Policy News

A Typo Set in Stone

Hot Topics | June 25th, 2021

Correcting a typo on a word processor is quite straightforward, but the same cannot necessarily be said for other media that are used for writing and recording text. Consider the Lincoln Memorial, where a typo was engraved into the stone walls of the monument.

Plans for the Lincoln Memorial called for the president’s second inaugural address to be engraved on the temple’s north wall. Look closely, and you will notice the engraver misspelled the word “future” carving “…HIGH HOPE FOR THE EUTURE” into the wall. When the mistake was caught, the third line in the capital “E” was filled in to correct the error. However, the correction was made using a stone that is a different color from the rest of the memorial, meaning anyone with a sharp eye can still spot the typo that was quite literally, set in stone.

We hope you enjoy reading this week’s headlines, fully proofread for typos:

A swing and a miss

  • This week the White House acknowledged that the country would not meet President Biden’s goal to have at least 70% of American adults partially vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4. (Roll Call) The goal will be missed chiefly due to Americans under age 27 who are getting vaccinated at a slower than expected rate. (The Hill)
    • Read more: With vaccination rates varying widely between states, Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a warning earlier this week that areas of the country with lower vaccination rates are at risk of “localized surges” of COVID-19. (The Hill)

Federal officials issue statement on vaccine safety

  • Top officials from the Biden administration joined representatives from various industry groups (American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, etc.) to issue a joint statement on Wednesday that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for adolescents. The statement came as federal officials are tracking rare reports (~1,200 reports out of 300 million+ shots administered) of heart inflammation in people who have received mRNA vaccines. (The Hill

Eyes and ears and teeth

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced he was supporting the efforts of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to expand Medicare to include vision, hearing and dental coverage. Schumer acknowledged that this policy proposal faces long odds passing under normal Senate procedure, and plans to include the policy in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Democrats would use reconciliation to circumvent the threat of Republicans filibustering these bills. (Axios, The Hill)

Medicaid reaches new high

  • Spurred by the pandemic, a record 74 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid as of January 2021. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there was a 15% jump in Medicaid enrollment between February 2020 and January 2021. (The Hill) However, with the pandemic waning in the United States, millions of Americans may be kicked off Medicaid as states resume eligibility checks following a pandemic-induced hiatus. (The Washington Post)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

Leading Thinking

Embracing humanity during National Cancer Survivors Month

June is National Cancer Survivors Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the millions of adults and children across the U.S. who have been diagnosed with cancer. For healthcare providers and communicators, it should also be a time to reflect on how we can elevate our work to advocate and support the communities we serve. We have an obligation to ensure that families living with cancer have their voices and vulnerabilities heard. Every story represents unthinkable challenges. By embracing humanity and sharing their stories, each individual can bring comfort and understanding to countless others.

A human behind every story

My stepdad died from prostate cancer. But that wasn’t the first-time cancer affected me personally. By the time he was diagnosed, cancer was part of my daily vocabulary, it was part of my job as a healthcare communications professional focused on patient advocacy. I had met so many mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, all impacted in some way by cancer. Though it was my work that connected me with these families, the relationships formed would forever change me.

Connecting with People Living with Cancer  

Each person’s experience with cancer is different. Cancer is deeply personal. Utterly raw, human, and emotional.

As a communicator and passionate patient advocate, I feel a responsibility to every individual I have the privilege of getting to know, to ensure their experiences, their voices, are not only heard but acknowledged and embraced. By empathizing and providing a platform for storytelling, we can become the eyes and ears of people living with cancer, their advocates, and caregivers.

How can healthcare providers and communicators make meaningful connections with people living with cancer?

1. Establishing a genuine relationship

Most people thrive on genuine human-to-human relationships and authentic connections. A cancer diagnosis often leads people to feel dehumanized by a distant world. This is where empathy-driven relationships and interpersonal communication must take hold. Relationships need nurturing, so connect often and make each interaction personal. Put in the work to know the person behind a cancer diagnosis and understand, to the extent possible, their experiences. Ask about their family, hobbies, and life before and after cancer. These pieces make each patient unique and will allow us to connect and better understand their individual experiences and circumstances. By listening to their stories, we can craft impactful communications for the patients we serve.

2. Being vulnerable

Part of having a genuine relationship is creating balance. Patient advocates volunteer to share their most vulnerable experiences. As communicators who engage with people living with cancer, it is our job to ensure we give back and support. Find common ground. Start by sharing your own connection to cancer. Being vulnerable ourselves will open the dialogue to real, human-centric conversations, revealing the most authentic story to tell.

3. Listening with purpose

Every detail within a conversation has meaning. Once you’ve established a relationship based on trust, people living with cancer and their caregivers can provide invaluable feedback to health information they receive. Patients are inundated with health information 24/7, so listen to what works and what doesn’t. Understand the way they hear, perceive, and interpret that information. If we listen with purpose to understand their unique experiences and how it shapes perceptions, we can better develop resources and materials that will not only resonate but make a profound impact on the cancer community.

Building relationships with people living with cancer requires a conscious effort to listen with purpose, embracing humanity and empathy with each interaction. As healthcare communicators, we can bring purpose to our work and make a positive and lasting impact, which is the ultimate reward.    

Whitney Segel is Vice President at Goodfuse Communications

Policy News

When Congress Couldn’t Take the Heat

Hot Topics | June 11th, 2021

When it comes to climate, Washington is no San Francisco and for decades our capital’s warm summers pushed Congress to wrap up their business in the spring. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the best tools Congress had to beat the heat were light fabrics on furniture, rush matting, white suits and straw hats. All these efforts were woefully inadequate in the windowless House Chamber, and for this reason former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner (D-Texas) quipped, “No good legislation comes out of Washington after June.”

