Spreading The Word About Memorial Cancer Institute

February 04, 2019
Rachel Olensky

“Everybody brings something to their position,” says Rachel Olensky, administrative secretary for Memorial Cancer Institute. “My main passion is to get the word out about the people that work at the cancer institute, the many services we provide and the high level of patient care.”

Rachel, who hails from Toronto, Canada, is MCI’s unbilled social media maven. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, she taps into high-traffic communication outlets to publicize the Institute’s programs, innovations and staff. She’s so enthusiastic, it’s not hard to imagine her standing on a hill with a megaphone, letting loose a thunderous shout-out to and about one of the largest cancer centers in Florida.

“We do amazing things here, but it’s like a best-kept secret. It’s not good enough that we all know it. The community needs to know it,” Rachel says.

After studying at the University of Toronto, Rachel began building a solid background in the operations of large, acute care facilities. She worked for a major teaching hospital in Toronto and concurrently completed coursework in office manager medical transcription.

In 1996, Rachel, her husband and their two children moved to Florida, where she found positions at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Aventura Hospital before joining Memorial in September 2011. She attended courses in administration, sat on cancer committees and honed her wordsmithing skills to convey all that she’s learned (and continues to learn) about oncology.

Five years ago, Rachel initiated a monthly newsletter for the MCI staff so that everyone would know and be proud of the work they do. Formatted to touch on each of Memorial’s Seven Pillars of Excellence (Safety, Quality, Service, People, Financial Performance, Growth and Community), the publication focuses mainly on the Institute’s community outreach activities. She includes reports on nursing, physician practice, radiation oncology, the Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy program, business development, and research. Each issue also complements the cancer-related awareness calendar recognized by the American Cancer Society.

To further in-house communication, Rachel organizes an interdepartmental breakfast every four or five months so that as many people from MCI can be in one room at the same time and hear what’s going on.

“I think if a person is engaged in where they work and what goes on in their department or facility, it comes through to the patients and makes for better employees,” she says.

Rachel also facilitates the events on the oncology calendar and makes sure the leadership group is on task to meet deadlines. She relies on social media to ensure that each event lands with the biggest possible impact.

February, for instance, is National Cancer Prevention month. She’s been making short videos of patients, doctors, and nurses “where they say who they are and what they’re committing to do to either fight cancer, beat cancer or advocate.”

The videos were posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For World Cancer Day on February 4, she worked with Publix to produce a healthy cooking demonstration live on the MHS Facebook page.

Rachel is truly the lady behind the curtain, pressing buttons and ringing bells to draw attention to MCI’s accomplishments, great or small. Her media savvy has made instant, far-reaching connections that have only deepened relations between the South Florida community and Memorial Healthcare System.

“Memorial Cancer Institute is there with the patient in their fight against this disease. No patient is alone on their journey. Memorial has put a lot of resources into the cancer institute to provide those services for the patient. It’s my passion to get that message out,” Rachel says.