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January 30, 2024 0

Welcome to the cookieless era, pharmaceutical marketers! The digital landscape is changing, and it’s time to adapt. With the phasing out of third-party cookies, we are entering a new age of direct-to-consumer advertising. This shift presents both challenges and opportunities for pharmaceutical marketers. Let’s explore how to navigate this change successfully.

Understanding the Cookieless Landscape

Why are cookies becoming a thing of the past? Privacy concerns and user consent are driving this change. As third-party cookies crumble, marketers must find new ways to gather insights and engage consumers.

Innovative Data Collection Strategies

How can we collect data without cookies? It’s all about first-party data. This means direct interactions with your audience. Think surveys, newsletters, and loyalty programs. These methods provide valuable insights while respecting user privacy.

Creating Personalized Experiences

How do we personalize without cookies? It’s time to get creative! Use the data you have to tailor content and offers. Remember, relevance is key to engagement.

Leveraging New Technologies

What technologies can aid this transition? Artificial intelligence and machine learning are game-changers. They can analyze large datasets and predict consumer behavior. This tech makes targeted marketing possible, even without cookies.

Building Strong Customer Relationships

How do we build trust? Transparency and communication are crucial. Be clear about how you use data. Build a brand that consumers can trust.

Adapting to Regulatory Changes

How do we stay compliant? Keep up with changing regulations. This ensures your marketing strategies are both effective and lawful.

The cookieless future is not just a challenge; it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to innovate, build trust, and create more meaningful consumer connections. As pharmaceutical marketers, you can lead this change. Embrace it, and you will thrive!

Delve deeper into the implications and strategies for a cookieless future in pharmaceutical marketing at the upcoming 2024 #XHSummit, happening from April 16-18 in Boston. This summit promises to be an enlightening platform where industry experts will share insights, innovative approaches, and practical solutions to thrive in this new era of digital marketing. It’s an unmissable opportunity for professionals to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of direct-to-consumer advertising. Join us to discover, learn, and network with the best in the field.



January 8, 2024 0
As we move into 2024, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical marketing landscape is undergoing significant transformations. With an evolving regulatory environment and advancing digital platforms, marketers need a forward-thinking strategy to stay ahead. This article will guide you through the forecasted trends and necessary adaptations for your campaigns this year.

Digital Domination in DTC Marketing

The digital realm continues to expand, becoming an ever-more vital component of pharmaceutical marketing strategies. Consumers are increasingly turning to online resources for health information, making digital platforms an essential touchpoint for DTC campaigns. Incorporate interactive and personalized digital experiences to engage your audience effectively.

Empathy-Driven Content

As patients seek more relatable and understanding communication, empathy will be a central theme in content creation. Crafting messages that resonate with the patient’s journey and emotional state can foster a stronger connection and trust between the consumer and the brand.

Regulatory Adaptability

2024 brings with it a wave of regulatory changes impacting DTC pharmaceutical marketing. Staying abreast of these changes and understanding their implications is crucial. Ensure your marketing team is well-informed and agile, ready to adapt strategies as regulations evolve.

Data-Driven Personalization

Utilizing data analytics to personalize marketing efforts will be more critical than ever. Understanding consumer behavior, preferences, and needs allows for more targeted and effective campaigns. Invest in robust data analysis tools and expertise to refine your marketing approach continually.

Collaborative Partnerships

Building partnerships with healthcare providers, tech companies, and patient advocacy groups can amplify your marketing efforts. Collaborative initiatives can provide valuable insights, extend your reach, and enhance credibility. Explore and cultivate strategic partnerships that align with your brand values and goals.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned about environmental and social issues. Incorporating sustainable practices and demonstrating social responsibility can significantly impact brand perception and loyalty. Ensure your marketing messages and business practices reflect a commitment to these values.

Telehealth Integration

The rise of telehealth presents new opportunities for DTC pharmaceutical marketing. Integrating your marketing efforts with telehealth platforms can facilitate direct engagement with consumers and provide valuable insights into their preferences and behaviors. Embrace this trend by partnering with telehealth providers and creating seamless digital experiences.


As 2024 unfolds, the direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing industry will continue to evolve, driven by digital innovation, regulatory changes, and consumer expectations. By embracing these trends and preparing for the future, marketers can develop robust strategies that ensure success in this dynamic landscape. Stay informed, be adaptable, and focus on creating genuine connections with your audience to thrive in the world of DTC pharmaceutical marketing.