By 1928, Congress’ frustration with the mid-Atlantic summer had reached a boiling point and a study commissioned to review the Capitol’s ventilation system recommended the House chamber be air conditioned. A proposal went out, and the Carrier Corporation designed and installed a “manufactured weather” system in the House. Not content to be left in the heat, the Senate soon had a similar system installed in their Chamber. The Capitol air conditioning systems helped Congress extend their legislative session into the warmer months and manage the economic and foreign policy crises that would come to define the 1930’s.

We hope you enjoy reading this week’s headlines from the comfort of a climate controlled room:

An approval that will be remembered

  • In a highly controversial move, the FDA approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) to treat Alzheimer’s disease under the accelerated approval pathway. Though the move was praised by some patient advocacy groups, other patient groups and policy wonks largely panned the approval. The FDA’s decision went against the recommendation of a 2020 independent advisory committee, which overwhelmingly indicated that clinical trial results failed to show Aduhelm produced a clinical benefit in patients. Under the terms of the accelerated approval, Biogen and Eisai will have nine years to prove Aduhelm’s clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial. (The Hill, POLITICO, Axios, Endpoints News)
    • Read more: Veteran health and medicine reporter Matt Herper published his take on the approval in a column for STAT this week. (STAT)

From a sprint to a marathon

  • President Biden set a goal to have at least 70% of American adults start vaccination against COVID-19 by July 4th. As that self-imposed deadline draws closer, there are more signs that the Biden administration will face stiff headwinds reaching this goal. Vaccination rates continue decline as the public health effort enters a new phase of the vaccination campaign that is seeing officials at pains to reach Americans who are skeptical of vaccines or have trouble accessing vaccination sites. (The Hill, The Washington Post

US to donate shots

  • The United States will purchased 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. The doses will be purchased at a “not-for-profit” price, and will be distributed through the Covax vaccine distribution initiative backed by the World Health Organization. (The Hill)

Pharma money in politics

  • STAT News published an interactive dashboard detailing which pharmaceutical companies contributed to Congressional campaigns in the 2020 election cycle. Overall, the industry donated $14 million to the campaigns of 72 senators and 302 members of the House. (STAT)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from this week’s Policy News from Goodfuse, we invite you to email us at [email protected] to sign up for the full weekly “insider only” newsletter featuring fun-to-read round-ups of Hot Topics, breaking news and some quirky facts to make your Fridays Goodfused.

In The News

Goodfuse Communications Adds Three Industry Leaders to Growing Agency



Goodfuse Communications Adds Three Industry Leaders to Growing Agency

– Ellene Hu, SVP, to drive client results focused on analytics and innovation
– Abigail Obre, VP, to focus on reputation management and crisis communications for healthcare brands
– Joe Jordan to lead creative strategy as VP, Creative Director

NEW YORK, June 3, 2021 – Goodfuse, an award-winning, fully integrated agency built to fuse humanity into communications, today announced three additions to its senior leadership team with the appointments of Ellene Hu as Senior Vice President, Abigail Obre as Vice President, and Joe Jordan as VP, Creative Director. These hires represent new positions and will help drive what continues to be a tremendous period of growth for Goodfuse.  

“Goodfuse is a destination for challenger brands that want to infuse humanity into their communications,” says Olga Fleming, CEO, Goodfuse. “Ellene, Abi, and Joe embody the humanity-committed point of view that inspires us to create programming that is strategic, emotional, and utterly differentiated. Each brings significant real-world experience, not just agency years, which is essential in developing programming that cuts through the clutter. I look forward to partnering with Ellene, Abi, and Joe to continue to break the mold on behalf of companies that want to connect with their audience in honest and authentic ways.”

Ellene Hu is a global brand executive with extensive expertise in the health and wellness, beauty, and personal care industries. Over the years, she has worked in-house, primarily in emerging industries, working with the c-suite to differentiate products in highly competitive environments. Ellene has also managed marketing and supporting functions, including creative, customer service, product development and digital communications. Notably, Ellene held key leadership positions at top consumer brands including Philips and Estee Lauder. Reporting to Olga Fleming, Ellene will be responsible for driving client results by further incorporating data analysis and innovative ideation.

Abigail Obre joins Goodfuse from Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) where she led media relations and communications for the national oncology network. While at CTCA, Abi launched an award-winning thought leadership campaign that shone a light on cancer during the pandemic. Having been on the corporate side of healthcare for the past decade, Abi’s agency experience began at a New York City editing house with pharmaceutical and TV network clients. She then narrowed her focus to serve healthcare and lifestyle clients, eventually leveraging her expertise in various leadership roles at Broward Health, one of the nation’s largest public health systems. Reporting to Goodfuse EVP Michael Myers, Abi will be responsible for reputation management and crisis communications for Goodfuse’s healthcare clients.

Joe Jordan is an award-winning Creative Director with more than two decades of experience guiding brands through creative and digital transformations. Throughout his career, Joe has created programming across creative disciplines from branding, digital marketing, and commercials, to photography, UX design, and websites for some of the world’s most recognizable brands including LG, All-Clad, Heineken, Philips Lighting, Johnson & Johnson, ADP, Comcast, and Verizon. Reporting to Myers, Joe will lead creative and web development efforts across all Goodfuse clients.

About Goodfuse

Goodfuse is a high-touch boutique agency designed to guide clients through the most challenging communications territories. With a seasoned, hands-on senior team, and full-spectrum, fully integrated capabilities. Digital to traditional, media relations to public affairs, we create Human to Human (H2H) communications that make companies and their products far more relevant in the hearts and minds of their audiences.

Goodfuse is a member of the BCW Group of companies, which is part of WPP (NYSE:WPP), a creative transformation company.

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Leading Thinking

Effective Listening Starts With Empathy