February is American Heart Month, and many hospitals and health systems will focus their communications on ways to raise awareness about preventing heart disease. But the usual recognitions and events may have to change based on the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Despite positive news surrounding the vaccine, precautions are still in place limiting gatherings in hopes of slowing the spread. So once again, we’ve put our hearts into some alternative ways to celebrate an important awareness month.
Awareness months and recognition in a time of COVID, Part 2 – American Heart Month
From Alzheimer’s to Women’s Health, recognizing the people and heroes of illness, wellness and prevention has spurred awareness months for hundreds of organizations and advocacy groups. Hospitals and Academic Medical Centers have followed suit, taking part in those monthly recognitions. But how do wellness months that typically generate in-person events, shared meals and community gatherings translate in a time when such things are not recommended.
From the first weeks of the crisis, healthcare marketers have gotten creative. Teams jumped into action mode, planning virtual events, alternative communication strategies and new ways to engage communities ensuring safety and the continuity of important health and wellness information. Now months in, brainpower is still needed to keep ideas fresh, communities active and important messaging disseminated at a steady pace.
8 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month in 2021
- Wearing red during the month of February is a time-tested way to celebrate. While we may not be gathering together, consider a red themed Zoom background with your hospital’s logo that you can distribute to the community digitally. Try and grab a few screenshots during a large virtual meeting to show everyone’s smiling faces using their themed background.
- Heart healthy recipes are always a favorite. Hold a virtual cooking class with a local chef or restauranter. Feature on Facebook Live and let people ask questions along the way.
- Activate your physical therapy department to showcase the importance of physical activity. They can create a video featuring exercises that can be done at home without sophisticated equipment.
- Host a Virtual 5K run/walk. With the chilly temperatures throughout most of the country, encourage people to participate from a treadmill or a gym that’s open (safely of course!). They are easier and less costly to facilitate than in-person events and people can participate on their own schedule and according to their personal fitness level. Encourage photos and a hashtag campaign to collect memories and make this unique heart month memorable!
- Host a step challenge! Step challenges are COVID safe since they are completed individually. Ask people to submit their step counts from the month to your website. Award the winner with the most steps a red-themed gift pack.
- Feature your cardio team and share their stories as your February Valentines! From surgeons to support staff, these heart heroes should be recognized for the life-saving work they do. Consider featuring stories on social media that highlight their unique personalities and hobbies.
- Rely on trusted sources. Utilize partners like the American Heart Association and track their latest announcements on how to communicate heart saving strategies. The AHA coronavirus page has important science-based information on how the virus can impact the heart and ways to stay vigilant avoiding it.
- Show the love with an office decorating contest. Since your essential employees are still coming into work, encourage them to brighten their spaces and their days with hearts, doilies, and yes… even a little chocolate (in moderation!). Areas that are visible to patients, like check-in desks, office doors and public lobbies will create educational opportunities about heart health.
Tired of feeling behind on your annual marketing plan? If the health observance months are always catching you off-guard then talk with an expert on how to get ahead. Even in these trying times we can help you create a minimum six-month marketing plan. Let Ten Adams be your guide.