Author:Rudy Ruiz

NYU Langone Health and Interlex Team Up in COVID Era

NYU Langone Health, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers, is teaming with Interlex on a variety of Covid-related campaigns. NYU Langone Health comprises the NYU School of Medicine, six New York City hospitals, and over thirty ambulatory facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

Interlex is initially charged with developing campaigns that tackle two issues exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic: opioid addiction and food insecurity.

In the area of opioid addiction, Interlex is working closely with the NYU Langone team to develop branding, a communications strategy, and a targeted social media campaign to raise awareness of – and enrollment in – a virtual clinic offering free telemedicine-driven opioid addiction treatment and recovery services to its patients. The virtual clinic has proven essential to meeting the needs of this patient group during the pandemic, providing a safe alternative to in-person appointments and waiting rooms where social distancing is difficult to accomplish.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery of patient care, skyrocketing unemployment has also led to heightened food insecurity. To help address this urgent issue in the New York area, Interlex is supporting the communications efforts of the NYU Langone Table Food Pantry. The Table Food Pantry provides free food, nutrition education, workshops, recipes, and meal preparation tips in English, Mandarin, and Spanish. Food pantry participants are connected to a continuum of services, including SNAP and other benefits to ensure long-term food security, health, stability and self-sufficiency. During the pandemic, demand for the Table Food Pantry’s services has increased dramatically, creating a need for additional fundraising and volunteers. The campaign will focus on connecting more affluent residents and businesses in the area to the Table Food Pantry, encouraging neighbors to help neighbors in need.

Seattle Addressing COVID-19 Impact on Multicultural Communities

Public Health – Seattle & King County, the public health department for Seattle and its surrounding areas, has partnered with Interlex to enhance communications with multicultural groups in the region, including Latino and African American communities.

King County and Washington state were among the first areas in the United States impacted by the coronavirus. Since then, they have also been lauded for establishing best practices in containment and mitigation of the crisis.

“Our clients wish to ensure that nobody is left behind as they battle the coronavirus. While messages about staying home and maintaining social distancing apply to many people, there are a disproportionate number of Latinos and African Americans who simply cannot stay at home because they are deemed essential workers or they cannot maintain social distancing because they live in multigenerational households and come home from work to serve as caregivers to both their children and their elders,” said Interlex CEO Rudy Ruiz.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is building on insights from quantitative research as well as from a committee comprised of multicultural community leaders to inform how messages and recommendations can be adapted to better resonate with diverse communities to motivate them towards the healthiest and safest behaviors possible.

In addition to support from Interlex, which has pledged to contribute in-house creative and strategic services on a pro bono basis, Public Health – Seattle & King County counts on the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in its fight to save lives from COVID-19.

To view samples from the Seattle King County Public Health campaign click here.

Fighting Racism: What should corporations do?

