A survey of 9th and 11th graders in Minnesota revealed 2,220 out of 81,000 identified as transgender or gender nonconforming, confirming the need for a pediatric gender health program. In 2019, Children’s Minnesota—one of the largest freestanding pediatric health systems in the nation—launched a program to help these kids, one of only about a dozen hospitals with such a program. A multichannel PR campaign was conceived to reach key audiences and help establish the clinic’s immediate success. The campaign’s effectiveness has led to it winning the top prize in the “Traditional Campaign” category in the PR Daily Awards.
In addition to reaching prospective clients, the campaign also took care to prepare for opposition from community members who would not support this kind of program, readying spokespeople with messages designed to respond to negative feedback (which proved to be effective).
The campaign was designed to reach both families and referring physicians and clinicians, resulting in 90 patients annually and five to six earned media stories that could be repurposed for multiple uses. Tactics employed to achieve these goals included a press release, media relations efforts (including a successful pitch to the Star Tribune), owned content that was pitched to media outlets and patient stories told by kids and families willing to share their tales (who were prepped for interviews).
Key messages were established, like the fact that the program is exclusively pediatric, that equity and inclusion is at Children’s Minnesota’s core and that the clinic is multidisciplinary and comprehensive. In just the two months since the campaign launched, 50 new patients signed on, rising to 85 after six months. News of the opening reached millions of people through media outreach.
Congratulations to Madeline Riggs and Angela Goepferd.