The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) offers emergency, primary, and specialty care, while serving as the healthcare safety net for the county’s most vulnerable residents. Medicaid expansion has increased competitive pressure on the department, which already struggles with outdated public perceptions of the system’s scope and quality. DHS enlisted FUSE executive fellow Michelle L. LeBlanc to lead a rebranding effort that will help position the department as a healthcare provider of choice.

To do this, Michelle built a communications and marketing team from the ground up. She identified employees focused full time on communications and brought them together to form the core of the new team. She also developed an organizational structure and a phased hiring plan to build out the communications function over time. Michelle led a series of workshops with senior executives and selected staff to define a single, unifying purpose for the department and a set of values that would resonate with employees across the organization. In order to engage an external branding agency, Michelle developed the business case for the rebranding effort and a formal request for proposal. This work has laid the foundation for DHS to broaden its appeal and reach more people in need of high-quality healthcare.