July 25, 2003
Methodist's Web site, magazine, safety and media relations programs win top honors from Mississippi Hospital Association
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
BILOXI, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center has been recognized by the Mississippi Hospital Association for excellence in the field of health care marketing and public relations.
MHA honored the Jackson hospital’s Web site, safety program, magazine and media relations program with six Maggie Awards and six certificates of merit at their annual convention in Biloxi.
The hospital’s Web site, www.methodistonline.org, was singled out as best in the state among those costing more than $2,500 to build. The site, which is updated daily, includes feature stories, question and answer sections, audio, video and more than 150 injury prevention and news releases.
Think First, Methodist Rehab’s statewide injury prevention program was honored in the community service and education category. In the last year, more than 12,000 school children have heard the hospital’s safety message.
"We put so much time and effort into Think First," said Jim Albritton, director of public and media relations at the hospital. "It is great to be recognized by your peers for work you truly enjoy and think is important. This recognition means so much to all of us."
Ways & Means, Methodist‘s magazine, also received the top honor in its category. The publication includes patient profiles, feature stories and the latest research news from the hospital’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery.
The hospital’s media relations program received a Maggie for a news release announcing that Methodist researchers were the first in the world to discover that West Nile virus can cause paralysis. Methodist also received five certificates of merit in the news and feature story categories.
A news story about a request to hang an ornament created and designed by a former patient on the White House Christmas tree received a certificate of merit. A series of feature stories about Methodist’s sled hockey team were also honored with a certificate. Three other certificates were awarded for feature stories about physically challenged water-skiers, pet therapy and Rankin County neighbors fighting back to recover from Guillain Barre Syndrome
Happy Holidays—Christmas in the Atrium, a holiday music CD which features Mississippi College music professors James Sclater and Angela Willoughby, was also honored with a Maggie Award. The chamber music duo plays the clarinet and piano for patients and visitors in the hospital’s two-story atrium mall every other Friday.
Reunion Race, Methodist’s annual 5K race for both physically challenged and able bodied athletes was honored with a Maggie Award and Rehab Rounds, the hospital’s physician newsletter, received a certificate of merit.
The public and media relations staff includes assistant director Susan Christensen, communications manager Lisa Gates and special events manager Lauren Fairburn. In addition to planning special events, writing news releases, working with the media and producing publications, Christensen, Gates, Fairburn and Albritton also work closely with hospital staff to organize and present Think First programs throughout the state.
The department works with RARE Design, a Hattiesburg-based advertising firm that designed the hospital’s magazine, and with Mindbender, a Web site developer in Jackson.
MHA member hospitals are eligible to participate in the annual Maggie Awards competition.