Director Communications & Media Strategy

Rochester, NY


Reporting to the URMC Assistant Vice President and Director for External Communications, the Director of Communications & Media Strategy (“Director”) oversees the development of strategic, effective and measurable media relations plans that support URMC’s strategic plan. The Director works to protect and enhance the reputation of URMC, its affiliates, and individual faculty or staff members through strategic oversight and executional support for URMC media relations and issues management work.

The Director oversees the creation, distribution and measurement of “earned” and “owned” media content to achieve defined communication goals. The position also manages all news media inquiries, and serves as primary Communications liaison to URMC clinical leadership. Working closely with the Director of URMC Communications and the Director of Marketing Strategy, the Director ensures all media plans align with overall earned and paid media outreach efforts, including those created to support clinical service lines, major projects and events.


Media Relations Oversight

  • Serves as a primary point of contact for Strong Memorial Hospital clinical leadership, attending daily hospital briefings and hospital leadership meetings including Department Heads Executive Committee and Strong Memorial Hospital Management team. Provides strategic recommendations for proactive media relations and responding to media inquiries. Supports proactive leadership communications (talking points, speeches, statements). Serves as a primary spokesperson on many hospital-related issues.

  • Leads a team of Communications Managers, Senior Managers, and Associates who collectively manage inquiries and proactively place stories in news media to support institutional goals.

  • Builds and maintains relationships with local, regional and national news media.

  • Oversees guidelines, management, and measurement of content posted in the online URMC Newsroom.

Content Creation and Execution

The Director is a working manager who executes an individual portfolio of sensitive and/or complex communications projects.

  • Directs and executes earned-media outreach via strategically identified print, broadcast and online media outlets. Drafts messaging related to Medical Center clinical operations and hospital policies, including but not limited to billing, visitation, census, quality programs, facilities, and hospital programs or events.

  • Develops and writes a variety of content aimed at internal and external audiences including, but not limited to, news releases and feature stories, newsletter stories, leadership emails, PowerPoint presentations, website copy, video scripts, online news and feature stories, social media posts, and infographics.

  • The Director takes on a variety of projects for multiple URMC departments, backfilling teams and individuals on media outreach projects as needed.

  • Develops and executes communications that support URMC programs or one-off assignments (i.e., award nominations, event remarks) with little or no review by AVP.

Issues Management and Crisis Communications

  • Partners with the AVP to develop communications plans and messages to address issues of potentially high impact that could negatively affect the reputation of URMC, affiliate institutions, and/or individual faculty and staff members. Develops close relationships with members of University Counsel’s office and the SMH Quality and Safety office who collaborate closely with Communications in issues response.

  • Directly manages communications to address issues of potentially moderate reputational impact.

  • Supports crisis response, serving as a member of the URMC Emergency Preparedness team and assisting the AVP as a deputy for crisis communications and issues management.

Communications Strategy and Measurement

  • Forms close working relationships with the Director of URMC Communications, Director of Marketing Strategy, and the Senior Manager for Social Media and Metrics to lead development of communication plans that support the goals of Strong Memorial Hospital’s clinical management plan, as well as marketing plans for clinical service lines supporting the UR Medicine health system.

  • Develops specific goals and metrics that measure the effectiveness of URMC Communications’ earned-media activities and the URMC Newsroom. Advises team members on how to optimize content for engagement.

  • Works closely with the Senior Manager and science writers to support development, execution and measurement of the department’s research communications plan.

Leadership and Management

  • Provides leadership and oversight to ensure “earned-media” communications closely aligns with owned and paid media to support institutional goals and marketing plans for clinical service lines.

  • Directly supervises Senior Managers or Managers who oversee communications support for departments, institutes, and/or schools

  • Works with Directors, colleague Associate Directors and Senior Managers across URMC’s Strategic Communications Group (Communications, Marketing, Web Strategy) to promote cross-team collaboration and efficient use of resources.

Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or related field required

  • 10 years of experience in a strategic communications role with heavy emphasis on media relations and issues management required

  • 15 years of experience; healthcare experience in academic medical setting preferred

  • 5 years’ supervisory or management experience strongly preferred

  • Or equivalent combination of education and experience preferred

All Required Except for HIPAA and URMC Policy knowledge, which will be covered during training:

  • Experience in creating and implementing strategic communications plans with proven results.

  • Experience in serving as an institutional spokesperson strongly preferred

  • Must understand and ensure compliance with HIPAA requirements and URMC policies for protecting patient privacy and other confidential information

  • Demonstrated proficiency in writing and editing content based on target audience, with ability to analyze, condense, and synthesize information and ability to provide accurate analysis and summaries as needed in a fast-paced, high-demand environment

  • Knowledge of and/or experience in contributing to social media platforms

  • Strong organization and project management skills

  • Extraordinary ability to deal with multiple, competing priorities with minimal supervision

  • Strong written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills; comfortable talking to all levels of faculty/staff, and in front of groups

  • Ability to work independently and within a collaborative team

  • Ability to manage administrative projects, make sound decisions, and support design and implementation of new programs.

  • Creativity in matching ideas with effective, engaging, and achievable storytelling approaches.

  • Occasional night or weekend work

  • Position is available on-call, as needed, for responding to overnight or weekend media requests or social media monitoring on a rotating basis—no more than one out of every six weeks, with much scheduling flexibility

The University of Rochester is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion to advance the University’s mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create – and Make the World Ever Better. In support of our values and those of our society, the University is committed to not discriminating on the basis of age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other status protected by law. This commitment extends to the administration of our policies, admissions, employment, access, and recruitment of candidates from underrepresented populations, veterans, and persons with disabilities consistent with these values and government contractor Affirmative Action obligations.

How To Apply

All applicants must apply online.

EOE Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Pay Range

Pay Range: $120,600 - $180,900 Annually

The referenced pay range represents the minimum and maximum compensation for this job. Individual annual salaries/hourly rates will be set within the job’s compensation range, and will be determined by considering factors including, but not limited to, market data, education, experience, qualifications, expertise of the individual, and internal equity considerations.

Location: Health Sciences
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Opening: Full Time 40 hours Grade 057 Public Relations & Comns MC
Schedule: 8:30 AM-5 PM