Whether client or service-side, student or seasoned pro, one national trade group wants to to serve all of your educational needs.
The Healthcare Communication and Marketing Association (HCMA) is being positioned by organizers as a source for training in support of healthcare marketing, communication and education professionals in the manufacturing and service sectors of the pharma, biotech, device and diagnostic industries.
“Our focus is about education and training, to be able to deliver a consistent level of education across all career phases,” said Jay Bolling, HCMA president.
Launched Jan. 1, HCMA replaces three regional professional organizations. From the East coast to the West coast, respectively, the three former groups included the Healthcare Marketing & Communications Council, Inc. (HMC), Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association (MHMA) and the Medical Marketing Association, Inc. (MMA). The three decided to pool staffs last year (MM&M
June 2007) and create a board of directors with 25 industry leaders (13 manufacturers, 12 vendors) representing a national constituency. Eleven different committees were formed, along with a staff located in Mt. Royal, PA, (a suburb of Philadelphia) in addition to volunteers.
“One thing that makes us different from current groups and past organizations is the fact that we are really looking to modernize and meet the needs of today's healthcare professional,” said Bolling, who is also president of Roska Healthcare Advertising, a full-service medical advertising agency also located near Philadelphia.
Educational offerings will take the form of customized onsite training, distance learning and executive education programs offered in association with some of the country's top business schools, Bolling said. The courses, some of which are listed on the group's Web site, www.thehcma.org
, will target advertising and PR agencies, medical education firms and other vendors, as well as manufacturers. Some of the topics include marketing fundamentals, branding and sales force strategy.
Another unique aspect of the group is its focus on training for the diagnostic and device sectors. “We are now seeing DTC campaigns for devices and diagnostics becoming a core part of healthcare communications,” said Bolling, who expects to tap into the MMA's “rich history" of working with biotech and device firms.
“Many of the FDA guidelines around DTC advertising of drugs now apply to devices and soon will apply to diagnostics,” he said. “Our sense is there's a significant need around training because of the growth of some of these industries.”
The HCMA's first annual meeting, scheduled to take place June 4-6 in Dallas, will focus on demonstrating interactive technology as it relates to marketing communications.