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Successfully spreading the word about the goings-on at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine paid off with an increase in hospital visits and donations. The national and international exposure also brought recognition from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, which today honored Penn Vet with the organization's first Communications Excellence Award.
A team of judges that included communication professionals selected Penn Vet's communication program for its work in advancing academic veterinary medicine and the profession, inspiring a higher level of performance, fostering collaboration among member institutions, and sharing content with AAVMC.
Leading the effort was Penn Vet?s director of communications, Ashley Berke. She and her team got Penn Vet into thousands of media stories in 2013 through outlets such as ABC, NPR, Fox, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They developed a regular CNN feature on the impact of animal health on human health. Their redesign of the school website increased visitor retention by 13 percent and new visits by 12 percent.
On the social media front, Penn Vet's Facebook likes rose from 3,764 to 6,626 and Twitter followers increased from 2,778 to 4,325.
"The goal of our communications program is to play an integral role in changing and advancing the perception of veterinary medicine across the country and around the globe," said the schoo's dean, Joan Hendricks, VMD, Ph.D.
The award will be presented July 29 in Fort Collins, Colo., during the annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals.
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