December 1, 2023 0

In a healthcare world rapidly evolving beyond one-size-fits-all solutions, we are at the cusp of a significant shift. Traditional mental health treatments, while effective for some, often fall short for others, leading to a growing interest in alternative therapies. This change is driven by varied and complex reasons, from cultural beliefs and stigmatization to practical barriers like cost and accessibility.

Diverse Reasons for Disengagement from Traditional Treatments:

  1. Cultural and Societal Influences: Many individuals, particularly from ethnic minority backgrounds, disengage from traditional mental health treatments due to cultural stigma, poor insight into their condition, and distrust in the healthcare system​​​​​​.
  2. Gender and Age Dynamics: Younger people, especially males, often face unique challenges like balancing autonomy with family expectations, internalizing stigmatizing messages about mental illness, and concerns about medication dependency​​​​.
  3. Economic Disadvantages and Healthcare Access: Economic barriers significantly impact engagement with mental health services. The cost of medications, particularly for those with limited financial resources like young people and economically disadvantaged women, often leads to nonadherence or discontinuation of treatment​​​​​​​​.
  4. Concerns During Pregnancy: Pregnant women frequently prefer nonpharmacological interventions over antidepressant medications due to concerns about the effects of these drugs on their unborn children and a preference for psychotherapeutic approaches like interpersonal therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy​​.

The Need for Alternative Treatments: Given the diverse reasons for disengagement from traditional pharmaceutical treatments, there’s a pressing need to explore and embrace alternative therapies. These include but are not limited to:

  • Psychedelics and Marijuana: Substances like ketamine and marijuana have shown promise in treating conditions inadequately addressed by conventional medications. However, they require a sensitive marketing approach that respects legal and societal norms.
  • Holistic Therapies: Incorporating holistic practices such as yoga and acupuncture can provide a more comprehensive approach to mental well-being, appealing to those seeking less conventional methods.
  • Personalized Treatment Approaches: Tailoring treatments to individual cultural, social, and economic backgrounds is crucial. This approach can help bridge the gap between traditional and alternative therapies, making mental health care more inclusive and accessible.

The mental health care landscape is shifting towards a more inclusive and personalized approach. By understanding the various reasons behind the disengagement from traditional pharmaceutical treatments and the growing interest in alternative therapies, healthcare professionals and marketers can better address the needs of diverse populations. The future of mental health care lies in embracing this diversity, ensuring treatments are accessible, culturally sensitive, and responsive to the unique needs of every individual.

As we embrace a more inclusive and personalized mental health care landscape, the Xpectives.Health Summit emerges as a pivotal platform for professionals. The summit will cover:

  1. Current Landscape: Delve into the latest advancements in alternative mental health therapies, understanding the evolving dynamics of the field.
  2. Comparative Advantages: Analyze how these therapies compare with traditional treatments, highlighting their unique benefits.
  3. Legal Framework: Gain comprehensive insights into the legalities surrounding the administration of these alternative treatments.
  4. Pharmaceutical Involvement: Explore the role of pharmaceutical companies in researching and developing groundbreaking therapies.
  5. Effective Communication: Master the nuances of communicating the medical advantages and potential risks of these treatments to patients, ensuring informed decision-making.

Attending the Xpectives.Health Summit is crucial for professionals in healthcare marketing, offering invaluable insights and networking opportunities to stay at the forefront of this evolving sector.



  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). “Poor insight was identified as a reason for nonadherence…” Link.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). “Younger age, male gender, ethnic minority background…” Link.
  3. Cambridge University Press. “Over the course of a year, about three-quarters…” Link.
  4. Psychiatry Online. “Individuals with serious mental illness and providers differed…” Link.
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). “Most commonly reported associations of disengagement appear to be…” Link.
  6. BMC Public Health. “Finding the right medication that reduced symptom severity…” Link.
  7. BMC Public Health. “Young people persevered with taking medication…” Link.
  8. BMC Public Health. “Adolescence is also a time of shifting from a focus…” Link.
  9. BMC Public Health. “Increases in psychotropic medication use…” Link.
  10. BMC Public Health. “Six key themes were identified in the data…” Link.
  11. PubMed. “Women disadvantaged by poverty, as well as racial or ethnic minority status…” Link.
  12. PubMed. “Depression during pregnancy is a significant public health problem…” Link.



