Media Relations: Offering Up Medical Expertise During the Water Crisis in Austin, Texas

Austin received its first-ever boil water advisory in the city’s history. Recent flooding in the city washed unknown amounts of soil and silt into the local rivers, which had health officials concerned for a potential contaminated water supply. The more than one million residents and visitors that use City of Austin water were advised to use bottled water or boil water for at least three minutes before drinking to prevent any potential health issues.

News outlets started reporting about the health advisory before dawn and by 6 a.m., most grocery stores had sold out of bottled water. 

MedVoice PR quickly respond to this crisis, by calling our client, Austin Gastroenterology, to provide Central Texas important health information about signs and symptoms of bacterial or viral infections from contaminated water.

We worked quickly and closely with physician, Dr. Harry Thomas on messaging and media preparation. Within a one-hour time frame, we reached out to local media outlets and scheduled five interviews with broadcast outlets, KXAN (NBC), KVUE (ABC), Fox 7, KEYE (CBS) and Spectrum News.

Multiple stations outside Central Texas also picked up the interview with Dr. Thomas, including national morning show, CBS This Morning.

Key Takeaway: When time is of the essence, solid editorial judgment, effective media outreach and media relationships are vital.

For more information on how media relations can be key to your overall communications plan, contact us at


Cheers… to Our Fabulous Night Out!

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The local business community was buzzing recently as the Austin Chamber of Commerce handed out its annual Greater Austin Business Awards. The Greater Austin Business Awards are held each year to honor excellence in several categories including  company culture, employee wellness, environmental champion, uniquely Austin, and executive leadership. 

Our MedVoice PR team was right there to celebrate the city’s thriving business economy and cheer on MedVoice Founder Emily Schmitz who was named a finalist in the Executive Leadership category. 

The executive leadership award recognizes those who expertly manage members of an organization while positively influencing both theirs and the company’s goals.  With Emily having led MedVoice to its recent ten-year anniversary in business, and skillfully steering the storytelling of their ever-growing portfolio of clients, she was a natural fit for this prestigious nomination. 

MedVoice was proud to share the evening with our team, clients and amazing representatives of the Austin business community, and also proud to celebrate all we’ve contributed to it during our first ten years!

MedVoice PR Celebrates 10 Years of Storytelling

Medical Communications Company Marks a Decade as the Trusted Voice of Austin’s Health and Medical Communities

Austin, Texas – May 29, 2018 – Through the massive changes happening in our healthcare landscape, MedVoice PR celebrates 10 years of serving the health and medical communities of Central Texas and beyond.

MedVoice, formerly ESS Communications, is one of the only full-service communications agencies in Austin devoted entirely to the growing medical industry and healthcare communities in our area. 

They take the complexities of medicine and healthcare and tell a story through various mediums including traditional public relations, social media, and digital marketing. 

As the medical community has exploded in Austin with the addition of the Dell Seton Medical Center at UT, Dell Medical School and the impending arrival of Texas Children’s Hospital, companies and physician practices are seeking this specialized marketing to set them apart from the competition. 

MedVoice founder, Emily Schmitz, saw the opportunity to support this growing community 10 years ago.

 “Sharing stories about a patient’s positive medical experience or informing the public about an innovative new technology could be life-changing for someone. It’s why we do what we do,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz started as a medical producer and reporter in 1992 and developed a unique know-how of telling stories in front of and behind the television camera. The poignant stories she and her team helps clients articulate are both thought provoking and heartfelt, and they're regularly featured in broadcast, print, and online media. 

MedVoice team members include chief strategist, Ellen Decareau, digital strategist, Dawn McKeag, content strategist, Alyssa Drury, senior medical writer, Steve Taylor, account manager, Leslie Branon, and graphic designer, Katy Byther.

MedVoice’s current portfolio includes large physician practices, as well as companies that are a true marriage of medicine and modern technology. 

For more information, visit www.medvoicepr.comand follow MedVoice PR on Facebook and Instagram.


About MedVoice PR

MedVoice PR is a full-service communications company offering public relations and marketing services to medical and health care communities. Services include media relations, digital marketing, media training, branding efforts, video production, community outreach, social media management, and advertising support. Our 25+ years of medical communications sets us apart from the rest. 

Modern House Call App & Service, FetchMD, Hires MedVoice PR


FetchMD, a modern day house call app and service has made its way to Austin from San Antonio and has hired MedVoice PR for all of their public relations efforts, including strategic planning, marketing, community outreach and media outreach.

FetchMD provides a convenient alternative to visiting a doctor’s office or urgent care center. Parents don’t need to “pack up the kids” and leave home. Employees don’t need to miss work to travel to and from a medical appointment.  Time not spent driving and sitting in cold waiting rooms filled with germs instead can be used constructively.

Ranger Health operates Fetch MD and is headquartered in San Antonio

Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) Annual Conference-Orlando

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  Ellen Decareau, MedVoice PR’s Chief Strategist and Emily Schmitz, Founder, MedVoice PR

pictured above is Ellen Decareau, MedVoice PR’s Chief Strategist and Emily Schmitz, Founder, MedVoice PR

Healthcare strategy is an enormous and challenging responsibility that often falls on the storytellers for an organization – the marketing and public relations specialists.


