Style and substance: The CSA’s new “brand”

  • Sibert, Karen, MD, FASA
| Oct 01, 2012

We hope that you’ve had a chance to note the new look of the CSA website, with the updated seal and the new tagline, “Physicians for Vital Times”. 

The new CSA seal, simple as it appears, was the product of months of consideration, discussion and ideas. First, we had to decide if we wanted to update the seal or perhaps move to a different type of logo altogether. The consensus, from senior CSA officers to residents, was that a seal has a certain “gravitas” and historical significance that is worth preserving. So the circular seal was modified, with more contemporary lettering and a streamlined design.

Next, we had to consider what to place in the center of the seal. As fond as many of us were of the California brown bear in our old logo, we wanted a central emblem with a medical connotation. To honor our relationship as a component society with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, we decided to incorporate the EKG trace that is part of the ASA’s logo, nestling it within the CSA monogram. We looked at different color combinations and shadings, finally arriving at a mix of blues that looks crisp and clean on its own, and reproduces well in black and white too.

Lastly, we aspired to do something new: develop a tagline that would summarize in just a few words what the CSA represents. We wanted to emphasize that anesthesiologists are physicians. Many of us wanted to highlight our role in guarding patient safety through the perioperative period. After many suggestions and a great deal of discussion, we agreed upon “Physicians for Vital Times”. We felt that this tagline crystallizes the concept that anesthesiologists are physicians who care for and safeguard our patients through some of the most critical times in their lives.

Now that we’ve completed this “rebranding” of the CSA, what use will we make of it?

For years, the Committee on Professional and Public Communication (CPPC) has championed the idea of doing more with public relations to improve awareness of the important work done by California anesthesiologists. Unfortunately, since Governor Schwarzenegger signed his “opt-out” letter in 2009, allowing California nurse anesthetists to practice without physician supervision, a great deal of CSA money and energy had to be allocated to legal appeals which ultimately did not succeed. This left little means to undertake other initiatives.

Now, however, we feel that the time has come to work with the court of public opinion to educate Californians about why anesthesiologists are important to everyone. There are several different target audiences we want to reach. 

First, of course, we want patients and their families to recognize that anesthesiologists are physicians with special training to take care of their anesthesia and perioperative needs. We’re the physicians who take care of children in the OR when their pediatricians can’t be there; we diagnose and treat elderly patients’ perioperative medical problems; we treat pain during labor and after surgery; we direct intensive care unit treatment.

Second, we need to cultivate strong relationships with California hospital administrators, surgeons, and physicians of all types who perform invasive procedures and are involved with the decisions about what type of anesthesia care is required. As the health care landscape becomes more competitive, we need to demonstrate the value that physician anesthesiology adds. When administrators consider new contracts, we want to make sure they understand that cheaper isn’t necessarily better, and that anesthesiologists are their best friends in assuring quality care.

Finally, we must continue strong advocacy with legislators at all levels of California government to make sure that future scope of practice decisions are made with anesthesiologists at the table. To do less is to cede the battle to less educated mid-level practitioners, and fail to safeguard our profession for future generations of anesthesiologists.

You’ll be seeing the new CSA “brand” on future emails, all our printed materials, and in the new color version of the quarterly Bulletin that will be out soon. We’ll keep you posted with further updates as we develop the CSA’s future public relations initiatives. 

Stay tuned!

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