Public and Media Relations Plan

By Jeff Jacomowitz


Launch of BSGI (Breast Specific Gamma Imaging) Technology

Dr. Sheldon Feldman & Dr. Susan Boolbol/Beth Israel Medical Center

January 2010

  1. INTRODUCTION/SITUATION:  Beth Israel Medical Center is the first hospital in New York City and one of the first in the northeast and east coast to begin using a new tool: Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) – to help identify cancerous breast tissue undetected by mammography.  Clinically proven effective in multiple studies, BSGI technology is particularly useful in serving as a complementary tool for radiologists and breast cancer specialists to detect breast cancer in women with difficult-to-read mammograms, such as those with dense breast tissue, breast implants or scar tissue from previous breast surgery. BSGI also is ideal for high-risk patients, including patients previously diagnosed with breast cancer, atypia and family history of cancer.

  1. PHYSICIAN(S) AND CLINICAL DEPARTMENT:  From the Appel-Venet Comprehensive Breast Service at Beth Israel, Sheldon Feldman, M.D. , Chief of the department and Susan Boolbol, M.D., Associate Chief, had gotten approval from the Director of Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, Louis B. Harrison, M.D., and Beth Israel President & CEO, David A. Shulkin, M.D., to move ahead and publicize the technology is readily available for patients.

  1. MESSAGING (BSGI):  By operating on a cellular or molecular level, BSGI is not affected by tissue density and can help detect cancers at very early stages and allow for optimal intervention and treatment. Its ability to accurately detect breast cancer has the potential to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary, invasive biopsies. It also allows for accurate-pre surgical planning to help preserve healthy breast tissue.  Dr. Feldman says that mammography is still the first-line screening tool for breast cancer, but there are those challenging cases where it raises as many questions as it provides answers. Mammography primarily measures differences in tissue density, but because dense tissue and cancers can have a similar appearance on mammography, it may be difficult to identify cancers (false negative mammograms) and in addition this may also lead to unnecessary biopsies (false positives mammograms).

  1. PR & MEDIA RELATIONS STRATEGY:  Having a hospital and/or a physician or a team of physicians improve a patient’s quality of life or being able to remove the scare that a patient has when going through an ordeal, such as breast cancer, is key for positive publicity on all fronts.  The ingredients that are needed for the consumer media are (1) the doctor and (2) an agreeable patient.  Before any media outreach is underway, public affairs would like to have a patient to pitch.  Without a patient, the campaign may not get off the ground. This agreeable patient should have had a great experience with this technology as well as to be open to questions only about that experience.  The patient must also be able to converse clearly, especially with television or radio media.  The patient’s availability must be communicated with the physician and PR specialist so in order to create logistics to where and when the interview will take place, either at the hospital and/or the patient’s home.  That is entirely up to the patient of course, but the media may ask to have the patient and doctor together for photography reasons.

  1. MEDIA OUTREACH:  After the previous four sections are fully satisfied and agreed upon is when media outreach will begin.  Every PR campaign is different so no PR campaign is one in the same.  For this campaign, we already know that BSGI may be new in New York, but it is not new in other areas in the United States.  Knowing this, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC and the national network news programs will all be contacted but may be difficult to agree to do as a story since the technology is already offered in different US markets.  So the concentration on local New York City media is best and at the same time, local hospitals would rather have local exposure anyway due to where the patients come from.  

  1. The print media targets consists of:  NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily News, NY Post, Newsday, Town & Village (weekly) and The Villager (weekly)
  2. The broadcast media targets consists of:  CNN, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CBS NewsPath, WABC-TV, WCBS-TV, WNBC-TV, WNYW-TV (Fox),  WPIX-TV, WWOR-TV and New York 1 News.  Radio include - CBS Radio 88, WINS Radio 1010 and WOR Radio.

  1. MEDIA INTEREST:  Simply, any media interested of writing or filming a story will be handled by public affairs.  Media interest will be shared with the physician(s) who will be open to speak about BSGI and if there is request for a patient, public affairs will speak to the physian who will then make an introduction to the patient and PR specialist.  The PR will already know which media is/are interested and the timing to execute the filming and interviews.  When are agreed upon for a specific date & time, is when the interviews/filming takes place.  The patient will then sign the HIPAA form.

