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PRSA Names The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Audience Reach and Engagement Team as 2021 Public Relations Professional of the Year

Jun. 10, 2021

Award Presented at Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony Which Also Recognized More Than 140 Campaigns for their Creativity and Effectiveness

NEW YORK, June 10, 2020PRSA, the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community, today presented its 2021 Public Relations Professional of the Year Award to The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Audience Reach and Engagement Team for its efforts to help elevate the School’s important work surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was made at PRSA’s virtual Silver Anvil Ceremony, where communications professionals throughout the industry were recognized with 67 Silver Anvil Awards and 81 Awards of Excellence, including the Best of Silver Anvil Award.

“This year’s Public Relations Professional of the Year Award, and the Best of Silver Anvil Award, were presented to organizations for their extraordinary work in combatting disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as providing a wealth of resources to help people stay healthy and safe,” said Michelle Olson, APR, 2021 PRSA Chair. “We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude and it is an honor to recognize them for their achievements.”

The Bloomberg team’s activities included sharing the School’s scientific and policy expertise with a world eager to understand a new virus, how it spreads, and its uncertain effects. The award was accepted by team members Robin Scullin M.A., Audience and Stakeholder Engagement; Barbara Benham, MFA, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations; Nick Moran, Associate Director, Audience Development; Brenda Hageter, MS, Social Media Specialist; and Carly Kempler, Audience Reach and Engagement Specialist.

Collaborating closely with key thought leaders and groups from across the Bloomberg School, including the Center for Health Security, the International Health Department and International Vaccine Access Center, the team was successful in reaching new and diverse audiences with life-saving information, garnering 4,300 media placements for the Bloomberg School and its experts in top tier media such as “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” The Today Show,” “CBS News,” “Bloomberg News” and other major outlets. Their work helped the Bloomberg School retain its #1 ranking in the latest “U.S. News & World Report” rankings for U.S. schools of public health.

The Silver Anvil Award, symbolizing the forging of public opinion, recognizes the best public relations campaigns of the year and the highest standards of performance for the profession. The combined 148 Silver Anvil Awards and Awards of Excellence winners presented during today’s ceremony spanned those from leading brands, agencies, non-profit organizations, government agencies and universities. Click here to see the full list of winners.

This year’s Best Of Silver Anvil Award was presented to the Washington State Department of Health with C+C for their “Spread the Facts” campaign, developed in March 2020 to encourage behaviors that could help stop the spread of COVID-19. The campaign was one component of the state’s multi-faceted communications, outreach and policy strategy to address the pandemic. Through rapid response surveys, Gates Foundation polling, and intensive qualitative research, C+C was able to identify several key behavioral insights that helped mold effective messaging. The reach of this project was amplified by the campaign’s translation into 18 languages and the use of multiple channels directed toward priority audiences.

Results included the campaign website receiving more than 2.5 million clicks ((353K clicks to websites in languages other than English); 916 million completed video views (26 million in Spanish); 229,000 social media engagements (51,000 engagements in languages other than English); and, as of January 2021, Washington State ranked 46th/50 in terms of cases per 100K people, effectively slowing the spread of COVID-19.

A new feature was introduced into this year’s ceremony, the PRSA Audience Choice Awards, which asked PRSA members to vote for their favorite finalists in each Silver Anvil category. More than 1300 votes were cast, and there were 53 winners out of 148 finalists. The full list of winners can be found here.

About PRSA
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community. PRSA is the principal advocate for industry excellence and ethical conduct and provides members lifelong learning opportunities and leading-edge resources to enhance professional connections and support them at every stage of their career. With nearly 30,000 members, PRSA is collectively represented by 110 Chapters and 14 Professional Interest Sections, and on nearly 375 college and university campuses through its student organization, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). For more information, please visit www.prsa.org.

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