Clio Health Innovators 2022: Meet 19 Leaders Driving Progress in Healthcare Marketing

These behind-the-scenes stars are rethinking creativity, with dramatic results

Healthcare marketing is creative, essential, and finally getting the recognition it deserves. A multiyear pandemic slowed us all down to take a closer look and appreciate the advancements—and the lives changed and saved—thanks to behind-the-scenes health work. Just take a look at mainstream advertising today, and you'll find almost every brand identifies as a healthcare brand.

In this first-ever Muse by Clio list of top healthcare talents, who we're calling Clio Health Innovators, we salute the behind-the-scenes stars critical to the creative process. These individuals drive and support creativity and innovation at their organizations and amplify the stories behind the work.

They come from varying disciplines and organizations—agencies, brands, hospital systems, nonprofits, government agencies and biotech/pharma companies. Many are unsung talents overdue for a greater spotlight on how they drive their companies forward. We're thrilled to recognize their accomplishments.

Congrats to our 2022 Clio Health Innovators. We can't wait to see what you do next.

Our 19 honorees will be celebrated at the Clio Health Awards on June 15. Tickets are on sale here.

Clio Health Innovators 2022

Use the links to jump to individual entries, or scroll down to read them all.

Aaron Marshall, BBDO New York
Amy Gerstein, TBWA\WorldHealth
Amy Gomez, Klick Health
Bria Mirante, Impact Marketing + Communications
Brittany Curtis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brittany Vella, 21GRAMS
Carlos Garcia, Neon
Chad Villarroel and Colin Barnes, Brunet-García
Cristina Stan, McCann Health London
Hannah Judah, Dole Sunshine Company
Jamil Rivers, The Chrysalis Initiative
Kumar Badampudi, MedTrix Healthcare
Laura Bevan, Elvie
Lauren Urban, Northwell Health
Lisa Bookwalter, Twitter
Mai Kaneda, McCann Health Japan
Shamel Washington, Deloitte Digital
Suzanne Buffington, Blue Shield of California
Trevor Kratz, CDM New York

BBDO New York

Aaron Marshall

Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

Aaron Marshall works on Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire, GE, Dewar's, St. Germain and Tequila Cazadores as a copywriter for BBDO New York, but it's a project where he tapped into his vulnerability that grabbed our attention.

Marshall took the reins for "In The Spotlight," a PSA for SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young. The work was personal for him; Marshall is a person who stutters. He channeled his authentic self to create the ad, which debuted on the Today show. His courage and advocacy have improved the lives of thousands of young people with a stutter.

A recent project you're proud of

As a person who stutters, I don't think a campaign for the rest of my career will be as rewarding as our "In The Spotlight" spot with SAY. It was my first campaign out of school but also a dream project to help raise awareness and help end the public stigma associated with stuttering. We have a stutter, not a stuttering problem.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

I'm most excited about how brands and agencies are approaching mental health for employees and setting up initiatives to help avoid burnout and feel supported. BBDO has recently launched programs/resources that I'll definitely be taking advantage of.

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Amy Gerstein

VP, Director of Operations
Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

As director of agency operations for the TBWA\WorldHealth network, Amy Gerstein's role is primarily behind the scenes, making sure employees have the support and resources they need to succeed, thrive and create stellar work for their pharma and healthcare clients. No simple feat during a pandemic.

To keep relationships and energy high, Gerstein scheduled team bonding events like Thanksgiving pie parties, Halloween costume contests for pets, team trivia competitions and virtual painting classes. No two days are alike for her, so creativity and innovation are necessary keys to success. At the end of the day, having employees know that the agency supports their wellbeing both personally and professionally is what she strives to attain. 

A recent project you're proud of

Hybrid working is the new reality for most companies, and we've embraced it from day one. The TBWA\WorldHealth network has operated as four business units, with different leadership teams, working cross-geo across all U.S. time zones, plus London and Japan, for several years. In partnership with our HR team, I've spent the past two years working to enhance the hybrid work experience for our organization. Every large-scale meeting, training, charity initiative and celebration is planned through the lens of how to make it work for our global workforce, whether they're at home in Kansas or in a conference room in our New York or Chicago office space. 

In December 2020, we produced our first ever TBWA\WorldHealth Ideas Week, a program featuring 20-minute sessions on thought-provoking topics related to career growth, pharma and the ad industry. In 2021, we launched a "show and tell" series that harkened back to the early days of getting to know each other as kids, giving employees the opportunity to highlight their passions and hobbies, which run the gamut from soap making and beer brewing to boating and beekeeping. 

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The digital space is growing quickly, and sometimes pharma and healthcare seem as though they are only along for the ride. But the pandemic has shaken us all up, and I'm excited to see how our human need for connectivity will intersect and adapt as the use and familiarity with technology for patients and doctors increases. The corporate world has been full of early adopters with this new hybrid model of engagement. The health industry will need to keep an inclusive mindset as they expand their technological competencies so as not to alienate patients who may be slower to acclimate. I have the privilege and resources to bring the best of the hybrid experience to my agency, and in turn, our brand teams can bring that inspiration to the HCPs and patients, where it matters most.

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Klick Health

Amy Gomez

SVP, Diversity Strategy
Instagram | LinkedIn

Amy Gomez wears two important hats at Klick Health. She heads up the agency's cross-cultural marketing department as well as Klick's internal diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. She and her team address the Hispanic, Black, Asian and LGBTQ+ communities that are often underserved by the healthcare system. Gomez believes the best solutions to solve the needs of underserved patients come from collaboration, especially with colleagues across different teams.

She and her team created a recruitment campaign for a clinical trial for treatments for Covid-19 called Rise Above Covid that included a partnership with a Black-owned national barbershop/beauty salon chain to increase education and trust of clinical trials. She also created campaigns for clients in the lupus-related kidney disease and heart failure categories. 

A recent project you're proud of

I couldn't be prouder of a campaign my team worked on to address vaccine hesitancy around pediatric vaccines in the Hispanic community. Hesitancy is driven by many cultural complexities and institutional barriers, and we knew we had to create a campaign that spoke WITH Hispanic moms, not TO them. The core idea tapped into all of the strength Latinos derive that is passed on through the generations, and the notion that our ancestors are watching over us. The all-Hispanic cast, photographer and production team helped ensure that every detail would authentically resonate. We've seen a nearly 200 percent increase in pediatric and adolescent vaccine search in our target markets.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

Over the past past two years, we've seen unprecedented momentum in our industry to ameliorate centuries-old inequities that have condemned so many individuals to worse health outcomes due to some aspect of their identity—race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, ability, etc. While there is so much work yet to be done, and we are closer to the beginning of the equity journey than to the end, I am extraordinarily encouraged by the impetus for change.

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Impact Marketing + Communications

Bria Mirante

Senior Health Communication & Digital Marketing Specialist

A self-described communications generalist, Bria Mirante takes nuggets of creativity from all her projects, everything she reads, and campaigns that inspire her to inform her work so she is constantly evolving and challenging herself to innovate.

Her work on various AIDS projects stands out. Mirante developed the "Organizing to End Black and Brown HIV NOW in Dallas County" campaign for the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, which included a new website, logo and social media tools. She also created a national campaign for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and took charge of a campaign for the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's AIDS Institute for its PrEP Aware Week campaign. 

A recent project you're proud of

I am so proud of the work that I did to create the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors' "Ending the HIV Epidemic" (EHE) video series. This was my first time managing a national, video-based campaign. There were many moving parts, and the Covid-19 pandemic required that we conduct all work virtually. Despite facing challenges I had not faced before, I understood that the stories of the EHE frontline workers being highlighted in the videos were stories of great importance and deserved all of my creative efforts to honor them. The result was eight vibrant, inspiring and informative videos featuring public health innovators across the country who are working relentlessly to end the HIV epidemic, even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What you're most excited about in healthcare

We hear this phrase time and time again, "The health landscape is always changing." It can be difficult to stay informed and stay relevant in an ever-changing environment, but what I love about health communication is the willingness of communicators to share, learn and grow with each other online. We all recognize and are fully leaning into the utility of social media to drive our knowledge sharing and to communicate with people from all walks of life about health in ways that spark their interest and attention. There is so much power in virtual social environments, and it is exciting to see health communicators harnessing that power for good.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brittany Curtis

Senior Health Communication Specialist

Brittany Curtis expects her team to constantly think outside the box; in fact, she celebrates it. To her, innovation is not just a one-time stroke of luck. It's a daily mantra. Curtis works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Overdose Prevention. With every campaign, she ensures that her intended audience is top of mind. She considers the health literacy, healthcare access, cultural competency, media exposure and internet access of who she wants to reach.

Curtis worked on every aspect of the CDC's multiple "Stop Overdose" campaigns. From audience research to creative development to cross-collaborating with Brunet-Garcia and ICF Next, she was the glue that kept the campaign moving at a timely pace.

A recent project you're proud of

I'm immensely proud of the recent launch of CDC's four complementary education campaigns to address the increasing number of overdose deaths related to both prescription opioids and illicit drugs, which I helped lead. Having the ability to lead and collaborate on a project that aims to bring light to a public health crisis that is currently devastating so many communities, while still respecting and honoring the lives of those struggling with the disease of addiction, was a rewarding experience.

I'm most gratified by the innovative approaches we took to develop campaigns that were scientifically sound but approachable and relatable to our intended audience. We spoke directly to young adults 18-34 who use drugs to learn more about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs surrounding illicit drug use and their communication preferences. We tested health messages, obtained feedback on design choices, ensured the use of non-stigmatizing language, and promoted harm reduction and treatment services that respected the health and dignity of people who use drugs. I'm looking forward to furthering this work by sharing prevention strategies, tools and resources with those that need it most so that we can save more lives from drug overdose. 

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The recent (and long overdue) focus on health equity, where everyone has the fair opportunity to achieve their highest level of health, has me very energized these days. I'm glad to see we are moving beyond simply telling people to eat healthy, be physically active and abstain from drugs and alcohol without acknowledging the social, economic and environmental disadvantages that create barriers for many Americans to live healthy, fulfilling lives. If individuals, communities, government agencies and organizations continue to prioritize sharing resources and identifying opportunities for collaboration to eliminate health and healthcare disparities, I am hopeful about the future health of our nation. 

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Brittany Vella

VP, Group Account Director
Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

Brittany Vella redefines the role of account director. She leads a team focused on caregiver/patient work for a brand that helps reduce seizures in rare forms of epilepsy, but she's a creative at heart.

The agency's "Unspoken Symphony" wouldn't be the same without her input and drive. The campaign helps those who are non-verbal communicate with loved ones through music. For Vella, it was personal. Her ailing father was unable to speak, but he squeezed her hand when a song that they danced to was played. It was the last time they "spoke."

When working with clients, Brittany views things through a compassionate lens, keeping in mind the families met throughout the process to ensure the audience's needs are met. She's an example of how an account person can help get ideas made.

A recent project you're proud of

It's difficult for me to single out just one project that I'm particularly proud of, because one was for a client and the other was a mentorship opportunity.

The first is how "Unspoken Symphony" has evolved beyond the initial launch. It's a great example of an idea that continues to grow as we receive more feedback from the community. We've created art kits that patient advocacy groups can use as an activity at conferences while parents/caregivers are in sessions. The art kits are also being used at long-term care facilities in art and music classes. One facility ordered 12,000 kits. It's amazing to see how this project has touched so many lives.

The other project was a recent opportunity where I mentored high school students in the Future Business Leaders Association program. My colleague and I put together a presentation on what it's like to work at an advertising agency and mentored them through the process of creating an ad campaign. We chose a client, developed a brief, and they pitched their work to us. Then we provided feedback to teach the importance of understanding your audience on a deeper level and how their work has the power to make a difference in someone else's life.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

What excites me the most about the future of healthcare advertising is how well we can get to know our audience before we dive into the work. There's so much more data and opportunity to understand who we're communicating with as well as ways to integrate our audience more seamlessly into the process. I love that it's a conversation, not a one-way street. We know our audience by name, we ask them questions, we get feedback along the way, we listen to their needs, and we're constantly learning from them rather than guessing what might work. Being able to truly understand the needs of our audience so we can better support them makes the work that we do truly rewarding. 

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Carlos Garcia

Medical Director

As medical director at Neon, Carlos Garcia puts an elevated spin on healthcare marketing. Past projects combined medical, technology and a splash of gaming. Garcia brings this unique view of healthcare advertising to Neon.

