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  September 27, 2004

Calhoun Makes The Extra Pass
To Promote Cardiology Center

Starting this week, the Health Center will begin airing commercials featuring UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, on behalf of the cardiology program.

Image: Jim Calhoun

Coach Jim Calhoun takes a pass while filming a television commercial about cardiology services at the UConn Healtlh Center. Pat and Jim Calhoun's personal gifts, together with proceeds from their annual celebrity golf tournament, have contributed more than $1 million to cardiology services.
Photo by Motion Pictures Video and Film Inc.

Calhoun and his wife, Pat, are long-time supporters of cardiology at the Health Center through their annual golf tournament as well as family donations. Their interest arises in part from each having lost parents at a relatively early age to heart disease.

In honor of the Calhoun family's generosity and friendship over the years, the Health Center in May named the entire cardiovascula r program - including all patient services, education, and research - the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center.

When the coach and Pat Calhoun agreed to have the center named after them, they also offered to be spokespeople for it. "It was a generous offer," says Maureen McGuire, manager for clinical marketing.

"This is an incredible opportunity to brand the new name of the cardiology center," she says. "Coach Calhoun is one of the most popular and recognized people in the state. This was a unique opportunity to draw attention not just to the cardiology program at the Health Center, but to the whole institution. We expect the commercial to have a halo effect on the entire clinical enterprise."

Although the television spots are new, the association of Calhoun and the cardiology program isn't. The clinical marketing department began using Calhoun's image on billboards around Hartford last winter. They also used it in print advertising, on electric billboards at the Westfarms Mall and in advertising in Hartford-area movie theaters preceding the show.

Clinical marketing staff worked with a local film production company to create the spot. The 30-second commercial, filmed in June at the Health Center and at the YMCA in Hartford, begins on the basketball court, then shows clips from the cardiac catheterizat ion lab. The coach appears at the end. A number of Health Center employees also appear in the commercial.

"We very much appreciate the coach taking the time to become such an active spokesman for the cardiology program at the Health Center," says Dr. Bruce Liang, Ray Neag Professor of Vascular Biology and Cardiovascular Medicine, and chair of the cardiology center. "I believe the commercials will be extremely well received, and will raise awareness of cardiology at the Health Center around the state."

The commercials will air during a 10 week-period, at varying times of the day on broadcast and cable channels.

The Health Center uses a variety of media, including radio campaigns as well as print, billboards, and movie theater advertising, to get the word out about the clinical services it offers. This is the first time a sustained television campaign will promote clinical services.

"Public awareness of the Health Center and clinical services has steadily increased over the last six years," says James Walter, associate vice president for communications. "We know that because we track it. But there are still people in the community who aren't familiar with us.

We want to inform them, and television is the perfect medium to improve their awareness."