The world as we know it is changing dramatically – fake news, information overload, ambiguous content – and from a healthcare standpoint, everything is even more daunting and complicated. This is where McCann Health’s new Global Scientific Council comes in.
This Council is designed to help patients, healthcare practitioners and society as a whole better understand the complexities surrounding health and medicine. Together, McCann Health’s 450-plus strong community of PhDs, MDs, pharmacists and other scientific experts, is aiming to make an impact on the world.
John Cahill, global chief executive of McCann Health said: "The McCann Health Global Scientific Council enables us to make a real, tangible difference in key areas of need in medical science and bring added value to clients. It also provides a platform for our scientists to have a meaningful voice in the global science and health debate."
For instance, McCann Health has recently joined 20 other private sector organisations as the sole healthcare communications agency to support the UN Global Health Security Agenda and influence how nations engage with the private sector to address some of the world’s most daunting health challenges.
"We feel now is a good time to galvanise and mobilise our talent in new ways to elevate the importance of science in health communications, and help to address issues of truth, trust and complexity in the process," said Charlie Buckwell, president of McCann Health’s Global Scientific Council.
Buckwell is one of three industry professionals leading the Council. The others are Daniel Carucci, a multi-disciplinary physician/scientist who was appointed to the new role of global medical director for McCann Health earlier this year; and Alice Choi, who serves as executive director for the group.
"Even though science underpins nearly every aspect of healthcare, the key players – the physicians, pharmacists, payers, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies who are developing the breakthrough new therapies and treatments – are struggling to communicate the benefits of these advances to today’s empowered patients," said Dr Carucci. "We believe our council can help these stakeholders to distil, unpack and create meaning from vast reams of technical information to more effectively communicate the benefits of all these advances to a wide range of audiences."
Through initial research and discussions, the Council has homed in on selected areas for further investigation. Dr Choi explained: "We have identified four areas of acute medical and societal need where we are aiming to make a tangible difference through the application of our role as healthcare communication experts. These areas are: antimicrobial resistance, mental health, obesity and precision medicine."
Priorities and partnerships
McCann Health launched the Council to the pharmaceutical industry and wider medical and scientific community at a special event during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September in New York City. The event focused on "Driving the Scientific Agenda Forward in a Complex, Changing World" and introduced McCann Health’s "Grand Challenges in Health Communications," outlining the four areas of medical and societal need.
Following the event, Buckwell said the Global Scientific Council will select one or two of the areas to initially prioritise and look to forge partnerships with advisory groups, stakeholders, NGOs, governments and educational experts to amplify its research.
He added that the Council is not trying to suggest that it’s a research or academic institution, but it believes it can bring important skill sets to the table with healthcare communications and science weaved throughout.
Importantly, the Council will use its expertise to continue serving McCann Health clients, which include most of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers and NGOs.
Employees are just as enthusiastic about the Council as clients. "It’s great to see our scientific team internally so excited about this initiative," said Buckwell, adding that the team feels like they’re part of something bigger than their everyday work. "It’s very rewarding." The Council is one of the most important strategic initiatives and investments for McCann Health, and it’s an effort that the agency is committed to for the long term.
"We’re most excited about the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in ways that perhaps haven’t been achieved before," said Buckwell. "Even if we can contribute in a small way, that’s very exciting for us."