Category Archives: News

Akoya’s Role With Defense Health Agency Expanded

Transforming one of the largest health care delivery systems in the world entails monumental communication challenges, even in a disciplined structure like the U.S. military. Leaders responsible for standing up the Defense Health Agency (DHA) in 2013 had just two years to reach full operational capacity, integrating the management of functions previously executed by the individual services. In 2014, Akoya was honored to be selected by DHA as prime contractor for strategic communications during this start-up period. We continue to support the agency by effectively engaging all the diverse constituencies vital to its mission success.

The Department of Defense recently expanded Akoya’s contract for DHA to include health communications support in the National Capital Region and to support the broad policy and operational issues within the Military Health System by driving more integrated communications across the enterprise. Under this expanded contract, we are thrilled to be working more closely with the Military Health System to communicate health policy and services to military members, family members, and retirees in the Washington, DC, and surrounding areas.

Kudos to our dedicated Akoya team in Falls Church, Virginia!

Partners in the Lighting Revolution

Does government investment in research really make a difference? It is hard to find a more successful example than the solid-state lighting field. In just under a decade, modest yet strategic investments spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have been instrumental in moving LED lighting from the lab to a position of strength in many lighting niches—an achievement recently praised in a July 2017 assessment by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In our program support role for the DOE Solid-State Lighting Program, Akoya has been a partner in this ongoing work to revolutionize lighting technology.

And the work continues! DOE recently exercised another option year on our contract, which makes 10 years of Akoya supporting the emergence of this game-changing technology. Fully tapping the potential of LED and organic LED technologies to save energy and improve lighting performance will not only mean cultivating the existing SSL lighting partners in industry and academia, but also reaching new diverse audiences. Cheers to Akoya’s remarkable SSL team.

Akoya Welcomes New Strategic Outreach Communications Manager

Jane Acton

Jane Acton

We’re thrilled to welcome Jane Acton to our Military Health System (MHS) team as the strategic outreach communications manager. In her new role, she’ll coordinate campaigns to support the mission of the MHS and develop strategic plans to keep internal and external stakeholders informed and engaged.

Jane brings more than three decades of experience in strategic communications, publication production, and event planning and management across the private, government, and nonprofit sectors. She has previously worked for the MHS and has held leadership positions in marketing and PR for two major league sports teams. She’s also a certified etiquette coach.

Akoyans Assemble at a Retreat to Remember

akoya-chili-cookoff

Always prepared for a team challenge, Sarah and Matt chop ingredients for their team’s winning chili.

Earlier this month, Akoyans from around the country convened for three days of team building and relaxation at the historic Bedford Springs resort in idyllic Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. The retreat was a wonderful reminder of why we love working for a small business like Akoya. When we come together, things aren’t strictly business — we gather for camaraderie, good food, and good fun.

Several new team members have joined Akoya over the past couple of years; many of us working in different locations had our first chance to meet each other in person. Breaking bread together and roasting marshmallows around the fire pit made fast friends out of Akoyans assigned to different contracts who normally don’t get to work with one another.

The memorable main team building activity was also replete with food. Divided into five teams, we felt the heat of boiling pots, spices, and competition as we put our culinary skills to the test to see who could concoct the best chili in a short amount of time. (Congratulations to Sarah, Genna, Matt, Neal, and Angel for your winning recipe!)

On the work front, we discussed ways we can better review our performances on the job, facilitate communication between team members at multiple sites, and showcase our successes to prospective clients.

We made sure everyone had ample time to spend with their guests and explore Bedford Springs and the resort. Some of us enjoyed the resort’s pool, golf course, and hiking trails, while others ventured into town to investigate the local antique stores and boutiques.

Everyone expressed satisfaction with the outcomes — a quick yet welcome break from our day-to-day office activities and a renewed readiness to make the work that we do better than ever.

