SHSMD Names Recipients of 2015 Excellence Awards


CHICAGO (October 22, 2015) - Kriss Barlow of Hudson, Wisconsin, and Sue Jablonski of Columbus, Ohio are the recipients of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development’s (SHSMD) 2015 Award for Individual Professional Excellence. The award is the highest honor a member can receive from SHSMD, a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association. It recognizes the best and brightest practitioners in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations, communications, and physician relations.

><font size=

Kriss Barlow
Barlow has a distinctive understanding of the field of strategy and market development, particularly when it comes to hospital-physician relationships. She began her career as a nurse and is now a principal at Barlow/McCarthy, a healthcare consulting firm. In the mid-1980s she transitioned to the then-emerging arena of physician relations and gained valuable experience in planning, development, sales, and marketing. Today, her consulting is focused on strategic growth; physician relations, engagement, and retention; and sales and training—providing community hospitals, academic medical centers, health systems, and specialty providers with forward-thinking strategies and solutions. Barlow is a noted speaker who regularly addresses regional and national conferences, as well as individual healthcare organizations. She’s the author of four books, including HealthLeaders books, “A Marketer’s Guide to Best Practices in Physician Relations” and “The Complete Guide to Physician Relationships in an Accountable Care Era.”

A long-standing member of SHSMD, Barlow has been a featured conference speaker, generated several SHSMD benchmarking studies, and participated as a task force and annual conference executive committee member. Since 2011, she has been an active member of the SHSMD Board of Directors, bringing her knowledge and proficiency to bear for the benefit of the organization. She also chairs the Editorial Advisory Board.

><font size=

Sue Jablonski
As the top communications executive at OhioHealth—a Midwestern health care organization–Jablonski is responsible for marketing, branding, internal and external communications, creative strategy, sponsorships, digital marketing, and media relations. She is an innovative leader who has successfully built a national brand at OhioHealth, enhanced relationships with associates, and launched a highly effective internal wellness program, to name just a few of her accomplishments.

During her tenure, OhioHealth has achieved quality and service levels worthy of national attention, such as being recognized for the past seven consecutive years by Fortune magazine as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work. At OhioHealth, and in her previous role at Ohio State University Medical Center, Jablonski has contributed to the body of knowledge in the health care public relations profession by developing and freely sharing best practices, particularly in the area of integrated healthcare marketing.

In addition to being a member of SHSMD–where she has worked on committees and task forces, led roundtable discussions, and served as a presenter and conference planner–Jablonski is active in her community with the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Lifeline of Ohio, Capital University, and the Ohio Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.

Rising Stars
SHSMD has also announced the recipients of its 2015 Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding young strategy professionals under the age of 40. They are:

  • Kelly Dearman, corporate planning administrator, WellSpan Health, York, PA
  • Erinne Kovi Dyer, vice president of corporate communications, Carolinas Health System, Charlotte, NC
  • Brittany Graffagnini, marketing director, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA
  • Nicole Kleinpeter, vice president of marketing and communications, Baton Rouge General, Baton Rouge, LA

The Rising Star and Individual Professional Excellence awards were presented at SHSMD’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., on October 13.

The Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development is the premier organization for healthcare planners, marketers, and communications and public relations professionals. A personal membership group of the American Hospital Association, SHSMD serves more than 4,000 members. The society is committed to helping its members prepare for the future with greater knowledge and opportunity as their organizations work to improve health status and quality of life in their communities. For more information, visit

Brian Griffin
(312) 422-3736