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A Q&A with Bridge’s Director, Medical Communications

Sandra Steele, Director, Medical Communications at Bridge Medical Communications, has been with the company for more than six years.

What are your main responsibilities?

In my role, I focus on the strategic presentation of complex scientific and clinical data to tell a story, whether it is of new agents transforming care in a therapeutic area, clinical outcomes data or treatment optimization.  I work extensively with key opinion leaders to develop a wide range of content, including education programs, practice assessments, editorials and patient tools.

How did you get into medical communications?

Many of my family members work in healthcare, so it made sense to me. I wanted to combine my business and science backgrounds with healthcare.

What most excited you about the space when you started? What most excites you now?

I got into the industry because I was looking to broaden my horizons. I had worked in consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing, and I discovered that I wanted to further explore the medical communications space.

Today, there’s so much to be excited about, especially with all of the advancements that are being made in science and medicine. For example, immunotherapy is something we hadn’t heard much about a decade ago. Now we are looking at personalized medicine – allowing people to be treated on an individual level, based on their current characteristics. We’re also seeing the emergence of the “motivated patient,” making patient engagement more important than ever.

I love that the industry is constantly changing, and I learn something new everyday. I’m excited by the advancement of science, especially the improvement in patient quality of life and outcomes that we’re seeing with the various biologic therapies and immunotherapies. It’s fascinating.

What project are you most proud of?

Over the last six years I’ve worked on many projects of which I’m proud. One project in particular that stands out is a practice assessment we did, which looked at whether or not physicians were doing biomarker testing in patients with lung cancer and, whether patients with molecular markers were treated with targeted therapies.

Patients with advanced lung cancer are supposed to be tested for molecular aberrations and given targeted treatment. It was a cutting-edge project at that time – something with the potential to change practice.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in medical communications and how have they impacted what you provide to clients?

In addition to personalized medicine, there’s a much stronger focus on patient empowerment, which is so important. This shift requires more content management and patient materials, such as decision aids. We are constantly developing engaging information tools to support the co-management of patients.

Have you picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?

Cooking is my creative outlet and relaxes me. All of the sudden going to the grocery store has become an exciting outing. My daughter and I have started a tradition where we make dishes from all around the world—each week we choose a different country.