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  • Writer's pictureEmma Iovoli

Health Systems Transformation - how can medical affairs help?

Over the past few years, and especially since focusing my work on the climate, health and equity intersection, I have found myself wondering about what it means to be a doctor.

I remember in my 20s, when someone asked me what I did for a living, it was so easy to reply “I’m a doctor.”  The person asking would immediately have a sense of what that was - that I was someone with an education in medicine, that I worked in a hospital and did long shifts, and that my work was likely to be a hugely important facet of my life, a calling even.

Since stepping away from clinical medicine it is not so easy to describe what it is I do, or indeed who I am.  I no longer see patients every day, or work night shifts, or wear a stethoscope around my neck. But in many ways my passion for “being a doctor” - for doing work that heals people - has exponentially increased.  I feel more like “a doctor” than I ever have before.

So what lies right at the heart of the vocation to heal? What does it mean, exactly, to be a doctor?  And is it time to rethink how the work of a doctor is commonly perceived or defined?

This is one of the many questions I hope to explore at the Basecamp for Health System Transformation, staring in just a few weeks. Run by the School of Systems Change, it is an exciting opportunity to examine the currently prevailing medical paradigms that have influenced the way our healthcare systems are set up.

And then, beyond that, I hope to explore how the life science sector might be maintaining this out-of-date status quo. I will contemplate what needs to shift or change within the sector so that the interconnected wellbeing of people and the planet is provided with the conditions it needs to flourish and thrive.

And ultimately, I will ask, what is the role of medical affairs within pharmaceutical companies to help pave the way for this much needed transformation of healthcare?

Hope you will join me and follow my reflections over the next few months.

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