  1. MEDIA FOLLOW-UP:  When the media gives the PR specialist when the story will run or air, the PR specialist will alert the physician, patient and hospital leadership.  After the story runs or airs, public affairs will provide material (print story and/or link) to leadership for marketing purposes, the physician for his department and leadership and the patient for their own interest.


Outcome of the BSGI campaign – Since the PR Plan was executed…

I am happy to report that the BSGI campaign was a complete success.  In addition to local coverage that began in 2006 and lasted to 2008, other physicians that are part of the breast service team such as radiologist Dr. Joshua Gross and surgeon Dr. Michael Osborne spoke to the media in addition to Dr.s Feldman and Boolbol thus leading into more publicity.

The doctors were able to get patients to be part of the TV segments.  One of the news outlets that filmed a story was CBS NewsPath, a news service belonging to CBS News that feeds stories throughout the US on local affiliates thus getting coverage outside of New York.

Below is a rundown of stories that appeared.  Just as an additive, Beth Israel performed a study in 2009 about BSGI including patients that BSGI had discovered a lump, which resulted in more coverage later on.    



1/30 NY Post – Dr. Sheldon Feldman introduces the new breast cancer imaging technology at BI called Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)

2/2 Town & Village - Dr. Joshua Gross interviewed about the new breast cancer imaging technology at BI called Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)

2/9 WNBC-TV 4 (News 4 NY) – Dr. Joshua Gross speaks about family history and BSGI’s benefits to the patient as it complementing mammograms

2/13 NY Resident - Dr. Sheldon Feldman introduces the new breast cancer imaging technology at BI called Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)

5/4 WCBS-TV 2 (11pm News) – Dr. Sheldon Feldman Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) shows promise is offered at Beth Israel.

5/5 WCBS-TV 2 (12noon News) - Dr. Sheldon Feldman Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) shows promise is offered at Beth Israel.

5/9 CBS News (Up to the Minute) - Dr. Sheldon Feldman Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) shows promise is offered at Beth Israel.

5/10 ABC 4 (Close To Home) Salt Lake City - Dr. Sheldon Feldman Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) shows promise is offered at Beth Israel.

6/12 – Dr. Sheldon Feldman talks about BSGI at Beth Israel

10/31 NY1 News All Day & – Dr. Sheldon Feldman discusses the benefits of BSGI

11/1 NY1 All Day – Dr. Sheldon Feldman interviews about BSGI and the importance of breast cancer screening.


1/1 Daily News – 2006 Medical Breakthroughs – includes BSGI in medical roundup

1/22 NY1 News All Day & NY1 online – Dr. Sheldon Feldman discusses BSGI regarding new ways in breast cancer screenings.

1/29 DotMed online – Dr.s Sheldon Feldman and Joshua Gross talks about BI is the first institution in NYC to offer BSGI

4/25 The Villager – Dr. Sheldon Feldman talks about BI’s New BSGI technology

6/29 NY Japion (Japanese) – Dr. Sheldon Feldman talks of the importance of BSGI technology.

8/21 New York Post – Dr. Michael Osborne discusses breast cancer detection regarding ductoscopy and BSGI technology.


1/25 Remedy/Medizine Magazine – Dr. Susan Boolbol discusses BSGI technology

10/18 WABC 7 “Breast Cancer: Reasons For Hope” – Dr. Susan Boolbol (BIMC) and Dr. Paul Tartter (SLR) took part in a ½ hour special on breast cancer covering new treatment development and new technology (BSGI)

2009 – Coverage from the study

4/27 DSL Online – Dr. Brigid Killelea talks on how BSGI alters patient management.

4/28 Medical News Today – Dr. Susan Boolbol talks about the further testing of BSGI in which it uncovered additional cancer in breast patients.

5/21 – Dr. Susan Boolbol talks about how BSGI is a proven technology to reveal additional tumors in breast cancer patients.

10/13 PR Newswire Online – Dr. Susan Boolbol is quoted regarding BSGI and this type breast detection goes beyond mammography as an important add on.

10/21 EXTRA TV (national) – Dr. Susan Boolbol talks about BSGI (breast specific imaging) and how good the technology is.

11/18 New York Post – Dr. Susan Boolbol interviewed BSGI and how this imaging technique finds cancers that mammograms may miss.