NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.
Dr. Stella Blackburn
Title: VP, Global Head of Risk Management, Real World & Late Phase Research
Education: M.B., B.S., Medicine, Guy’s Hospital Med School, London University; M.Sc., Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, U. of London; M.A., Medical Sciences, University of Cambridge; FRCP(Ed), FISPE, FFPM, Dip Pharm Med, DLSHTM
Family: Cat, Chita
Hobbies: Photography, music, cooking
Bucket List: Visit the Galapagos Islands and take another safari to Zambia
Associations: The International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians
Keeping Risk Out of Clinical Trials
In 2012, Dr. Stella Blackburn was the first full-time regulator to be elected president of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE). The nonprofit international professional membership organization focuses on advancing public health through a forum that encourages the open exchange of scientific information and the development of policy, education, and advocacy for the field of pharmacoepidemiology.
This one-year, voluntary role is not only a career highlight for Dr. Blackburn but symbolizes her commitment to public health. The London-born self-proclaimed maverick was serving as the EMA risk management development and scientific lead at the time, and soon after, she joined Quintiles in 2014 as VP, global head of risk management, real world and late phase research.
There, Dr. Blackburn continued working on a groundbreaking new pilot study for the PROTECT consortium that evaluated new methods for pharmacovigilance. Funded through the European Commission’s Innovative Medicines Initiative, the study focused on the use of direct-to-consumer approaches to pharmacovigilance that did not require the assistance of a medical care provider. This study piloted direct recruitment and data collection from pregnant women and included validation of self-reported prescription drug use through a national pharmacy register, as well as comparisons of self-reported information that was recorded in electronic medical records. Through Dr. Blackburn’s innovative research, the study revealed that additional rich information can be obtained directly from consumers about many potential risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including the use of nonprescription medications as well as the use of alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs. The study also uncovered many challenges related to direct-to-consumer research, including data protection issues in Europe and the limitations of recalled medication use, particularly for respondents who used many prescription medications regularly.
According to colleagues, Dr. Blackburn is at the forefront of driving best-in-class risk management practices to benefit patients throughout the world. With a particular focus on real-world and late-phase evidence development across the global healthcare system, she is centered firmly at the intersection of biopharma, healthcare, and regulatory science.
In addition to her numerous accomplishments, Dr. Blackburn was an integral part of developing and writing the guidelines on risk management for Europe as the EMA risk management development and scientific lead.
She also helped to establish the EMA’s policies and procedures on risk management. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology, and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in the UK.
Dr. Blackburn has been instrumental in developing many comprehensive risk management policies and processes designed to protect patients and advance clinical research worldwide. This work helps forge cross-sector partnerships with life-science companies, payers, providers, and patient representatives to help ensure new medicines achieve better outcomes for patients in the real world.
Dr. Blackburn is also passionately committed to rare disease research, which stems from an early encounter with a young girl named Fiona, who lived with an unidentified disease from the age of 3 until she died in her 20s. Watching this young girl cope throughout her life and eventually became unable to speak or do anything for herself, motivated Dr. Blackburn to study medicine to help people devastated by debilitating disease.
Clinical research and risk management are not the only vocations that interest Dr. Blackburn. She likes photography, although the learning curve on her new camera is a bit daunting. She has helped colleagues write a book on pharmacovigilance, and would like to try her hand at law, as she enjoys building a viewpoint and persuading others. As a teenager she was very interested in the newly developing field of robotics and wanted to develop artificial limbs that were more sophisticated than what were currently available. And she has an affinity for animals, cats in particular, and would like to work with big cats. Dr. Blackburn supports several charities for the care and protection of animals, and would like to have a huge house and grounds to offer a safe haven to stray and abused animals.
Beyond protecting and admiring animals, Dr. Blackburn’s work in clinical research worldwide ultimately protects patients, which is her main goal in life. Despite her numerous accomplishments and accolades, she is most respected for her untiring commitment to always keeping the patient at heart.
“Patients are what get me to work everyday, as well as the need to try and ensure that there are new drugs available and that the benefit-risk balance for the patients is the best it can be,” she says.
