WASHINGTON, DC — Finn Partners is joining forces with OffScrip Health, a digital health media platform focused on patient engagement, health equity and access to care, for a new campaign and documentary series around the challenges Americans face in rural areas.

The agency will act as pro bono agency of record for the Heartbreak in America’s Heartland – Crisis in Rural America’ campaign, which includes a multi-part documentary series produced by OffScrip Health and presented on OffScrip’s podcast. The campaign is intended to raise awareness, spark conversations, promote solutions and highlight the work of communities, leaders in business and health, and policymakers.

OffScrip and Finn Partners will collaborate to enlist a coalition of companies, academic institutions, and nonprofits to participate in the initiative.

Some 46 million Americans live in rural communities, but many live hours away from basic care, emergency services, and specialist providers. People in rural areas have higher rates of smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, mental illness, and poor end-of-life care than residents of urban and suburban areas. The challenges faced by rural Americans also include the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods, access to clean water and broadband technology, and sparse educational resources.

Matthew Zachary, OffScrip Health co-founder and executive producer of the podcast, said: “Living in the heartland has become increasingly difficult for Americans, and with this unprecedented narrative podcast documentary, we will present noted policy, community, and industry leaders working to change this reality.

“The Finn collaborative spirit and readiness to work with like-minded partners to make a measurable difference made it clear with whom we should partner to address this significant American challenge, which needs many allies to succeed. We and Finn urge all those who want to make a difference to join this much-needed effort.”

Finn Partners founding partner and CEO Peter Finn added: “These challenges to rural Americans cause suffering, which drives despair and feeds discord. Dialogue that elevates awareness of people’s difficulties is an important step in providing a remedy, and communication is the first step in providing viable solutions."

It is not Finn’s first foray into tackling big social issues in the US – at PRovoke Global last month, he spoke about the Catskill Mountain Foundation, the arts-focused non-profit he set up in Hunter, New York State in 1998.

Launching this latest initiative, Finn said: "I have been a long-time resident of Hunter, one of the far too many rural communities struggling in Upstate New York. The town was economically depressed and quickly deteriorating, but rather than abandon Hunter and shut our eyes to what was happening, we chose to get involved by raising awareness and engaging partners through the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

“Today, Hunter’s streets are lined with inns, restaurants, antique shops, and art galleries. Visitors come to enjoy the fall foliage, hike and ski. We know that raising awareness to activate people will make a difference throughout the nation.”

Finn said the example of Hunter and other ‘living laboratories’ proved how creativity, collaboration, communication and caring can shift events and could lead to a national conversation on the challenges rural Americans face.