“City of the Damned.” That’s the magazine headline that greeted Jill McDonald
Halsey when she arrived as the new Chief Marketing & Communication Officer
for Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The city of Lawrence
had been dealing with a variety of challenges, including the pervading perception of a city in decline, with rising crime rates and underperforming schools in receivership by the state. Located in the city, Lawrence General serves one of the the poorest communities in the state, with a median annual household income
By contrast, the city is bordered by more affluent North Shore suburbs with a greater
number of commercially insured patients, many of whom wouldn’t think of obtaining their health care in Lawrence.