HRSA Hospital Organ Donation Campaign Surpasses 400,000 Donor Registrations

Results are in for the 2017 Hospital Organ Donation Campaign, sponsored by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and coordinated by Akoya. For the first time, more than 1,000 hospitals participated in the annual campaign, adding nearly 27,000 new donor registrations in a seven-month period. The campaign has added more than 419,000 new registrations since its launch in 2011.

The campaign is part of HRSA’s Workplace Partnership for Life initiative, which Akoya has supported since its inception in 2001. The initiative enlists workplaces across the country to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation. Akoya helped conceptualize the Hospital July2017_FBCampaign structure, branding, and outreach materials and engages campaign partners. From October through April each year, hospitals can record their outreach efforts on a digital scorecard and earn points that translate into recognition from HRSA and other national organizations.

We’re proud to have earned our own recognition for the Hospital Campaign, having won PR Daily’s 2014 Nonprofit PR Award for Best Membership/Recruiting Campaign and two 2012 Communicator Awards of Excellence. We’re even prouder to have played an instrumental role in launching and growing the campaign and to see our hospital partners take charge of promoting the life-saving mission of organ donation.

We look forward to the 2018 phase of the campaign, which launches October 1. For more information, visit the Hospital Campaign web page.

Education, Networking (and Some Fun) at the DesignLights Consortium Annual Meeting

dlcmeetingTop lighting and energy efficiency professionals are motivated by a driving concern: developing LED lighting solutions that people love. To stay up to speed on fast-evolving technologies, market transformation, and efficiency regulations, these professionals have an ideal forum in the DesignLights Consortium. For the second year in a row, Akoya is proud to have provided event management and logistics for the consortium’s signature event, the annual stakeholder meeting. This year’s event in Portland, Oregon, attracted more than 250 people for three days of education, networking, and even a little fun— attendees enjoyed a casino-themed reception and an evening at the Oregon Zoo.

Akoya worked closely with the client on the site search, venue selection, and contract negotiations, and handled all aspects of logistics management, including securing a local professional photographer and transportation vendor. On site, our team handled all behind-the-scenes management—such as registration, room and banquet setups, and last-minute requests—to ensure the client could focus on the content of the meeting itself. We’re proud of our partnership with the DesignLights Consortium and look forward to another successful conference in 2018!

Akoya Welcomes New Team Members to Military Health, HRSA Teams

We’ve had the pleasure to welcome several talented individuals to our team over the past few months. Get to know our newest Akoyans.

StassiSenior writer Laura Stassi joined us this spring as the newest member of our writing team supporting the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia. Drawing on her past experience at ARMY magazine, C-SPAN, and NPR, Laura develops engaging stories for the DHA audience of active duty service members, retirees, and their families. Her recent series for National Nurses Week included profiles of combat medic Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks (a self-described “ornery patient”) and Air Force Col. Erwin Gines, the only emergency care nurse in the initial 2003 Iraq invasion. Laura is the author of almost two dozen nonfiction children’s books and an active volunteer for the Yellow Ribbon Project.

LopzNow serving the Air Force Medical Service as a communications planner, Angelica Lopez joined our Falls Church office by way of the Lone Star State, where she executed multi-faceted public information campaigns as the League City, Texas, Director of Communications and Media Relations. As a civilian, she previously served as Public Affairs Chief for the 87th Air Base Wing in Lakehurst, New Jersey, as well as in public affairs and community relations positions for the Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee, the McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, and the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

walkerWhen it comes to keeping millions of beneficiaries up to speed with their health plan options, Katie Walker is a go-to resource for the Defense Health Agency. Before joining our team in April, Katie was the Public Relations Manager for King Arthur Flour in Vermont, rejuvenating the media and digital strategies of the nation’s oldest flour company. Her prior experience included positions with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs division, Newseum Productions, the National Academy of Sciences, Discovery Communications, and National Geographic Society Television and Film.

brownThanks to Annie Brown, our outreach efforts to increase life-saving organ donations just got a boost. She recently wrapped up a month at our Pittsburgh headquarters, getting oriented to our Workplace Partnership for Life campaign for the Health Resources and Services Administration (and checking out the best purveyors of espresso.) Now Annie is supporting the campaign from our office in Falls Church, where she will put her writing and editing capabilities to work for a variety of clients and head up our social media outreach.

