First Excellence in PR Award Presented by PRSA Health Academy

I just returned from the 2015 PRSA Health Academy’s annual conference which marked the first time we’ve held our annual meeting in Cleveland, thanks to support from Cleveland Clinic. This year’s conference had a lot of “show and tell” elements which included a guided tour of Cleveland Clinic, one of the finest hospitals in the world (and which has a correspondingly great PR department). We also got to take a close look at the Global Center for Health Innovation thanks to our hosts from HIMSS, which was also very, very impressive.

This year also marks the first time for the new Excellence in Public Relations Award. The inaugural recipient was very deserving, Jeff Winton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer Astellas and President of the Astellas USA Foundation, in Northbrook, Ill. The award was presented by Candace Steele-Flippin, APR, 2015 Chair of Health Academy and VP, Public Relations and External Communications of St. Jude Medical, Inc. in St. Paul, Minn.

A recognized public relations professional in the pharmaceutical industry, Winton has more than 35 years of communications experience leading large, global teams at Eli Lilly and Company, Schering-Plough and Pharmacia. He has been on the frontlines of communicating some of the most challenging health care issues including cancer, HIV/ AIDS and other infectious diseases. Winton has dedicated himself to educating the next generation of PR, marketing, advocacy and communication professionals and has served as the keynote speaker for many communications and public relations organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Distinction in agriculture and life sciences from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
Jeff Winton has the unusual distinction of growing up on a dairy farm and he still owns a farm today. He went to college to study agriculture, but became interested in the public relations and marketing side of that industry, and as we all know agriculture ties to chemicals and to veterinary medicine and has a logical connection to human health. His varied background, his curiosity and his versatility are all attributes that have led to his considerable success.

Winton is no stranger in his involvement in PRSA Health Academy. In fact, he delivered the opening keynote address, Embracing the Rapid Globalization of Healthcare Communications, at the 2013 PRSA Health Academy conference in Indianapolis

The PRSA Health Academy introduced the Excellence in Public Relations Award in 2015 to recognize leaders in health care public relations and communications for their innovative leadership and contributions to public relations. The award recognize leaders who advance and elevate the practice of health care public relations, facilitate the discovery of innovative strategies and tools, and represent enrichment, leadership and excellence in his/her practice of public relations.

“I am greatly honored and humbled to accept this award on behalf of the patients our profession serves and the dedicated and compassionate health care professionals who care for people living with debilitating and life-threatening diseases,” said Winton. “I would like to also thank my Astellas team and our 18,000 colleagues who come to work every day to help change tomorrow by improving the lives of people around the world. I am very proud of what we have done as a company, and as an industry, to bring innovative, life-saving medicines to the people who need them.”

Held annually, the PRSA Health Academy Conference provides public relations and communications professionals with insights on the latest trends, technologies and regulations impacting health care communications. The PRSA Health Academy professional interest section focuses on providing practical, actionable advice that can be used to overcome modern health care communications challenges, such as legal and regulatory compliance, measurement and evaluation, and the use of social media.

About the PRSA Health Academy
The PRSA Health Academy is one of the fourteen Professional Interest Sections available to PRSA members.  The section’s mission is to improve the status of the communities they serve by advancing and elevating the practice of health care public relations. As an indispensable partner to the success of its members, the Health Academy facilitates the discovery of innovative strategies and tools as well as access to peers and communications leaders throughout the health care continuum. PRSA Health Academy: Enrichment. Leadership. Excellence.

About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 110 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 340 colleges and universities.

Hope you will consider joining PRSA if you’re not already a member as well as attending PRSA Health Academy’s next annual conference in Washington DC in April 2016!