campus and community happenings.

Written in newspaper format with Associated Press style, those behind The Catalyst work for accuracy, timeliness, and relevance when reporting all things MUSC.

Sustained solely on advertising revenue raised by the publisher, The Catalyst is a communication tool with a circulation of about 8,000 that costs MUSC nothing to produce.

Updates on results of clinical trials, patient/human interest stories, new employees, new policies, procedures, and education are welcome and encouraged. E-mail The Catalyst at [email protected] or call 792-3621. To place an ad in The Catalyst, call Community Press at 849-1778, ext. 201.

In addition, PR publishes the Annual Report, the MUSC Blue Sheet (roster of clinical and scientific events, lectures, and seminars), Broadcast Messages ([]), Newsclips, convocation and graduation publications, and various brochures and small-scale publications.

Some PR special projects include the Speaker’s Bureau, where volunteer speakers of various expertise may be located for internal and external venues and speech writing is offered for faculty and administrators. The Speaker’s Bureau provides MUSC speakers for local community organizations, high schools, and churches. E-mail [email protected] with your contact information and area of expertise if interested in participating.

The PR office also participates in some special event planning, including the Annual Employee Health and Wellness Fair and consultation services.

Whatever the tool, the purpose remains the same… to support the foundation of MUSC so that it is forever strong enough to carry the weight of a prestigious academic medical center and university.

Sarah King, Director; Ellen Bank, Media Relations Director; Dick Peterson, Catalyst Editor; Kim Draughn, Assistant Editor, Layout Design, and Blue Sheet; Cindy Abole, Catalyst Writer; Jeff Watkins, Special Projects; Heather Murphy Woolwine, Media Relations and Catalyst Writer; Caroline Davila, Business Manager and Special Events; and Michael Baker, Intern.

Call 792-3621 or check [] to locate a specialist. 

Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, [email protected] Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to [email protected] or [email protected] To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Community Press at 849-1778.