ChristianaCare Earns IABC Silver Quill Award for Innovative Use of Technology to Connect Journalists and News Producers with Health Care Experts

Dec 8, 2022

4 min

ExpertFile-powered “Our Experts” site makes health experts findable and accessible to media at a click of a button

ChristianaCare and its collaborative partner ExpertFile have been recognized with a 2022 Silver Quill Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for its "Our Experts" media database.

Designed to easily and quickly connect journalists to subject-matter experts, this online resource has been recognized with the top prize – an “Award of Excellence” in the Communications Management, Media Relations category. The IABC Silver Quill Awards showcase business communication excellence and are acknowledged as among the most prestigious awards programs in the communications industry.

“I’m proud to accept the Silver Quill Award on behalf of our organization and our incredible Communications team, including our ExpertFile partners,” said Shane Hoffman, communications director at ChristianaCare. “The ‘Our Experts’ platform has given us next-level ways to engage our experts and share our knowledge as a trusted source of health care information. It has also helped us re-imagine the traditional online news room experience and turn it into a truly new and innovative way to serve the needs of both journalists and our community.”

IABC’s Silver Quill awards honor the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale. Each entry is scored independently by evaluators who judge the award submission on factors that include: stakeholder analysis, strategic and tactical planning, quality of execution and measurable results.

Since launching in March 2021, the "Our Experts" media database has received more than 20,000 online visits and has resulted in more than 200 news stories.

“We are honored to earn this Silver Quill Award with our client, ChristianaCare,” said Peter Evans, CEO of ExpertFile. “Despite the pressures of the pandemic, their team collaborated closely with us to create a world-class program that continues to help a variety of audiences discover and connect every day with credible medical experts and groundbreaking research.”

Powered by the ExpertFile software platform, the ChristianaCare “Our Experts” site provides a digital media toolkit with advanced search/digital content features to help journalists discover experts and access resources that make it easier for them to complete stories and meet their deadlines.

Awarding top honors “with distinction,” the IABC judging panel provided a number of detailed comments on the “ChristianaCare Experts Program”:

  • “Very well-done website. Nice content that is well organized and searchable. From planning and implementation to measurement afterward the program shows great work.”
  • “Great work in the time of COVID. Your knowledge of journalists and their challenges. during COVID was spot-on.”
  • “I liked the media advisories. Having been on both sides of the reporter/media relations thing, I like clear and simple. You achieved this!”
  • “If I were a reporter, the advisory would be invaluable when I needed an expert.”
  • “Very specific and focused on business-results. Great work here.”
  • “Very comprehensive! You thought of everything without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.”

Nearly 100 ChristianaCare experts are featured in the database today, and that number continues to grow.

“As communicators in health care, it has always been important for us to provide timely, accurate, easy-to-understand information to the communities we serve so that people can make informed decisions about their health,” said Karen Browne, vice president of marketing and communications at ChristianaCare. “The COVID-19 pandemic added an entirely new level of urgency to our role as communicators, and it made it even more important for us to build strong relationships with our partners in the news media so that they can deliver compelling, actionable health information to the community—from experts they can trust.”

The pandemic also highlighted the need to do more with less. ChristianaCare’s innovation was driven out of a desire to improve the reach, impact and efficiency of its media relations efforts—amid rapidly increasing demand—without the need to add additional resources.

“With our partners at ExpertFile, we leveraged ExpertFile’s outstanding technology platform to create a database of our experts that helps reporters and news producers find the sources they need quickly, and it enables our team to nimbly manage their requests and facilitate interviews in a way that makes the absolute best use of our resources,” Hoffman said. “The ExpertFile team worked as our strategic thought partners throughout this process, and they’ve really embraced our desire for innovation that drives results. They’ve helped us to work smarter and do more without adding a lot of additional resources. Together, we’ve built a system and process that is helping us to communicate in new and better ways—and we’re just getting started.”

About ChristianaCare

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,299 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute.

ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.

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First in Delaware to Offer MR-Guided Ultrasound for Treatment of Essential and Parkinson’s Tremor

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2 min

Wilmington Campus Receives $1 Million Donation From the Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation

ChristianaCare has received a $1 million gift from The Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation Inc. in support of ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Campus. “All families and communities deserve the excellent care that Wilmington Hospital and ChristianaCare provide,” said Rocco and Mary Abessinio. “It is an honor for our family to support the health and wellbeing of the Wilmington community.” The funds will support areas of greatest need, including the expansion of patient care initiatives aimed at reducing disparities in screening and treatment for cancer and cardiovascular disease in the city of Wilmington. “We are tremendously grateful to the Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation for their continued, generous support of the Wilmington Campus – a vital resource serving the greater Wilmington community,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and CEO. “With their help, we are closing gaps in health disparities and improving health for everyone, including some of Delaware’s most vulnerable populations.” The Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation provided a $1 million gift in 2014 for the redesign and renovation of the health center, which was then named the Rocco A. Abessinio Family Health Center at Wilmington Hospital. The health center is home to three primary care practices and other programs and services that offer high-quality health care, wellness and preventive health visits for people of all ages, regardless of their income or ability to pay. “As a result of the Abessinio family’s longstanding partnership and investment in our mission of service, we are making significant progress in addressing disparities and building strong and healthy communities,” said LeRoi S. Hicks, M.D., MPH, FACP, campus executive director of ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Hospital. A Wilmington landmark in the heart of the city, the ChristianaCare Wilmington Hospital has been serving the diverse medical needs of the city and surrounding region for over 125 years. “Philanthropy is essential to ChristianaCare’s mission of service to our community, and we extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Rocco and Mary Abessinio for their inspiring and visionary philanthropic leadership in support of the Wilmington Campus,” said Dia Williams Adams, MPA, vice president of philanthropy at ChristianaCare. “Their gift is a legacy that not only allows us to increase our ability to make a positive impact on patients and community, but honors the incredible work that our caregivers do every day.” For more information about ways to support ChristianaCare’s mission of service to the community, visit:

