WASHINGTON — The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has hired Fors Marsh Group to serve as its lead communications agency, ending a roughly 20-year relationship with Ogilvy.

FMG won the three-year, $4 million contract through an RFP process that started early this year. Ogilvy was precluded from pursuing the work, as NINDS earmarked the contract for a small business.

The contract calls on FMG to guide NINDS’s overarching communications strategy, which includes developing messages and materials for a wide range of audiences and helping NINDS senior staff navigate complex issues and crises. FMG also is responsible for ensuring that NINDS’s messages and strategies in the areas of stroke, brain health, and neurological disorders are rooted in science.

Additionally, the firm is charged with amplifying NINDS’s messages about the links between hypertension, stroke, dementia, and the risks of each to millions of people.

“We will do this important work in close collaboration with NINDS, who above all, requires a reliable partnership to help it carry out the large mission of shedding light on and sharing hope about advances in neurological treatments nationwide,” said Frances Heilig, FMG's VP of health communication research, strategy, and outreach. 

Ogilvy declined comment.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, NINDS’ mission is to reduce neurological disease through knowledge. The organization is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. A 20-year-old stroke awareness campaign is among NINDS's hallmark public-facing efforts.