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Publicity: Karan Brings Glamor to Integrative Medicine, Supplement Bashing, Chiro PR Campaign PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Publicity: Donna Karan Brings Glamour to Integrative Medicine, Supplements Suffer in the Media, Chiropractic Campaign Unites ICA-ACA

Summary:  Is there a healing power in glamor? Donna Karan is creating a huge New York City event which brings together cultural and integrative medicine luminaries and will test a postulate about whether committed glitz can rocket the integrative health movement. Who wouldn't want to be hanging out with Susan Sarandon, Laurie Anderson, Annie Liebowitz and Uma Thurman? But alas, while integrative medicine may be arriving as a glamour do, the distinct CAM disciplines appear to remain a glamour don't ... Meantime, in more familiar trenches, an analysis shows a negative trend in media reports on supplements ... The high-end PR campaign of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress - which successfully brought the ICA and ACA into one tent - moves forward with a little unifying glitz of its own, former Stanford University gymnast and Ms. Fitness USA Sara Harding ...
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1.    The Healing Power of Glamour: Donna Karan Attracts Cultural and Integrative Medicine Luminaries to 10 Day Forum

What do Lou Reed, Woodson Merrell, MD, Susan Sarandon,
Mark Hyman, MD, Liza Minelli, Barbara Dossey, RN, PHD, AHN-BC, Laurie Anderson, Barrie Cassileth, MD, Katie Couric, Christy Mack, Uma Thurman, James Gordon, MD, Michael J. Fox, Christiane Northrup, MD, Annie Liebowitz, Mehmet Oz, MD, Graydon Carter and a score of other cultural and integrative healthcare luminaries have in common? All have been pulled together as part of the not-for-profit Well-Being Forum by clothing designer Donna Karan. The Forum will be held May 14-24th in New York City.

Image
Donna Karan, Urban Zen Initiative organizer
The extended gathering is organized by Karan as an Urban Zen Initiative. Featured are day-long activities and panels. Beneficiaries from funds raised include Merrell's Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Mack's Bravewell Collaborative, and Cassileth's Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Karan particularly thanks lifestyle company Gaiam for sponsoring the initiative.

Karan's interest in integrated care grew out of a less than optimal medical experience by her husband. Karan writes of the event's site:
"My mission is to create a working environment where the worlds of conventional and alternative medical practices unite to invent new ways of healing, health and well-being for all of us. We must treat the patient with the same passion with which we fight the disease."
Comment #1: Now, between Susan Sarandon, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Uma Thurman, Annie Liebowitz, and, and well, Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter (okay, an issue of that perfumed magazine is a regular airport purchase and companion on for our family get-aways), I am beginning to think there must be something to this integrative medicine. Something magnetic. I'm susceptible. The Karan strategy is working.  Here's hoping that the event is a huge success and the movement is advanced through the healing power of glamour. Thank you Ms. Karan.

Comment #2
:
The line-up is almost entirely big-name MDs. Alas, the take home for members of the distinct complementary and healthcare disciplines - with the exception of Yoga - is that they remain, apparently, a glamour don't. (Thanks to Erik Goldman of Holistic Primary Care for bringing this event to my attention.)

2.    Study Finds
"Dismal News" on Media Reports on Dietary Supplements

In a call to arms (or rather, to support a public relations campaign for the dietary supplement industry), supplement company executive Eliott Balbert, details the "dismal news" from a recent analysis of media on dietary supplements. The analysis to which he refers was created by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA).

In the 12 month period between December 2005 and November 2006, nearly 12,000 stories on supplements were published, with 2.7 billion reader impressions. Core findings:

  • 23% of impressions were positive, 47% neutral and 30% negative.
  • Story focus was safety (30%), efficacy/benefits (29%), quality control (20%), quality of life (17%) and health care savings (4.6%). 

Balbert particularly decried the "serious damage" from recent negative publicity in JAMA, CBS News and the Dan Hurley book Natural Causes. (See most recent related Integrator story here.) Balbert adds that "regularly published stories about our products not meeting label claims further erodes consumer confidence." The DSEA is preparing a counter advertising campaign entitled "Just Like Me" which had raised over $1-million by early March but still needed an additional $500,000 to launch.

Comment:
I shared this with a member of the industry who provided this perspective. While the individual chose to remain nameless, these emailed comments, toned down from the original, are useful:

"Regarding this constant whining about how the press doesn't like the supplement industry. Is there thickheaded stupidity in mainstream media coverage of alternative medicine? Of course. Do the drug companies control our thinking about health and illness to a depth we don't even want to consider? Absolutely.

"But know what? The supplement industry is so damned sloppy with its sourcing, its manufacture, it's ridiculously lame promo/marketing, that it deserves pretty much all of the flack that it gets.
If the DSEA would spend half as much time and money focusing on developing real quality initiatives as they do on producing stupid-ass PSAs for network television, the industry wouldn't have an image problem to begin with. If all these kvetchers would put some energy behind positioning the industry as part of the solution to the health care crisis, and do what they need to do to clean up their acts, they might actually get somewhere."
3.    Two Feuding Chiropractic Groups United By F4CP Public Relations Effort

When Kent Greenwalt, president of Foot Levelers, told leaders of the chiropractic profession four years ago that he was thinking of dropping $1-million into a major media campaign for chiropractic, he said he had one condition. The profession's two feuding national organizations, the American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractors Association - frequently at odds on both philosophy and strategy - would have to unite and work together. Through an elaborately negotiated agreement on message, the two organizations managed to join together. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) got rolling.

ImageThe F4CP campaign is built around Sara Harding, a former Stanford University gymnast and two-time former Ms. Fitness USA. Harding believes chiropractic saved her career. F4CP funds feature Harding in full-page ads in magazines such as Self and Martha Stewart Living. F4CP uses a low-cost advertising strategy which allows the campaign to buy "remnant" advertising for roughly $0.10 on the dollar. F4CP doesn't get to select placement of its ads but will purchase a full page for $20,000 instead of $220,000.

As a mark of the campaign's advance, F4CP announced in late April that
the NCMIC Group had contributed an additional $100,000 to the effort, raising NCMIC's total to $400,000. NCMIC, also the Integrator's founding sponsor, is the largest provider of chiropractic malpractice insurance, covering more than 36,500 doctors. Lou Sportelli, DC, NCMIC's president, took the opportunity of the announcement to underscore that individual chiropractors must step up their participation. Up to now, the campaign has not caught on with individual chiropractors. The Foundation is asking member to contribute at least the equivalent of "just one adjustment a month to ensure success.” A hoped for target to sustain the effort is to get at least 1000 doctors to contribute $100/month.

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