By Rudy Ruiz
Systemic racism is a reality African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities have been aware of for generations, feeling the very real effects on a daily basis in a myriad of ways: police brutality, criminal injustice, health disparities, job and financial discrimination, income inequality, educational attainment gaps. The list goes on. That’s the idea of “systemic.” The whole system was set up to put certain groups at a perpetual disadvantage. The question now is how to do we change it?
If it was one small organization maybe you could dismantle it and start over. Reboot the system. But how do you overhaul a whole nation and all of its industries? The task is daunting and that’s why the public attention span has usually been too short to sustain a prolonged movement for change. Most people want change, but most of those people are not in charge of the levers of capital and power.
What is needed is a broad and sustained effort backed by Corporate America. Change will have to be achieved on many fronts and levels: governmental, corporate and individual, as well as structural and behavioral. No one entity can accomplish this tall order alone, but all corporations – large and small – should pitch in and contribute, both as part of their corporate social responsibility as well as for the ultimate wellbeing of their customers, employees and shareholders.
What can a company do?
1) Start from within. Look at what your brand stands for and what you provide your customers. Talk to your employees. Convene them, not just those of color, all of them together. For a long time, people of color have talked about these issues in relative isolation, but today presents a window of opportunity to engage in a more diverse conversation about diversity itself and about how diversity is essential to eliminating racism.
2) With input from employees and shareholders, pick an issue to focus on for the long term. There’s a plethora of problems areas to tackle. It’s logical to focus on a subject that aligns with your industry, the products or services you offer, your geographic focus (if any), but it should also be a goal that your internal stakeholders can embrace and champion passionately.
3) Invest strategically in making a positive impact over time. Fighting systemic racism – or any major challenge for that matter – requires more than a feel-good TV spot or viral video. It takes deep thought and heavy lifting. It requires commitment and perseverance. Companies should be as committed to this effort as they are to product development and profitability. They should work with internal and external experts to build branded initiatives laser-focused on specific goals with clear metrics. For example, at Interlex we have helped United Healthcare and AARP educate multicultural seniors about Medicare. We’ve also supported Tracfone Wireless in bridging the digital divide. And, we positioned American Express as a partner for minority- and women-owned businesses in expanding their access to financing, capital and government contracting opportunities. What sets these initiatives apart from many of the anti-racism campaigns currently in the marketplace is that they are deeply rooted capacity-building initiatives designed to grow into movements and help overcome structural and behavioral obstacles that are a key element of systemic racism. Combining programmatic substance, culturally relevant content, and community-based partnerships, corporate initiatives can help solve complex race-related problems and disparities, altering both entrenched structures and engrained behaviors.
4) Companies must place a value on their contributions to fighting racism. Why? Because, in corporate America it is difficult to sustain any effort without some form of ROI. Leaders must agree fighting racism is not just a responsibility or goodwill lip service. It is essential to the long-term growth and survival of our society and economy and therefore it is key to maximizing the long-term potential profits of your company. Put a value on it. Agree on metrics. And execute.
5) Share your story. I’ve been surprised how many hidden gems exist within Corporate America, stories where leaders and their teams have stepped up and are contributing to the fight against systemic racism and its insidious effects. However, all too often, companies don’t do enough to share their success stories with the broader public. Perhaps this is because there is typically barely enough budget to conduct the initiatives, let alone trumpet their achievements. But sharing these stories is vital to leading by example and encouraging others to follow in your company’s footsteps. If you do place a value on fighting racism, then sharing your success will make sense as your brand benefits from the halo effect via brand loyalty and consumer engagement. When you’ve generated some results, that’s when the powerful TV spot should definitely roll out.
Finally, as you embark on this important mission, promise yourself and your stakeholders that you won’t give up. Don’t start and stop. All minority communities have been burned in the past by well-intentioned but short-lived efforts. Transforming a vision of change into a new reality takes enduring commitment. What better goal could you commit to than ending racism while growing your business with a conscience?


For the health and safety of its team members and their families during the current public health crisis, Interlex transitioned to telecommuting in all three of its offices in San Antonio, New York and San Francisco prior to this becoming the new norm via city mandates.
“Our top priority is the health of our team, our families and our communities, “ Interlex CEO Rudy Ruiz said. “Fortunately, like most technology-driven companies, we were already set up to transition seamlessly to a work-from-home model until the cities we live and work in are ready to end social distancing, reopen and resume regular activities.”
Given the agency’s deep experience in public health, Interlex is actively working with a number of clients and partners – including various public health organizations – to help address the complex and urgent communication needs precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to our focus on advocacy marketing, many of our clients provide vital services to some of the populations that are most at-risk for – and hardest hit by – the coronavirus,” Ruiz added. “For those clients it’s top priority to stay connected to their customers and ensure they have access to the information and resources they need to safeguard their health.”
To that end, the Interlex team has been working overtime to transform UnitedHealthcare’s numerous live educational events nationwide into engaging online experiences for multicultural seniors. The agency is also supporting Spanish-Language communications regarding COVID-19 for the nation’s largest health insurer.
Interlex is also guiding and supporting SafeLink Wireless’ ongoing outreach to low-income families as well as to the millions of households who have lost income as a result of the pandemic, thus becoming eligible for the federally funded Lifeline program.
“Our clients are acutely aware that this is a very difficult time for a great number of people, from those who have lost loved ones to those who are isolated and fearing for their own wellbeing, from those who have lost jobs to those struggling to keep food on the table and stay connected to the world around them. It’s an honor – in this time of crisis – to enable our clients to get out messages of prevention, protection and hope while also helping them provide the public with vital access to accurate information and valuable resources,” concluded Ruiz.