Title: President, CEO, Co-Founder
Company: Health Perspectives Group
Education: B.S., Microbiology, University of Maryland
Family: Husband, Jim Gerlach; three Bouvier de Flandres dogs; three rescued cats; 11 St. Croix sheep
Hobbies: Helping her husband craft artisanal hard cider and Asian pear perry at their Nashi Orchards winery
Bucket List: Cultural immersion by living in Japan, Patagonia, and New Zealand
Awards/Honors: Health Perspectives Group: Top Places to Work — Seattle Business 2011, 2012, and 2013; Top 100 Best Places to Work — Puget Sound Business Journal, 2011; Abbott Labs — HBA Rising Star 2009, President’s Award 2008 for Humira Gastroenterology Launch, Chairman’s Award 2008; Amgen Inc. — CEO Stock Award Recipient 2003, Impact Award 2003 Enbrel Supply Management; Immunex — Emerald Award 2001; Bristol-Myers Squibb — President’s Award 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999; Excellence Award — 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Associations: Vistage International, Women in Bio (founding board member of the Washington Chapter), Autoimmune Alliance Board Member
Arming the Patient with Power and Visibility
Change is inevitable; defeat is optional. To Cheryl Lubbert, it all comes down to attitude and commitment.
“With motivation and the right team of people, nothing is impossible,” she says.
Ms. Lubbert has built a reputation launching blockbuster brands and is applying that experience to help connect patients with one another and, just as importantly, with the pharma industry. Her overarching goals are two-fold: inform and empower patients to navigate the complexities of their own health, and provide them with a platform to share their perspectives with the pharma companies that serve them to advance healthcare for all. In other words, Ms. Lubbert’s mission is to support the evolution of patients into their new role as active healthcare consumers.
In less than five years, she has transformed Health Advocacy Strategies from one company into the Health Perspectives Group of companies, including the formation of three subsidiaries with about 25% compounded growth over that time period.
Through Ms. Lubbert’s leadership, Health Perspectives Group has developed a structured, compliant methodology that enables companies to implement ongoing patient identification activities and interact with individual consumers. As a result, it is now possible to view patients as real people with real stories, not just numbers on a market research report.
“Our companies have been connecting patients with one another and with healthcare companies since before there was Facebook or any social media,” Ms. Lubbert says. “My most challenging assignment has been keeping up with the rapid evolution of technology and helping pharma adapt to the changing landscape.”
Ms. Lubbert and her companies are instrumental in creating innovative tools and disease awareness programs, both online and off, that strengthen biopharma/patient relationships and educate, inform, and inspire. These include patient-to-patient programs, support groups as tools of engagement, surveys and advisory boards, and social media platforms.
The latest Health Perspectives Group initiative for educating health consumers is Health Stories Project, a social support network that enables people to connect and share with others, both in person and online via the Health Stories Project blog and community. In addition, the company aggregates what is learned from these groups of people anonymously and shares these findings with the healthcare community.
Through collaborations with patients who have volunteered to share their perspectives and support other patients, the Health Perspectives Group companies have helped more than 20 biopharma companies and other healthcare organizations provide educational messages, information, and support to patients with specific conditions.
Patients need a voice, and Ms. Lubbert believes to bolster its reputation the industry companies need to give their customers a seat at the table and involve them in the co-creation of solutions that truly meet their needs.
Ms. Lubbert contributes her time and serves as a role model for other women in the pharma industry. Her support of women executives is internal as well, and in fact the executive teams of Health Perspectives Group and its subsidiaries are all made up of women.
“Everyone brings different talents, skills, and perspectives to the table and my goal is to work with people to put them in the best position to succeed for themselves and contribute to the organization,” she says. “I believe the best way to create innovation is to give talented people with varying backgrounds the freedom to tear down old systems and use their collective experience to solve complex problems.”
Giving back to the community is part of the corporate culture at Health Perspectives Group, and all employees contribute volunteer hours throughout the year with local organizations. Ms. Lubbert also serves on the board of the Autoimmune Advocacy Alliance (A3), an organization dedicated to raising awareness of autoimmune diseases.
