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Corporator PR and Marketing Committee Update

Corporator PR & Marketing Committee Update

Town Advocacy Groups Will Be Piloted in Westford

Members of the Corporator PR & Marketing Committee continue to accomplish great work in their respective towns.  In many cases, they promote Emerson while providing useful health and wellness information for their communities. 

Building on two previous, successful events, Littleton’s Jennifer Ely Carter helped organize and coordinate Emerson’s third year of participation in IBM’s Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day, which was held in April.  “Similar to last year, more than 200 kids participated, and the event was well-received,” reports Ms. Carter, who is a member of the Littleton school system’s Health & Wellness Committee.

This year, Ms. Carter worked with Emerson staff to bring in three experts who made age-appropriate presentations.  They included Jeannie Pinney from Pediatrics West, who presented “What You Need to Know about Concussions: Use Your Head and Take This Interactive Quiz;” Jessica Roy, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian from Emerson, who presented “Fill Your Plate and Make It Great;” and Leah Bozza, from New England Center for Mental Health, an affiliate of Pediatrics West, who presented “Five Techniques for Reducing Your Stress Level.”

Terry Symula, a corporator from Harvard, continues to support efforts at the Bromfield School, where data from the Emerson-sponsored Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is being used to shape programming and staffing.  Specifically, Ms. Symula encouraged funding for an adjustment counselor.  Susan Chlapowski was hired for that position and spends four days a week at Bromfield, which has students in grades 6-12.

“We had been advocating for an adjustment counselor, even before the YRBS survey,” says Lisa Soldi, who heads the guidance department.  “The survey data helped, because it clearly showed that the landscape of our students’ lives is very different today than used to be the case.”  The data indicated stress, especially among seniors, which led to curriculum changes in two different wellness classes and the development of a new class specifically for seniors.

Ms. Chlapowski has been a great resource for Bromfield staff, says Ms. Soldi.  “She knows the agencies in the community, which means we don’t automatically send students to an emergency room.  Susan has integrated herself into the school well by stopping into art classes and wellness classes.”

The YRBS data showed that students had tried to harm themselves, so the staff got serious.  “We brought in Signs of Suicide, a prevention program for middle and high school students, and have worked with Lifelines, another suicide awareness program,” says Ms. Soldi.  “We hope to see that things have improved when the next YRBS survey is conducted.  We are grateful to Terry for her ongoing support in all of our efforts at the school.”

Committee will test a new structure

Since the Corporator PR & Marketing Committee formed five years ago, its members have identified a host of ways to promote Emerson in the towns they represent as corporators.  Examples include arranging for Emerson physicians to speak in various settings, organizing signature events and staffing information tables at town events.  They have, in general, served as hospital advocates who enthusiastically spread the word about Emerson programs and services.

“That is the job description—to advocate for Emerson in their communities,” says Janine Papesh of Emerson’s development office, who works closely with corporators.  “So many committee members have taken the lead and made things happen.  We thank them for showing so much initiative.”

According to Beth Kubacki, committee chair, a decrease in committee participation during the past year or so led to a discussion about a new approach for the committee.  “We want to increase participation,” she explains.  “Most committee members are looking for more structure and well-defined activities.

“We decided to test a new committee structure based on Town Advocacy Groups [TAGs], each of which will be led by a corporator,” says Ms. Kubacki.  “Members will be comprised of other corporators, Emerson Hospital Auxiliary members, volunteers and perhaps even hospital employees.”

The first town to develop a TAG will be Westford, where the population is growing, and Emerson has the busy Westford Health Center.  The overarching goal is to align corporator involvement with activities that are relevant to Emerson’s needs.

“Last fall’s Westford Health Expo is a good example of an important event where we needed all hands on deck,” says Bonnie Goldsmith, senior director of public relations, marketing and communications, who helped develop the TAG concept.  “It’s not easy to get volunteers from one town to help in another town, but sometimes that is what we need.  With the Town Advocacy Groups, we’re looking across the organization to see how we can successfully involve all the people who want to help Emerson in their community."

“There are a number of town initiatives throughout the year,” says Ms. Goldsmith.  “We think this new committee structure might be a good way to direct a cohesive effort.”