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Communicating Your Message

The National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration is a valuable public relations vehicle for promoting the importance of rehabilitation. Here are some ideas for effective communication projects:

  • Develop a feature story about the history and benefits of rehabilitation. Include your own successes as well as national statistics.
  • Highlight some noteworthy qualities of your facility as they relate to the rehabilitation field. Is it the largest, the only, the newest? Emphasize anything that sets it apart from others.
  • Drama and human interest abound in rehabilitation facilities. Develop a story about a before- and- after case representing a success story.
  • Develop a feature story about attitudes toward people with disabilities and their rehabilitation. People perceive disability in many ways, and some of their perceptions may be based on incorrect information.
  • Single out some special people, accomplishments or programs that have been a source of pride in your institution.
  • Develop a regional awards program (see section on Regional Awards Program).
  • Spotlight individuals within your community who have overcome disability and achieved goals.
  • Examine the positive impact of placing people with disabilities in the workforce.
  • Send media kits to local newspapers, television and radio stations to inform them of the goals of the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration and how your organization will observe the event.

Promote the Celebration Through the Media

The samples on the following pages will serve as a guide for writing your own promotional releases regarding your organization's observance of the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration. Remember to include the date, time and location of each activity, as well as the name and telephone number of a contact person at the top of the release. This person should be readily available to answer questions regarding the celebration.

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General News Release Sample

For Immediate Release
Date (Sent out):

(Facility Name) has announced its activities for the 2002 National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration.

(Facility Name) is joining the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation, sponsor of the event, and more than 6,500 facilities nationwide in observing the occasion.

The week is designed to promote the value of rehabilitation; highlight the capabilities of people with disabilities; to salute the professionals who provide service to people with disabilities; and to renew our nation's commitment to fulfill the unmet needs of people with disabilities.

Activities begin on September 15, with the (Kick-off Festival at Facility Name).

The event will feature live entertainment, a health fair, information booths, refreshments, therapeutic displays, demonstrations and tours. It is free and open to the public. Conferences have also been scheduled during the week to help familiarize the business and medical communities with the latest advances in rehabilitative techniques. They include...

On September 19, (Facility Name) will turn its attention to the student community, as it hosts "Rehabilitation Professions Day." A day-long series of events is planned to acquaint area high school students with careers in the field of rehabilitation.

The week wraps up on Saturday the 21st, with a picnic for pediatric patients and their families.
For further information contact (Facility Name, Communications Department, telephone number).

### (Signifies end of story)

Public Service Announcement Sample

Public Service Announcement
Please Include in Calendar of Upcoming Events

For Immediate Release



Date (Sent out):

(Facility Name) will hold its National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Kick-off Festival on (date, time, place). Health information booths, therapeutic demonstrations, a wheelchair challenge, tours and live entertainment are among some of the activities planned. The annual celebration is designed to increase awareness of the value and impact of rehabilitation.

(Facility Name) has a full slate of activities planned throughout the week. Help support rehabilitation awareness by taking part in the many special activities and events planned at (Facility Name).

For information, contact (Facility Name, Communications Department, telephone number).

### (Signifies end of story)

Media Alert: Feature Story Pitch

Attn: Assignment Editor
(or send to a specific individual)

Media Alert



Date (Sent out):

(Facility Name) will increase awareness of the value of rehabilitation through the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration beginning September 15, 2002.

This event is designed to highlight the victories people with disabilities have made through rehabilitation; to recognize the contributions of rehabilitation professionals; and to call attention to the unmet needs of people with disabilities.

(Facility Name) is planning a week-long series of activities (schedule enclosed) which will provide many interesting feature stories and photo opportunities. Also, I can make arrangements for someone from your news department to interview medical professionals or patients who have overcome disability through rehabilitation.

If you would like additional information regarding the enclosed schedule of events or would like to arrange an interview, please contact me at (telephone number).

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Challenge The Community's Awareness Of Disability Issues

Present a National Rehabilitation Awareness challenge to people in the community through newspaper editorials and promotional materials which will support the ideals of the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration and help increase the community's commitment to expand opportunities for people with disabilities.

(Facility Name) Encourages the People of (Community Name) to Meet the 2002
National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Challenge

  • Let's work together to make America fully accessible.
  • Let's help ensure that people have access to quality rehabilitation services which can enable them to overcome injury or illness.
  • Let's take pride in the many accomplishments of those who have overcome disability.
  • Let's rid ourselves of prejudice and see people with disabilities as competent, capable, talented, caring and contributing members of our society.
  • Let's strengthen the commitment to medical research which will benefit people with disabilities.
  • Let's recognize the efforts of rehabilitation professionals whose expertise and encouragement have given people the ability and courage to make their own dreams come true.
  • Let's teach our children that disabled certainly does not mean unable.

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Use The Logo In Your Promotional Efforts

Use the camera-ready logo on flyers, posters, advertisements, newsletters, and other promotional efforts.

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Advertise The Celebration

Insert your logo into the following camera-ready advertisement or create an original ad promoting the celebration for inclusion in newsletters, newspapers, flyers, etc.

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Share Rehab Facts And Information

  • Promote the value and importance of rehabilitation by sharing information with the public through educational forums, festivals, fairs; through media outlets such as newspapers, television and radio reports; or display through billboards, banners, community bulletin boards, etc.
  • Include rehab statistics from your own organization or use the following general information.
  • Rehabilitation is a medical specialty which helps restore people affected by potentially disabling disease or traumatic injury to good health and functional, productive lives and also helps minimize physical or cognitive disabilities.
  • Rehabilitation often centers on a interdisciplinary team approach to care by physiatrists (physicians specializing in rehabilitation); physical, occupational, respiratory and recreational therapists; speech and language pathologists; rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, vocational counselors and other professionals who work with patients to restore the greatest level of function or independence. The rehab team helps individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living.
  • Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability does not discriminate - every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation.
  • Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives.
  • Rehabilitation is an integral part of healthcare and a tremendous component in providing patients with positive outcomes.
  • Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level.
  • Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.
  • Statistics show that medical rehabilitation improves lives and saves money. For every $1 spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living.
  • Independence gained or retained through rehabilitation is priceless.

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Proclamations can be obtained from the governor of your state, the mayor of your city and your community's United States representatives and state representatives.

Sample Proclamation

WHEREAS, (Facility Name, Location), is observing and celebrating National Rehabilitation Awareness beginning September 16; and

WHEREAS, _________________________ recognizes and values the education, social and humanitarian contribution of its many citizens with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, those citizens have found hope, spirit and dignity through the services of rehabilitation medicine; and

WHEREAS, rehabilitative services throughout our nation help to restore people with disabilities to independent, productive and fulfilling lives; and

WHEREAS, _________________________ is proud and honored to have (Facility Name) rehabilitation facilities in (Location).

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT SO RESOLVED that the _________________________ proclaims the week of September 15 through September 21 as the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration, and encourages all citizens to renew their commitment to people with disabilities and to the efforts of rehabilitative medicine improving the quality of life.

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