November 8, 2023 0

Femtech is revolutionizing women’s health care, and it’s about time! This isn’t just another tech trend; it’s a major shift in how women access and manage their health. From period-tracking apps to breast cancer detection innovations, femtech is making waves and transforming lives. Let’s dive into some groundbreaking examples of femtech and see how they’re making a difference. And for those hungry for more, the Women’s Health Business Track at the Xpectives.Health Summit in April 2024 is the place to be!

Innovations in Femtech: A Closer Look

  1. Digital Health Platforms: Apps like Clue and Flo have revolutionized menstrual tracking, offering women insights into their reproductive health. These platforms provide personalized data, predict menstrual cycles, and help in understanding fertility windows, thus empowering women to make informed health decisions.
  2. Wearable Health Monitors: Wearables like Bellabeat and Ava provide real-time health monitoring. They track parameters like sleep, stress, and reproductive health, offering a comprehensive overview of a woman’s health status.
  3. Telehealth Services for Women: Companies like Maven Clinic offer telehealth services specifically for women, providing access to specialists in areas like fertility, mental health, and pregnancy. This approach has significantly reduced barriers to accessing expert healthcare advice.
  4. Breast Cancer Detection Technologies: Innovations like the smart bra, equipped with sensors for early detection of breast cancer, signify a breakthrough in proactive health management, offering a non-invasive method for regular monitoring.
  5. Fertility Tech: Technologies such as in-home fertility monitoring devices have demystified fertility issues, providing women with accurate information about their reproductive health in the comfort of their homes.

Impact on Women’s Healthcare

The advent of femtech has had a profound impact on women’s healthcare:

  • Enhanced Access: Femtech solutions provide women with more control over their health, especially in regions where access to healthcare is limited.
  • Personalized Care: With data-driven insights, women receive personalized healthcare, tailored to their unique needs.
  • Preventive Health: Early detection technologies in femtech encourage a preventive approach to health, leading to better outcomes.
  • Breaking Taboos: By addressing issues like menstrual health and fertility openly, femtech is breaking longstanding taboos and normalizing women’s health discussions.
  • Informed Decision-Making: Access to accurate health information empowers women to make informed decisions about their bodies and health.

Xpectives.Health Summit: A Platform for Further Learning

The Xpectives.Health Summit in April 2024, particularly the Women’s Health Business Track, presents an unparalleled opportunity to delve deeper into these advancements. Attendees can expect to:

  • Engage with Industry Leaders: Hear from pioneers in the femtech industry, sharing insights into the latest innovations and research.
  • Explore Case Studies: Learn from real-world examples of how femtech is making a difference in women’s lives.
  • Participate in Workshops: Engage in interactive sessions, understanding the application of femtech in various healthcare settings.
  • Network with Peers: Connect with healthcare professionals, marketers, and innovators, fostering collaborations that could shape the future of women’s healthcare.
  • Discover Future Trends: Get a glimpse into the future of femtech and its role in evolving women’s healthcare.

Femtech is more than just a buzzword; it’s a powerful movement propelling women’s healthcare into a new era. The Xpectives.Health Summit is the ideal platform to explore, learn, and contribute to this exciting field. It’s not just a conference; it’s a community coming together to shape a healthier future for women everywhere. Join the revolution at the Women’s Health Business Track in April 2024!



November 7, 2023 0

Imagine you’re a patient needing treatment, but the medicine was only tested on a group that doesn’t include people like you. That’s a big problem in healthcare today, as many clinical trials lack participation from diverse groups. This lack of representation presents numerous challenges but also offers opportunities for meaningful change.

Barriers to Diversity in Clinical Trials

  1. Underrepresentation: Black and Hispanic Americans, who make up a significant portion of the U.S. population, are markedly underrepresented in clinical trials. This gap limits their access to new therapies and affects the generalizability of treatment safety and efficacy to non-white patients​1​.
  2. Logistical Challenges: Many potential participants face practical barriers such as lack of childcare, health insurance coverage, transportation, language barriers, and low health literacy. These challenges often lead to a decline in trial participation​1​.
  3. Mistrust and Historical Injustices: Past abuses in medical research have left a legacy of distrust, particularly among certain racial and ethnic groups. This mistrust is a significant obstacle to participation​1​.
  4. Implicit Biases: Unconscious biases among clinicians result in fewer minority patients being referred to clinical trials, even when they are eligible. Such biases often stem from assumptions about patients’ understanding and willingness to adhere to study protocols​1​.
  5. Economic and Institutional Hurdles: High start-up costs and assumptions about the experience of staff at new sites can deter clinical trial sponsors from establishing accessible sites for minority populations​1​.
  6. Restrictive Study Designs: Eligibility criteria often exclude patients with comorbidities, which disproportionately affects minorities, thereby limiting their participation in trials​1​.

