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Planned Parenthood Campaign Breaks with Tradition

YouTube Campaign Features Patients Who Speak About Services Received at UHPP

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Blue Carreker, 518-434-5678


Published: 09.21.11| Updated: 09.23.11

There is nothing new about a health care institution featuring the personal testimonies of their patients in ad campaigns-unless that health care institution is Planned Parenthood. That's why the current ad campaign by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is breaking new ground for this longstanding Albany agency. The campaign also relies for the first time on the active involvement of supporters and clients, who have been asked to participate by using email and Facebook to spread the campaign to friends and colleagues far and wide.

Traditionally, UHPP has guarded its patients' confidentiality closely, feeling the promise of privacy is one of the agency's most important brand associations. "We recognize that Americans still have difficulty talking openly about issues of sexual health," explains UHPP President/CEO Patricia McGeown. "Since this is our expertise, we also recognize that our patients value our caring and non-judgmental approach, as well as our pledge to honor their confidentiality."

But over the years, as the opposition to abortion, reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood grew louder, this focus on patient confidentiality started to have a negative by-product. "Our silence has allowed the opposition to paint us as only an abortion provider, which is very far from the truth. Abortion visits represent only about 10% of our total visits," explained McGeown. "On the basis of such misinformation, members of Congress were recently willing to consider cutting off all federal funding of Planned Parenthood-funding that enables us to provide affordable preventive care including Pap smears, birth control, screenings for diabetes and breast cancer, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections to thousands of low income women. We had to fight back with the truth."

UHPP and other Planned Parenthoods did fight back and won continued funding; at least for now. But the challenge emphasized the need to educate the public about the breadth of services it provides-and the importance of those services to the health and lives of women. As it happened, many current and former Planned Parenthood patients were eager to help.

The current campaign features interviews with five patients, who discuss openly and honestly why they came to UHPP and how UHPP medical services helped them live a safer, healthier life. The interviews cover a range of circumstances that Planned Parenthood specializes in addressing; a yeast infection that will not go away; lack of health insurance to cover birth control; an unintended pregnancy at a difficult time; a partner who needs STI screening; and the inability to find a provider who will check a breast lump when the patient has no health coverage.

The ad campaign began using traditional vehicles, such as bus kiosk and television ads. But beginning September 8, emails went out to UHPP Board and staff members, volunteers and supporters that featured links to the video interviews and a request to not only watch the interviews, but forward the link on and encourage others to watch as well. Facebook posts are also promoting the campaign, which is now spreading around area campuses. After one week, UHPP reports over 600 visits to the web site where the video interviews can be viewed.

"Many, many patients came forward when we began developing this campaign," stated UHPP Marketing Director Katherine Bruno. "The stories here are just a few of those that can be told, but they represent thousands of women who come through our doors every day. I believe they will help to spread the true story of why one in five women across America will go to Planned Parenthood for medical services, and why this agency is a critical component in our state and national efforts to ensure access to affordable, quality, preventive health care services."

Links to the ad campaign can be found at www.uhpp.org as well as on You Tube and Facebook. Search for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.

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