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Communications / Marketing Policies and Procedures

I. Public Affairs & Communications Policies

  1. Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to ensure consistent and effective communication and promotion of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) mission, values, programs, and achievements. This policy outlines guidelines and procedures for all marketing and communication activities conducted on behalf of UMSOM.
  2. Scope: This policy applies to all marketing, communications, media relations, digital/print publications, social media, video/broadcast communications, advertising, and community health information delivered on behalf of the UMSOM. The policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and volunteers involved in marketing and communication activities for UMSOM.
  3. Guiding Principles:
    1. Accuracy and Integrity: All marketing and communication materials must accurately represent UMSOM, its programs, achievements, and values. Misleading or false information is strictly prohibited.
    2. Transparency: Transparent communication is vital. Any conflicts of interest or affiliations must be disclosed appropriately in accordance with relevant regulations and guidelines.
    3. Respect and Diversity: All marketing and communication materials should respect the diversity of the community and promote an inclusive environment that celebrates individual differences.
    4. Compliance: All marketing and communication activities must comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards, including but not limited to HIPAA regulations, copyright laws, and institutional branding guidelines.
    5. Privacy: Confidentiality and privacy must be respected at all times. Personal information should only be used and shared in accordance with applicable privacy laws and institutional policies.
    6. Consistency: Maintain consistency in messaging, branding, and visual identity across all marketing and communication channels to enhance recognition and reinforce the school's brand image. 
  4. Roles and Responsibilities:
    1. UMSOM Office of Public Affairs & Communications (OPAC): The OPAC team is responsible for developing and implementing UMSOM marketing andcommunications strategies, creating promotional materials, managing digital and traditional communication channels, and conducting community health information sessions, and ensuring compliance with these policies.
    2. Faculty and Staff: Faculty and staff members may contribute to marketing and communication efforts, but always in coordination with OPAC.
    3. Students: Students may be involved in marketing and communication activities under the supervision of the OPAC team or designated faculty members. Students must adhere to the guidelines outlined in this policy and maintain professionalism in all communications.
    4. Volunteers/ Partners/ Contractors: Any involvement of outside entities (including volunteers, board members, vendors) in UMSOM marketing, communications, media activities or UMSOM community health information activities (including medical/ health seminars) must be coordinated through OPAC.
  5. Approval Process: All marketing and communication materials, including but not limited to brochures, websites, social media posts, press releases, and advertisements, must be reviewed and approved by the OPAC team before dissemination. Approval ensures compliance with this policy, accuracy of information, and consistency with institutional branding guidelines.
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation of marketing and communication activities will be conducted to assess effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and ensure compliance with this policy. Feedback from stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, and the community, will be considered in the evaluation process.
  7. Policy Review: This Marketing and Communications Policy will be reviewed annually and updated as necessary to reflect changes in regulations, industry standards, and institutional priorities. Suggestions for revisions may be submitted to the Marketing and Communications team for consideration.

II.  Specific Media Relations Policies & Procedures

  1. General Guidelines
    • UMSOM’s Office of Public Affairs & Communications (OPAC) is designated as the only direct liaison between all entities of the UMSOM (including individual faculty*and staff) and members of the news media in all of its forms.
    • *The Office has media relations professionals who are highly experienced in working with reporters, editors, producers, bloggers, and writers on a daily basis. It is required that all UMSOM contact with outside news media be channeled through this office.
    • This is critical for the following reasons:
      • Ensures that all media relations activities for the UMSOM are centrally managed;
      • Allows OPAC to be informed of all important and relevant UMSOM content;
      • Enables UMSOM Media Relations to maintain and build a broad portfolio of contacts in the news media.
      • *All physicians at the University of Maryland Medical Center are faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
  2. Inquiries from the News Media
    If a member of the UMSOM faculty (or staff) is contacted by a member of the news media (including free-lance writers and bloggers), this information must be referred immediately to Deborah Kotz, Director of Media Relations, at, 410-706-4255.
    1. It is not appropriate to include members of the news media in email communication to UMSOM Media Relations about the request.
    2. Agreement to be interviewed by the news media should never be given directly by the faculty member (or staff) to the news media representative without prior approval by UMSOM Media Relations.
    The UMSOM Media Relations Office, in coordination with other senior management as appropriate, evaluates the request and determines the best course of action in moving forward.
  3. News Media on Campus
    Reporters, photographers, and other members of the media are NOT allowed in the School of Medicine or University of Maryland Medical Center buildings without proper supervision. SOM Media relations specialists must escort the media on campus at all times. And, in keeping with HIPAA regulations, physicians are not allowed to speak about their patients unless the patient has signed a consent form. Your media relations specialist can provide this form.
  4. Op-Ed Pieces/By-line Articles
    A specific process has been established for faculty (or staff) who wish to draft op-ed pieces or by-lined articles to be published in popular news media (including news aggregators and news websites, but not including peer review academic journals, which have a separate policy.)
    Here is the established process if the faculty member (or staff) will be indicating their affiliation with the UMSOM in the attribution of the piece.*
    1. Faculty member makes initial contact with Office of Public Affairs to discuss subject matter for op-ed piece. Subject matter should be timely, relate to current news topic, focus on some aspect of the faculty member’s research, education, clinical care, or community impact. OPAC approves subject matter (with input from Dean as appropriate), and reviews potential outlets for the piece.
      1. A faculty member should never send a draft of the article to the news organization (including the personal email of the reporter or editor) prior to receiving approval from the UMSOM.
    2. If subject is approved, faculty member drafts op-ed piece (with assistance of OPAC as needed to ensure newsworthiness and that it adheres to op-ed guidelines established by the news organization.
    3. OPAC provides edits and works with faculty member to produce a final version of the piece. OPAC submits final draft to Dean (or other senior administrators) for approval.
    4. Once approved, OPAC works with faculty member to submit piece to news organization, and coordinates if additional submissions are required.

    *Submitted piece must include faculty member’s full UMSOM academic title first, followed by other clinical or institute/ center titles.

    NOTE:  If a faculty member (or staff) determines that they will submit an op-ed piece or by-lined article WITHOUT attribution from UMSOM (or other UM Medicine affiliation), then they may do so on their own personal time.
  5. Newsworthy Information About Faculty Research/ Activities
    The Office of Public Affairs is very interested in hearing about faculty research and other activities so that we can communicate this information to external stakeholders through a broad range of channels – including news media, print publications, web stories, SOM video network and other digital media.
    We have organized a school-wide network, called the Research Communications Network (RCN) to assist us in gathering this information from faculty on an ongoing basis.
    This information includes:
    • Published studies
    • Grants & Contracts
    • Conference Presentations
    • Events, Lectures & Workshops
    • Appointments
    • Community Service
  • Honors & Awards
  • In the News
  • New Faculty/Staff
  • Commentaries, articles or op-ed pieces
  • Book chapters or manuscripts

Notice About Faculty Research

NOTE:  It is critical for the Office of Public Affairs to receive information in advance of a paper being published, so that we can maximize news coverage. In many cases, it is beneficial to receive the paper at the time it is accepted, so that there is adequate time to coordinate with the publishing journal as well as funding agencies, other outside partners as appropriate. We greatly appreciate your help with this request!