Making Strides Towards Inclusivity

  1. Community-Based Approaches: Establishing research offices in minority communities and using culturally sensitive recruitment tools have shown success. For instance, in Washington D.C., such strategies led to a significant increase in black participants in clinical trials​2​.
  2. Patient Navigators: Employing patient navigators who can help identify and screen minority candidates for trials, especially in places where they are receiving care, can be an effective strategy. These navigators are familiar with the system and trusted by potential candidates​2​.
  3. Programs like EMPACT and OWN-IT: Initiatives like EMPACT develop patient navigation programs tailored to minorities’ needs. OWN-IT, meanwhile, focuses on integrating the cancer center with the community to promote trust and participation. For example, in New Haven, Connecticut, the OWN-IT program led to trials promoted by Yale Cancer Center having 50% minority participation​2​.
  4. Expanding Trial Sites to Underserved Areas: Placing trial sites in underserved communities and non-traditional locations such as community health centers can improve trial diversity​3​.
  5. Diverse Investigators and Staff: Having racially and ethnically diverse investigators and staff helps in building trust and ensuring cultural competence in trials​3​.
  6. Data-Driven Recruitment: Leveraging real-world data to identify appropriate patients for clinical trials can enhance the diversity of participants​3​.

Looking Forward

By embracing these approaches, we’re not just ticking boxes; we’re making healthcare better and more effective for everyone. It’s a big task, but the payoff – treatments that work for all patients – is well worth the effort.


  1. American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). “AACR Disparities Meeting: Finding Solutions to Diversify Clinical Trials.” [Online]. Available:
  2. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Oxford Academic. “Strategies To Boost Minority Participation in Clinical Trials,” Sherrie Flynt Wallington, Ph.D., and colleagues. [Online]. Available:
  3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “Five Key Strategies for Enhancing Diversity in Clinical Trials.” [Online]. Available:



March 15, 2022 0

DTC Perspectives, the leading forum for direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising thought leaders names its 21st Annual list of the “Top 25 DTC Marketers of the Year.”

This year’s class will be honored during a ceremony dinner on the evening of April 20th sponsored by PatientPoint, at the 2022 DTC National (part of the Xpectives.Health Summit taking place in Boston, April 19-20th). It includes representatives from more than 15 different manufacturing companies, with each marketer championing both the interests of the patient and brand.

“PatientPoint and I congratulate the Top 25 DTC Marketers of the Year. These industry experts lead by example, always putting the patient at the center of everything they do and achieving incredible outcomes as a result. We look forward to recognizing their accomplishments at the DTC National Conference,” says Linda Ruschau, Chief Client Officer of PatientPoint.

Health Marketing Awards

The Top 25 DTC Marketers of the Year for 2022 are…

Kim Abbasi, Consumer Marketing Director, Xeljanz US Marketing, Pfizer

Katie Baldwin, Director, Consumer Marketing, US COVID-19 Vaccine, Comirnaty, Pfizer

Brittany Blair, Head of Patient Strategy & Solutions, US Immunology, UCB

Kelly Bock, Director, Consumer Marketing, Urovant Sciences, Inc.

Tanya Bowstead, Marketing Director, Altreno, Ortho Dermatologics

Kevin Conway, Director US Marketing, Alexion

Julie Cosgrove, Marketing Director, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Patricia Crowell, Sr. Manager Obesity Strategy, Omnichannel Patient Experience, Novo Nordisk

Heather Gilbert, Marketing Manager, Inspire Medical Systems, Inc.

Farrah Goldsmith, Marketing Manager, GSK

Sylvie Gondouin, Associate Director, Digital Customer Engagement, IPSEN

Ashley Hallett, Group Product Director, IMBRUVICA DTC Lead, Janssen Biotech Inc.

