Working at IPG Health Medical Communications

Dr Rebecca Douglas discusses her work as Group Programme Director for Talent at IPG Health Medical Communications.

  • Name: Dr Rebecca Douglas
  • Current position: Group Programme Director, Talent
  • Organisation: IPG Health Medical Communications
  • Date of interview: July 2023

Can you tell us a little about your organisation?  

IPG Health Medical Communications is home to the world’s most celebrated and awarded medical communications agencies. We are 800 experts obsessed with combining science, creativity, and technology to create exceptional medical communications solutions for our clients. Medical communications solutions encompass anything that helps communicate data in an engaging manner – our work might include: publications, podcasts, digital communications, staff training meetings, infographics, congress booths, advisory boards, slide decks, medical meetings, literature analyses, symposia – the list is vast.  

What kind of career development and/or training does your organisation provide?

One of the things that I love about med comms is the variety. There is ‘space’ for specialism, but also space to expand. The industry is always moving and evolving and so are our people. At IPG Health Medical Communications, people development is at our core. We have dedicated training and development at every stage of the career life cycle, regular career check-ins, and a dedicated talent roundtable process.  

Give a brief overview of your professional experience.

After completing a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Manchester, I joined the medical communications industry as an Associate Medical Writer (an entry-level role). I’ve now worked in the industry for almost 20 years, primarily in client-facing Medical/Scientific Services roles and, most recently, in the talent development space. I can honestly say that no two days have been the same and every day has been a school day!  

Why do you do your job?

The med comms industry combines several of my professional passions – science, people, creativity, and clear communication. We’re on the cutting edge of science, often seeing data in a raw form and working alongside our clients in the pharmaceutical industry as the data and scientific story evolve. It’s brilliant to be involved in the ‘full spectrum’ from early clinical data to patient-centred materials. On the flip-side, med comms is a delivery-focused business, we’re always working to the next deadline – so, it can be pressurised at times and it's important to be a focused, organised, team-player.

What skills would someone need to be successful in your organisation?

There are a range of different roles available within med comms – including medical writing, client services, editorial, and regulatory writing. For all roles, we need people who are excellent communicators, organised, deadline-driven, able to work in a fast-paced environment, good team-players, inclusive, and able to multitask. In addition, for medical and regulatory writing roles, we require at least a 2:1 in a science-based subject (although higher degrees and experience are welcome).  

Any advice to postdocs considering a career in your sector?

Familiarise yourself with different forms of communication that are related to clinical trials. Try and understand the patterns – for example, it’s always important to balance efficacy data with safety data. Think about how materials are tailored to the format and audience. Reach out to people within the industry – we’re a friendly bunch, and most people will be happy to chat! 

Resources

IPG Health Medical Communications

Contact Dr Rebecca Douglas

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