His distinctive view of patient decision making led to the creation of, a resource for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

When he is not deep diving into medical journals to help clients improve patient treatments, Garcia is host of the Dr. Nobody Podcast, where he doles out tools for success and interviews thought leaders across various industries. 

A recent project you're proud of

As an avid gamer, the tools and technologies used in different games provide unique experiences and hours of fun. What has always baffled me is that these kinds of technologies rarely exist in the pharma world. I took it upon myself to fuse my gaming, technology and medical backgrounds to create novel approaches to provide both patients and doctors novel ways to learn or engage with the pharma world. 

This unique integration can be seen through, an interstitial tool that helps people or their loved ones who are experiencing domestic abuse quickly and concisely find the resources that they need. These new tools are just the beginning. As we continue to explore new ways to bring innovation to patients and doctors, we need to always keep an open mind on changes to the industry and embrace it.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

There has been a recent boom in VR/AR technologies and the immersion they provide. I am very interested to see how these technologies will fit into healthcare and their use in treating diseases. I would love to see these technologies bring unique ways to educate and inform both patients and doctors on diseases and the newest therapies.

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Chad Villarroel and Colin Barnes

Account Director and Associate Creative Director
Chad: Instagram | LinkedIn
Colin: Instagram | LinkedIn

Chad Villarroel and Colin Barnes led the account and creative teams at Brunet-García that created four campaigns for the CDC's drug overdose prevention initiative. The duo brought a youthful energy and creativity to each campaign, while maintaining critical, lifesaving information for a younger target audience.

Chad oversees every aspect of the agency's drug overdose prevention work, from digital/web and application development and maintenance to campaign development, training and education. As drug overdose data changes rapidly, Villarroel stays abreast of new trends and topics by listening to podcasts and reading articles and studies pertaining to prevention, stigma, treatment and recovery.

Colin is dedicated to his craft of storytelling. He gives his all to every project he touches, no matter how big or small each assignment, as he believes all work deserves greatness. Colin strives to elevate his work to achieve higher engagement and effectiveness.

A recent project you're proud of

Chad Villarroel: Our recent work focused on educating the public on harm reduction, specifically the naloxone campaign we developed with CDC's Division of Overdose prevention, is definitely at the top of my list. From those we interviewed—both people who use drugs and people who work directly with/support people who use and are addicted to drugs—we learned there is a huge gap in both naloxone education and awareness. Centered around a succinct yet powerful statement that "Naloxone Saves Lives," this campaign promotes the idea that simply having naloxone readily available, in one's backpack or purse and at home, is empowering and can be lifesaving. The campaign is authentic, educational and actionable, and really embodies the agency's mission to change behavior and make a positive impact.

Colin Barnes: I would have to mention the work we are doing under our contract with the CDC to combat drug overdoses. We are working to connect with an audience that is incredibly difficult to reach, about a topic that many people feel they have control over. These campaigns deliver lifesaving information while breaking down barriers and reducing stigmas. The ultimate challenge is communicating the dangers of fentanyl, the life-saving medication ability of naloxone, the risks associated with mixing drugs, and reducing the stigma for people who use drugs in the most attention-grabbing, yet scientifically responsible manner possible. Each campaign had to stand alone and be distinctive from the next while launching simultaneously and presenting the agency and client teams with unique challenges. The work that has gone to market is stand-out work of which I am very proud.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

Chad Villarroel: We are turning a corner in the fight against the drug overdose epidemic. Harm reduction strategies are widely discussed now as life-saving measures and we are at the forefront of the conversation. I hope we have an opportunity to save more lives by educating Americans about fentanyl test strips, which allow people to test their drugs for the presence of fentanyl quickly and accurately. In many states, fentanyl test strips are considered drug paraphernalia and/or are illegal to possess. Because of the increase in overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, we are seeing a shift in the adoption of fentanyl test strips as an effective harm reduction strategy. And more and more states have started to introduce legislation in favor of legalizing fentanyl test strips, which is really encouraging to see.

Colin Barnes: Public health communication comes with more limitations than many other advertising or branding efforts. These challenges only make this space stronger and more creative. It's exciting to see how the health space is leading the industry in innovation and creativity rather than following it.

