Monday, November 16, 2015

UCLA Health Continued (2): Questions for the Chief Marketing Officer

Pattie Cuen
Chief Marketing Officer 
UCLA Health System 

Dear Pattie Cuen, 

We have been in touch previously about a Community Health Program featured in Vital Signs. I was glad that you were able to schedule one presentation about the health benefits of cycling in 2011. 

The UCLA Bicycle Academy would now like to express our disappointment that you have not taken up a sponsorship request from Santa Monica regarding their bike-share system. We have been told that your office had been contacted repeatedly to consider if the UCLA Health logo should appear on 500 Breeze bikes which are now operating. As you know, UCLA Health operates a hospital and a large number of medical offices in Santa Monica. Your support for a public transportation system which has, according to CDC experts, significant health benefits, would seem an excellent fit, both regionally and because of your commitment to community health. Why were you not able to take advantage of this opportunity? Has there been some administrative barrier that prevented you from pursuing this? Has someone whispered something bad about bicycles? 

The corporate mission of UCLA Health is to increase market share among those who need medical help. But you also have a responsibility to enable the public to lead active and healthy lives with fewer visits to the doctor. Putting your brand onto bicycles advances this community benefit and connects your brand with a young and trendy audience who represent an urban, "car-light" lifestyle of the future. I know we are in agreement because of this memorable image, which so effectively presents the rejuvenating abilities of the bicycle. 

It so happens that the City of Los Angeles is also planning to launch its own bike share system soon. They too are looking for a major sponsorship partner. I want to encourage you to reach out to them and work towards placing the stamp of an enlightened health provider on the most healthy mode of transportation. 

News today is that America's obesity problem is still growing, up from 34 % to 37%. This may sound like a economic opportunity for some in the health business. I hope you hear it as a different challenge: How could the UCLA Health brand support the active living arguments which flourish inside public health programs around the country, including the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, where you teach healthcare marketing. 

Please share with us the reasons why you declined the Breeze Bike request so that we can work towards removing such obstacles in the future. 

We have copied Dr Mazziotta because we are currently discussing with him a more rigorous approach about how UCLA Health sites can support and increase the numbers of those who do not drive. We believe marketing should play an important part in this conversation. 


Dr Michael Cahn 
Secretary, UCLA Bicycle Academy

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