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CenCal Health Awarded by Public Relations Society of America, LA Region

Nov 8, 2021


Awards recognize health plan’s COVID-19 campaign and other initiatives

CenCal Health, the publicly-sponsored health plan for Medi-Cal in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, was recently recognized by the Los Angeles regional chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), during the 57th annual PRism Awards ceremony.

The awards recognize excellence in communications strategies and tactical marketing programs. CenCal Health received six awards, including four for its COVID-19 public service television campaign “Welcome Back to Care” – a communications effort inspired by the healthcare ramifications that ensued from pandemic-related shutdowns, which affected the health plan’s members, providers and community.



CenCal Health’s awards are in the following categories:

PRism Award (highest honor)

  • Corporate Social Responsibility, Strategic Campaigns for Welcome Back to Care (COVID-19 public service campaign).
  • Public Service, Strategic Campaigns for Welcome Back to Care.
  • Graphic Design, Tactical Programs for Women’s Health Mailings (Preventive cancer screening outreach).
  • Annual Reports, Tactical Programs for 2020 Community Report (

Award of Excellence (second place)

  • Community Relations, Strategic Campaigns for Welcome Back to Care.
  • Influencer Marketing, Tactical Programs for Welcome Back to Care.

PRSA hosted the ceremony on October 21 at the Santa Monica Annenberg Beach House, where 50 awards were presented to communications professionals representing LA-area corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from the West Virginia chapter of PRSA.

CenCal Health’s most decorated campaign “Welcome Back to Care” was launched in fall 2020 in English and Spanish, and consists of multiple commercial videos featuring over a dozen key network providers urging patients to return for preventive and follow-up care. Locally and nationally, the rates of care dropped sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hurting both patients and provider businesses. Claims reports revealed a 34% decrease in immunizations for the health plan’s adolescent members in Santa Barbara County. In addition, there was a 50% decline in cervical cancer screenings in Santa Barbara County, and a 40% decline in San Luis Obispo County. Moreover, there was over a 30% decrease in preventive medicine evaluations (such as annual physicals) for adults across our service area.

The pandemic also influenced CenCal Health’s 2020 Community Report and Women’s Health Mailings. In addition to being awarded for artistry and functionality, the cancer screening mailers have also proven effective. In the first three months after sending the postcards to members, over 1,000 recipients completed these much-needed exams.

“Part of CenCal Health’s mission is to provide high quality health services, along with education and outreach, for our membership,” said CenCal Health CEO Marina Owen. “Excellence in communication is an important part of that, particularly wellness campaigns that support the efforts of local providers and community partners.”

This is the second year in a row that CenCal Health has entered the awards competition, and the first time it was a finalist in all categories. The health plan was also the runner-up in the Best of Show category for most awards won. 

About CenCal Health

CenCal Health is a community-accountable health plan that partners with over 1,500 local physicians, hospitals and other providers in delivering patient care to more than 206,000 members – about one in four residents of Santa Barbara County and one in five residents of San Luis Obispo County. A public agency, the health plan contributes approximately $50 million a month into the local economy, primarily through payments to healthcare providers who serve its membership. Established in 1983, it is the oldest managed care Medicaid plan of its kind in the nation. View its annual Community Report at


The Los Angeles Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-LA) is comprised of nearly 600 agency, in-house and independent public relations professionals representing LA-area corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

PRSA-LA was established in 1948 as one of PRSA’s first five founding chapters. Members benefit from chapter events, educational and networking opportunities, industry advocacy and a wide range of professional development resources.

CenCal Health Contact:

Nicolette Worley Marselian (805) 685-9525 ext. 1993

Media Contact:

Sheri Mobley (805) 845-5627, (213) 509-9816