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Sharp HealthCare: Building Credibility with the Hispanic Community

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Jessica Lopez Sharp Healthcare

Jessica Lopez Sharp Healthcare

John Cihomsky

John Cihomsky Sharp Healthcare

[SHSMD14 Speaker Podcast Series] Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success talks with Sharp HealthCare Multicultural Community Relations Specialist Jessica Lopez, and John Cihomsky, Vice President, PR & Communications. Jessica and John will be speaking at the 2014 SHSMD Connections Conference on the topic: Building Credibility With the Hispanic Community.

The concept of “Show Me. Don’t Tell Me.” is a fundamental theme for Sharp Healthcare as it works to build credibility, trust and relationships with the large Hispanic community in their San Diego service area. Face-to-face interaction in the community is vital to success.

Stewart Gandolf discussed this idea with Jessica Lopez and John Cihomsky in today’s podcast—a preview of their presentation at the upcoming SHSMD 2014 conference. Some of the topics discussed in today’s interview include:

  • Examples of the “Show Me” approach to building credibility, trust and relations;
  • Using the right tools to reach the community and segments within the group;
  • Including a mix of advertising, community relations, digital marketing, educational programs, media relations and translation services; and
  • How knowing your customer is the key to developing a partnership and relationship.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation, including topics that will be part of the upcoming SHSMD presentation:

Jessica Lopez: Marketing to the Hispanic community is using the right tools from within your organization in order to reach the right segment. So whether you are building a relationship with the younger, millennial group, or perhaps those individuals approaching retirement, it’s a matter of using the right tools.

John Cihomsky: Part of our presentation is a slide that says: “Show Me. Don’t Tell Me.” And one of the key things that we’ve found over the years is the need to be IN the community, and how face-to-face interaction is a big part of forging those relationships and building credibility.

Stewart Gandolf: How is marketing to the Hispanic community different from marketing to the general population?

JL: It basically has to do with being part of the Hispanic culture, not just by marketing to the population by way of a TV commercial or something on the radio. Being part of the culture and being present at Hispanic community events, being involved with Hispanic community organizations…boards and affiliations, for example…and being supportive wherever the community needs your support. You, as the leading healthcare provider, are able to provide the support when possible.

SG: Sharp Healthcare has more than 30 percent of the region’s Hispanic population, which is substantial in your competitive market. Can you give us an example of how you are being involved?

JC: If you’re involved in the community event, perhaps providing a free healthcare screening, that goes a long way to show that you indeed do care—not just putting your message on the right media such as a Spanish language television or radio station—but you are actually doing something in the community that’s beneficial. We do a series of free educational programs to educate community workers who are in touch with the Hispanic community directly where we provide important health information that they in turn can pass along to their constituents to improve the overall health of the community. Again, the message is: Don’t just tell me, you need to show me that you really care about this community.

SG: This is a lot of effort. Is this a strategic priority for Sharp Healthcare?

JC: Yes. The demographics show about one-third of San Diego is Hispanic, and the San Diego-Tijuana Region is about five million people, so it is a large market. We have about a 30 percent share of the Hispanic market in San Diego, and that’s even larger than our general market share, which is about 28 percent. So we’re pleased with the things that we’re doing, and we’re seeing success.

SG: Have you found any surprises in terms of what has worked or hasn’t worked from a marketing perspective?

JL: No, not so much in terms of surprises. It’s been a matter of keeping up with the needs of the community. The media relations have always been there but we have been able to create deeper relationships with the media. Now people see us as the “go to” healthcare leader for Spanish media when topics need to be addressed. So it has been a matter of taking our relationships and our Hispanic marketing program to another level.

JC: [Also] it needs to be consistent. You don’ want to go fits and starts; you need to have an ongoing, consistent program to maintain your presence and show that you are involved and care about this community.

SG: What additional information is important for our audience to know about this topic.

JL: It’s important to highlight the idea that knowing your customer is best, and that’s key to a partnership. It’s also not expecting big results right away, it’s a growing and evolving partnership and relationship that, in the long run, brings credibility and trust to your organization.

On Tuesday afternoon, October 14th, be sure to attend the informative public relations and communications session at SHSMC titled Building Credibility With the Hispanic Community, presented by Jessica Lopez and John Cihomsky of Sharp Healthcare. And conference attendees can meet up with Stewart and the Healthcare Success folks at our booth (#904) in the exhibit hall.

This article and podcast are another presentation in the Healthcare Success education series featuring speakers at the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, SHSMD CONNECTIONS 2014 Conference, in San Diego, October 12-15.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSIONS in this series, and previous Healthcare Success leadership podcasts, are available on this page and on our iTunes Podcast channel.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA


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