WWPR Content Committee member, Florence Sumaray had an opportunity to connect with WWPR member, Kimberly Brown to learn more about her role in PR and how she got involved with WWPR.
Tell me a little bit about your background and your work with the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI).
For more than a decade, I have had the tremendous honor of serving in various communication roles for some of the leading medical organizations in the industry. I have found that sharing stories that give patients and their families a glimmer of hope brings me an immense amount of gratification and have felt fortunate to do such impactful work over the course of my career.
In my current role as Sr. Associate Director of PR & Communications for the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI), I am primarily responsible for developing, implementing, and directing SCAI’s public relations activities. SCAI is a 5,000-member organization dedicated to the advancement of interventional cardiology, a specialty that is dedicated to diagnosing and treating heart disease. My position oversees various communications efforts for the organization, and I also provide day-to-day management of SCAI’s public education website, SecondsCount.org, all in an effort to support SCAI’s mission and enhance its reputation to its key stakeholders and the public.
What are some campaigns you are currently working on related to COVID-19?
SCAI has taken a proactive role in communicating to our members and the patients they serve about COVID-19 and how it impacts cardiovascular disease. The SCAI COVID-19 Resource Center has several resources for our members including news, surveys, registries, clinical documents, and emerging advocacy issues.
We are proud to have also recently launched the Seconds Still Count consumer awareness campaign which aims to educate and empower patients to remember the signs of a heart attack or stroke, and remind them that in the event of a cardiac emergency, seconds count when it comes to receiving life-saving care. We want to drive home the importance that cardiovascular care does not stop for COVID-19.
How is SCAI responding to the dual emergencies of the COVID-19 pandemic and racism as a public health crisis?
The recent national events in the United States have put a spotlight on the institutional racism that continues to be pervasive in marginalized communities. Additionally, the alarming number of African Americans directly affected by heart disease and the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need to address racial disparities across the healthcare system. As a Black health communicator, I am keenly aware of the issues we face day-to-day as a race, and more importantly the need to address them and provide solutions in whatever small way I can.
I’m constantly looking for ways to amplify these issues to the media, and recently have been having the necessary conversations with my organization’s leadership. We have launched a task force that is proactively implementing actions that ensure SCAI lives up to its core values and champions diversity, equity and inclusiveness within our Society. I’m proud of the role I get to play in that work.
Why did you join WWPR, how has the experience been and what advice would you give to someone wanting to join WWPR?
I was drawn to WWPR because I wanted to connect with other women who were working in my industry – right next door to me. There is something about the shared experience of working in PR in Washington that forever bonds you. I immediately found opportunities to volunteer, initially serving on the Emerging Leader Awards (ELAs) Committee, and ultimately serving on the Board of Directors as an ELAs co-chair. My advice to anyone considering membership would be: 1. Do it. 2. Get involved. 3. Bring someone else along for the journey.
The knowledge, networking and relationships you will cultivate is invaluable and will serve you in ways you couldn’t imagine.
How has the PR industry changed in the last five years and what are you doing differently that seems to work in your industry?
I believe we have gotten back to the beauty of storytelling. In my industry, emerging research is usually at the top of a reporters wish list, but we’ve found great success in sharing the patient experience which has provided journalists with a much more well-rounded understanding of the health care experience and how advancements in medicine and science really impact people.
During this time, was there any hobby you picked up or spent more time doing that you have enjoyed?
I’m cooking more! Something I rarely did pre-quarantine. My fiancé is thankful 😊.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the DMV area? How have you adjusted since Covid-19?
I’m a Prince George’s County, MD. native, so I love everything about the DMV. Prior to the pandemic, my family and I thoroughly enjoyed going out to eat (DC brunch is a lifestyle!), attending concerts, and finding fun activities for our five-year-old son. Now, we’re enjoying our home more, completing projects around the house we’ve put off for the last few years, taking walks outside, and I just completed a discipleship program online with my church. We look forward to returning to “normalcy” someday, but our home has always been our refuge. It’s been a blessing to enjoy it more, together.
Hear more from Kimberly about her involvement in WWPR and why she encourages other women to join: