University of Mississippi Medical Center
Crisis Management - Bronze
The purpose of this project was to create a coordinated communication response to the crisis created by the fourth wave of COVID-19 — the Delta variant. This effort was directed at our employees, who needed to understand the gravity of the situation and why our resources and attention were focused on the response to the surge. They also needed to know how to respond effectively to external demands from the media; families of sick loved ones; and a frightened, and sometimes defiant, public.
UMMC’s health care enterprise includes the state’s only Level I trauma center, children’s hospital, and organ and bone marrow transplant program. When it comes to the critical care of the state’s most sick or injured patients, UMMC is the bedrock of the health care community because of our one-of-a-kind specialists and facilities in the state. The importance of UMMC to Mississippi is crucial to understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the institution.
We executed a plan to inform our employees as well as the general public about what was happening in our hospitals, the dire nature of the state’s health care system, and the importance of vaccination and other mitigation efforts in slowing the spread of the disease.
What was the most impactful part of your entry?
Telling the stories of our health care professionals and the patients and families who battled this disease was the most impactful aspect of this crisis response. We wanted our internal and external audiences to know the faces and names of those who were the most affected by the surge in COVID-19 cases.
What challenge did you overcome?
As challenges occurred, we had to be nimble and address necessary changes, such as the establishment of two field hospitals in our campus parking garages. Unforeseen challenges also forced us to publish news releases, field state and national media requests, and conduct news conferences within days of one another.