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4 Hospital Promotions That Get Down with the Community

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

bert fish shark bite billboardThree community-minded ideas that your hospital might want to “borrow.” Plus an enjoyable, and completely unique, billboard concept that you probably won’t be able to steal.

The Affordable Care Act rollout continues to inspire ideas that promote wellness and healthy living. Hospitals, medical centers—and in some instances group medical practices—are increasingly open to various ways and means of partnering with the community.

Here’s a quick roundup of community-minded and positive lifestyle ideas that go beyond a “health fair” booth or patient education class and lecture. You might want to borrow and build on these spring-board ideas for your hospital.hospital farm market

Healthy Living Farmers’ MarketMemorial Hospital and Manor (Decatur County, GA) hosted a community Farmers’ Market adjacent to the hospital. In promoting the event, the hospital emphasized the diet and health benefits of fresh fruit, vegetables and produce.

The event was open to area farmers and gardeners selling Georgia-grown produce. There was no charge for them to participate. Many hospitals around the country sponsor similar events—both outdoor and indoor—including Phelps Memorial Hospital Center (Sleepy Hollow, NY) pictured from Facebook.

Community-at-Large Weight Loss Challenge – Lighten Up Onslow (Onslow Memorial Hospital, Jacksonville, NC), and Lighten Up Lancaster (Lancaster General Health, Lancaster, PA) are two examples of wide area weight loss and healthy eating efforts in the community. The promotional effort is a community-wide weight loss program that stresses healthy living through exercise and good nutrition.

parcourse fitness circuitParcourse Fitness Circuit in Community ParkJameson Health System (New Castle, PA) sponsors a one-mile, 18-station fitness course in nearby public Pearson Park. Each of the exercise stations along the wooded hiking/jogging trail promotes physical fitness.

Want more inspiration? The American Hospital Association describes dozens of other civic-minded programs that support personal health and well-being. You’ll find it on their Improving Community Health page.

And finally…something completely unique…

Shark Bitten Billboard -- It may be a misnomer, but New Smyrna Beach, FL, is commonly known as the “shark bite capital of the world.” And taking off from that creative springboard, the Bert Fish Medical Center posted shark-bitten billboards in the community to grab attention for their Emergency Room services.

The shark-bite persona is common in the tourist area, and the hospital picked up on the theme. (See the billboard and the background in the Daytona Beach News-Journal article, Toothy tourism shark ad gets attention for Bert Fish.

Although few hospitals have a “shark-bite hook" or connection, if you prefer, the marketing lesson here is that you may have a popular local theme or point of civic pride that is appropriate as a creative connection for your hospital. Sometimes that works, although the shark bite billboard idea is still a point of discussion in the New Smyrna area.

Do you have an original community-based promotion to share with our readers? Send us a note, or comment below. We’d like to know what you’ve been doing to get down with your community.

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