Sports Figures and Life Sciences Industry Leaders Team Up for “Stay Safe. Stay Together. Stay Healthy.” Social Media Campaign to Help During COVID-19 Pandemic

Russo Partners’ Sports-Health Alliance, part of the New York City-based healthcare and technology communications firm, has launched “Stay Safe. Stay Together. Stay Healthy,” a social media campaign to encourage individuals to reconnect, rebuild and strengthen personal relationships despite the stay-at-home orders in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s national kick-off includes the premiere of a public service announcement featuring professional sports figures and life sciences industry leaders who are united in delivering the campaign message, which was created by healthcare communications pioneer Tony Russo, Ph.D., and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster/retired NFL player Solomon Wilcots, who also serves as the leader of the Sports-Health Alliance.

In addition to Wilcots, the public service announcement line-up includes:

  • Jeremy Levin, DPhil, MB, BChir, chair of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), chairman and CEO of Ovid Therapeutics, who in 2018 was named one of the most influential figures in the biopharmaceutical industry
  • Rod Woodson, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and 100th Anniversary All-Time team who played a total of 17 seasons with the Steelers, Ravens, Raiders and 49ers; Woodson holds several NFL records and was part of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship team
  • Bill Newell, CEO of Sutro BioPharma, former top executive with emerging biopharmaceutical companies, and member of the boards of directors of BIO and the California Life Sciences Association, where he also serves on the executive committee 
  • Chris Dickerson, a former MLB player who spent seven seasons in the major league with the Reds, Brewers, Yankees, Orioles and Indians
  • Gil Van Bokkelen, Ph.D., founder, chairman and CEO of Athersys, a member of BIO’s board of directors and past chair of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine
  • Mani Mohindru, Ph.D., CEO of CereXis and a former biotechnology analyst with UBS, Credit Suisse and ThinkEquity
  • Matt Bowman, a current MLB player with the Reds and former member of the Cardinals; Bowman played college baseball for Princeton University
  • Merril Hoge, a former NFL player with the Steelers and Bears, and current sports broadcaster, coach, author and motivational speaker
  • Mike Clayman, M.D., co-founder, president and CEO of Flexion Therapeutics as well as a former long-time executive with Eli Lilly and professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Nicole Fisher, a human rights and international policy advisor focused on healthcare, the founder of HHR Strategies and a frequent public speaker as well as contributor to Forbes and other media outlets
  • Ron Cohen, M.D., founder, president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics and past chair of BIO, who was recognized in 2009 as one of the 100 most inspirational people in the biopharmaceutical industry
  • Steve Fruchtman, M.D., president and CEO of Onconova Therapeutics, former drug development executive with large pharmaceutical companies and a faculty member at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

“This campaign is the product of members of our extensive sports and healthcare business network coming together quickly to use their combined influence to help the general public during this difficult time,” said Russo, chairman and CEO of Russo Partners. “In our 32 years of working with the innovators in life sciences, I have seen many challenges met head on by the most passionate, brightest minds in the industry. We are seeing this now and know that the research under way involving new diagnostics, vaccines and therapies will, ultimately, protect us and save lives for generations to come. As this critical work continues, we as communicators want to do more to share messages about togetherness and what matters most to society as a whole.”    

Wilcots added, “When we created the Sports-Health Alliance five years ago, we knew that we could bring together professional athletes and healthcare executives who share the same passion for a particular cause. Over the years this work has varied from tackling Alzheimer’s developments to addressing debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis. With the current battle against COVID-19, it was a natural opportunity to ask our family members in sports and business to lend their voices to a campaign. The participants jumped at this opportunity and want to continue to lend their assistance to efforts going forward.”

The “Stay Safe. Stay Together. Stay Healthy.” team asks that individuals view the public service announcement and share it on their own social media channels using the hashtag #SportsHealthAlliance. Russo Partners’ Sports-Health Alliance will introduce additional social media content throughout May as part of the campaign.

Founded in 1988, Russo Partners collaborates with healthcare and technology innovators on award-winning integrated communications programs for digital health, biopharma, medtech, diagnostics, healthcare IT and healthcare services companies worldwide. Our team is comprised of scientists, journalists, Wall Street executives and public relations professionals who have decades of experience providing communications counsel to the top executives of our client companies. For more information, visit

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