SMCCV Social Media Program Wins Award for Excellence in New Communications

Posted on Dec 10, 2009

by Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

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Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley is still under construction, but it is already earning international recognition. The project’s social media program is the winner of the 2009 Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Excellence in New Communications Award for External Communications & Communities in the Nonprofit Division.

The honors were shared with developers Creative Sage?/Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates and G2 Communications, Inc., social media strategy and communications consultants.

The award winners were announced at the 4th Annual SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards gala at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley is a $320 million construction project to replace Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

The Society for New Communications Research Awards program honors innovative organizations that are pioneering the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities, and collaborative technologies in the areas of media, marketing, public relations, advertising, entertainment, education, politics and social initiatives.

“The Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley social media program has been precedent-setting in the health care field. It has included using a variety of social media tools—a blog site with a Webcam, video, architectural renderings and other multimedia content, plus popular social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and YouTube—to engage the community in open discussion about the design and construction of a new hospital,” said Project Communications Director Cassandra Clark. “We set out to reach new audiences and involve them in our process, and we discovered new ways to have conversations between the public and the project team, including the architects, engineers and president of the hospital. It’s a major shift in how we communicate, and we are seeing positive results.”

SNCR Senior Fellow Albert Maruggi nominated the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley Social Media Project, the first social media project of its kind undertaken by Sutter Health as a pilot program, for the award.

Business author Shel Israel, who is also a Senior SNCR Fellow and Advisory Board member, included the story of the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley social media project in his recently published book, Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods (pp. 103-105), and agreed with Mr. Maruggi that the SMCCV project could qualify for a SNCR Award. They both remarked that they “loved the story” and found this social media outreach project to be “unique, a first of its kind” as a health care community advocacy program.

“Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley’s social media program is an impressive example of the successful and innovative use of new tools, technologies, solutions and practices to enhance communications and relationships,” commented Jen McClure, founder and president of the Society.

A list of winners and all the winning case studies submitted to this year’s SNCR awards program have been published on the Society’s website.

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