Amid continued investment in diversity, equity and inclusion as well as mental health resources, medical marketers are beginning to explore innovative ways to reach people with empathy.

Earlier this week, communications agency Ketchum announced it’s launching a new “trauma-informed” consultancy that will bring trauma experts to its workplace.

In a statement, Ketchum CEO Jim Joseph pointed to the tumultuous past few years in which nearly everyone has been touched by trauma in some way, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and violence against marginalized communities. He said this phenomenon presented a need for businesses to “address the repercussions of the collective trauma of recent events.”

“We see a clear need to support our clients as they are looking for resources to respond to traumatic events — as well as address the effect it has on their own workforces,” Joseph said.

The initiative goes two ways — not only is it meant to infuse Ketchum’s campaign and communications work with guidance from trauma experts, but it’s also designed to help people in the agency themselves.

“We must do this while processing these same events and issues for ourselves — such is the nature of our always-on, fast-moving profession,” Joseph said.

Among the additions to the trauma-informed team, Katharine Manning, the author of The Empathetic Workplace and an attorney specializing in trauma, will serve as one expert. The group will also include Dawn Shedrick, a licensed clinical social worker at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, and Kate Licastro, PhD, a psychologist.

Michelle Baker, EVP and managing director of corporate strategic initiatives and public health, will lead the team.

On the initiative’s website, the goal is framed as being able to provide “a humanizing, empathetic, trauma-informed lens to our work to meet today’s many challenges.”The announcement is one of several steps Ketchum has taken lately to hone in on health equity. In September, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America chose Ketchum as its AOR — and to craft communications that will help the organization battle mental health stigma.