New executive director starts at Onondaga County Medical Society

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Julie Panna

SYRACUSE — Julie Panna has been working in public relations for more than two decades and has brought that experience to her new role as executive director of the Onondaga County Medical Society (OCMS). 

Panna says she started her new position on Dec. 13. She also noted that she most recently handled freelance or contract work as a strategic communications and public-affairs consultant.

Panna succeeded Erika Berry in the role, OCMS tells CNYBJ. 

“I am thrilled to be working with OCMS on the critical public health issues affecting our physicians in Onondaga County, and their capacity to provide high quality care to their patients,” Panna said in an OCMS news release. “The medical community is stretched right now, OCMS is here to advocate for physicians and their patients at the local, state and to an extent the national level to address issues.” 

In her new role as executive director, Panna wants to grow the OCMS membership; “highlight the important community actions undertaken by OCMS physicians;” and educate lawmakers about issues that affect physicians and patient care in Onondaga County, per the release. 

“We are beyond pleased to welcome Julie to the organization, her background in public affairs advocacy, communications and business leadership makes her an exceptional choice for this position and we are very lucky to have her on board,” Dr. Robert Dracker, president of OCMS, said. 

About Panna

Panna has more than 20 years of experience working as a public-relations executive specializing in crisis communications, public affairs, and stakeholder relationships. 

While in Washington, D.C., she provided technical communications, marketing, and public-affairs strategy to the U.S. Department of Transportation, OCMS said. 

Panna also worked as a VP at FD Dittus Communications, a public-affairs agency, per her LinkedIn page. 

Panna also served as national field director at Growth Options for the 21st Century, a communications specialist at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and press secretary at the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, OCMS said. 

After moving back to upstate New York while her children were babies, she opened the children’s boutique My Three Boys. She also went on to work as a director at Rochester–based Tipping Point Communications. 

In addition, Panna has a background in radio news and television public-affairs reporting and producing.

Panna earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College in Boston.





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