As Canada’s largest membership association for physicians, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) turned to a @elissapr communications for the following projects:

  • CMA Health Summit (2018, 2019, 2020)
  • The first-ever National Physicians Health Survey (2018)


CMA Health Summit 2020

The challenge was to create opportunities for increased interaction and transform some of the existing program entities to amplify participant engagement and satisfaction. Working with an internal team, I encouraged an evidenced-based approach from ideation to actual execution. While the Summit already has a great reputation, creating sustainable opportunities for new programming and increased interaction will ensure continued interest and attention.


Key Success Factors

  • Meta review of all collateral including surveys and commentary
  • Understanding narrative and attendance patterns; new membership demographics
  • Analyzing potential gaps, need for added value and greater return on investment for attendees who choose to come
  • Distilled this information into a thought-sharing presentation to spark conversation and ideas among working committee
  • Created a high level plan transforming three key programming opportunities
  • Developed new formats, tightened up themes and speaker selection
  • Worked with team to ensure internal and Board committee buy-in
  • Resulted in revitalized programming that will appeal to all attendee demographics


CMA Health Summits (2018, 2019)

In a departure from the annual meeting format, the CMA launched their first-ever Health Summit; this meeting would set the tone for all future conferences tackling important healthcare issues.

The CMA’s objective for any media relations strategy is two-fold:  find narratives that will resonate with the media, healthcare stakeholders and Canadians at large. Plus, create coast-to-coast-to-coast coverage across the country’s most popular mainstream media outlets.  In all cases, it was vital the CMA was positioned as the authoritative voice on emerging health issues and their respective narratives were featured prominently in any media that reported on the story. Also, these initiatives would mark the respective media debuts of incoming CMA Presidents.


Key Success Factors

  • Determined the driving narratives gleaned from a CMA/Ipsos survey of Canadian’s attitudes on health
  • Provided briefing note to ensure CMA’s Director of Communications received buy-in on the narrative direction from senior leadership
  • Write a strong pitch email to select health reporters /producers of Canada’s highest profile and most influential media; customizing each to appeal to their editorial direction
  • My ‘turnkey and painless’ way of ensuring each interview op was organized for each reporter: setting up pre-interviews, interviews, photo shoots, TV segments
  • Recognizing the timeline requirements of each reporter; my long-term media relationships give me the insider knowledge of how to work with each reporter/producer
  • Worked with CMA-provided spokespeople and delegated interviews appropriately
  • Liaised with Director of Communications of institutions/organizations/spokespeople featured in press releases to ensure full cooperation and support
  • Media training of spokespeople to ensure smooth key message delivery


Media Milestones

The Canadian Press, The Toronto Star, CBC Syndication (28 interviews coast-to-coast), RDI Syndication (French), Global TV Network, Global News Radio (Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto), Global Morning Live (Winnipeg), CTV Morning Live (Winnipeg)


National Physician’s Health Survey

The first comprehensive physician survey highlighting the issues of burnout, depression and suicide ideation among physicians across Canada; promoting the CMA’s point of view and response to the survey.


Key Success Factors

  • Provided strategic counsel on narrative positioning by teasing out the storylines from background material, including physician survey stats
  • Determined timing of release distribution
  • Wrote/edited all communications collateral: pitch notes, press releases, media alerts, Q&A’s,
  • Found human interest interview: a psychologist who suffered from burnout himself and is now a life-coach counseling physicians with similar issues
  • Created cascade of ‘save the date’/pitch note emails; distributed to key influencers/mainstream media contacts
  • Comprehensive follow-up and engagement of key media interviews
  • Organized ready-to-go op ed to submit to selected dailies
  • Ensured a morning block of local interviews with Global, CTV News Channel, CITY, CP24,
  • Attended and/or listened in on live interviews – provide helpful and constructive feedback
  • Provided wrap-up report reviewing the project, also making go-forward suggestions


Media Milestones

  • Obtained coast-to-coast coverage including: Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, CBC Syndication, CBC, CBC’s The Current, Global TV, CTV News Channel, CTV National News, CITY TV, CP24