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    2023 UMass Chan Medical School Media Fellowship, a Media Relations Initiative

    University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan School of Medicine
    Special Events, Projects, Programs, or Campaigns 
    Best in Show Finalist

    Ten distinguished health and science journalists from top-tier media outlets, including the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and Boston’s ABC station (WCVB-TV), attended the 2023 UMass Chan Medical School media fellowship in Worcester, Massachusetts, March 16-17, as part of the University of Massachusetts Chan School’s media relations initiative. Our media team produced an immersive experience with eight thought-provoking, interactive sessions. We spotlighted the gene therapy program that is a testament to the cutting-edge research and innovation happening here. A mother spoke about what it means to have support from UMass Chan SOM in the preclinical research phase of her son’s rare disease. Reporters also had a front row seat to the best celebration each year, Match Day, when medical students learn where they begin their careers. Journalists met and heard from top researchers, clinicians, and leaders, and gained new expert contacts. In post-fellowship evaluations, journalists praised the fellowship for its “eye-opening” and “valuable information,” and lauded the access to faculty, saying, “Speakers were smart and charismatic, which made for a great learning environment of complex topics.” While helping establish and strengthen relationships with influential journalists, the fellowship expanded the reach and impact of the medical school’s initiatives regarding research, education, leadership, and public service. The 2023 fellowship directly resulted in dozens of media stories. 
    What was the most impactful part of your entry? 
    Reporters from the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and Boston’s ABC station (WCVB-TV) were among the 10 top-tier media outlets that participated in our robust 2023 UMass Chan media fellowship program. These journalists play a critical role in deciding which science and research stories are written for millions of viewers and readers. We provided the journalists with an opportunity to learn about UMass Chan SOM and our mission, and to meet with leaders behind cutting-edge research and advancements in science. As a result of the media relations initiative, we have fostered strong relationships with news outlets and continue to generate media coverage beyond the topics we outlined in the program. 
    What challenge did you overcome? 
    The most challenging part of building a successful media fellowship program is identifying new science and health reporters, editors, and producers who can find the time to be present on campus for two days and immerse themselves in our content, given their limited resources, demanding schedules, and tight deadlines. As a media team, we strive to build compelling sessions to increase the chances that the journalists will advocate to their editors or supervisors that it’s critical that they attend the program. 
    Contact: Lisa Larson