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LaDainian Tomlinson to Become ‘Voice’ of 2 North County Hospitals

A North County hospital district is embarking on a five-year marketing campaign that calls on celebrities to attract new business.

Palomar Pomerado Health said July 26 that San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has agreed to serve as “the voice” of the district on radio, TV and other media, as well as at in-person events.

The district runs the 319-bed Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and 107-bed Pomerado Hospital in Poway.

Gustavo Friederichsen, the district’s chief marketing officer, said he wouldn’t disclose the cost because of a confidentiality agreement requested by Tomlinson.

He said the amount is “an appropriate investment that will result in tremendous returns.”

In addition, the district said it plans to spend $100,000 on what it calls Project21SD.

Using Tomlinson’s jersey number, Project21SD is a 21-month program featuring preventive health campaigns, ranging from those that deal with Hispanic youth and obesity to those that deal with teenage suicide.

More Than Talk

In addition, Tomlinson is expected to help PPH with capital improvement projects, including the long-awaited construction of the new Palomar Hospital in an Escondido industrial park.

Tomlinson would also be involved in recruitment efforts designed to encourage local high school and college students to pursue health care careers.

“This is not an endorsement deal,” Friederichsen said. “This is an absolute partnership because he is going to be the voice of the organization for a long time.”

In a prepared statement, Tomlinson said: “Pomerado Hospital is my community hospital and I look forward to working with the health system to make a difference and improve the lives of people in the community. It’s a personal mission and passion of mine to reduce diabetes and obesity in children, and raise awareness of other health issues like heart disease, stroke and improving access to care.”

Dial Don’t Drive

The first Project21SD effort, Dial Don’t Drive, strives to instruct men to dial

9-1-1 when they have heart attack-related symptoms rather than driving themselves to a hospital and risking an accident or delayed treatment.

This effort is being funded by a “sizable” private donation from a local family trust, Friederichsen said.

The program will include the making of a DVD to be given to the public. Friederichsen said part of Project21SD’s mission is to involve other community groups on health-related programs.

SportClips, a hair salon for men, is among the first like-minded groups to join Dial Don’t Drive. Friederichsen said the franchise will distribute the DVD to customers in North County.

A report to show the effectiveness of Project21SD will be published at the end of the 21-month period. Friederichsen said the report will look at such things as attendance changes at community health classes and calls to hot-line services. If the campaign is successful, a national campaign dubbed Project21US could follow, Friederichsen said.


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