Craig Huber, Associate Director | Patient Marketing – Mavacamten | Cardiovascular (US), Bristol Myers Squibb

Tammy A. Karas, Director, Consumer Marketing Lead for the Prostate Cancer Franchise, Pfizer

Julie Loving, Insights Director, TherapeuticsMD

Shannon Mitchell, Associate Director, US Media and Integration, Merck

Harleen Parmar, Associate Marketing Director, ILUMYA, Sun Pharmaceuticals

Mara Rastovsky, Associate Director, Global Customer Insight/Diabetes Franchise, Merck

Kaitlin Russomano, Senior Manager, Consumer Strategic Marketing, Horizon Therapeutics

Asako Sakae, Senior Director, Consumer Strategic Marketing, Teva Pharmaceuticals

Silvia Schneiders, Associate Director of Marketing, Antares Pharma

Stepheny Stordahl, Associate Marketing Director, Women’s Health, AbbVie

Alexandra Tudoran, Associate Director, Franchise Marketing & PR, Galderma

Bert Van den Hooff, Project Manager, Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Jaela Williams, Associate Director, Merck

“These elite pharmaceutical marketing professionals are this year’s top contributors to the advancement of patient outcomes via direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical education and marketing,” adds DTC Perspectives Chairman and CEO Robert Ehrlich. “We would like to recognize the faces behind prominent DTC campaigns, because their hard work and dedication to fostering the industry is often not recognized. The awardees were selected from many worthy candidates.”

Established in 2001, the Top 25 DTC Marketers of the Year award recognizes extraordinary DTC marketers from pharmaceutical companies who drive innovation and work towards better patient health outcomes. Marketers are selected based on actual accomplishments, influence on future patient launches or campaigns, or recognized contributions and service to patient communications. The Top 25 festivities include a cocktail party, followed by a special ceremony presented by PatientPoint during our DTC National Conference. Each member of the Top 25 DTC Marketers is also profiled in the annual conference guide publication.

Celebrate with the Industry’s Best

DTC Perspectives offers reserved tables with seating for 10 at the Top 25/Hall of Fame and Advertising Awards ceremonies as well as congrats ads opportunities in our DTC Perspectives Magazine/DTC National Conference Guide, on our website, and in Email announcements. Click here to view awards packages.



March 8, 2022 0

DTC Perspectives, the leading forum for direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising thought leaders, honors a dynamic group of pharmaceutical companies and brands at the much-anticipated DTC National Advertising Awards. The awards are a part of the annual DTC National Conference, on April 20-21; all events are a part of the Xpectives.Health Summit in Boston.

Sponsored by Phreesia, the 2022 Advertising Awards showcase the best marketing and advertising across more than 15 categories. Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners will be announced during the Advertising Awards ceremony held on April 21st.

“Phreesia Life Sciences is excited to participate in DTC National as a Platinum sponsor and to present this year’s Advertising Awards,” said David Linetsky, SVP of Phreesia Life Sciences. “As a leading digital point-of-care company focused on engaging patients in their health, we believe in the power of DTC to activate patients, enhance the HCP-patient dialogue, and improve health outcomes. We applaud this year’s finalists for their innovation and creativity.”

Some media for judging provided in association with MediaRadar.


November 18, 2021 0

Sponsored Content

Our networks, connecting with patients, and our measurement capabilities set us apart from other media partners. InStep Health is the only fully integrated marketing platform combining the power of digital activation programs with a proprietary network of over 250,000 HCPs and 24,000 pharmacies.

At InStep Health, partnerships throughout the life sciences have created 1000+ successful campaigns for over 200 brands in 92 therapeutic categories. The key to success is an innovative philosophy based on solutions encompassing the entire continuum of care with a lens on targeting, exemplary execution, and accurate, meaningful prescription pull-through. This means our massive scale for health marketers and the industry as hyper-targeted initiatives reached more relevant HCPs and their patients.

Services and Offerings: Completely Connected

InStep Health has created an exclusive digital-to-physical continuum that spans patient visits to their physician, local pharmacy, home, and workplace in the ordinary course of maintaining their health. Our approach starts with custom audience models and geolocation data to locate a campaign’s footprint using advanced digital tactics. InStep Health Arrivals provide just-in-time impact, allowing clients to reach their target audience as they enter our network physician offices and pharmacies.