SensAkoya is excited to welcome Robert Sens, J.D., to our strategic communications team supporting the Defense Health Agency, where he will serve as Senior Communications Planner and Operations Lead. He previously held senior positions at Bulletin Intelligence in Reston, Virginia, and at the Defense Intelligence Agency, including while deployed to Afghanistan. Robert’s earlier experience includes prosecutorial duties with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as sports reporting for the Associated Press.

Akoya Provides Conference Management for DesignLights Consortium Annual Stakeholder Meeting in Denver

DLCConferencePicOur event logistics team recently returned from a week in Denver, where they provided onsite event management for the DesignLights Consortium’s annual stakeholder meeting. Held at the historic Brown Palace Hotel, the meeting boasted over 250 attendees, 17 sponsor exhibits, and two networking receptions, including one at the Denver Aquarium. Work on the meeting began over six months ago and involved near-daily communications with the client and hotel on tasks as diverse as site visits and negotiation, vendor selection and coordination, materials development and printing, menu selection, and budget monitoring. Congratulations to the team and to the client on a successful event!

Akoya Awarded 2016 Telly Award for Food Bank Video

telly_site_bugs_bronzeWe are pleased to announce that our “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” video produced for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank was selected as a winner at the 37th annual Telly Awards! With over 13,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors” was shot at the Food Bank warehouse and other locations around Pittsburgh and includes on-camera interviews with CEO Lisa Scales and members of her staff as well as people in the community who rely on the Food Bank when times are tough. The video has been used for fundraising purposes since its completion in the summer of 2015.

Check out the video here.

Akoya supports DOE’s Connected Lighting Systems Workshop in Santa Clara, CA

cls_webLast week, a team of Akoyans traveled to Santa Clara, California, to provide event support for the U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting program’s second annual Connected Lighting Systems Workshop, held June 8–9. The workshop is the culmination of six months of preparation on Akoya’s part—from agenda planning to speaker coordination, and from materials development to marketing e-blasts. A leading-edge phenomenon that cuts across multiple technologies, connected lighting is already starting to transform the very definition of what lighting is and could be, and Akoya has created an exciting new section of the DOE solid-state lighting website that’s devoted to the topic. Featuring an Akoya-created animation, it can be found at http://www.energy.gov/eere/ssl/connected-lighting-systems.

New Akoyans join Military Health Team in D.C.

CarrieAkoya is pleased to welcome three new staff members to our Military Health System (MHS) team. Carrie Petershagen joins the MHS team as the Communications Director of Puget Sound Military Health System in Washington State. Carrie brings 14 years of communications, marketing, and project management experience. In her new position she’ll provide support for the Department of Defense’s Enhanced Multi-Service Market and develop communications campaigns about health care services.

karenlKaren Lewis recently joined our MHS team as an account manager in health care operations. Karen has a diverse background in business development and sales. As an account manager in health care operations, she’s part of a multidisciplinary team supporting MHS strategic communications.

 

JenniferAnother recent addition to Akoya’s MHS team is Jennifer Benitz.  As a staff writer for health.mil, Jennifer researches, writes and edits a wide range of content related to the Military Health System for internal and external audiences. Before joining Akoya, she worked as a staff writer for Army Magazine.

Akoya Earns AIVA Communicator Awards

DHTI_awardThe Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA) has recognized Akoya’s design and writing prowess with two Communicator Awards of Distinction for the first-ever annual report of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute (DHTI), of Carnegie Mellon University. DHTI funds multi-disciplinary research that seeks to improve the affordability, simplicity, and accessibility of health care.