Staff Profile: Scotland Huber, MS, Chief Communications Officer

Scotland Huber, MS.

'Take our agendas and stories to new audiences in a creative fashion'

Scotland Huber, MS, joined JHF in April 2018 as a marketing and community engagement specialist and became chief communications officer in February. He previously served as the director of communications for Boston's Codman Square Health Center, where he worked for seven years.

Mr. Huber earned a BA in philosophy from Gordon College in Massachusetts, including an academic year studying at Oxford University, and an MS in health communication from Boston University. In between his undergraduate and graduate degrees, he also spent a year at photography school full-time, learning the craft that would shape his visual aesthetic.

"I didn't realize it at the time, but studying philosophy set me up perfectly for a career in communications. There really isn't a discipline more concerned with critical thinking and seeing a problem from all sides, both skills that I use endlessly to craft effective communications."

In addition to leading the communications team at JHF, Mr. Huber also directs the Feinstein Fellowships and assists with the management of the Health Activist Network.

His domestic life is busy as well, with two young daughters to manage: Madeleine, 2, and Penelope, who was born in January. He and his spouse, Andreá, live in Bellevue.

You've got a degree in philosophy, you're a professional photographer and a music lover – so what attracted you to the field of health care?

I took a backdoor into a healthcare career. During my undergraduate years, I was drawn to community development work and issues of social justice, and after graduating I took a year to serve in AmeriCorps. I worked alongside Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Boston and fell in love with their neighborhood-based, collaborative approach to social issues and development.

I quickly realized, if I wanted to fight injustice, racism, hunger, and poverty, it was going to be in the sphere of health care.Since jumping head first into health communications, I've seen how critical health literacy and storytelling is to effectively make an impact and have loved the challenge of the work.

Did that prepare you well for work at a foundation that promotes health activism?

My time working at the FQHC taught me the value of collaboration and innovative thinking. They were constantly strapped for resources, but building partnerships and communicating the right message allowed our FQHC to do some incredible, nationally recognized work.

It was the perfect precursor to my time at JHF. It showed me the frontlines of the type of creative work that JHF has been a part of creating for its almost three decades.

What is the story of JHF that you want to tell? Are there new audiences to reach?

JHF is one of the most dynamic organizations for its size, with decades of work advocating for a more innovative and just healthcare system. With the changing communication landscape, I'd love us to explore new channels and technology to reach our audiences.

We've already begun to update some of our platforms, and we're looking at continuing to make our communications more visual and interactive. I hope to take our agendas and the stories of our work in a creative fashion to the audiences we want to hear them.

With two little kids at home, and a bigger day job, how do you manage the time? What had to give?

Knowing how to balance responsibilities in this stage of life with two young children is an ongoing process. I try to be fully present wherever I am. Turning off my phone or email when possible, and really giving the time that I have at home to my spouse and kids. We're still very new to Pittsburgh and our community and look for ways to engage there as well.

The biggest shift the past couple years has been with my professional photography. One of my loves is photography, it helps me relax and find beauty in the world, but since our relocation to Pittsburgh it has taken the necessary backseat.

And you're a native of the Philadelphia area. Did you even think that Pittsburgh was in the same state as you? How does it feel to be out West?

Growing up around Philadelphia, I noticed a collective arrogance about there being only one "real city" in the Commonwealth, and I definitely bought into that without much thought. It wasn't until my sister came out here for her degree at Duquesne that I came to appreciate and enjoy Pittsburgh.

Over the years of visiting my spouse's family here, I've come to love Pittsburgh and, now living here, it's amazing how quickly it has started to feel like home. 

This is the first in an ongoing JHF News Feature: Profiles of Staff Members

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