Sam Yarwood – Scientific Lead, Watermeadow 


How did you get into your role?
After time spent in Japan teaching English, followed by a PhD and post-doctoral research in cell biology, I entered health communications as an Associate Medical Writer. Over time I decided that team leadership and mentorship was more up my street, and I became an Editorial Team Leader. I joined Watermeadow 18 months ago as a Scientific Lead.

What is a typical day like?
Busy, with many things on the go at the same time. First, coffee, black, no sugar. Next up I’ll run through the inbox and map the day or week out, check-in with my team members face-to-face or on Skype (9 people, 5 locations). I might then have a client call to plan a new project, followed by an hour or so of reviewing pieces of work before lunch. After lunch and a quick walk (or yoga on Thursdays), any afternoon might include some more reviewing, training, more client calls, business development meetings, some fiscal management, a chat with one of my line reports – anything really!

What projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
Many over the years. Recently we have been a developing a wide range of patient-facing clinical trial materials for a number of large studies in obesity.

What’s the best part about your job?
Helping and mentoring people in their career development, and over the years I’ve learned a huge amount about wide variety of medical and scientific aspects of healthcare and disease.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in a similar role?
Spend time thinking about what healthcare and communication actually are. Decide what interests you and chase it. Get exposure to as many project types, therapy areas and clients as you can. If you don’t like mentoring, teaching, diplomacy or difficult conversations, consider something else.

What do you find unique about your career field?
The variety of disease areas and cutting-edge healthcare that we are exposed to.

What is it like to work for Ashfield?
Ashfield is an excellent, modern employer, with their employees very much supported in all aspects of work, development and life-balance.

Where is the most exciting place you have travelled to with work?
Florence/Tuscany in Italy for 9 days, with very little evening work required!

What do you think is the future of MedComms?
Complex but very secure! There is a heady mix brewing in which national healthcare systems are under increasing financial strain, innovations in therapy are becoming more expensive to develop, biosimilars are poised to flood the market, new therapeutic approaches threaten to finally deliver (What can AI deliver? Will gene therapy finally realise its potential?), all while healthcare and Pharma strive to personalise healthcare in a sea of multichannel noise and 24/7 news cycles. The successful HealthComms agencies of the future will be the ones who can weave a path through all these issues to ensure that their information about their client’s products reaches the right people at the right time in the most engaging format.

To find out more about a career in Healthcare Communications, click here.