Hill & Knowlton Canada adds National Senior Experts in Consumer Health,
Medical Communications and Health Policy

National team offers unparalleled breadth and depth of health expertise and services

TORONTO, May 3 /CNW/ - Hill & Knowlton Canada is pleased to announce the addition of two senior, national health experts with the arrival of Francine Beck, vice president and national director, consumer health and pharmaceutical marketing and Gina DeBenedetti, vice president, medical communications, as well as a new national health policy mandate for vice president Jason Grier. All are based in the Toronto office. These appointments further strengthen the depth and breadth of senior level experience, insights and counsel that Hill & Knowlton delivers to clients across the country.

"We're finding that health communications practitioners are coming to H&K to be part of an elite team; no one else brings these skills together under one roof or is capable of offering such robust and informed client solutions. We're thrilled to welcome Gina and Francine and to see Jason take on this national role," observed Michael Coates, president and chief executive officer.

Hill & Knowlton's national health team offers a fully integrated suite of services that encompasses pharmaceutical, medical and corporate communications, public affairs, consumer health, issues management, market access and stakeholder relations as well as digital and social media communications. The team consists of 25 members in every Hill & Knowlton office from coast to coast.

Francine Beck. As vice president and national director, consumer health and pharmaceutical marketing, Francine Beck works with H&K's consumer marketing, health and medical communications teams to offer a unique, integrated approach to healthcare communications. Trained as a kinesiologist and journalist, she began her career more than 18 years ago and has a proven track record in a range of health subsectors, including life sciences (pharmaceutical), over-the-counter products, food and beverage, nutrition, consumer packaged goods and not-for-profit. Francine has led multi-stakeholder assignments for leading clients such as Unilever (Becel), Allergan (Botox), AstraZeneca, Nestle, Dietitians of Canada, Eli Lilly Roche, GSK consumer health, Effem Foods, Molson Breweries, and Toronto 2008, among others. Francine has also worked with a number of companies active in cancer care and has a special interest in the areas of obesity management, heart health and active living.

Gina DeBenedetti. Gina DeBenedetti joins Hill & Knowlton as vice president and national director, medical communications. She has successfully run global mandates in various areas of medical communications and health promotion, including clinical trial consulting, marketing, and sales communications within the pharmaceutical industry. Gina has extensive experience in the following therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, diabetes, obesity, CNS (pain), HIV, growth hormone, nutrition, respiratory, women's health, and oncology. With 14 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, Gina is certified as a public health inspector (Canada) and has worked in both the health industry and in agencies.

Jason Grier. After four successful years with the Toronto public affairs team, most recently managing the group, Jason Grier has accepted the position of vice president and national director, health policy. In this role, Jason will work with the national public affairs team, as well as the health communications team, to provide insight into the ever-changing world of health policy, advising clients and informing programs from coast to coast. In his time with Hill & Knowlton, he has worked extensively with health sector clients including pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, regulatory colleges, patient groups and professional associations. Jason came to Hill & Knowlton with a wide range of health experience, including roles as chief of staff and policy director to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario, special advisor to the federal Minister of Health, and Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations for the Wellesley Central Hospital.

About Hill & Knowlton Canada

With eight offices across the country, Hill & Knowlton Canada (www.hillandknowlton.ca) is Canada's industry leader in public relations, public affairs and strategic communications. The company specializes in corporate, crisis, consumer marketing, technology, natural resources, healthcare, digital communications, public affairs, and financial and investor relations. Hill & Knowlton Canada is a recipient of "Gold" Level IV Certification and the Canada Award for Excellence from the National Quality Institute, and has been recognized as both a Top 100 Employer, and a Best Workplace in Canada for 2010. Its parent company, Hill & Knowlton, Inc, is a world leader in public relations and public affairs, with 79 offices in 44 countries, and is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) (www.wpp.com), one of the world's largest communications services groups.


For further information: For further information: Ann-Marie Koumettou, Hill & Knowlton Canada, (416) 413-4649, annmarie.koumettou@hillandknowlton.ca

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