case study

Positioning a Leading Voice in the Health Care Debate

The Commonwealth Fund

The Challenge

In 2005, The Commonwealth Fund was looking to do more with their research and their experts. They wanted their data, analysis and survey research to be in the room where it happens—informing health policy conversations among policymakers and influencers at the federal and state levels.

Burness was brought in to help them get there by giving them the strategy and bandwidth they needed to do the necessary outreach and get established in the right places. Over time, we have also been called on to work side by side with the Fund’s leadership on a broader strategic vision to advance specific pieces of their work including their Affordable Care Act research, their health care delivery system reform program, and their leaders’ expertise.

Our Approach

We work in true partnership with The Commonwealth Fund’s communications team and leadership. We function as an extension of their staff, deeply integrating ourselves into their work. This allows us a strong understanding of their needs, their nuances, and informs our strategy at every level.

Simply put, we work with the Fund to put out good, timely information regularly. We get it in the right hands and we make sure their experts can explain it clearly. We advise them on what to put out, when, how to frame it, and how to craft and deliver messages for impact. We translate complex health policy research into newsworthy, relevant and digestible communications for a lay audience. In addition, we have built and continue to nurture incredibly strong media relationships with reporters at top outlets.

Results and Impact

Our efforts in partnership with the fantastic communications team at The Commonwealth Fund have yielded tremendous results. The Fund and its leaders are viewed as leading voices in the health policy landscape, and their researchers are frequently called on to comment when health policy news breaks. Their work is consistently mentioned in top media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, The Atlantic, and Marketplace. Often cited in New York Times editorials and on opinion pages, the Fund’s work has influence—and it is grow- ing. This exposure translates into a broader reach for Fund research as their experts are regularly called on to testify on Capitol Hill and provide expertise to policymakers. 

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