Title: Senior Director, Patient Value
Company: Medidata Solutions
Education: M.A., B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Family: Wife; two sons
Hobbies: Sailing, windsurfing, music, performing arts
Bucket List: Try everything: visit other countries, get to know people better, speak languages better, see family do well and be happy
Rare Disease Champion
Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Like the Jimmy Stewart character in the classic film, Medidata’s Stephen Smith wasn’t going to take no for an answer. As the father of a son with a rare disease and a collaborator with numerous patient advocacy groups, Mr. Smith has spent the past 25 years of his life as a parent advocate and the past 16 years actively involved in the national dialogue on accelerating the development of cures for rare diseases. Sought out for his keen expertise on clinical trial reform, Mr. Smith gets approached by patient advocacy groups to speak on the subject to a number of different organizations, including government officials, members of congress and the FDA — sometimes on the groups’ behalf, and sometimes by their side.
Early on, as he learned about the challenges of rare disease drug development, Mr. Smith began to understand what he identified as the “tug of war between speed and safety,” where a regulatory process that aims to keep people safe often inadvertently hinders the rapid development of new and innovative medicines. In 2000, he approached the FDA and some members of Congress for the first time, armed with a list of nine things the FDA was “doing wrong” and the “six things he wanted them to do.” The FDA officials in that meeting agreed with all his points, and began collaborating on those items in some short-term ways. In 2009, he collaborated with an umbrella patient advocacy group called The EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases to help gather the endorsements of 180 advocacy groups for a three-point “ask” of Congress to change the clinical trial process for rare diseases. These efforts helped lead to the passage of FDASIA legislation (the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012), which mandated many of the issues he highlighted in the year 2000 when he went to the FDA. He emphasized the vast effort of many advocates and advocacy groups, and professional industry organizations that worked together to get FDASIA defined and passed into law.
Today, his advocacy work continues through his involvement with, among other things, the 21st Century Cures initiative, a bipartisan initiative of the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee that aims to improve drug discovery, development, and delivery in the United States.
Colleagues say Mr. Smith believes in a cross-stakeholder approach to modernizing drug development to increase the number of cures for serious and life-threatening disorders, both common and rare. He sees rare disease drug development as a key source of innovation at the frontier of this effort and he has worked tirelessly to learn from all stakeholder groups and help find answers to persistent questions in the patient advocate community: What can be done to improve the results of rare disease drug development? What legislative and regulatory changes are needed? And what can key players — legislators, the FDA, academics, pharmaceutical companies and patients — do to enact change?
Mr. Smith’s dedicated personal efforts and his collaborations with others seeking change have brought together scientists, medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and patient advocates representing diverse disease groups to identify and propose viable solutions to the many obstacles standing in the way of developing rare disease cures.
“This is a long-term, collaborative effort,” Mr. Smith says. “It takes just about everyone. The more we collaborate, the more progress we’ll make.”
Professionally, Mr. Smith had worked in both the software industry and in pharmaceuticals before his son was born. Initially separate working experiences, these worlds came together when his son’s diagnosis made him aware of the connection between modern data collection and the development of cures. As senior director of patient value at Medidata, his role includes consulting with pharmaceutical companies about how to reduce the cost, time, and risk of their clinical trials while focusing on the value Medidata’s software brings to the ultimate end user: the patient.
Mr. Smith’s passion for people and learning can also be seen in his love of language and other cultures. He has lived in five countries, and has worked all over the world. He speaks German fluently and has also put considerable effort into learning Mandarin. In fact, he has been active with a large Chinese performing arts group in Chicago for 10 years, the only member who is not from a Chinese-speaking place originally. In other forms of theater, Mr. Smith can tie a bowline, behind his back, while standing on one foot, and reciting Shakespeare.
Kristin LaBounty Phillips
Title: Director, Strategy, Programs, and Content
Company: The Patient Experience Project
Education: M.P.H., Yale University; B.S. Biology, Cornell University
Family: Husband, Mike; daughter, Carlin, 6
Hobbies: Yoga, live music, cooking, traveling
Bucket List: Visit all seven continents; eat tapas in Barcelona; have a pint in Dublin; see a show at Red Rocks; explore Patagonia; restore an old farmhouse in Vermont
Awards/Honors: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Rising Star
True Patient Empathy and Connection
For Kristin Phillips, a career in healthcare advertising meant following a simple principle: How could she best make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients? Ms. Phillips has challenged countless brands and clients to remember to keep their focus on the most important audience: the patient.
This uncompromising patients-first approach can be traced back to her training at Yale University’s School of Public Health School where she learned the importance of policy making and advocating on behalf of those without a voice.
