Author and television personality Art Ulene, M.D., whose medical reports appeared on NBC-TV's Today Show for nearly two decades, is launching a national campaign to promote better health in America.
The Wellness Challenge, which officially kicks off in the coming weeks, is a multiyear campaign that will use the news media and the Internet to encourage individuals to participate in a wide variety of healthy activities and screening programs.
Through the challenge, local hospitals with exclusive licensing arrangements will be able to tap into a promotional network to help recruit new patients and identify high-risk and high-need populations. Campaign events and community awareness also is expected to help enhance promotional efforts, build disease-management programs and boost sales of wellness kits, books and videos, organizers said.
Hospital-sponsored Wellness Challenge activities will include a range of screening activities, fairs and seminars. Participating hospitals also will host teleconferences on topics such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, osteoporosis and arthritis.
Organizers say the program will run through 2005. Participating hospitals will have the sole use of campaign logos and marketing programs aimed at patient recruitment. A basic package of materials will include 5,000 brochures for distribution to patients and visitors, promotional display stands, video programming and e-mail newsletters, among other items.
Officials with the wellness challenge, whose sponsors include Modern Healthcare, say it will provide a supplement to existing promotional efforts, helping to increase an institution's marketing impact while reducing costs. They say hospitals will benefit from the "halo" effect of the campaign's local and national sponsors, which are expected to include pharmaceutical and food companies.
The wellness challenge is the sixth in a series of such campaigns developed by Ulene, an OB/GYN who has been actively involved for many years in the use of the mass media to promote public health.