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McCann Health London

Cristina Stan

Project Manager
Instagram | LinkedIn

As project manager at McCann Health London, Cristina Stan considers herself the glue that keeps all aspects of an assignment together. She strives to support her team so they can seamlessly produce outstanding work. To her, innovation is connecting with creativity to open new ways of thinking, unblocking old patterns of thinking and collaborating as a team to problem solve. 

Every work day varies for Cristina; she might implement a new digital platform one day and work late to help her team on a creative presentation another day. Recently, she managed the campaign launch for the Acid Survivors Trust International.

A recent project you're proud of

One of the projects that will always be very dear to me is the "Tear Couture" project for ASTi, a charity that works relentlessly to end acid violence around the world. It is a perfect example of a challenging brief that produced a highly creative idea inspired by the stories of the victims, which was then executed as a series of innovative creative works. The pinnacle of the project was an event at St. James Palace in London hosted by Princess Anne, patron of the charity. It was the first event where a VR experience and a life-size 3-D sculpture of a teardrop was presented at the palace. It was one of the most challenging projects I have worked on, due to incredibly tight deadlines and budgets, but also because of the immense pressure to do justice to the brief and ultimately drive change. 

What you're most excited about in healthcare

I am excited by increased digitalization of health systems and implementation of hybrid care models that combine in-person and virtual services. But mostly I am excited by innovations in technology, like wearable technology and increased A.I. adoption. As programs grow increasingly sophisticated, they will be able to perform more complex tasks, which will accelerate a more customized approach to healthcare by creating treatment plans suited to each individual based on their specific circumstances. Technology has the potential to revolutionize and democratize healthcare, which would mean better healthcare for everyone. 

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Dole Sunshine Company

Hannah Judah

Senior Manager, Global Marketing and Communications

Dole's brand purpose likens nutrition to sunshine—available to all. For the past two years, Hannah Judah has worked on the global marketing team to bring this mantra to life. In that time, Judah has worked on more than 15 ad campaigns around important global issues including worldwide hunger disparity and nutrition access. A notable campaign from 2021, "Malnutrition Labels," zeroed in on the fact that 1.4 billion pounds of food is wasted annually, much of it still edible, all while many Americans are experiencing food insecurity.

A recent project you're proud of

We are currently working on extending our "Malnutrition Labels" campaign in other regions and countries, to continue highlighting nutrition disparity and work to bridge those gaps where we can. We are also working to expand our Sunshine for All Cities program into additional cities this year, working in tandem with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to offer nutrition education and culinary classes to students in at-risk areas.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

I'm excited by how many different companies are working to tackle health inequity and big, systemic issues from different angles. No one person or company has the answer for how to make the world a better place, but together we can make progress in small steps toward increasing access to good nutrition, healthcare and education for all.

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The Chrysalis Initiative

Jamil Rivers

Founder and CEO
Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

In 2018, Jamil Rivers was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer (MBC), a rare type of breast cancer that's considered incurable. The following year, she founded The Chrysalis Initiative (TCI), a program that helps women of color get the breast cancer care they need while providing support for healthcare workers and systems to address the inequality in breast cancer care.

Forty percent of Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer in the U.S. despite its lower occurrence compared to white women. Rivers refuses to accept the status quo, and her work at TCI incorporates outside-the-box thinking driven by impact. In 2021, Rivers developed an updated BC Navi  (breast cancer navigation) website, patient portal and app where patients have access to resources and tools to support them on their journey and to assure they are given equitable care.

A recent project you're proud of

We're really excited about the undertaking we have right now with MD Anderson Cancer Center. Through their location at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, we're helping women of color through the breast cancer journey so they receive equitable care and achieve better outcomes. Working with their office of outreach, prevention and survivorship, we're conducting a three-part intervention to remove bias from the care of this patient group—which are women who are more likely to be from disadvantaged, low-resource communities. The project consists of an assessment/audit of care practices with this patient population in consultation with the medical staff, while we provide coaching and navigation counseling, one-to-one, with each woman of color who is moving through the experience of care at this breast cancer center.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The expanded awareness of the need for equity in healthcare in the last few years is wonderful. Across the delivery system and the medical industry, there's wide acknowledgement that we can and must do better—and that we need to play catch-up for women of color with breast cancer, in terms of their care compared to what white women receive. And now, this movement is starting to translate into action, which for us means an explosion in funding and research interest in the interventions that we are pioneering. We're capitalizing on this new mindset with our national "Erase the Line" campaign, which hammers home the message of fairness in breast cancer care and reminds us that we can all lift each other up and create color-blind healthcare.  