“I’ve continuously looked for opportunities to improve the health and well-being of patients even when my focus was on marketing brands to healthcare professionals,” she says. “Admittedly, this was sometimes a struggle for me — especially when it seemed like the best interest of the brand was not aligned with the best interest of patients. Fortunately, I feel I’ve put those days behind me.”
Ms. Phillips is helping to raise the bar on patient- and caregiver-centered outreach by giving patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups a seat at the table when it comes to developing develop strategy and content.
“We have confidence that our work will resonate because it was created by patients for patients,” Ms. Phillips says. “As a result, patients form a bond with our clients’ brands —because the brand is authentic and just seems to get them. I actually overheard one patient say to another: ‘Well, brand X didn’t work for me, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone else.’ How cool is that?”
She routinely challenges conventional approaches and is demonstrating how co-creation with patients and caregivers can lead to more effective communications.
In championing a fresh approach to pharmaceutical marketing, Ms. Phillips seeks to build innovative programs that focus on meaningful, high-quality content and truly add value to the patient experience.
This in-bound approach, as it relates to the rare disease space in particular, is proving invaluable in reaching niche audiences with powerful messages that have viral potential.
“Creativity fosters innovation — and working in an environment that challenges the status quo doesn’t hurt either,” she says. “I am a big fan of asking ‘why not?’ and ‘what if?’ much to the amusement — or frustration — of my colleagues and clients. It’s important to not get stuck doing things a certain way because you’ve always done them that way.”
Those in patient advocacy describe Ms. Phillips as a great partner who listens and provides sound strategic recommendations and who is unafraid to challenge current thinking and champion the efforts that make a real difference in patients’ lives.
Her empathy for patients is strongly routed in personal experience. Her childhood best friend Shannon had cystic fibrosis. Today, when she thinks about what drives her to work so hard on behalf of patients and their caregivers, she thinks about Shannon and her amazing family.
“Our friendship was the defining experience of my life — both personally and professionally,” she says. “Personally, it taught me to try really hard not to take my loved ones for granted. Professionally, it gave me the ability to empathize with patients and families who have learned to not only adapt, but also to thrive despite ongoing challenges and setbacks.”
She says her goal going forward is to be a part of changing the industry’s reputation by showing patients and caregivers that pharma truly cares about their needs.
“We are beginning to do that now — one brand at a time — but there is much more work to be done,” she says. “I want to prove to the industry that the PEP philosophy and approach works — so that more companies and brands will focus on delivering the best patient experience possible.”
Ms. Phillips considers herself fortunate to be in the midst of her biggest career highlight.
“This is the job I was always meant to have,” she says. “It combines my passion for empowering patients — the same passion that compelled me to pursue a master’s in public health — with my love for building brands.”
Ms. Phillips believes that no challenge is too great as long as you have the right strategy and willingness to work hard toward your goal.
Setting very high standards for herself, Ms. Phillips seeks to inspire by example. She shows up ready to give her best effort 95% of the time, and she expects the same of others, but she tries not to take herself too seriously.
“That remaining 5% is for having some laughs, typically while procrastinating or killing time between meetings,” she says. “Inspiring others also means creating a work environment that people enjoy and that fosters camaraderie and teamwork.”
Dr. Sanjit Singh Lamba
Title: Managing Director
Company: Eisai Pharmaceuticals India Pvt. Limited
Education: M. Pharm., Ph.D., Gitam University; MBA, Northwestern University — Kellogg School of Management; PGDMS, Management,University of Mumbai
Family: Wife; twin daughters
Hobbies: Singing, photography, reading books
Bucket List: Own a music studio; learn to play violin and piano; drive a Ferrari and a Harley; see all the wonders of the world; own a farmhouse
Awards/Honors: Multiple Eisai Internal Awards 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014;
Facility of the Year Award — 2012 category winner for Project execution by ISPE USA; EHS excellence award — 2012 by CII (confederation of Indian Industry); EHS Excellence award — 2013 by CII; Indian Pharma Awards — 2013 for excellence in corporate social responsibility: EHS Excellence award — 2014 by CII
Associations: Indian Pharmaceutical Association; International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE); Parental Drug Association (PDA) President Elect — India Chapter
Dr. Sanjit Singh Lamba, managing director of Eisai Pharmaceuticals India, recently took on this new role when earlier this year Eisai in Visakhapatnam and Eisai in Mumbai were combined to create efficiencies in development. The goal of the amalgamation is to leverage the capability of Eisai India’s state-of-the art integrated research and manufacturing operations with its specialized salesforce to meet the company’s business objectives in India.
