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Red Ball  Branding an Awards Program Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Red Ball  Taking the Air Out of Big Tobacco Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Red Ball  Removing Barriers to ER Alcohol Screening Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Red Ball  Promoting Diverse Health Care Leadership Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Branding an Awards Program

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Dr. Jack Henningfield, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Innovators Combating Substance Abuse awards program, asked Dennis Tartaglia and colleagues to develop an event that would convene key stakeholders in the substance abuse policy, treatment, prevention, research and advocacy communities under the banner of the Innovators program – recently relocated to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Tartaglia conceptualized, developed and directed an “addiction policy summit” at the National Press Club, which would achieve this objective. Hosted by Dr. Henningfield and RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, and headlined by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, the event increased brand recognition of the Innovators program. More than 150 attended, including leadership of federal agencies, key Congressional staff and many others. Although not a press event, the summit was covered by Reuters, NPR and other leading news organizations.  This program won PRSA’s Big Apple Award.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Testimonial


Taking the Air Out of Big Tobacco

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Leadership of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Innovators Combating Substance Abuse awards program asked Dennis Tartaglia to generate media attention for two scientific papers by James Repace, leading secondhand smoke researcher and Innovators Award recipient.  The studies were the first to focus on indoor air quality before and after a hospitality industry smoking ban, and the first to demonstrate conclusively that high-tech ventilation (promoted by the tobacco industry) doesn’t clear the air of dangerous toxins.

Tartaglia designed two wide-ranging, consumer-friendly media campaigns platformed on solid science.  He also worked with the Foundation to reach out to national tobacco control groups to disseminate findings to public health advocates at the community level. The result was a reach of more than 1,000 news stories, including extensive national coverage and stories in all top 50 markets.  Initial coverage led to editorials in major newspapers nationwide and helped support passage of smoke-free ballot initiatives in 11 U.S. states and cities.  Each of the two campaigns was nominated for PRWeek’s “Nonprofit Campaign of the Year” award and won a number of other major honors.


Removing Barriers to ER Alcohol Screening

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Noted trauma surgeon Dr. Larry Gentilello conducted research that demonstrated a dramatic decline in repeat ER visits when people with alcohol-related injuries were screened and counseled briefly in the emergency room. Dr. Gentilello further uncovered arcane laws in most states that allowed insurers to deny claims for patients who used alcohol prior to their ER visit.  Further research revealed that these laws act as a deterrent to alcohol screening and counseling in the ER and trauma center.

Between 2001 and 2007, Dennis Tartaglia worked with Dr. Gentilello and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Innovators Combating Substance Abuse program on numerous media campaigns around this issue.  The campaigns resulted in feature stories in major national and regional newspapers and trade publications, supported successful repeal efforts in a number of states, and helped bring the issue to the attention of the American College of Surgeons, which recently began requiring trauma centers to screen for alcohol.


Promoting Diverse Health Care Leadership

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For four years, Dennis Tartaglia provided senior communications counsel to Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The fellowship program sought to develop the next generation of diverse leadership in addiction-related fields.

Tartaglia’s charge was to showcase the program and the fellows in professional publications, regional newspapers and organizational newsletters.  He exceeded this goal, and worked with the fellows to develop feature stories, op-eds and bylined articles on topics ranging from substance abuse in the elderly to smoking in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He also created and led a series of workshops, teleconferences and one-on-one consultations for the fellows on topics ranging from media interview techniques to branding. 


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