The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) recently held their annual conference in Orlando and folks working in marketing, public relations, physician relations and planning attended the three-day event.


Sessions focusing on strategic planning and development, marketing, public relations, analytics and research, physician strategies and digital engagement wereoffered and we soaked in as much information as we could.


We heard from various U.S. hospital systems about some of their marketing ‘best practices’, including some fascinating case studies about the impact of social media marketing, digital marketing and video.


Some timely topics covered included the opioid epidemic and what healthcare organizations are doing to create better awareness, the ‘Retail-ization’ and ‘Consumer-ization’ of healthcare, and Google insights on harnessing the power of video and mobile.


We can’t wait to share these insights with our clients!

Vista360health Sponsors Campfire at TechRanch

Vista360health was proud to sponsor a 'Campfire' networking event at TechRanch, a local entrepreneur incubator.

It was a packed house when Vista360health's President, Sharon Alvis and Sr. VP of Operations, Karen Ator talked about what makes their local HMO-plan different from giant insurance companies.

They highlighted their 'local' presence - everything frm their provider network to their customer service reps who are all in the ATX. 

Vista360health especially caters to individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses. They plan to extend that reach to large employers in 2017.


A Mother's Day Story

Kim Overton, an entrepreneur, was in her mid-30s and hadn't found the "right partner" so she had her fist child solo via IVF. A few years later, when she found a great partner, she hoped for a second child but was unsuccessful after several attempts. When she shared her experience with her family, her cousin's daughter offered to be her surrogate. She became a mother for a second time to Oliver Overton in March of 2016.

One of the founders of Texas Fertility Center, Dr. Thomas Vaughn, understands deeply both the medical and emotional sides to surrogacy. TFC is implanting embryos in gestational carriers 10 to 15 times a year.

Read more about the steps to having their baby here.

10-Year-Old with Brain "Pacemaker" to Control his Seizures Launches Non-Profit to Raise Awareness About his Disease, Epilepsy

Child Neurology Consultants of Austin's 10 year old client, Chase, was frustrated that his school's disease awareness programs ignored epilepsy, a condition he has lived with all of his life. So, with the help of his father, he launched Chase for the Cure, a non-profit bringing epilepsy awareness to local schools and raising money to let epilepsy kids experience the joy of camp at Camp Brainstorm. Kids with epilepsy often aren't allowed to take part in swimming, canoeing, horse back riding, water skiing and related summer camp activities because of the seizure risk. Chase has organized a Hoop-a-thon fundraiser on October 22.

Diagnosed with epilepsy at 3 years old, Chase once experienced 20-25 seizures a day. When his anti-seizure medicines stopped being effective, his pediatric neurologist, Dr. Karen Keough, recommended VNS, essentially a pacemaker for the brain. The device is surgically implanted in the chest. Electrodes from the device run up through his neck and send regular shocks to the brain to prevent seizures. While Chase will have future procedures to replace the batteries of this device, his seizures are now nearly gone. Now he wants to use his experience to talk to others about his disease.

Epilepsy is not an uncommon condition. There are about 130,000 adults and children in Central and South Texas who suffer from the disease. Read more about the story here.

From the AAP Conference Floor, Dr. Ari Brown Reports on New Screen Time Policy

Parents have been increasingly skeptical about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) strict screen time policy for children believing that it isn’t reflective of 21st century media culture.
In October, the AAP finally updated its policy.


MedVoice PR’s client Dr. Ari Brown of 411 Pediatrics was on the ground at the AAP Conference when the new policy was issued. We connected her to local media to detail the changes from the conference floor.


The Austin American-Statesman outlined the new policy:

·      Children younger than 18 months of age: Avoid the use of any screen media except video chatting (with grandparents, for example).

·      Children ages 18 months to 24 months: Introduce high-quality programs or apps, but do it with your children to create a dialog about what they are seeing and how it relates to the world around them.

·      Children ages 2 to 5 years: Limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programs that you view with your children.

·      Children ages six and older, place consistent limits on time spent using media, the types of media and make sure that the use of media does not take the place of sleeping, exercise and other healthy behaviors.

·      Designate media-free times together such as during dinner or while driving as well as media-free locations at home such as bedrooms.

Read the full article here.

Zika: MedVoice PR’s Client Explains What Women Should Know

This past summer, Zika virus has been a concern for all women who are pregnant or hoping to conceive…and for good reason. The mosquito-born illness is associated with a condition called microcephaly, a devastating neurological disease that affects unborn children.



When an outbreak of Zika occurred in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, the first reported in the United States, health officials issued a travel warning for pregnant women.

MedVoice PR’s client, Texas Fertility Center, received many questions from concerned patients. Should they delay fertility treatments? How can they safely avoid Zika?


We connected Dr. Thomas Vaughn, fertility specialist at TFC, to KXAN to answer these and others questions.


One of the key messages provided by Dr. Vaughn…wherever you are, protect yourself. That means if you’re outside wear long sleeves and mosquito repellant.


To learn more, check out the news story here.