The New York Times recently published an insightful piece about the effects of inequality during a pandemic. According to the Times, “In societies where the virus hits, it is deepening the consequences of inequality, pushing many of the burdens onto the losers of today’s polarized economies and labor markets. At the same time, inequality itself may be acting as a multiplier on the coronavirus’s spread and deadliness…poverty and inequality can exacerbate rates of transmission and mortality for everyone.”
As an advocacy marketing agency, Interlex is accustomed to helping large organizations bridge the gaps that divide Corporate America and the government from traditionally underserved populations. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
“As inequality exacerbates the pandemic, It’s a moment for brands with purpose to step up,” states Interlex CEO Rudy. “It is an axiom that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What happens when an entire society must rely on that most vulnerable segment of its population to collectively pull itself out of crisis? This is a question we must all be asking ourselves as the coronavirus pandemic takes and threatens lives, decimates our economy, and transforms our daily routines.”
The New York Times points out that in economies of great inequality, the poorest segments are most at risk and most likely to continue spreading the disease. This is one reason the work Interlex is doing to help its clients educate and empower their customers and constituents on how to protect themselves and others while also staying connected to vital resources is important.
According to Ruiz, “The government and socially conscientious corporations must ensure that policies, outreach, and support services are offered to these marginalized portions of our community if they are to be empowered to do their part in protecting both themselves and others.”

Read the New York Times article.


The University of Washington has partnered with Interlex Communications, the University of Pennsylvania, and Galloway Research to conduct research on how to best reduce the consumption of sugary fruit-flavored drinks by Latinx children. The initiative will include a highly targeted in-culture, bilingual social media campaign aimed at the parents of Latinx children ages 0 to 5. The effort was awarded funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research (HER) program. HER aims to help all children achieve optimal nutrition and a healthy weight. Leading the project is Jim Krieger, MD, MPH, who is a Professor at University of Washington as well as Executive Director of the non-profit Healthy Food America. For Interlex, the campaign builds on longstanding expertise in the area of public health and nutrition, including past campaigns to reduce consumption of sugary drinks for the American Heart Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Coalition for a Healthy California, Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity and Bexar Healthy Beverage Coalition.

Learn more about HER at


The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has awarded a multiyear contract to Interlex following a competitive RFP process. Interlex will serve as the agency for TDA’s Food & Nutrition Division, whose mission is “feeding the hungry and promoting healthy lifestyles.” The TDA Food & Nutrition Division serves millions of Texans through the administration of 12 federal nutrition programs and the oversight of more than $1.8 billion in federal money annually used to fund the programs, which include the National School Lunch Program, Summer Feeding Programs, Food Assistance for Disaster Relief, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

Learn more about TDA at

Interlex Joins Globality

Interlex has joined Globality’s curated network of the most elite agencies around the globe. According to Globality, “[it] identifies agencies with outstanding reputations and portfolios of past work with award-winning brands. Each of Globality’s agencies is carefully evaluated before being invited to join.” Globality then uses an AI algorithm to connect major brands with small and midsize agencies around the world, facilitating global business in the areas of marketing and social impact. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Globality is the brainchild of former Current TV CEO Joel Hyatt. The Silicon Valley startup has raised $37.5 million in funding from investors that include former Vice President Al Gore; Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman ; and John Emerson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; among others.”


Read more about Globality in the Wall Street Journal: