NEW YORK – PRSA’s Multicultural Communications Section will be hosting a complimentary ” Crisis Communications in a Multicultural Age” conference call June 17 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET.  prsa-2009-logo

Attendees will hear from a multicultural communications practitioner and an ethnic media expert who will share their expertise on lessons learned from the most recent health crisis, H1N1 (swine influenza), a crisis that impacted U.S. multicultural communities and international borders like few before it.   The one-hour “brown bag” session is free to PRSA Multicultural Section members and is limited to the first 25 registrants at  Below is the information about the moderator and speakers.


Edna Z. Ruano, vice president of Communications, New America Alliance (NAA), PRSA 2009 Multicultural Communications Section chair, is an accomplished corporate communicator with a 12-year career in corporate America and the nonprofit sector. In addition to her communication responsibilities at the New America Alliance, she recently completed an assignment in Washington, D.C., to increase NAA’s visibility and relationships with elected officials, key influencers and policymakers. Previously at Southwest Airlines, she developed and led the first multicultural public relations efforts and infrastructure to increase the visibility of the brand and its relevance to Hispanic consumers, along with growing its presence among African-American and Asian audiences.

Arleen Porcell-Pharr, MS, APR, p ublic affairs specialist, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, has worked as a public affairs specialist in the Division of Media Relations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2006. In her role, Porcell-Pharr provides counsel to centers across the agency in a wide range of areas, including parasitic and waterborne diseases (such as malaria and Chagas), immunizations, vaccines and vaccine safety, and risk and pandemic influenza communications. She also handles Hispanic media relations. During her more than two decades of experience in the public relations and marketing fields, Porcell-Pharr has worked for a diverse number of organizations, including Delta Air Lines, Honeywell, Samsung Electronics and the U.S. Army. She holds a master’s degree in public relations from Florida International University, and is Accredited in Public Relations by PRSA. She also is a graduate of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Information School. A native of P u erto Rico, Porcell-Pharr is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish, and can also speak basic Portuguese.

Alexandra “Sandy” Close, executive editor & director, New America Media and founder of Pacific News Service, launched New California Media in 1996 to unite ethnic and youth media outlets under one news service, giving them far greater reach and economic viability. Ethnic media are the primary source of news for more than half of California’s new ethnic majority. In boosting the visibility of this sector of American journalism, Close hoped to build an inclusive public discourse and to connect lesser known or marginalized ethnic news and youth media to decision makers in government, business, foundations and academia. The organization expanded to include 2000 outlets across the country and was renamed New American Media. The resources provided by New American Media include a newswire streaming the work of its own writers and editors; an ethnic media association; a marketing service to provide greater access to advertising dollars; and a multilingual polling program to gauge the views of non-English speaking; and ethnic minority populations normally excluded from mainstream public opinion surveys.

For questions, please contact Will Titus via e-mail ( or by phone at (212) 460-1421.

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