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MedTrix Healthcare

Kumar Badampudi

VP of Medical Affairs and Strategy

Making scientific facts relatable, creative and interesting can be challenging, but Kumar Badampudi has toed that line for the past nine years at MedTrix Healthcare. He finds the common bond between medical science, technological advances and challenges presented by clients and patients. 

Looking at problems both analytically and creatively allows Kumar to better understand healthcare challenges and match them with technology and design to achieve the best results for patients, healthcare providers and pharma. To achieve this, he celebrates teamwork and sharing ideas. He also encourages his team to try and fail; often, great innovation and creativity is born from it.

A recent project you're proud of

While there are a few recent projects that I'm proud of, there are two projects that deserve to be mentioned.

One is the Patient Case Player. Clinical case-based learning relies on learning by doing. There have been several advances in communication and learning tools, but the tools used for case-based learning, such as PowerPoint slides, web pages and others are yet to change. The Patient Case Player is a tool that reimagines case-based learning and personalizes the experience by using computer vision and learning algorithms to understand the learner's natural motivation. It also uses a recommendation engine to foster relatedness and promote autonomy. It allows healthcare practitioners to actually do things to learn using a clinical case. A recent installation was used by oncologists treating head and neck cancer. We also developed other iterations of the case player for rheumatology, respiratory medicine, neuromuscular medicine, endocrinology, nutritional medicine and aesthetic medicine that are being used by several large pharma companies.

The other is the HoloLens Facial Anatomy application, which had a photorealistic 3-D cadaver that was developed from scans of an actual cadaveric dissection. Learning anatomy is experiential, and cadaveric dissection is the ideal vehicle. Our goal was to replicate the experience of dissection digitally while retaining hands-on interaction, real tissue and 3-D nature of the experience. We utilized photogrammetry, scripted cadaveric dissection, 3-D artistry, holographic experience design and the HoloLens to achieve our goal.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The pace of innovation in the health space is exciting. The application of technology that has been transformative in other fields, like visual and immersive communication, digital twins and A.I. to enable better health outcomes and healthcare communication, is truly exciting. 

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Laura Bevan

PR and Communications Lead

Known for her constructive and valuable feedback, Laura Bevan is responsible for countless behind-the-scenes successes at Elvie. She carves out ways that agency and clients can work together easily and efficiently. When the first breastfeeding bench launched in Belgium, Laura contributed to the creative process in meaningful ways. As a communications expert, she knows how to motivate her team—and the European PR agencies she guides. Bevan and her team set out to break down taboos to encourage people to discuss historically overlooked topics. They are constantly innovating as they believe it's the only way to change people's mindsets and behaviors.

A recent project you're proud of

For the last nine months in Belgium, we have been running our "Breast Places" campaign that champions every woman's right to feed her baby where, and when, they want. This started with a breastfeeding-friendly bench installed in a public park with the lowest breastfeeding rates. We also launched a Breast Places map—locations across Belgium could sign up as "breastfeeding and pumping friendly" spaces where feeding and pumping women will be welcomed. We've had hundreds of locations across Belgium sign up to be breastfeeding and pumping friendly places—and the city of Brussels commissioned additional breastfeeding friendly benches across the city. It's wonderful to see communications campaigns having a real impact on the lives of women.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The fact that a more open conversation about female health is finally coming to the mainstream of cultural conversation. The health of 50 percent of the population should not be treated as a minority issue, but unfortunately, for too long it has been.

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Northwell Health

Lauren Urban

Lead Copywriter

As lead copywriter of creative content at Northwell Health, Lauren Urban creates marketing campaigns for New York's largest health system. She believes a data-driven creative approach is the path to innovative storytelling, and she finds inspiration in all forms of advertising, past and present, inside and outside the healthcare industry.

Lauren helped create and launch The Well, Northwell's editorial hub, and migrate the brand's website to a new Drupal platform. When a campaign opportunity arose, Lauren, with minimal advertising experience, pitched and brainstormed an idea that was selected and sent to market.

She was promoted to lead copywriter of advertising and creative content this year, and continues to pitch and execute campaigns while leading and mentoring members of her team.

A recent project you're proud of

I'm proud of our recent campaign for the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, which was based on a simple yet powerful idea: Cancer affects everybody, so everybody should have access to world-class cancer services. We highlighted real, diverse people in our communities, illustrating how we're breaking down barriers to cancer care across New York. The campaign aligned beautifully with Northwell's brand platform, "Raise Health," which is about counteracting health challenges and inequities.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

I think the shift in viewing health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being, rather than just the absence of disease, is exciting. The fact that health is top of mind for many people these days opens the door to meaningful discussions, innovations and progress.

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Lisa Bookwalter

Director of Twitter Client Solutions, Health
Twitter | LinkedIn

Lisa Bookwalter joined Twitter to oversee its health client partnerships. She breathes new life into how marketers view the platform. Specifically, she's tasked with convincing traditional and conservative health and pharma companies to spend money on Twitter, showing them ways to humanize healthcare marketing and reach patients, doctors, nurses, public health officials and influencers.

She brokered a partnership with WebMD in 2020 to educate users on health topics like breast cancer and eczema. In 2021, she worked with Condé Nast Health on Health X, a video series that placed Condé Nast's health editorial, trending topics and insights into Twitter feeds. On Bookwalter's watch, revenue for Twitter's health vertical has tripled.

A recent project you're proud of

"Conference Conversations," a collaboration between Twitter, Publicis Health Media (PHM) and Medscape—as it was born out of real-time insights. We saw that medical conferences were changing dramatically in the wake of Covid, at a time when digital was playing a bigger role in marketers' plans to reach HCPs. Twitter was able to look at raw conversation data to uncover that the opportunity to reach HCPs during events was actually expanding, with HCPs following and engaging with the conference hashtag year round. We then partnered with Medscape to create relevant content for this new trend and bring forward an offering to PHM, who wanted an ad program for their HCP clients looking to lean more into digital.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

Healthcare is in a massive moment of change, and social media is at the center of it. HCPs are ditching their white coat identity to embrace authenticity and human connection. Patients are seeking this authenticity and connection from HCPs, caregivers and other patients. On platforms like Twitter, health influencers, both patients and HCPs, are able to connect with their audiences in real time and at scale. As a society, we are letting go of stigma and shame, and opting to share experiences, struggles and triumphs in our health to better the world. All of these trends enable bringing the right information to the right person at record speed. There has never been a more exciting time to be in healthcare.

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McCann Health Japan

Mai Kaneda

Associate Creative Director

Mai Kaneda has a passion to help pharmaceutical and healthcare brands make society healthier. She listens intently to doctors and patients, comments on social media, and has casual conversations with colleagues—these are the seeds to grow innovative and creative ideas that benefit all involved. 

In her five years with McCann Health Japan, Mai has created strong relationships with clients and generated memorable work, including "6 Minutes Together," which showcased new ways for music to help patients diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. She also worked on "TRAIN'ing," a smartphone app for East Japan Railway Company that gives commuters ideal exercises that can be done en route to work.

A recent project you're proud of

"6 Minutes Together." It's an original music playlist on Spotify that transforms six minutes of alone time into six minutes of togetherness for PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) patients. The idea was inspired from the "six-minute walk test." The playlist consists of exactly six-minute songs with inspiring lyrics for patients and a beats-per-minute tempo endorsed by a PAH specialist to match the walking speed of patients. The highlight of the playlist is an original song written specifically to support PAH patients by one of Japan's most popular artists, Yo Hitoto. We harnessed the power of music to bring a sense of togetherness, joy and hope in life to patients who once felt that they were alone.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

Baby tech. Recently, as more friends of mine bring babies into the world, I learned that many of them are exhausted with pre-modern childbirth and childcare. According to research in Japan, one in 10 mothers suffers from postnatal depression. In a society with declining birth rates and an aging population, I'd love to bring about innovation with technologies and creativity to help build a society where everyone can find it comfortable to have and raise children.

