Supporting healthcare providers through marketing and PR programs

By: Allison Gordon

The Kentucky Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing (KSHPRM) is a group of public relations, marketing, physician recruiters/liaisons and development practitioners that represent Kentucky’s hospitals and healthcare-related organizations. It promotes the understanding and support of healthcare providers through marketing and public relations programs.

There are 187 members, 85 hospitals and organizations involved and 14 board members.

It is one of the Kentucky Hospital Association’s (KHA) 22 allied societies. According to KHA, professional membership in these groups provides essential networking and educational development in the areas of each discipline.

KSHPRM is also part of the American Hospital Association’s affiliated the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD). SHSHMD is the largest and most prominent voice for healthcare strategists in planning, marketing, communications, public relations, business development and physician strategy, serving more than 4,000 members.

KSHPRM’s goal is to expand opportunities for career growth as professionals tap into the knowledge and experience of their peers, exchange ideas and learn from experts in their fields.

KSHPRM’s board of directors is comprised of individuals from different regions and hospitals across the state.

Membership to KSHPRM is free and entails several benefits including participation in educational opportunities and networking abilities. The main driver for these benefits is the KSHPRM spring and fall conferences.


KSHPRM hosted a spring conference at Shaker Village in June in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Four speakers discussed topics ranging from NASA’s public relations strategy during the space exploration period to storytelling through video and rebranding strategies for healthcare organizations.

“The spring conference was rewarding both professionally and personally,” said Michael Cunningham, a speaker at the spring conference. “While I was honored to share some tips on re-branding a healthcare organization from my own experiences, I also gained insights from unlikely sources. Personally, it was a joy to network, share stories and compare notes with many talented marketing and communications pros from around the state.”

The fall conference in November includes the Thoroughbred Awards.  These awards recognize healthcare marketing/public relations professionals who achieved excellence in projects ranging from publications and multimedia to advertising and fundraising.  Thoroughbred and meritorious award winners are recognized during the fall conference.

“The Thoroughbred Awards is a great opportunity for healthcare marketing and public relations professionals. Just submitting your work provides a beneficial opportunity to review the projects you’ve completed and reminds you of your accomplishments throughout the year,” said Ginger Dreyer, director of communications at KHA. “However, winning a Thoroughbred statue is a boost to know your work is valued by others.”

KSHPRM has a few goals in the coming years. One goal is membership growth. KSHPRM added 17 new members to its registry this year. Yet, the society is looking to grow its membership in the western and eastern portions of the state.

– Allison Gordon is with the Kentucky Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing.