John Beilenson is president of SCP, a socially responsible consulting firm in Wayne, PA, that uses communications as a vehicle to transform nonprofit and public institutions, drive changes in professional practice, and affect social policy.
During the last 21 years, he has provided clients with communications and branding consulting, strategic planning, training, Web site development, and writing services. In particular, Beilenson has developed a specialty in aging research, geriatrics, and aging issues.
Current or recent clients include the American Federation for Aging Research, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the American Geriatrics Society, the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Practicum Development Program at the New York Academy of Medicine, The Mather Institute on Aging, Grantmakers in Aging, the AdvantAge Initiative of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, DOROT, the Institute for Medicare Practice, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, City Year Louisiana and KidZone Philadelphia. He is also the project and editorial director of Infoaging.org, an educational Web site sponsored by the American Federation for Aging Research.
In addition to his consulting, Beilenson served as an instructor in Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he taught “Public Speaking” and the “Rhetoric of Social Movements.” Beilenson also developed and co-directed the North Carolina Media Institute, which trained grass-roots activists in advocacy and communications skills.
Beilenson holds a Master’s degree in communications studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA from Harvard University.
Holly Birnbaum is a writer, communicator, and strategist. Her public affairs work has covered issues including public and reproductive health, affordable housing, community development, disability rights, international peace initiatives, and care at the end of life. She researched and edited “On the Road from Theory to Practice: A Resource Guide to Promising Practices in
Palliative Care Near the End of Life,” published by the Last Acts Institutional Innovation Committee, to accompany a major policy paper.
For the Community Media Workshop in Chicago, she developed and taught the workshop “Creating a Strategic Communications Plan.” An award-winning public affairs consultant with a particular interest in creative problem solving and idea generation, she serves clients as a writing coach and editor and often brainstorms to discover new ways of communicating with targeted
Holly is also a founding partner of Thoughtly Crew, a company that directs a pool of ideators-for-hire: a diverse group of high-voltage creative thinkers and artists who help fuel ideation sessions.
Ray Boyer is a communications specialist working with clients in the private and nonprofit sectors. During the course of his career he has held three senior communications positions, each contributing in a significant way to the focus on audience identification, message development, thoughtful communications tactics, and solid results that are the hallmarks of his work.
For eight years he was head of public affairs for Williams College, one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges. That was followed by four years as assistant dean for external relations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. While at the Kellogg School, Boyer was responsible for coordinating the school’s participation in the first Business Week survey of MBA programs, naming the Kellogg School as best in the nation.
From 1990 through 2005 Boyer was Public Affairs Director and then Associate Vice President for Public Affairs for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He was responsible for all aspects of the Foundation’s communications efforts, both internal and external. While most of his efforts centered around those who received support from the Foundation to deepen understanding of their work, he also produced all of the MacArthur Foundation publications. MacArthur was one of the first major foundations to host a Web site, winning a Gold Award from the Council on Foundations in 1996. He was responsible for the annual announcement of the MacArthur Fellows, generically known as the “genius grants.”
In 2005, Boyer left the MacArthur Foundation to establish his own firm, Boyer Media, with headquarters in Chicago, where he works with clients in the public and nonprofit sectors. He is a specialist in work with foundations to develop communications plans designed to deepen understanding of the issues foundations support. Other recent work has included the design and implementation of a communications strategy for the Chicago Innovation Awards, the Chicago region’s major annual recognition of innovative new products and services. He works on projects to advance the improvement of public education, and is a media relations representative for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Business Administration.
Earlier in his career Boyer spent several years as a broadcast journalist, both in radio and TV, and was a national media relations consultant for colleges and universities.
Thom Clark is co-founder and president of the Community Media Workshop. Since 1989, the nonprofit Workshop has trained thousands of organizations in communications strategy and how to use media more effectively. The workshop operates an extensive Web site for journalists and community activists at www.newstips.org, and hosts the Midwest’s premiere Making Media Connections conference annually. It publishes a comprehensive media guide, Getting On The Air, Online & Into Print: A Citizen’s Guide to Chicago-Area Media and Newstips for Chicago-area reporters, editors, and producers.
Clark teaches in the graduate journalism program at Columbia College Chicago, where the Workshop is housed. Clark is producer and host of the weekly Community, Media & You on Chicago CAN TV cable channel 21 and for fifteen years has been a rotating host on WNUA-FM’s weekly City Voices. He’s recently served as chair of WTTW public television’s Community Advisory Board, the Progressive Communicators Network leadership committee, NPO Assists executive directors group, and as a consultant to the DC-based Benton Foundation.
Clark has worked for more than 30 years in Chicago’s nonprofit sector. He was development director for Voice of the People in the Uptown neighborhood during its 1970s transition from a tenant advocacy group to a housing development and management corporation. He was a co-founder and the first executive director of the Chicago Rehab Network and served for six years as the editor of an award-winning monthly, The Neighborhood Works, published by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. For six years, he operated a free-lance photography and newsletter business that served over two dozen nonprofit clients. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists/Chicago Headline Club, the Publicity Club of Chicago, the Black Public
Relations Society, the Illinois Education Association, United for Peace, and the St. Nicholas Parish Peace & Justice Committee.
Clark has designed and conducted communications workshops for the Enterprise Foundation and brought that work to Portland, Denver, San Antonio, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. As the Workshop’s lead trainer, he is a popular conference presenter and communications coach. Recent communications consultations include Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Michigan Land Use Network, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Women’s Action Resource Center, North Suburban Library System, Lake County Community Foundation, Chicago Bicycle Federation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Foundation for Women, Dominican University, Metropolitan Planning Council, Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, YWCA, and Metro Seniors in Action.
Valerie Denney established Valerie Denney Communications in 1989 to offer professional public relations services to organizations and individuals working for positive social change.
Denney works with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector to develop communications strategies for complex issues such as the environment, affordable housing, community development, education, community finance, and solutions to poverty. Denney’s current work includes projects with the MacArthur Foundation, Urban Land Institute, Citizens Utility Board, Chicago Community Trust, Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Planning Council, Dystonia Foundation, and Healing Our Waters.
Denney brings a broad experience base to her work at Valerie Denney Communications. Prior to establishing her firm, she served in Mayor Harold Washington’s press office, worked for U.S. Steel, served as a union representative and teacher, and participated in numerous electoral and community-based campaigns.
Denney conducts media trainings for a wide variety of organizations including the National Community Capital Association, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, and Chicago-based Community Media Workshop. She has a Master’s degree in English from Indiana University.
ROBYN GOLDEN, MA, LCSW
Robyn Golden serves as the Director of Older Adult Programs at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Golden has worked in the field of aging for more than 20 years. She has been actively involved in service provision, program development, education, research, and public policy aimed at developing innovative initiatives and systems integration to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their families.
In 2003-04, Golden was the John Heinz Senate Fellow based in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, DC. Through her fellowship, Golden learned how to influence public policy and develop legislation related to aging issues. She served as the aging and health policy advisor to Senator Clinton on issues of Medicare, caregiving, mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, and long-term care.
Prior to this, Golden worked at Council for Jewish Elderly for 18 years, serving for much of that time as the Director of Clinical Service. Golden is adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and the Institute for Clinical Social Work. In addition, she is was the 2006-2008 chair of the American Society on Aging and has represented that organization on the National Mental Health and Aging Coalition and Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.
Golden has developed special programs to find the “hard to reach” older adults and their families through community and primary care settings. She co-founded the statewide Coalition on Mental Health and Aging and is a member of the Illinois Department of Mental Health Geriatric Advisory Committee. Golden is committed to helping the mental health field recognize and respond effectively to the needs of older clients and serves on the American Geriatric Psychiatry’s Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. Concerned that there may not be sufficient social workers for the coming age boom, she has served on the Advisory Panel for Strengthening Aging and Gerontology Education in Social Work and the Institute for Geriatric Social Work, the Gero-Ed Center, and the Social Work Leadership Institute.
