Medical ad shops raise $100K for Haiti relief

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The compassion and goodwill of the medical advertising agency community has turned what started as a single donation to the Haitian earthquake relief effort into a collaborative, non-partisan effort spanning numerous organizations, and raising more than $100,000 to date for the beleaguered Caribbean republic.

It started when Louisa Holland, co-CEO, The Americas, Sudler & Hennessey, made a donation to the not-for-profit Doctors Without Borders (DWB). “When disaster struck in Haiti, it took only moments to realize that this was a time to act fast, so S&H cut a check within days."

"But the size of the disaster was so big, and the needs so great," she said, "that I felt there must be a way to do more. I wondered if colleagues from the healthcare communications industry -- S&H's competitors, in effect -- might rise to a 'challenge' from Sudler & Hennessey, to match our donation and collectively show the support of our industry."

Initially, she approached the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame (MAHF) to support an organized effort among further agencies. But because the MAHF's mission does not extend to facilitating such programs, Scott Cotherman, CEO of Corbett Accel Healthcare Group -- and chairman of the MAHF -- took it upon himself to carry the mantle and challenge other agency leaders within the Omnicom organization to match Holland's donation. (Cotherman had already made a donation on behalf of Corbett.) Holland agreed to do the same within WPP. And if they were successful, they agreed they would take it further afield.The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. “Clearly this tragedy has opened a lot of hearts,” said Holland, “and I believe the donations have underscored some of the core values of our industry.”

To date the following agencies and networks have, collectively, donated more than $100,000: AbelsonTaylor, Adelphi, The CementWorks, CommonHealth, Corbett Accel Healthcare Group, DDB Health, Euro RSCG Life, Flashpoint Medica, Goble & Associates, Harrison & Star, InVentiv, Ogilvy Healthworld, Sudler & Hennessey and Topin & Associates.

Cotherman, noting that many healthcare agencies and organizations already had their own fund-raising efforts in motion, was similarly overwhelmed by the response of this non-partisan effort. “The thing that moved me is that it runs the gamut from small firms and individual agencies to bigger networks.”

Holland is quick to point out the synergies of working with a nonprofit like DWB, which delivers healthcare services to underserved populations and communities in distress. “Many of us are in this business because we really value the importance of high-quality medicine and medical care,” she said. “So, supporting DWB is a way to translate our values and concerns into a very tangible clinical benefit for so many people. It brings us so much closer to the actual delivery of care.”

To join this collaborative effort and make a donation to the Haitian relief effort, please contact Scott Cotherman at scott_cotherman@corbettaccel.com.

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