Language

our voice

kids first, always

Our focus has never wavered – kids come first and they always will. It’s not just a statement, it’s a statement of being. In every decision we make, in every sentence we write, in every conversation we have, the child should always come first. Lead with the benefit to the child and you can never go wrong. Remember, our specialty is kids.

  • DO: Dayton Children’s is transforming pediatric health care from the inside out, by building care spaces that better serve our children.
  • DON’T: Dayton Children’s is building a new building to be the best hospital in the country.

keep it simple

We know how to talk to kids, so keep it at that level. Write like you talk. Avoid medical jargon, when possible. If not, always explain what that big, technical, Latin word means. Keep sentences short and use small words. Avoid acronyms – they make it harder for the listener or reader to understand and hear your message. Use analogies to concepts kids and their parents would understand to explain procedures.

  • DO: Something in your body is not working quite right and it’s making your brain do funny things. Technically it’s called encephalopathy. To find out what is causing this, we are going to do some tests with special machines that look inside your body – just like how Superman can see through walls.
  • DON’T: You have encephalopathy but to confirm the root cause we need to run some labs – do an MRI through the supracellar cistern to see if the abnormality is a BBB or a BBT.

make it personal

We treat each child as if they were the only child. We treat each child as if they were our own. Make that connection in each interaction. Engage the child directly, not just through Mom and Dad. Wrap your care around the whole family, as well. Use first person when writing about the hospital. Don’t be afraid to give your heart.

  • DO: When Margaret Ford arrived here, after traveling halfway around the world, we greeted her with hugs, an American Girl doll dressed in an outfit that matched Margaret’s, a Lego gift for her brother and a personal escort to take her family to each care area.
  • DON’T: When a kidney patient arrived at the hospital from overseas, she went to urology and the lab.

what’s in a name? a lot.

Get our name right – every time. Correct others if they do not get it right. We are not Children’s Hospital, Children’s Medical Center, CMC or DCH. We are not just any children’s hospital. We are Dayton Children’s Hospital (on first reference) or Dayton Children’s (on subsequent references).

Do not use acronyms when referring to Dayton Children’s – ever. Correct and consistent use of our name reinforces our Brand, builds a strong reputation and ensures distinction among competitors.

  • DO: I work at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Let me transfer you to Dayton Children’s cardiology department. Property of Dayton Children’s Hospital.
  • DON’T: I work at the children’s hospital. Let me send you to the DCH cardiology department. Property of CMC.

look on the bright side

The world is filled with enough negativity. Parents may be dealing with the worst experience of their lives when they come to us. They need assurance that we are their partners.

We will be honest, but reassuring. Turn every sentence upside down to make it as positive as it can be. Sometimes we will have to give bad news in which there is no silver lining. However, for the most part, children are resilient and will recover. We need to encourage parents and children, never blaming.

  • DO: With a few tweaks to your child’s diet and a little more running around outside, he or she will feel much better.
  • DON’T: Childhood obesity can kill your child or leave them with devastating health conditions that destroy their quality of life – what are you feeding them?

make it fun

We are a children’s hospital. There is no better excuse to inject fun and whimsy into every day. Explain things the way you would to a child – using analogies that make sense to them. Think of clever ways to say things in headlines and copy. As long as your meaning stays clear, have a little fun with your words.

  • DO: Ninjas rock! Martial arts are kicking physical therapy up a notch.
  • DON’T: Dayton Children’s has a new therapy program that includes martial arts.

tell our story

We believe that there is always a story to tell of how we transformed care, how we lived our values or how we impacted the community. Our stories are people-focused, authentic and inspiring. They highlight the little things that make a big difference and use compelling pictures to connect on an emotional level with the audience. Use our patients in photography, whenever possible. Avoid stock images and clip art. We don’t want to just change minds, we want to change hearts.

  • DO: You will never see 17-year-old Elizabeth Romer without the right accessory for her outfit. Her collection of fashion boots would put a shoe store to shame. But as with everything in her life, Elizabeth has learned to make the most of what she has, while accommodating a struggle born in her genes. She has Soto syndrome – a rare genetic disorder causing excessive physical growth in the first years of life. Working with genetics and developmental pediatrics, Elizabeth has worked hard to make her life what she wants it to be, instead of feeling limited. That is why Elizabeth wears boots – high heels don’t fit her feet. But she doesn’t give up her love of fashion, she simply channels it down an avenue that works for her.
  • DON’T: Dayton Children’s genetics and developmental pediatrics programs help many children lead fuller lives.

be humble

It is an honor and a privilege to serve our children and our community. We should never forget we are entrusted with a precious gift when a family brings their child to us. We take pride in the service we do, but are not boastful. The lower case letters of our name in the logo represent our humility.

  • DO: While our pediatric experts are nationally recognized, it’s our specialty in caring for kids locally that truly sets us apart. We are committed to the health and well-being of the children in our community.
  • DON’T: We treat all children better than anyone else can.

harness the power of partnerships

We may be small, but together our community can move mountains, change perceptions and transform care. Commit to collaboration and community. Be the best partner you can be and a great neighbor. Recognize that we are all in this together and we need to communicate and serve each other’s needs. Develop and support community education and service that goes above and beyond what’s expected.

  • DO: Dayton Children’s teams with Dayton Public Schools and Public Health, Dayton and Montgomery County and a number of community health organizations to form the Dayton Asthma Alliance – working together to provide a child dealing with asthma the very best environment they can have.
  • DON’T: Dayton Children’s is single handedly eradicating asthma.