Office of Communications
The Office of Communications is the official source of news and information at the Miller School of Medicine. The office serves as a resource for the media and for medical school faculty, staff and administrators. In addition, the office produces three periodicals to keep its many audiences informed: University of Miami Medicine (published three times a year), MED faculty and staff online newsletter (published the first Tuesday of every month), and e-Update online news service (published weekly).
A Resource for Media
Our office is available 24 hours a day, every day, to respond to inquiries from the media. Our media relations staff responds rapidly to media requests, and we encourage you to call our office if you have any questions about the Miller School, our faculty, research or hospitals. We can help put you in direct contact with a wide variety of experts in numerous medical specialties.
Contact Us: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time
A resource for the news media and the general public, as well as for faculty and staff, the Office of Communications is the official source of general information, media relations, publications and other communications for the Miller School.
Associate Vice President for Communications
Christine Morris joined the Miller School as executive director of media relations in September 2001. She worked in the newsroom of The Miami Herald for 19 years, in a number of editing positions and most recently as medical writer. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science, she worked as a reporter and editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. Her responsibilities include coordinating all communications for the Miller School and University of Miami Health System, including basic science departments, clinical departments, centers, institutes, and hospitals. Areas of concentration and expertise include media relations, employee communications, publications, development communications, speechwriting, issues management and crisis communications.
Asst. Vice President of Medical Communications
Lisa joined UM in 2007 after working 18 years in television news, primarily at CBS4 in Miami. She leads and coordinates all media relations and external communications for the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, managing related social media and various other available communication channels. Among her areas of concentration are neurology and cardiology. A Fort Lauderdale native, Lisa is a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Communication Studies.
Director of Media Relations
Jennifer Smith is the Director of Media Relations for UHealth – University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine. She develops external communication plans and manages media opportunities for UHealth, focusing on the Departments of Otolaryngology, Sports Medicine and Pediatrics. She has more than 15 years of experience in communications, including public relations and crisis communication. She is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America and has been a board member of PRSA Greater Fort Lauderdale since 2012, including acting as the chapter’s president in 2014. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she received her Masters of Mass Communications.
Director of Media Relations, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Patrick is responsible for traditional and social media, as the main media contact for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition, he develops multi-platform content focused on cancer care and oncology research for Sylvester’s communications channels. Before joining Sylvester, Patrick was manager of communications at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and worked for global PR agencies in the pharmaceutical field. He earned an M.A. degree in political science from the University of Munich, Germany.
Kai Hill is a Communications Manager for UHealth and the Miller School of Medicine’s Office of Medical Communications. In this role she is responsible for managing some of the department’s day-to-day operations, writing and producing engaging content for the weekly online newsletter, as well as gaining local and national media coverage for patient-centered health stories and groundbreaking medical research. A former Sun-Sentinel reporter, her media experience spans 18 years and encompasses media relations, print journalism, features writing and online media production. In addition to newspaper reporting, she spent several years covering international disasters, global health initiatives and development projects for a Catholic-based international humanitarian agency. Prior to joining UM, she also worked as a local arts writer for Artburst Miami and a media relations specialist at Miami Dade College. She earned her B.S. in communications and is a candidate for her M.A. in International Studies at Morgan State University.
Robert S. Benchley
Bob Benchley joined the Miller School of Medicine after 10 years as Editorial Director at the University of Miami School of Business Administration and a project editing stint at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. He entered university communications following an extensive career in custom publishing, with health care clients that included the American Lung Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in three states, Johnson & Johnson, the Lahey Clinic, the Massachusetts Hospital Association and Whitehall Laboratories. He has degrees in magazine journalism and American studies from Syracuse University.
Diabetes Research Institute
Mitra Zehtab, M.D., M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer
Mitra Zehtab has more than 20 years experience in communications, including teaching, print reporting, marketing communications, and technical writing. At UM, she served as director of media relations for the medical school before working at the Diabetes Research Institute as director of communications. A Cornell graduate, Zehtab has a strong track record of local, national, and international placements across many media outlets and currently oversees strategic communications for the Diabetes Research Institute. Her areas of expertise include cellular therapies, diabetes, tissue engineering, cellular transplantation and stem cells.
Phone: 305-243-9537 or 305-243-5376
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Director of Communications
Scott Roy is the director of communications for Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world’s largest spinal cord injury research center. He majored in public relations and political science at the University of Miami and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. Before joining The Miami Project he spent time with public relations firms Burson-Marsteller and Pearson-McGuire Associates in Miami. Scott handles the day-to-day public relations duties for The Miami Project and the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project.
Campus Access: Please note that a member of the media relations staff must escort all reporters, photographers and video crews on the medical campus at all times. Please contact us at 305-243-3249 to arrange access to University property.
A Resource for Faculty and Staff
The Office of Communications works closely with faculty, staff, and administrators to communicate the latest news about research innovations, clinical developments, and educational advances at the Miller School. Our dedicated and industrious staff provides guidance and expertise in media relations, publications, marketing and advertising for all basic science and clinical departments, centers of excellence, institutes and administrative units.