According to colleagues, there could be no better person to lead the new amalgamation, as Dr. Lamba’s strong leadership ability to initiate changes has led to many successes. He continually strives to create a teamwork environment that he firmly stands behind. Dr. Lamba is a visionary, who communicates clearly what he expects from the team and leads them to success through example. His rich experience in multicultural corporate environments helps guide the Japanese pharmaceutical company in manufacturing drugs in India and supplying to one of the toughest markets in the world. His experience in manufacturing operations spans companies in India, United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
An astute business executive with cross-functional experience in diverse functions and with more than 25 years of proficiency in the field of pharmaceutical technology, Dr. Lamba was instrumental in setting up
Eisai’s state-of-the-art Integrated Manufacturing and Research Complex in India, which won the Facility of the Year award for 2012 by ISPE. Dr. Lamba also heads the global procurement strategy initiative of Eisai.
According to coworkers, he is the first ever technical person to be named managing director of a pharmaceutical company in India.
Dr. Lamba motivates and inspires others by looking toward the bigger picture, and aiming for the greater good rather than personal glory.
“I create an enabling environment, with challenging tasks and I delegate and empower my team to do their best,” he says. “By benchmarking with the best, finding new ideas, learning from the past, dreaming for the future, we can achieve not only for ourselves, but for the whole industry.”
His forward-thinking approach to managing and mentoring a diverse team also helps in times of disaster.
Heeding warnings of an oncoming tsunami in Vazag, Dr. Lamba prepared the manufacturing facility with a stock of critical items. Due to his preparedness, the plant was able to resume production within three days after the storm, when some facilities were out for months.
Dr. Lamba’s second — and almost first — career choice was to be a professional ghazal singer.
“Singing has always been my passion and I wanted it as a profession after my graduation, but later I changed my mind to work in the pharmaceutical industry to work for patients and their families,” he says.
Title: Senior Account Director
Company: Snow Companies
Education: B.A., Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Family: Mother, father, brother, and fiancé
Hobbies: Yoga, watching Tar Heels basketball, landscape photography, anything involving the water, catching up with friends
Bucket List: Visit every continent, skydive, travel to the moon, learn to do some kind of snow sport, plant an organic garden, learn to fly, go scuba
diving in Borra Borra, continually simplify life, pay it forward, and leave the world a little better than she found it
Authentic Voice for the Patient
Blake Shewey has dedicated her professional career to understanding the needs of people living with chronic conditions, and she has excelled in ensuring their voices are heard.
Her intelligence and empathy equip her well to relate to and interact with diverse populations — around the nation and the globe — who are affected by hemophilia, cystinosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other debilitating diseases.
She led the charge at Questcor — now Mallinckrodt — as one of the Acthar Ambassador Program leads for the relapsing multiple sclerosis indication. The program’s launch had wide success in allowing others to learn about another relapse treatment option. She also initiated work on the unbranded campaign, rethinkmsrelapses.com, which was designed for people to be able to identify an MS relapse and know what to do when/if one happened.
At the time, Ms. Shewey was working for a small company that didn’t have the processes, structure, and best-in-class reputation of the Snow Companies. It was through working on this program, and seeing the power of patient stories, where she found her calling.
“I worked on the program first from the agency side, where we had to create all of the processes, training, etc.,” she says. “And I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work on it from the industry side, at Questcor, where I was able to grow, leverage, and create precedent at the company for how we engaged with and worked with patient ambassadors.”
While working on an autoimmune indication, she managed to not just increase the profile and credibility of the brand she represented, but also to build an engaged patient community that acted as a multiplier for her brand and a support pillar for people affected by the disease.
While working in the rare diseases space, she dealt with the challenge of building patient relationships in a difficult industry climate, involving pricing pressures and skepticism surrounding a limited clinical profile of her product.
She had to demonstrate her company’s dedication and commitment on a deeper level to bridge the gap with the patient community. Her honest, and authentic approach was key to this success.
When Ms. Shewey had an opportunity to shift to a related career in the industry, she joined the team at Snow Companies, now as senior account director, and has dived into work with niche markets, genetic conditions, as well as continued her work in MS by managing various DTP marketing initiatives as she develops and maintains client relationships with outstanding service.
