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Women's Health Refresh Delivers Big

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2014

Building a state-of the-art maternity ward and launching a non-traditional maternity campaign yielded a 37% increase in prenatal appointments and the most monthly births in 14 years at VCU Medical Center.


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For years, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center's run-down maternity ward helped to cement the Richmond, VA, organization's reputation for providing OB services strictly to uninsured and high-risk moms. The labor and delivery rooms were overdue for a refresh—they hadn't been updated in more than 20 years and, as a result, the 865-bed medical center's market share was suffering.

"The former unit did not support today's delivery model in which most women labor, give birth, and recover in the comfort of one room," says Cynthia Schmidt, chief of marketing for VCU. "The former unit was not welcoming to the doctors and nurses; they worked in cramped quarters."

So in the spring of 2013, when VCU revised its logo and created a fresh, unified brand identity, the L&D unit received a face-lift too. Schmidt and her team worked with architects to gut the unit and start from scratch, setting the scene for a new maternity ward experience, where midwives and doulas are welcomed.

"OB/GYN Department Chair Dr. David Chelmow is revamping VCU's women's specialty care program and the brilliantly designed L&D unit is the first reflection of he and his team's incredible work," Schmidt says. "Dr. Chelmow and the L&D Nurse Leadership Team designed a beautiful new space that would attract moms and bolster the staff's performance as well as [patient] satisfaction."

To convey the L&D's new offerings and image to local moms-to-be, VCU worked with Richmond-based creative agency ND&P to create an integrated campaign. The effort, which ran from October 2013 through May 2014 utilized print, outdoor, radio, and digital elements.

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