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Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, a national top 10 healthcare communications consultancy, has added four associates, reflecting growth in work on diversity, equity and inclusion, crisis communications, media relations and design.

The firm, which works exclusively with healthcare providers, is expanding its expertise in these areas to help clients navigate increasing scrutiny of providers, shifts in strategic planning post-pandemic and the critical need to advance health equity.

Erika Matallana has joined as associate vice president in the firm’s Regional Health Systems Practice, bringing clients more than 15 years of experience as a versatile communications strategist specialized in healthcare DE&I communications, multicultural marketing and communications, public relations and creative writing.

Prior to joining Jarrard, Matallana served as director of communications for Amedisys, where she led communications identity, strategy and execution for the hospice division. Previously, Matallana spent a decade at HCA Healthcare in several communications roles, including leading communications strategies and execution for HCA Healthcare’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. In that capacity, she oversaw development of enterprise-wide messaging, publications and materials in support of diversity and inclusion initiatives for patients in more than 2,000 sites of care and for over 270,000 colleagues across 21 states.

“We continue to see the importance of addressing persistent deficits in health equity, gaps that were brought to the forefront during the pandemic in the realms of both health and society,” said David Jarrard, president and CEO of Jarrard Inc. “We are encouraged, and challenged, by the number of outstanding providers who are dedicating renewed focus and resources on addressing health equity in the communities they serve, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations. Erika’s extensive background in DE&I will be an indispensable resource for our clients in that work.”

Other hires include:

  • Lauri Kerns has joined the firm as a senior managing advisor, bringing more than 20 years of experience in crisis communications, media relations and the use of story to inspire change. She previously led communications, marketing and media relations for nine hospitals in the Ballad Health system. Prior to her work in healthcare, Kerns managed all emergency communications for the Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear fleet. She began her career in the U.S. Air National Guard and Reserves, where she led community outreach and crisis communications during deployment operations.
  • Colie Gutzler has joined the firm as a managing advisor and offers more than a decade of expertise in digital marketing communications. Prior to joining Jarrard, Gutzler was the senior marketing manager of CRM and digital marketing at Trustmark Insurance, where she was responsible for the policy owner journey and managed retention efforts. Prior to that, she spent time at NorthShore University Health System in marketing communications, serving as marketing manager for various service lines. At both organizations, she was highly involved in DE&I initiatives.
  • Allie Stivland joined the firm as a senior graphic designer. A multi-disciplinary designer with a background in psychology and public health, Stivland’s approach relies heavily on her knowledge of community health, research methods and consumer psychology. Prior to joining the firm in 2021, she worked as a designer with Chicago-based global healthcare giant Abbott. Earlier, she served at influential nonprofits including the American Kidney Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Along with the six new hires in the first quarter of 2021, the ongoing growth at Jarrard Inc. brings to the firm resources and expertise to help healthcare providers find opportunity in an increasingly challenging landscape and fulfill their mission to care for their communities.

“The past year and a half revealed in new ways the profound importance of mission-driven healthcare and reminded us that no matter how large or small the organization, healthcare is local and personal,” Jarrard said. “Providers are in a unique position to review the lessons learned during the pandemic and find new ways to deliver outstanding, equitable care.”

About Jarrard Inc.

With offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Chicago, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc. is a U.S. Top 10 strategic communications consulting firm for the nation’s leading healthcare providers experiencing significant change, challenge or opportunity. Founded in 2006, the firm has worked with more than 600 clients in 45 states and served as a communications advisor on more than $60 billion in announced M&A and partnership transaction communications. The firm specializes in M&A, change management, issue navigation and strategic positioning. Jarrard Inc. is a division of The Chartis Group, one of the nation’s leading healthcare advisory and analytics firms.

For more information, visit or follow us @JarrardInc.