She carefully balances issues from a regulatory perspective, implementing well-controlled and compliant programs, while ensuring that the programs provide the type of support that patients need.
She has demonstrated, time and time again, her passion for patient-to-patient dialogue. And she always stands up for the patient perspective during business-related conversations.
Ms. Shewey thrives on challenges and remains dedicated even when the task at hand looks daunting to others. She manages to captivate and engage large audiences with unwavering courage, and her creativity is evident in unconventional, consistently game-changing ideas she brings to the table.
An effective while emotive manager and communicator, Ms. Shewey applies her skills to develop the next generation of leaders in the life-sciences industry.
Ms. Shewey’s calm nature rubs off on those around her and those who work alongside have come to see things through her eyes. This in turn opens the door for more people in the industry to have a genuine perspective and compassion for those living with, or caring for, someone living with an illness.
Through her caring attitude, Ms. Shewey has developed meaningful connections with the patients she serves on the client as well as the agency side.
She encourages others to reach out to her for support and questions. She is creative, and motivated to bring her original and unique ideas to fruition. She is inspired by the brilliance of her colleagues and the compassion and wisdom she experiences from patient ambassadors.
“The privilege and responsibility that comes with educating and working with people who are facing health challenges to connect with one another, and ultimately the care that they need, is something I am grateful to be entrusted with on a daily basis,” she says.
To inspire others she works to bring people back to the why and the meaning behind their work.
“If people feel disconnected from the purpose, they lose motivation,” Ms. Shewey says. “It’s important to take the time in your daily interactions to remind people how their work impacts the big picture. It’s about empowering patients to let them know they are not alone in their journey and giving them a sense of control back in understanding they always have a choice.”
Company: Eve Dryer Healthcare Consulting
Education: B.A., Communication
Family: Husband, Alan; daughters, Liz and Sarah; son-in-law Jim; stepsons, Lee and Jesse; father Howard, stepmom Charlotte, five sisters, multiple cousins who are like siblings, and a dog and a cat, Samson and Cheslow
Hobbies: Glass collecting (modern); glass tours (U.S. and Venice); glass-blowing; travel (U.S. and globally; Broadway shows; singing Broadway tunes, occasional community theater; nonstop reading
Bucket List: An African Safari; another vacation (or two or three) with her HBA girlfriends; a trip to India with BFFs Kathleen and Eileen; whale watching in Alaska with her sisters; a trip to Italy with her kids; getting back into community theater and playing a lead or feature role.
Awards/Honors: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s STAR Award — 2013; PharmaVOICE 100 — 2008; multiple Silver Anvils for PR campaigns
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association; Sisters Network Inc.; HealthyWomen, Board Chair
Building Platforms for Women’s Health
With a passion to help amplify the voice of the patients, and better engage them in the decision-making process, Eve Dryer has committed herself to advocating for women’s health and is a staunch advocate for children and the elderly. She brings multiple experiences, skills, and perspectives to her roles in consulting — where she focuses on strategic insights and leadership in stakeholder and patient engagement — and to volunteer leadership and mentoring. She probes for solutions to complex healthcare problems. She is expert at connecting individuals and organizations that have the capacity to multiply each other’s impact. And she strives to inspire and enrich the lives of others.
One of her proudest achievements was helping to lead the My Medicare Matters campaign to help seniors learn how to enroll in Medicare Part D, a program sponsored by AstraZeneca and the National Council on Aging that helped enroll more than 1 million seniors. The program won PRSA’s Silver Anvil.
On behalf of her client Accolade, a developer of patient engagement and health coaching models, Ms. Dryer spearheaded an initiative to bring together experts from across multiple sectors to explore strategies to eliminate health disparities in the workplace. Accolade and the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health co-hosted the event based on a shared belief that every American deserves to receive the right care at the right time.
Attendees focused on the realities of turning the concept of patient-centric care into practice, and a working group has since been set up under the aegis of one of the attending organizations, the National Business Group on Health.
On a professional level, Ms. Dryer says her greatest challenge was founding and launching her PR agency, Eve Dryer Healthcare Consulting, and getting through the first anxious year of breaking even and turning a profit. But by year two, she was paying employees bonuses.
Much of Ms. Dryer’s work in recent years — both professionally and as a volunteer leader — has been around women’s healthcare.