We know engaged HCPs are critical to any program’s success. InStep Health Emails provide a day-to-day connection with HCPs who opt-in to our in-office programs, reaching them in their email boxes throughout campaigns. Added to this is our ability to target opted-in HCPs on a 1:1 basis as they access the internet on work and personal devices.


InStep Health was the first to recognize the pharmacy’s extraordinary effectiveness as a media channel. Our Pharmacy Displays, placed at the shelf in targeted health and personal care aisles of the retail pharmacy, engage consumers as they seek health information. Our aisle-by-aisle targeting approach leverages patient behaviors related to their health conditions.

The Pharmacy in 2020: Reliable, Essential, More Valuable than Ever

The stay-at-home orders from COVID-19 response nationwide interrupted many typical doctor-patient relationships as access to clinics and hospitals were curtailed or discouraged for non-emergency, nonessential concerns, and public transportation was interrupted. So pharmacies became an even more natural and logical healthcare destination. And pharmacies leaned into that responsibility.

As CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in the company’s second-quarter earnings report, “The environment surrounding COVID-19 is accelerating our transformation, giving us new opportunities to demonstrate the power of our integrated offerings and the ability to deliver care to consumers in the community, in the home and in the palm of their hand which has never been more important.”

Pharmacies opened thousands of on-site COVID-19 testing centers and became de facto leaders in transmission reduction for retail stores. In concert with the Department of Health and Human Services, pharmacies expanded vaccine services by broadening the range of vaccinations approved for administration by a trained pharmacist. In hard-hit communities, pharmacies stepped up their telemedicine and delivery options, even launching drone services to minimize contact and spread. Some locations even opened customers’ eyes to the full scope of services for the first time when they applied their compounding skills to make hand sanitizer during shortages.

Healthcare Providers

Our network of 250,000+ HCPs is the largest in the industry and includes all provider types in virtually every medical specialty nationwide. InStep Health’s Professional Education Kits and Patient Activation Bags, delivered throughout network offices, are ideal for educating HCPs, staff, and patients about new or established treatments. They are also a strategic solution for supporting pharma sales forces and overcoming reduced personal interactions with providers.


We employ a flexible platform that utilizes best-in-class data and third-party partners to deliver metrics and insights for every program across whatever channel we execute with our clients. For example, prescription lift and ROI, changes in prescribing at the physician level, physician recommendations and awareness, response to digital ads, and digital audience composition are among the performance indicators measured.

Learnings from a time of uncertainty

Today, we can see clearly that although COVID has accelerated the rate of change in healthcare, many of the essential priorities have remained the same. The role of technology will expand to reach more patients faster to achieve better outcomes. The pharmacy played a distinct role in the pandemic response and emerged as the quintessential essential business. Across all disciplines, health care professionals will require new ways of reaching patients–with a better ability to serve them ondemand and in any setting. Consumer appetite for convenient access to trusted providers will only grow.

We recommend creating adaptive plans using your answers to these questions as a guideline:

Learn more about the InStep Health platform and marketing solutions. A continuum of care. Meet with an InStep Health team member at DTC National or visit


November 18, 2021 0

Sponsored Content

It’s clearer than ever — health inequities exist, and they need to be addressed. So how can we, as marketers and content creators, help bridge the gap? Which methods and strategies are most impactful?

In this Q&A, Verywell’s Chief Medical Officer, Jessica Shepherd, MD, shares her thoughts on creating positive change and evolving our thinking around how health content is created and disseminated to be inclusive for all audiences.

Verywell: What has happened over the past 18 months to bring health inequities to center stage?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: The COVID-19 pandemic shined a strong light on American health disparities — we saw firsthand differences in access to testing, care, treatment, and more across communities and populations.

At the same time, we saw the mighty power of information in narrowing the existing gap. We needed technology and reassuring messaging to empower people and drive them to take action, whether it was getting tested, staying home, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, or seeking help.

These events were eye-opening in these regards. They highlighted existing health inequities and the power — and responsibility — that we, as health information disseminators, have to address them.

At Verywell, we did our part by providing information that was credible, easy-to-understand, empathetic, and relevant — pillars that KR&I, in research sponsored by Verywell, found matter to people in their moments of need.

