FROM CYNTHIA CHARLES, APR
Executive Director, Marketing & Communications
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, Elkin, NC
I was fortunate to work with Sandy when I was director of communications at Cedars-Sinai. She worked remotely, but it never felt like we worked at a distance. Sandy is an experienced and well-rounded marketing and PR/communications professional who gets results for her clients. She is able to interview brilliant physicians, researchers and business executives, identify newsworthy nuggets and “key messages” about their work, then coach and prepare them to ‘wow’ audiences through media interviews, published articles and presentations. Sandy brings technical skills in writing, editing, marketing communications, media relations, project management, and speech writing, to name a few. Some of her best assets are her attitude and work ethic, her ability to form productive working relationships with diverse people and personalities, and her ability to deliver well-crafted work on time, with great results in terms of media and consumer engagement.
FROM JULIA LJUBIMOVA, M.D., Ph.D.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am Dr. Julia Ljubimova, Director of the Nanomedicine Research Center at the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Seventeen years ago, I was fortunate to be introduced to Sandy Van and her colleague Kevin McClanahan. We’ve had a warm, productive working relationship ever since.
The research projects I direct are very complex. My earlier work focused on discovery of cancer-causing genes and a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells. More recently, my lab has developed an experimental nanomolecular drug delivery system that infiltrates cancer cells to fight brain and breast tumors.
But it is important for us to keep several audiences informed of our work. Certainly, we want current and future patients in the community to be aware that our center is at the leading edge of discovery and treatment. We also want to inform donors and potential donors, as well those in the biotech industry, that the contributions they make are supporting a steady progression from basic science to clinical trials.
This is where Sandy and Kevin have been instrumental. They have worked closely with me to ensure that our communications have been true to the science while being translated into terminology that medical reporters and laypeople could more easily grasp.
My favorite example comes from a 2011 news release about a study we published in the journal Cancer Research. If readers stopped reading after the first paragraph, they would have a good idea of what our studies are intended to accomplish:
“Throwing stones at castle walls is one way to attack an enemy, but sneaking inside makes the target much more vulnerable.”
Over the years, as our articles appeared in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals including the International Journal of Oncology, Cancer, Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research, PLOS ONE, Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Controlled Release, and the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano, I could count on Sandy and Kevin to review the content of our confidential, embargoed manuscripts, making our discussions and email exchanges more streamlined and productive. We’ve had a long- standing joke that we would pass the draft back and forth as many times as it took for me to be satisfied from a scientific perspective and for them to be confident the terminology was defined for non-scientists.
I have enjoyed working with them over the years, and recommend their services without hesitation.
Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences
Director of Nanomedicine Research Center Department of Neurosurgery
Director of Translational Program
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
FROM CRAIG S. MATSUDA
If you’re thinking about retaining Sandy Van and PR Pacific, don’t hesitate. Do it now. As the Communications Director at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, I worked with Sandy and her firm for several years. She’s a consummate communications professional who achieves great results; her firm, in my professional view, provides significant value and return with its PR support activities.
Let me first tell you about Sandy. She’s whip smart, cheery, a superb colleague, and a joy to work with. She has won universal respect among her communications colleagues, folks across the media, and the demanding, elite medical staff. She treats people with unfailing courtesy and respect. But she’s also a thorough, deep, researcher who is fearless about asking appropriate questions and has amassed considerable subject matter knowledge. That also means that she writes clearly, compellingly, simply —and with recognizable authority. Sandy is highly successful with her pitches to a range of media, new and traditional, because she is resourceful, flexible, persistent, and well-regarded by reporters and editors. I know lots about her work metrics and ROI — she not only secures a lot of placements but also big and significant ones that do a lot to enhance the reputation and, prospectively the business development, of her clients.
I also have high praise for PR Pacific, which provided us occasional free-lance writing assistance but more importantly the “back shop” logistics for high-performance communications. This included timely distribution of news releases and other key material to targeted sources, maintenance of current mail and email lists, databases of media sources, and data on media activity. I ran the cost-benefit analysis, compared competitors, and, hands down, especially based on experience and performance, PR Pacific always came out, far and away, as our top option. The agency thrives on customer service and is so attentive it often seemed as if its operations were part of our very office suite. The communications efforts for a world-class medical center, as you can imagine, were complex and varied. We often cooperated closely in challenging, time-sensitive campaigns with multiple medical, educational, and governmental institutions, blue-chip medical journals, national and local media. Whatever the situation, PR Pacific provided flawless support and assistance, so we had zero issues with the firm about critical materials mistimed or mis-delivered; quite to the contrary, it was comforting and a boon to me to know that after a lot of hard work went in on the front end of a communications initiative, PR Pacific would carry us through, faultlessly, with critical elements for excellent dissemination.
If I can answer any questions you might have about Sandy or PR Pacific, I’d be pleased to do because, as you can tell from this letter, I’m a hugely happy onetime client.
Craig S. Matsuda