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Deloitte Digital

Shamel Washington

Associate Creative Director, Art
Instagram | LinkedIn

Shamel Washington is always thinking one step ahead to what's next. He's also thinking about the present and how to make it better. His work features a fine balance of health, innovation and equity that come together to change people's lives in a meaningful manner. 

Shamel was part of the team that introduced "No Kids in Cages." In addition, he and his family created "The ABC's of Survival," and he most recently launched #TheBestOutcomes for NYU Langone Health. 

A recent project you're proud of

I am very proud of the work I'm doing. There are several amazing initiatives I am currently working on which I can't reveal yet. One that I can is #TheBestOutcomes campaign for NYU Langone Health. I believe my team helped raise the bar for hospital advertising. We created an innovative look by mixing hyperlapse with super slow motion, while incorporating complex camera angles, and immersive sound design, all to tell meaningful stories.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

I'm most excited about the very high ceiling in health. Incredible storytelling, beautiful design and groundbreaking ideas are coming to a space that was once considered a creative afterthought. Healthcare advertising is now playing in the same sandbox with marketing in every other field—and in many cases has become the most innovative space to create.

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Blue Shield of California

Suzanne Buffington

Senior Director, Brand, Advertising and Sponsorships
Instagram | LinkedIn

Suzanne Buffington handles the growth of Blue Shield of California, working to make sustainably affordable healthcare available to all Californians. Suzanne joined the company in 2017 to help overhaul the brand and set it apart from its competitors, beginning with a definition of brand values—human, honest and courageous.

She gives a voice to the often unheard, from celebrating frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, supporting Black Lives Matter or fighting gender bias in the healthcare world with "Hear Me," a campaign starring Venus Williams. An additional campaign, "Who We Stand For," celebrated women and their achievements.

A recent project you're proud of

I'm very proud of the work the team has been doing for our Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. My passion is supporting underserved communities by elevating their experiences so they receive the level of care they need and deserve. In our Blue Shield Promise work, we strive to present stories in a way that is representative of the diverse populations we serve in California. The result is a campaign that I hope gives voice to those often unheard, and feels authentic and true to these members.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The healthcare space is primed for innovation, but I believe a lot of this innovation will come from going back to the basics. This is everything from where and how one receives care, to quality and access to care, as well as cost. Digital solutions have taken off, but we really need to ensure all people can use these services. That includes not only access to tablets, cell phones and internet service, but healthy food, education programs and more. After all, it's not solely about convenience, it's about bringing care to where people are in their lives and meeting basic needs to maintain their health.

One area desperately in need of innovation is how we as an industry communicate about healthcare to consumers—traditionally, it has been overly complicated and filled with jargon and barriers. At Blue Shield, we're working on ways we can improve how we provide the information people need, simply and clearly. Solving this communications conundrum requires bringing our members' experiences to the forefront and showing where the innovation may be lacking. 

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CDM New York

Trevor Kratz

Instagram | LinkedIn

Trevor Kratz began his time at CDM in project management but swiftly switched to a copywriter position. He keeps things simple in his work life, which strikes an ideal balance when working in the complex industry that is healthcare. He believes the best ideas explain themselves and he brings that mindset into every project he works on.

Trevor brought bold and disruptive thinking to "Emily vs. Mars," a campaign that compares the timeline for finding a Bipolar I Depression diagnosis to the time it takes to land on Mars. He brought next-level attention to Bipolar I, going above and beyond what was expected.

A recent project you're proud of

I am very proud of the work I was able to contribute to the "Emily vs. Mars" campaign. Having the opportunity to work on such a unique execution was incredibly educational and inspiring. As a new creative, to be supported and trusted with a piece of such magnitude from leadership and many of my remodels at CDM was truly an honor.

What you're most excited about in healthcare

The way original ideas are redefining medicine. How a creative execution can lead to treatment innovation. Or how reframing a diagnosis timeline can increase accurate disorder identification. There was a time where breaking into the healthcare field felt inaccessible to me. But the beauty of its complexities opens a world of creativity I feel lucky to be a part of.

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Amy Corr
Amy Corr is assistant editor of Muse by Clio.

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