Making Waves

Selected Public Affairs Highlights

  • Parkland Memorial Hospital/Dallas County Hospital District – New CEO, Dr. Ron J. Anderson, became an outspoken advocate for indigent health care and critic of abuses, such as “patient dumping.” Campaign of strategic publicity and community relations included news articles in local and national media, Op-ed articles. Culminated in major story on CBS “60 Minutes” about patient dumping (“The Billfold Biopsy” aired 3/17/85).       Leveraged the publicity to help win passage of landmark state legislation on indigent health care; also led to passage of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986, and adoption of new Medicare rules prohibiting patient dumping.
  • The Parkland CEO was subsequently targeted by hostile Dallas County politicians and became the subject of a politically motivated District Attorney’s investigation. We skillfully fought off the media-driven campaign with strong community and hospital board support. The politically motivated “investigation” ultimately led to nothing and after nine months died a quiet death. Dr. Anderson continued to gain stature in the community and ultimately served almost 30 years as Parkland CEO, establishing a remarkable record of accomplishment in the process.
  • As a consultant to Parkland, Graze negotiated with CBS News and won Parkland staff support for filming the premiere of a new program, “48 Hours,” at Parkland. Anchored by Dan Rather, the production involved about 35 CBS News personnel, who were given wide latitude in covering the hospital for one 48-hour time span. The hour-long program that aired won much praise from local and national television writers.
  • National Boy Scouts of America – Organization was getting pounded in the media by lawyers for victims of child sexual abuse. Negative publicity and litigation were considered a threat to the organization’s future. Initially as a senior consultant with Edelman and later as Graze PR, we recruited an Advisory Board made up of the leading experts on child abuse prevention. These individuals over a period of several years became well acquainted with the BSA leaders and what the organization was doing to prevent child sexual abuse. These experts subsequently became strong advocates for the BSA within the community of child abuse prevention professionals. This contributed significantly to a 25-year lull in negative publicity and litigation regarding child sexual abuse within Scouting.
  • Dallas Public Schools Talented & Gifted Magnet High School – With move to a new “Super Magnet” high school in northern Oak Cliff (section of Dallas), this outstanding magnet high school program became ensnared in the ugly racial politics of the district and its future was seriously threatened. Graze served (pro bono) as a leader and chief political and media strategist for a successful media-intensive campaign by the multi-racial/multi-ethnic group of parents and students. We succeeded in preserving the autonomy of the TAG Magnet, despite initial indifference by the school board and intense opposition from some minority community activists.
  • Brick Industry Association – Southwest – Faced a serious threat in the North Texas market from cheaper Mexican brick. The Mexican brick, however, was unsuitable for climates that experience seasonal freeze/thaw cycles. Strategic publicity in the Dallas Morning News and local television news programs raised awareness of the problem with Mexican brick in North Texas. Mexican brick market share declined from 75 percent to less than 5 percent as a result of the media exposure.
  • Texas Masonry Council –campaign to promote masonry requirements in fast-growing Texas cities. Strategic communications, including monthly press releases, Op-ed articles and case studies supported the three-person public affairs field staff. The campaign stresses the advantages of masonry in terms of safety, aesthetics, and the sustainability of communities. The number of Texas cities with masonry requirements has grown from about 100 to more than 200 over the last several years and the trend is continuing.
  • Retractable Technologies, Inc. (safe needle devices) – Launched new company and its groundbreaking products that eliminate accidental needle sticks; established alliances with labor unions and outside experts; generated public pressure on hospital industry to adopt safe needle devices and open their doors to innovative manufacturers; helped spur passage of the federal Needle Stick Safety & Prevention Act of 2000. Movie, “Puncture” (2011) was largely based on the Retractable Technologies fight with the hospital group purchasing organizations and big manufacturers.
  • Vocada, Inc. (clinical communications) – Introduced concept of critical test result management (CTRM) to hospital industry; solves the problem of communications failures between referring MDs and diagnostic departments; merges data and voice messaging technologies.       Vocada became the category leader; subsequently acquired by Nuance Communications, Inc.
  • Intechra, Inc. – A national electronics recycling company; educated the marketplace about the hazards of improper disposal of computers and other electronic equipment; explained state-of-the-art practices for refurbishing and recycling.
  • Dallas Community Television (DCTV) – In 2000, defeated a well-financed lobbying effort by AT&T, the Dallas cable TV franchise holder, to discontinue funding of the community access channel.