She is active in several professional organizations and on multiple expert consensus panels, has published extensively, and is a frequent speaker for both professional and consumer audiences. Golden has her Master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University.
STAN LAPIDOS, MS
Stan Lapidos is the manager of the Virtual Integrated Practice Project (VIP) at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and is responsible for the operational and dissemination components of the VIP initiative. He has authored or co-authored four articles on the VIP project, which have appeared in the Journal of Medical Systems, Today’s Dietitian, the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management and Managed Care Interface. The Web site of the Association of Academic Health Centers featured the Virtual Integrated Practice Project as an innovative example of the use of interdisciplinary teams in February 2003.
Lapidos has given presentations on the VIP Project at the 2002 annual conference of the American Society on Aging, the Illinois Geriatric Society, and the 2005 annual meeting of the American Medical Informatics Association, and abroad at five municipal, health, and academic organizations in Israel, and in the United Kingdom, to the Deputy Minister of the National Health Service and the University of Manchester School of Nursing faculty. He is an adjunct instructor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work and a faculty member of the Rush University Medical Center’s Department of Preventive Medicine and the Health Systems Management Program.
In addition to his work with the VIP Project, Lapidos is the coordinator of the Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training Program (GITT) at Rush, one of nine GITT Programs originally funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation in 1995. The Rush GITT Program has over the past ten years provided interdisciplinary training for over 1,100 participants from 12 different disciplines.
Prior to joining Rush University Medical Center, Lapidos spent eight years in the managed care industry, including as director of the Medicare HMO program for Rush Prudential Health Plan in Chicago and manager of
government programs for Family Health Plan in Milwaukee. He also served as a program planner with the Milwaukee County Commission on Aging and has been an assistant administrator in two long-term care facilities.
Lapidos received his BA in English Literature from Macalister College in St. Paul, MN, and a Master’s degree in Aging and Long Term Care from the Center for Studies in Aging at the University of North Texas.
STEVEN ROTHSCHILD, MD
Steven Rothschild is an associate professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, where he also serves as director of the Section of Community and Social Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine. A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in 1988 he established Neighborhood Family Practice of Pilsen, a community based clinic located in a Mexican-American neighborhood in inner city Chicago; in 1992 he established a free clinic serving the homeless in that same community. Rothschild’s career has focused on addressing the problems of the medically underserved, reducing health disparities, and improving care for older adults and persons with chronic disease.
Rothschild is a co-director of the Rush Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training Project and is the Principal Investigator of the Hartford Foundation-funded Virtual Integrated Practice (VIP) study. The VIP study developed and tested the use of “virtual interdisciplinary teams” that collaborate using information systems and new communications technologies to improve care for older adults with diabetes mellitus. He is also the PI of the MATCH study (Mexican American Trial of Community Health Workers), a four year, NIH-funded randomized controlled trial of Community Health to inner city Latinos with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Rothschild is a practicing family physician, seeing patients 20 hours per week. He serves on the board of directors of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Pilsen Homeless Services, and Central City Housing Ventures.
Jill Stewart is the President of Stewart Communications Ltd. Her career includes experience in media organizations, nonprofits, corporations, and at Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest public relations firms.
Stewart is hands-on with StewComm clients and is most proud of the longevity of many client relationships and the collaborative partnerships StewComm has formed to address thorny social issues.
Stewart is pleased to lead an organization that helps disseminate important information that will influence people’s daily lives, their well-being, and their business decisions. Programs under Stewart’s supervision have received the prestigious Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil and the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Silver and Golden Trumpets. She serves on the boards of the Community Media Workshop and the Career Transitions Center of Chicago and is an adjunct professor in the College of Communication at DePaul University.
Stewart holds a BA from Allegheny College, an MS from Boston University, and an MA in applied professional studies from DePaul University’s School of New Learning.