Bringing our experts together from across the region
12 May 2020
Our role in a team from across the region that’s gathering and disseminating vital medical and health information during pandemic
Our University has played a vital role during this pandemic, gathering medical expertise and disseminating health advice as part of a team from across the region. And it’s been a masterclass in collaboration during difficult times.
Media Relations Officer for our Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH), Mike Addelman said: “It was to say the least a strange feeling when the University decided to shut its doors, swiftly followed by the government’s decision to lock the economy down entirely. We are a shielded household as my son is immunosuppressed, so we were also faced with daunting prospect of making sure our food and medicine deliveries didn’t dry up.
“In no time at all, I was also faced with new challenges at work, as the Media Relations Officer for Biology, Medicine and Health, though at times it feels as though I am Media Relations Officer for COVID-19!”
Mike has been working with:
- Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), which operates nine hospitals across Greater Manchester;
- Salford Royal NHS Trust, an integrated provider of hospital, community and primary care services, including the University Teaching Trust;
- Health Innovation Manchester, an academic health science and innovation system to transform the wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million citizens;
- A team of University colleagues – Head of Communications Jamie Brown, Content Manager Neil Condron, Head of Engagement for FBMH Taryn Rock, Media Relations Manager Jordan Kenny and Media Relations Officer for the Faculty of Science and Engineering Ben Robinson.
Their work to proactively send notes to the media to highlight the group, send stories to the media with links to their Expert Media Group, share media requests with health leads and identify the response and appropriate spokesperson ensures timely, correct information and guidance is made available – essential during our confusing and sometimes frightening times.
Mike added: “My first task was gather together all the available expertise to provide an informed and reliable resource for journalists and in no time at all and with the support of so many excellent colleagues, the COVID-19 expert media group as born – complete with website.
“The group has gathered momentum and we’ve even had enquiries from CNN, who basically gave us carte blanche to provide them with a UK voice on whatever we felt was important. And we’ve managed to get quite a few stories out them media-wise – all COVID-related of course.
“Health is an extraordinarily complicated area to work in as a media relations officer. There are so many partners in the NHS and beyond, and that requires a collegiate way of working and a culture of trust in the face of some intense sensitivities. As health communications leads from leading Greater Manchester institutions, we Zoom (has that become a verb?) each week to exchange information and support each other through what is sometimes a highly pressured time.
“These relationships are highly useful and will continue long after the lockdown has ended. The work continues!”