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CenCal Health Awarded for Welcome Back to Care Campaign

Jan 10, 2022

COVID-19 PSAs Featuring Local Healthcare Providers Lauded
award1CenCal 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 its 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 TV campaign. “Welcome Back to Care” was a communications effort prompted by the local healthcare needs that ensued from pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020. The chapter’s highest honor is the PRism Award, which were two of the four awards that CenCal Health received, taking the top awards in the Strategic Campaign categories of Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Service.

PRSA hosted the ceremony on October 21 at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, where 50 awards were presented to communications professionals representing LA-area corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

CenCal Health’s most decorated campaign was launched in Fall 2020 in both English and Spanish, and consisted of multiple TV commercials broadcast on local affiliate stations of major networks ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, popular cable networks including CNN, E! and Nickelodeon, and various social media outlets. The public service announcements featured over a dozen local healthcare providers urging patients to return for preventive and follow-up care.

Locally and nationally, the rates of care had dropped sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hurting patients as well as provider businesses. Claims reports revealed a 34% decrease in immunizations for the health plan’s adolescent members in Santa Barbara County. There was also a 50% decline in cervical cancer screenings in Santa Barbara County, and a 40% decline in San Luis Obispo County. Additionally, there was over a 30% decrease in preventive medicine evaluations (such as annual physicals) for adults across the health plan’s service area.

The following CenCal Health providers and partners donated their time and energy by participating in the Welcome Back to Care televised PSAs:

Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Director, Santa Barbara County Public Health

Dr. Martha Viviana Martinez, Family Physician, Santa Barbara County Public Health

Dr. Angeles Halusic, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Tenant Health Central Coast Women’s Health

Dr. Charles Fenzi, CEO & CMO, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

Nicole Martinez, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

Dr. Robert Barry, Pediatrician, Robert S. Barry MD, Inc.

Barbara Brown-Ramirez, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Robert S. Barry MD, Inc.

Dr. Rocio Rodriguez Valencia, Pediatrician, Community Health Centers of the Central Coast

Sue Andersen, President and CEO, Marian Regional Medical Center

Dr. Jade Mas, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Marian Regional Medical Center

Dr. Melvin Lopez, Family Physician, Marian Community Clinic

Laura Lopez, Phlebotomy Technician, Quest Diagnostics

Dr. Paul Hennig, CMO & Family Physician, American Indian Health & Services

Dr. Shaun Ehsani, Family Physician, Jackson Medical Group

Ana Cardona, Medical Assistant, Jackson Medical Group

Dr. Richard Macias, Pediatrician, Central Coast Pediatrics

Dr. Bryce Holderness, Internist, Sansum Clinic

Dr. Sylvia Rivera, Endocrinologist, Sansum Clinic

This is the second year in a row that CenCal Health has entered the PRSA awards competition, and the first time it was a finalist in all award categories, including graphic design and annual reports. The health plan was also the runner-up in the overall Best of Show category.

“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.”

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 210,000 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

CenCal Health Contact:

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

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