Publicis Health, the wellness vertical of Publicis Groupe, has hired Susan Manber in the newly created role of chief patient officer, effective immediately.
A Publicis Health spokesperson explained that the role was conceived some time ago, well before the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“This position has been in the works for a number of months in response to a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace, and just so happens to collide with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesperson told Adweek. “Now more than ever our clients are focused on meeting patients where they are, and we believe Sue plays an essential role in developing the products and services necessary to do just that.”
“The tools, media, communications and services we develop on behalf of our clients are designed to begin conversations that equip and motivate people to take control of their health,” the spokesperson added. “The chief patient officer role is a natural extension of that corporate purpose. We knew that bringing patient-centricity to life would require an intimate understanding of patients themselves, and we needed someone with those insights at the highest level.”
In the role, Manber will be responsible for collaborating with Publicis Health’s creative, data and strategy teams to utilize a combination of real-world data, behavioral science insights and technology in uncovering insights into patient needs, as well as creating meaningful experiences and solutions across the company’s global network. She will report to Publicis Health CEO Alexandra von Plato.
“Sue serves as a connector, working across Publicis Health—and increasingly with our other hubs and Epsilon—to ensure that patient needs are prioritized and the products, services and campaigns we are developing meet their needs,” a Publicis Health spokesperson explained. “This means working with our data and analytics community, leveraging our insight tools to field research, and partnering with patient advocacy groups across a variety of therapeutic areas.”
Manber arrives at Publicis Health from Digitas Health, where she served as chief strategy officer. A survivor of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer, Manber’s experiences inspired her to partner with the Skin Cancer Foundation and Digitas Health to create an awareness campaign entitled “The Big See,” which was designed to drive early detection of skin cancer—the most common cancer in the United States.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Manber’s role has proven instrumental in helping clients navigate the situation.
“Sue’s expertise has been vital as we work with our healthcare clients around the globe as they adapt marketing communications, adjust media spend, and develop new products and resources in response to COVID-19,” a Publicis Healths spokesperson said. “Our clients need insights into patients and healthcare providers more than ever before. And increasingly, with the healthcare system reaching capacity, patients are looking to our clients as they navigate the firehose of information (and misinformation!) currently in the ether.”
To that end, Manber and her team have been hard at work fielding contextual research studies to gain insight into how patients and healthcare providers are responding to the pandemic. Publicis Health has been utilizing machine learning to accelerate the process of understanding what patients and health care providers are facing and how its clients can best serve them during this challenging time, the spokesperson explained.