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Special Project

Special Project
From the 3rd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Creating a Global Healthcare Movement

Entered in Public Health


In April 2018, Cura and the Vatican's Pontifical Counsel held its biennial conference, Unite to Cure, in The Vatican. Pope Francis personally attended and offered a historic address to attendees, which included over 350 influential figures in health, medicine, entertainment, nutrition, faith, philanthropy and government from around the world, as well as patients and their families. The three-day conference had an ambitious mission: To rally the world to prevent, treat and cure diseases. With the emergence of new medical discoveries and technologies – cell therapies, gene therapies, immunotherapies, big data and human-embedded technologies ̶ the medical field is changing overnight. Society needs to catalyze these discoveries, understand their impact on culture, and prepare for the future. Overall, Cura wants all people, regardless of faith, background or differences, to respect each other's views and work together to have a transformative, therapeutic impact for anyone suffering from disease or pain.

For 2018, The Cura Foundation aspired to create a global event that could stand alongside Davos or SXSW as one of the most high-profile, thought Leadership events in the world.

Cell therapies, gene therapies and immunotherapies, however, can be hard to understand for those not hailing from scientific backgrounds, so Cura's ambition was to create an event that cut through scientific nomenclature and resonated with consumers all over the world. Finally, the Foundation wanted to articulate a powerful idea: That science and faith are not in opposition, but rather, could inspire one another to create a seismic global movement.

Strategy and Execution

In order to distill complex science into language everyone could understand, Cura recruited Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Meredith Vieira and Dr. Max Gomez to serve as journalist moderators; and then, in order to attract a global audience, recruited Katy Perry, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Francis Collins, Peter Gabriel, Jack Nicklaus and other VIPs to participate in the event and share their own visions for the future of healthcare. However, Cura faced an extraordinary challenge in regard to external communications and turned to its PR agency, Allison+Partners, to help create a solution. Specifically, The Vatican does not allow live TV broadcasts or live streaming from within the Vatican amphitheater. And thus, Cura could not avail itself of traditional avenues for event story-telling.

To overcome this obstacle, Cura and A+P created a stunning on-site activation: The Unite to Cure Interview Room. Specifically, as VIP speakers exited the Vatican stage and panel area, they were whisked into this room, where Meredith Vieira or Dr. Max Gomez conducted an on-the-spot interview. A+P's video and digital teams would then edit the content on-the-spot and push it out on social minutes later, creating a video story-telling engine that captured the inspirational stories from within The Vatican while adhering to protocols. Select content was also aligned to appear on the social channels of Katy Perry, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and other Influencers. The result was an event that unfolded like a TV show over three days, wherein consumers from all over the world shared the Unite To Cure videos – over 60 of them in total – and discussed the rise of this new field of medicine on their social platforms.

In order to catalyze a grassroots patient movement and appeal to a broader audience, Cura and A+P also crowd-sourced a social media contest called "Stories of Hope" in advance of the event itself, where consumers could upload their own story of hope and win a chance to attend the event in person. The winning family, The Wilkey's from NJ, appeared live on the Dr. Oz show with Dr. Robin Smith to share their excitement with the entire world. Finally, to ensure that the news coverage flowing out of the event highlighted this emerging new category of medicine, A+P hand-selected a small collection of healthcare journalists to embed in the event for the entire conference, including reporters from Newsweek, The Telegraph and The New Scientist.


Unite to Cure reached more than 3 billion people around the world and changed perceptions around the new field of regenerative medicine. The conference shattered the stigma that science and faith are opposed to one another, and showed that people from all different faiths and backgrounds can collaborate in the development of breakthrough cures.

Results snapshot:


Video for Creating a Global Healthcare Movement

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Cura Foundation (with Allison+Partners)


Entry Credits