Body of key science and health opinion leaders needed for better communications: PRmoment-Avian WE's Pulse Talk health dialogue

There has been an unprecedented rise in R&D in healthcare post Covid-19. This includes the development of several vaccines against Covid-19, something that one rarely gets to see in a lifetime.

At the same time, people are more open than ever before to health and science communications. And people are demonstrating health seeking behavior driven by a desire to be healthy during the pandemic.

To discuss this and the exponential rise in public interest in health and science, PRmoment India and Avian WE bring you the PULSE TALK series of health dialogues.

Episode one covered the sharp rise in R&D in healthcare and the communication approaches needed after that development.

The panel included Sharad Goswami- senior director, Public and Corporate Affairs, Pfizer, India, Seema Ahuja, SVP & global head of communications & corporate brand, Biocon Group & Biocon Biologics, Melissa Arulappan, head, corporate communications, IQVIA, and PR and media head for ISCR - the Indian Society for Clinical Research, and Nitin Mantri Group CEO- Avian WE, President ICCO.

 Kicking off the discussion Seema Ahuja, SVP & global head of communications & corporate brand, Biocon Group & Biocon Biologics said, "one very prominent trend that I have seen is that people have, are now willing to invest in understanding science, you know, I mean, there was a time and I remember, you know, people would just avoid getting into the details. But today, if you see the common man, they have, the way they have followed through the entire vaccine development cycle that has happened and the way people have started investing time and understanding the science behind what is happening is something which is absolutely unprecedented, just as the the pandemic was."

 Melissa Arulappan, head, corporate communications, IQVIA, and PR and media head for ISCR - the Indian Society for Clinical Research said, "We need to lead with science, we need to lead with data, we need to lead with facts. But it's equally important that we create a body of knowledge that everyone can tap into. And I think during if you go back to what was happening during the initial stages of, you know, the pandemic, people were grappling for information they did not know, you know, where to source information from who were really the credible people that should be they should be tapping into. 

And, you know, the media themselves said there was so much science and, you know, how does one decide whose science is more credible? So I really think I mean, and this is really an appeal to all PR agencies, because I know, organisations have conflicts of interests of interest in doing this. But I think it would be great if we could set But I think it would be great if we could set up a body really of key opinion leaders, you know, who can provide information, guide people, correct misinformation, and be able to provide perspectives and context around developments."

Watch the first part of the discussion here:

Taking the discussion forwards, Sharad Goswami- senior director, Public and Corporate Affairs, Pfizer, India said, "The job that we have as communicators is so much more important than it has ever been. Because we are the bridge between how our scientists would like to communicate, you know, the folks who are in the lab, the folks who are in the research team, the folks who are, you know, looking at the clinical trial outcomes, for example, they communicate and convey in a certain way, and that is guided by science. You know, scientific communication in its purest form is not about hyperbole. It's not about definitive statements. It's always about precision. 

You know, it's always about referencing any claim that is made, because that's what's important, that is scientific communication. But on the other side, you do have, you know, the general public to which the media reaches out to who would want things which are more definitive, which are much easier to understand, which are, you know, five words in a sentence, tell me what the answer is. And that gap, is what we guys need to bridge."

Nitin Mantri Group CEO- Avian WE, President ICCO concurred saying, "How do we simplify that communications space for the general public? And not alarm them at the same time? I think that's the main thing. So you know, while misinformation we have to fight, but not make it alarming either. The second thing is, how do we actually talk to various stakeholders in the whole game? So there are preventative health and primary care and foundations there are health care delivery and services there pharma of pharmaceutical organisations, there are chemists and distributors. So it's it's a vital role that everybody's thinking, how do we differentiate messaging for everybody."

Watch the second part of the discussion here:

PULSE TALK is produced by PRmoment India with partner Avian WE.