5 min

This Is a Critical Moment: Delaware Must Not Go Backward in Health Equity

The proposed Delaware House Bill 350 is well-intended but would have terrible consequences for Delaware’s most vulnerable populations. There is a better way. By LeRoi S. Hicks, M.D., MPH, FACP As a Black physician who has dedicated his 25-year career to understanding and addressing health equity, I am deeply concerned about Delaware’s proposed House Bill 350, which aims to address rising health care costs by establishing a body of political appointees that would oversee the budgets of Delaware’s nonprofit hospitals. While the goal of bending the cost curve in health care may be well-intentioned, this bill will have horrific consequences for Delaware’s most vulnerable populations, including Black people, Hispanic people and other groups that have been traditionally underserved in health care. We can and must work together to solve this problem and provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time. A tale of two cities To borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens, Delaware, like much of America, is a tale of two cities. The experience of life—including a healthy, safe environment and access to good-quality health care—is vastly different depending on where you live and your demographic background. In the city of Wilmington, for example, ZIP codes that are just a few miles apart represent more than 20 years difference in life expectancy. This is not OK—it’s a sign that we have serious structural problems in our communities that are causing harm to people and making their lives shorter. Importantly, chopping $360 million out of Delaware’s hospital budgets, as House Bill 350 would do in year one, is not going to help this problem—it’s going to make it worse. And in doing so, it would ultimately make health care in Delaware more expensive—not less expensive. The key to lowering health care costs is to improve quality, access and equity Data show that about 5% of patients in the United States account for more than 50% of all health care costs. These are primarily patients who have complex and poorly managed chronic conditions that cause them to end up in the most expensive care settings—hospitals, operating rooms, emergency departments. The key to driving down health care costs is to improve quality and equity so that everyone is supported in achieving their best health, and these high users of the most expensive kinds of care are better supported in managing their health conditions such as diabetes or heart failure in the appropriate way. In doing so, they prevent the need for costly emergency or “rescue” care. Let’s do more—not less—of what we already know works Health care is not a one-size-fits-all industry. The delivery of care for patients across a diverse population requires multiple interventions at the same time. These interventions are designed not only to improve the quality of care but also to close the gap in terms of health care disparities. That’s important, because when we improve care and outcomes for the most vulnerable populations, we tend to get things right for everyone. One type of intervention is about doing exactly the right things for a patient based on the evidence of what will help—and doing nothing extra that will cause harm or generate additional costs without providing additional benefit. An example of this might be ensuring that every patient who has a heart attack gets a certain drug called a beta blocker right after their heart attack, and they receive clear guidance and support on the actions they must take to reduce their risk of a second heart attack, such as regular exercise and good nutrition. The second type of intervention is for the highest-risk populations. These are patients who live in poor communities where there are no gyms and no grocery stores, and people commonly have challenges with transportation and lack of access to resources that makes it difficult—sometimes impossible—to follow their plan for follow-up care. They lack access to high-nutrient food that reduces their risk of a second heart attack. They also live in areas where there are fewer health care providers compared to more affluent areas. These interventions tend to be very intensive and do not generate income for health systems; in fact, they require significant non-reimbursed investment, but they are necessary to keep our most vulnerable patients healthy. The medical community has developed interventions for these populations that are proven to work. A local example is the Delaware Food Pharmacy program, which connects at-risk patients with healthy food and supports their ability to prepare it. The program helps patients improve their overall health and effectively manage their chronic conditions so they can prevent an adverse event that would put them back in the hospital or emergency department. When we work together, we succeed We’ve seen incredible examples of how this work can be successful right here in Delaware. Delaware was the first state in the country to eliminate a racial disparity in colorectal cancer, and we did this by expanding cancer services, including making it easy for vulnerable people to get preventive cancer care and screenings. This is an incredible success story that continues to this day, and it was the result of thoughtful, detail-oriented partnerships among the state and the health care community. The work continues as we collaborate to reduce the impact and mortality of breast cancer in our state. Unfortunately, these kinds of interventions are the first thing to go when health care budgets get slashed, because they don’t generate revenue and are not self-sustaining. These kinds of activities need to be funded—either through grants or an external funder, or by the hospitals and health care systems. By narrowly focusing on cost, we risk losing the progress we have made Delaware House Bill 350, as it’s proposed, would cause harm in two ways: First, it would compromise our ability to invest in these kinds of interventions that work. Second, it increases the risk that higher-cost health services and programs that are disproportionately needed by people in vulnerable communities could become no longer available in Delaware. In states where the government has intervened in the name of cutting costs, like Vermont and Massachusetts, we see the consequences–less quality and reduced equitable access to much-needed services. House Bill 350 will widen the gap between those who have means and those who are more vulnerable. These changes will lead to increased disease burden on these populations. They will end up in the emergency room more and hospitalized more, which is by far the most expensive kind of care. That’s not what anyone wants—and it’s the opposite of what this bill was intended to accomplish. At this moment, in Delaware, we have an opportunity to put our state on a sustainable path to better health for all Delawareans. House Bill 350 is not that path. However, the discussion that House Bill 350 has started is something that we can build on by bringing together the stakeholders we need to collaborate with to solve these complicated problems. That includes Delaware’s government and legislators, the hospitals and health centers, the insurance, pharmacy and medical device industries, and most importantly, patients and the doctors who care for them. LeRoi Hicks, M.D., is the campus executive director for ChristianaCare, Wilmington Campus.

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