The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame (MAHF) has elected its 2021 inductees, and they include three who left a significant mark on the agency world.

Bound for the hall are Risa Bernstein, who co-founded and led Accel Healthcare and Flashpoint Medica; Maris Schilling, who rose to associate creative director/SVP at Kallir Phillips Ross before co-founding Reagent; and Ron Souza, who served as president/COO of Rolf Werner Rosenthal (RWR) and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather’s medical division.

This is only the second time in the history of the MAHF, established in 1996 to honor the industry’s visionary leaders, that the group has welcomed two women into its ranks in the same year. In 2019, Charlene Prounis and Carol DiSanto were first recognized with that honor. 

As Steven Michaelson, the MAHF chairperson and founder/CEO of Calcium, stated when announcing the new inductees, “What was once considered groundbreaking is now becoming the norm.”

In addition to co-founding Accel Healthcare, and assisting with the merger that resulted in Corbett Accel,  she was a co-founder of Flashpoint Medica. Bernstein also helped guide FCB Health as executive director and Calcium as executive director of strategy later in her career. Her client roster has included Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, .

Schilling’s career included stints as a secretary and junior copywriter. After rising through the ranks and leading the copy and creative departments as well as consumer divisions at several firms, she established her own copy and concept consultancy. Even after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, she joined LifeBrands as SVP, creative director and then went on to co-found Reagent. Schilling passed away earlier this year.

Souza started as a pharmacist at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Mass., and spent a decade working in hospital pharmacy and administration. His career flourished, however, at agencies beginning with J. Walter Thompson and RWR, where he was president and COO). When RWR was acquired by Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, he rose to the rank of medical division CEO. Next he moved to Barnum Communications–eventually renamed Barnum & Souza–and established his own consultancy, All’s Well.

The inductees will be formally honored on July 29, 2021 at a celebration at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.