Next chapter, scene 2 …

Doug Bennett and Jim Rattray, overlooking Boston's Financial District. Photo by Rod Smith.

Doug Bennett and Jim Rattray, overlooking Boston's Financial District. Photo by Rod Smith.

My next chapter starts now.

This month I joined Bennett Group, the highly-decorated Boston-based health care marketing and advertising agency, as its Executive VP.

Doug Bennett and I have known each other for a couple of decades now and have had the chance to work together on a bunch of projects over the past year. 

It's been a great fit — and we both felt it was time to do more of that work.

I'm thrilled to be joining Bennett Group's stellar team of strategic and creative thinkers. The agency has long been one of the best in the country at making health care accessible, understandable and fun while driving some pretty sweet results for its clients.

Coming back to Boston is a bit of a full circle for me. Just out of Boston University, I began my communications career in the Hub as a writer and editor for United Press International in the old and now-demolished Boston Herald building on Harrison Avenue (and just one mile from Bennett Group's hip Seaport district offices!).

I later worked in Copley Square for what was then called The New England (now part of MetLife) as an inside news writer, penning articles and marketing pieces for its nationwide corps of life insurance agents, before joining New England Baptist Hospital as its director of public affairs. It was at the Baptist where health care would begin to define most of the rest of my career — it was a meaningful subject that affected real people's lives in real ways and I could play a role in improving (and maybe even saving) some lives.

That has continued through many more years and a few more stops, including working on the health insurance side, a great stint in academia at Duke University, where I focused on environmental communications and finally 13 awesome years at Southcoast Health System, where I was a health care marketing and PR executive.

This will be an exciting next chapter. Bennett Group is dynamic — in its people, clients and the work we do — and I'm eager to bring some new ideas, experiences and skills to Doug's team. I'm equally eager to learn from my colleagues and our clients. 

So let's get started!

This blog will continue, albeit somewhat less frequently, as I will also be posting soon at our new Bennett Group site as well as on Facebook, Twitter and, soon, other social media channels.

Please stay in touch!

Higher taxes may help curb death by tobacco

The health risks of using tobacco are well documented. And just about every scheme has been tried to get people to quit smoking.

This year the World Health Organization's Tobacco Free Initiative is marking World No Tobacco Day on May 31 by advocating for a global hike in taxes on tobacco.

A tax increase that increases tobacco prices by 10% decreases tobacco consumption by about 4% in high-income countries and by up to 8% in most low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO calls increasing taxes on tobacco "the most cost-effective tobacco control measure." It also makes good financial sense.

The World Health Report 2010 indicated that a 50% increase in tobacco excise taxes would generate a little more than US$1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries. If allocated to health, government health spending in these countries could increase by up to 50%.

Tobacco kills some 6 million people each year, including 600,000 non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

Learn more about the initiative and how you can support it.


Source: Ads of the World

Student's childhood obesity ad strikes a chord

"L'obésité commence dès le plus jeune âge." Translation: "Obesity begins at a young age."

That's the message in this ad project from a Belgian design student, David Lesage. The ad gained viral traction in France when the L'Express newspaper mistook it for an ad released by the French Ministry of Health and ran it in the paper, according to a post on Adweek's AdFreak blog.

In an interview with AdFreak, Lesage said:

"I really like to work on social causes in general. I think obesity seemed to be an important subject nowadays, and it has interesting creative potential."

The ad is downright creative — and effective.

Source: Adweek



It's National Healthcare Decisions Day: Who will speak for you?

This is the day you need to talk to your family about their "advance care" plans.

It's April 16, or National Healthcare Decisions Day. 

Advance care plans are what we used to call end-of-life care plans. Whatever you call it, it's important to make your wishes known to your family and those who you may want to look after your wishes.

If you are in Connecticut, consider stopping by the Capitol Building in Hartford for a panel discussion led by Qualidigm CEO Tim Elwell and a multi-interdisciplinary panel of state, national, community and health care leaders. The event is at noon on Wednesday, April 16.

Millions of Americans have yet to plan their medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs for their final life-stage. 

If you are one, who will speak for you if and when you cannot speak for yourself?

Learn more at