“Improving women’s healthcare can be exponentially impactful, as women tend to play the chief medical officer for their families, including both children and elder family members,” she says.
Her positive energy, tenacity, and belief that she can make a difference have encouraged others to follow her along the path she is successfully carving out.
Ms. Dryer has been a long-time member and leader within the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, mentoring and inspiring many women across the healthcare industry. Additionally, she serves on the board of HealthyWomen.
During her two and a half years as the chair of HealthyWomen, she has revitalized the board to ensure it is representative of leaders in multiple sectors and reflective of the ages and life stages focus of HealthyWomen itself. Working with CEO Beth Battaglino, she has expanded the organization’s stakeholder outreach to include leaders in government agencies impacting women’s health and helped build HW into a respected policy influencer. She is also leading the charge in the development of new product offerings to help the nonprofit company grow and stay fiscally healthy.
With Sisters Network, Ms. Dryer helped to develop and drive Teens 4 Pink (www.teens4pink.org), a breast health literacy and action program that seeks to create sustainable change in higher-risk communities by leveraging the energy and tenacity of teen girls as Pink Ambassadors to transform breast health behaviors one family at a time. T4P arms teens with knowledge and tools to start a dialogue about breast cancer with female family members, including the importance of early detection and annual check-ups. The program partners with community organizations, including schools, churches, and youth groups, and leverages both in-person information and training sessions and Internet support and surveys to identify and engage at-risk women into using free preventive health service.
She seeks to motivate by personal example her commitment to patient-focused initiatives, both in her professional capacity and as a stalwart volunteer.
“I’d also like to think that my generally caring and positive nature, and willingness to lend an ear or brainstorm an idea, has had an impact as well,” she says.
Dr. Greg Keenan
Title: VP, Medical Affairs & U.S. Head Medical Officer
Education: M.D., Albany Medical College; B.A., pre-medicine/pre-medical studies and economics, Colby College
Family: Wife Laura; children Louise, Teddy and Abigail
Hobbies: Skiing, boating
Dr. Greg Keenan began his career as a pediatric and adult rheumatologist, holding faculty, hospital, and fellowship appointments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1990s. His transition into the pharmaceutical industry in 1999 was driven by his desire to help patients suffering from immune-mediated diseases.
He spent more than 10 years at Centocor, performing roles of increasing responsibility in medical affairs, all in support of the introduction of biologic agents that could finally address the needs of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s Disease. At Centocor, Dr. Keenan led the launch of an effective medical education campaign to support the role of tumor necrosis factor in numerous autoimmune diseases.
His passion for immunology led him to his role as VP of medical affairs at Human Genome Services, where he was instrumental in the launch of the first biologic treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus. In 2012, he joined MedImmune as senior VP of medical and scientific affairs. His responsibility expanded to leading multiple departments within the medical affairs organization, and today, as VP and U.S. head medical officer for AstraZeneca and MedImmune, he remains committed to bringing medicines to those patients who are really in need.
In addition to an impressive CV, co-workers and colleagues say it is Dr. Keenan’s caring personality that makes him a true inspiration to others. His personable demeanor puts others at ease and he quickly gains the confidence of his peers and can motivate team members toward common goals. No matter how expansive and consuming his responsibilities are, Dr. Keenan’s compassion and genuine interest in the people around him are two of the primary reasons he is so appreciated and respected.
Dr. Keenan says he uses his own energy and enthusiasm to motivate colleagues to push hard every day, and he gives his people the freedom and confidence to challenge current assumptions. He fosters innovation within his organization by creating forums in which people can float novel ideas without the worry they might be labeled “not team players.”
He is a champion of developing clear processes and systems to synthesize data and gain meaningful insights that align the organization and, most importantly, advance the understanding of patients’ unmet needs.
Using a Socratic format in leading teams toward greater insights across all therapeutic areas, he asks questions in a cross-validating fashion that slowly, but inextricably, winds toward novel insights and fresh perspectives, his colleagues say. This method is a form of inquiry and discussion based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking.
“I’ve frankly never seen anything like it before, short of college reading of Dialogues of Plato,” one colleague says.
In his role as U.S. head medical officer, Dr. Keenan also contributes to AstraZeneca’s U.S. blog, AstraZeneca Health Connections.(PV)