Verywell: As both a physician and CMO, you have unique insight into this topic. Where do you think publishers and advertisers have the most opportunity to create positive change?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: As a physician, I have countless opportunities to give my patients information that is understandable and relatable, and as CMO I see that opportunity extended to the online publishing space. Over the years I’ve seen changes to where people are getting information and how they’re interpreting it, and unfortunately what they’re finding is not always as relevant as it can be, which makes it less impactful. That is the gap we need to fill.

When we think about “equity,” we know it refers to fairness and justice. Addressing “equity” means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and adjusting our content accordingly. The process is ongoing, requiring us to identify and address intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or system structures, including health-specific barriers like cost of care, lack of culturally competent care, socioeconomic status, race, location, and more. This is how we can create resources that are relevant to everyone.

Verywell’s Anti-Racism pledge, shared publicly, outlines the goal best — we offer a detailed promise to all who visit Verywell, so they may see themselves in the voices and content that are shared. We took this commitment as a first step to driving positive change, to ensure that anyone and everyone feels represented.

Verywell: What steps can publishers and advertisers take to ensure they are properly representing all communities? In other words, what does “getting it right” look like?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: To accurately address the problem, you first need to understand the problem, so it’s important to ask questions and lay the foundation for why this work needs to be done. At Verywell, our first step is always research. We evaluate the existing literature, asking questions like “what is the prevalence” and “who is affected, and why?” We also partner with our Anti-Bias Review Board — a group of physicians, DEI experts, psychologists, and more. They help us gain a deeper understanding of what we don’t know and how we can best address it.

This base-level understanding often naturally leads to solutions that support the real people who are experiencing a health-related issue and seeking answers in their moment of need. For example, if lack of education and awareness are in play, we make sure new and existing content fills that gap. If resources are an issue, we help connect people with leading organizations who are there to help. And if representation is lacking in clinical materials, we’ll make sure to offer specific imagery, voices, and more.

The most important aspect of “getting it right” — the outcome you want to achieve — is making sure that every reader who visits your resources easily finds the credible, relevant, and empathetic information they’re looking for. KR&I, in the same study sponsored by Verywell, found that users are more likely to feel better and take a positive health action when they encounter content that embodies these four factors.

Verywell: What are some of the challenges in making sure everyone is represented in online health content?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: Most challenges relate to one simple truth — we don’t always know what we don’t know. Representing “everyone” is a complex task, which is why research, partnership, and highlighting diverse voices is so important to “getting it right.” The health inequities affecting different communities require attention and detail and collectively we are stronger, can learn from one another, and can all help each other live healthier lives.

Related to that, we’re working towards changing how content has been written for a long time. As with any change, it’s important to maintain a caliber of curiosity and openness to learning what matters to different groups of people. The more we can put a human lens on our users’ needs, the better we can meet them where they are and humanize their health experience.

Verywell has one specific purpose—to help others feel better and more empowered about their health. To learn more about Verywell’s approach to addressing health inequities online, or for more information on partnership opportunities, contact us at


November 18, 2021 0

Sponsored Content


Today, the pace of change in healthcare communications is not just fast, it’s hyperspeed. The brand marketing plans of just two years ago are more than out of date. As the world evolves beyond the pandemic crisis phase in the US, pharma brand marketers are evolving the way they reach physicians and patients. Every day. And, at Health Monitor, so are we.

In the first six months of 2021, we introduced three new products – all digital offerings – to reach both physicians and patients in new ways. These products are, of course, a complement to the award-winning existing communication platform we have built in our industry-leading largest physician office network of over 200,000 offices.

In addition, during the first six months of 2021, we added several key new senior leaders across the organization – from network sales, industry sales, marketing, and data analytics and technology. All the investments are in the service of continuing to build our platform, serve our physician office and brand marketing customers, and continue to further enhance our offerings.

Some things, though, have NOT changed.

Our commitment to bringing the highest quality, bespoke educational content to patients and physicians through our in-house content studio and our own medical advisory board of leading KOLs across virtually every specialty remains unchanged.

Our company values of transparency, initiative, and teamwork remain unchanged. Transparency means we always do what’s right in support of that physician and the patient communication in the exam room. Every time.

Finally, we are in a business that demands transparency and accountability. That’s why all our marketing programs come with our industry-leading ROI guarantee and measurement.

I am immensely proud of our four decades of history. Our products. Our people. I am very excited about our future, with the major investments in people and new products. I believe strongly in the #HealthMonitorDifference.

David M Paragamian
Chief Executive Officer