Inequality is pervasive in the healthcare systems across the globe, disproportionately impacting people of color and other marginalized groups. From lower life expectancy to racial disparities in maternal care and challenges accessing treatment, it’s clear people of color face barriers preventing them from fully benefiting from treatment and care across the entire spectrum of their lives.
Inequalities are often evident in the way therapies and life science services are developed. As a result, many companies have pledged to better support marginalized patients through research and development, by developing strategies to improve access, and through the development of more inclusive medical affairs and marketing tactics.
At Fishawack Health, our goal is to help our clients deeply understand, reach, and engage the patients they serve, including marginalized groups. We are working hard to develop a culture that empowers our team members to recognize inequalities. Our ambition is to equip our teams with the knowledge and skills to uncover opportunities that help our life science clients develop better solutions for diverse patient populations.
Today, we have reached a milestone in our journey: appointing Sheena Amin-Liebman in the newly created role of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Director. Sheena will lead Fishawack Health’s D&I objectives and drive change across its multiple locations globally.
Sheena’s deep experience in designing initiatives that enhance culture, belonging, and financial inclusion, while moving the dial on diversity and inclusion metrics makes her the ideal candidate to hone our D&I strategy and bring our vision to fruition.
“Fishawack Health has developed a bold D&I strategy focused on creating meaningful change and moving the needle in the agency and consultancy worlds for employees and the customers they serve,” Sheena explains. “I’m excited to work closely with senior leadership and the D&I Ambassadors on the ground to build on the work the D&I team has already begun and ensure diversity and inclusion become a core part of the company’s DNA.”
Our approach to D&I
During the past year, we have embedded a global D&I strategy which includes the development of a dedicated D&I team, regional ambassadors throughout the business, and a robust governance model.
“As the leading global commercialization partner for the life science industry, we have significant opportunities to impact and address healthcare inequities through internal initiatives and our client work. Our vision is to create an inspiring, respectful, and inclusive environment that attracts diverse talent to increase our capabilities so we can serve an increasingly diverse customer group and society through impactful work,” says Liz Landon, Chief People Officer.
Armed with Sheena’s experience, we will strengthen these efforts internally to empower our team members to drive change across the healthcare industry.
Our D&I approach focuses on three strategic pillars – Understand, Enable, and Attract – designed to ensure all employees can succeed across the business and better serve under-represented patient groups.
How we’re delivering on the 3 pillars today
Fostering education and action across all its businesses is the core of the ‘understand’ pillar. Initiatives include a series of diversity dialogues led by employees, educational talks from marginalized populations, and the 21-Day Inclusion Challenge, which aims to make inclusive culture a habit, curated by D&I champion Afshan Hussein, SVP, Client Services.
We have also rolled out a series of training programs and tools to enable employees to become D&I advocates. One action the D&I team has taken is to create a Diversity Advisory Council- building a bespoke team of advisors around the client challenge to ensure patient populations are accurately and sensitively represented across campaigns and assets.
In 2020, we launched our mentorship, university ambassador, and internship programs to attract talent and increase early exposure for young adults exploring their career choices. So far, the internship program has led to new hires in the Creative team.
What will the future hold?
As our new D&I Director, Sheena is responsible for leading the next stage of our strategy. To embed our values and meet our goals, she will collaborate with our leadership team and ambassadors to embed a set of D&I principles. She will also work closely with our talent and learning and development teams to drive greater representation across the group and ensure D&I becomes a core element of our recruitment and learning and development programs.
In 2022, a core goal is to ensure we can measure our performance in D&I. To achieve this, we plan to roll out our first Diversity Index – a data-driven document designed to track our progress against our D&I goals, ensuring sustainable and far-reaching transformation across our growing organization.
“Sheena is taking on the highly important role of ensuring we not only develop a diverse and inclusive organization internally, but our commitment to D&I is also evident in the work for our clients,” says Group President Gail Flockhart. “Our goal is for D&I to become embedded in the fabric of our organization, strengthening the strategic guidance and project deliverables we provide.”
Looking for more information on healthcare inequalities? Explore our thought leadership
- If our patients are diverse, why are clinical trials so white?
Consultant Ling Song explores the challenges of clinical trial diversity and reveals the barriers preventing patients of color accessing clinical trials. Read it here.
- How do you launch a therapy for an ultra-rare disease?
Leena Dalal, Vice President, Brand Marketing at Alnylam, reveals the story Onpattro – a therapy that reverses the debilitating nerve damage caused by ultra-rare disease hATTR amyloidosis – including how the company built a sense of trust in marginalized patient populations. Listen here.
- How do you unite health and social care?
Dan Brillman and Taylor Justice, co-founders of Unite US, explain how they developed a platform that connects communities, governments, and healthcare systems around the single goal of improving health holistically. Listen here.
- How does Karen’s Club empower patients of colour to take part in clinical trials?
Karen Petersen shares her inspiring story, mapping her journey from cancer survivor to founder of Karen’s Club – a not-for-profit designed to support patients of color considering taking part in oncology clinical trials. Listen here.
- How does Roche and Genentech drive inclusive research globally?
Nicole Riche, Global Head of Health Equity and Population Science, reveals how her team developed a pioneering global strategy to address healthcare disparities across the entire product lifecycle and ensure the promise of personalized health care becomes a reality for all patients. Listen here.