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WesternU hires first Chief Communications Officer

by Rodney Tanaka

March 27, 2020

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WesternU Chief Communications Officer Barbara O'Malley, MBA
WesternU Chief Communications Officer Barbara O’Malley, MBA

Western University of Health Sciences has appointed Barbara O’Malley, MBA, as its first Chief Communications Officer (CCO) to lead its brand building, website strategy and digital marketing as the University continues to grow.

The CCO is charged with building and managing a high-performing marketing and communications team equipped to meet the needs of a truly unique, diverse and growing university – brand building, website strategy, advertising, social media, and digital marketing. In addition to leading the marketing and communications team, the CCO will provide strategic direction and partner with academic and administrative units to coordinate marketing and communications initiatives.

“It’s a great honor to serve WesternU and support its noble mission here in California and in Oregon,” O’Malley said. “Our work in the health sciences with its focus on scientific excellence and a humanistic approach to health care is needed now more than ever, and I’m looking forward to building awareness of WesternU on a regional, national and international level.”

O’Malley starts April 1, 2020 amid unique circumstances. WesternU’s Pomona, California and Lebanon, Oregon campuses are conducting online courses for its students and most employees are working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we continue through these challenging times, working and studying from our homes, it’s important to keep our eye on the end goal – the success of our graduates. They are the ones that will change the world for the better and find new and innovative solutions to health care issues,” O’Malley said. “One of my first objectives will be to ensure I’m doing everything I can to ensure access to WesternU’s unique approach to the health sciences for potential students around the globe.”

O’Malley has been working as a strategic communications and marketing consultant and practitioner in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors for more than 20 years. She has spent more than 10 years in public and private higher education institutions working with leaders to reimagine and redesign marketing communication units to adapt to changing technologies, industries, markets and consumer preferences – leading to sustainable futures. She has also served as Interim Director of Admissions and as an adjunct faculty member in the Black Hills State University School of Business.

O’Malley holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado and a BS in communications and journalism from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. She is currently enrolled in Vanderbilt University’s online doctoral program in “Leadership and Learning in Organizations” with an expected graduation date in 2021.

“The University is fortunate to have Barbara O’Malley bring her broad and deep range of expertise in communications,” said WesternU President Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD. “This she has hard-won in a career that spans both the corporate and academic worlds in which she, among many other attainments, has substantial talent in all things digital.”


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