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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Communications with the Media

Policy Number: 5


Communications with the Media


Employees and trainees (including students, residents and fellows)

Date Reviewed:
January 2019
Responsible Office:
Office of Public Affairs
Responsible Executive:
Vice President, Development and Public Affairs


The Media Relations Team, which is part of the Office of Public Affairs, is the primary institutional resource for interaction with external media regarding activities of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”).


A.  University Business

The Media Relations Team works with employees and journalists to develop story ideas and coordinate interviews on university-related topics such as innovative patient care, research, and education programs. Employees who have university news they would like to disseminate to media are encouraged to call the Media Relations Team’s hotline at 713-500-3030. 

Employees and trainees who are contacted directly by journalists must refer them immediately to the media hotline and contact the media hotline themselves. A Media Relations staff member will then coordinate communications with external media and is authorized to serve as the official university spokesperson, if needed.

For interviews conducted on campus, journalists, including photographers and video crews, must be escorted by a member of the Media Relations Team or a designated representative while visiting campus facilities, including clinics and the Harris County Psychiatric Center.

When communications are sensitive in nature, including those related to weather emergencies, the Office of Public Affairs will prepare, as appropriate, a plan of written and audio/visual media communications activities designed to anticipate and to respond to the situation, for use by designated university spokespersons.

When any employee is representing official positions of the university in external communications, the Office of Public Affairs must be consulted to assist with the development and dissemination of these communications.  All news releases involving university employees or trainees must comply with the terms of this policy and may only be disseminated to the media by the Media Relations Team.

For information related to patient privacy law, see HOOP Policy 6.05: Healthcare Privacy Policies & Information: Disclosure to the Media.

B.  Personal Business

Employees who choose to voice their personal opinions in external communications must indicate clearly that the position they take is an individual opinion and does not represent the opinion of the university.  If an employee identifies himself or herself as a member of the faculty or staff of this university, he or she must clearly state that the opinions expressed are his or her own and not those of the university.

Employees may not utilize any state resource in any expression of their political views or personal opinions. This policy expressly prohibits university employees from using university funds, university materials, university telecommunications media, university email and university staff support in communicating their personal opinions and views.


    • Office of Public Affairs
    • 713-500-3030