The Memorial Healthcare System’s Media Relations Department Spreads the Word
With six hospitals in the South Broward Hospital District, the opportunities to bring stories about innovation, interesting patient success stories and new developments are extensive. The constantly changing media landscape presents challenges that demand new levels of creativity and perseverance from the Memorial Healthcare System’s Media Relations Department. "The role of media practitioners is ever evolving. We are seekers of opportunities and media experts in tune of current affairs. Yet, we are nurturers, teachers, cheerleaders and proud communicators when we see the transformation of our trained speakers in the news and the transcendence of the messages we aim to share," said Kerting Baldwin, director of media relations for Memorial Healthcare System. Over the past year, Memorial’s media team has directed its creative efforts in publicizing major milestones such as the opening of the first Broward County bone marrow transplant program and the Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital West, as well as the growth of the Memorial Regional Hospital Cardiac and Vascular Institute. On the pediatric front, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hospital Miramar have shared some of the media limelight from opportunities garnered by the team. Memorial Hospital Miramar will have a cameo in the upcoming movie "Marley and Me," opening Christmas day. Baldwin is assisted by Marla Oxenhandler, media relations specialist, and Larissa Bouyett, administrative secretary. Bouyett has been supporting the healthcare system’s media initiatives since she was hired in 2003.
Baldwin joined Memorial Healthcare System in 2000, having previously worked at University of Miami School of Medicine. She is responsible for handling media issues, crisis communication and media strategy for the public, non-profit healthcare system. In addition, Baldwin conducts media training for hospital leadership, physicians and board members as well as business presentation skill training to help physicians optimize their public appearances. Baldwin, who is bilingual, is a former journalist with a decade of newsroom experience, having worked before for The Miami Herald, The Sun-Sentinel and The Tampa Tribune, among other publications, and as associate producer for NBC in Miami and as a video editor for the Telemundo Network. She has earned academic and professional awards, including The Communicator Award for writing from 2004 to 2007. She holds a Bachelor’s in Communication from Florida International University and a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from the University of Miami. She’s currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership with focus in healthcare communications. Oxenhandler handles day-to-day proactive and reactive media relations. She has extensive communications experience in dealing with a wide range of audiences—employees, franchisees, suppliers, consumers and the media. She joined Memorial Healthcare System in 2007. Prior to coming to Memorial, Oxenhandler was a Senior Account Manager for O’Connell & Goldberg Public Relations in Hollywood. There she handled public relations for five Broward and Palm Beach County Tenet Corporation hospitals as well as for the Continental Group, a large, Broward-based property management company. Oxenhandler’s career has included corporate positions at Owen-Corning Fiberglas and Burger King Corporation. She is the author of Reasons to Believe, a book written on behalf of Burger King Corporation which documents the company’s experience with Hurricane Andrew. Oxenhandler was public relations director for Jewish Family Service of Broward County and a consultant to Communities and Schools of Dade County. The two positions exposed her to the needs of the South Florida community, especially in the areas of health, human services and education. Throughout her career, Oxenhandler has done everything from newsletters and brochures to annual reports and videos, and was a freelance feature writer for The Miami Herald. "I have seen my career come full circle," said Oxenhandler. "Now we are looking at the future of social media and other venues to help spread the word about the impressive work and miracles that happen every day at Memorial."
(l-r) Marla Oxenhandler, Kerting Baldwin, and Larissa Bouyett.