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HCA elects Cherry Wood as new chair

The HCA has elected Cherry Wood, managing director of Liberation Communications, as its new chair

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) has announced that Cherry Wood, managing director of Liberation Communications, has been elected its new chair.

Wood will take over from Sarah Matthew, joint CEO of Virgo HEALTH, who has served as HCA chair for the last three years. Matthew announced that she would be stepping down as chair at the 2010 HCA conference.

Wood brings with her several years of experience in healthcare communications having worked in in-house and agency roles including founder and managing director of Athena Medical PR. She then went on to create Liberation Communications, which she has headed since January 2009. She is also one of the founder members of the HCA.

Sarah Matthew said: "In the 10th year of the association, and at a period of immense change in healthcare communications, it is fitting that one of the founder HCA members takes over the helm as our new chair. Cherry will bring immense experience, leadership and vision to the role which, combined with a passionate commitment to the HCA, will really help take the HCA to the next level and face the challenges the future may throw at us."

During the last three years of Sarah Matthew's tenure, the HCA has increased its scope of activities and width of membership. There are currently 84 members representing the majority of blue chip pharmaceutical companies in the UK and leading healthcare communications consultancies and consultants.

2010 saw the first ever HCA conference with over 175 delegates debating current industry issues and trends. Following its success, another larger conference is planned for 2011.

In addition, the HCA continues to offer professional training, industry benchmarking research and a number of events aimed at stimulating debate and knowledge in the sector. Two key new areas of focus for the HCA in 2011 will be digital communications and medical education.

Speaking about her new role, Wood said: "Healthcare is evolving rapidly and we need to adapt to meet the changes. The value of good communications has never been higher and we must ensure that everything we do stands up to the most intense scrutiny."

"Never before has the role of the HCA been so critical in terms of championing best practice, innovation and excellence in healthcare communications. I am delighted to be taking on the mantle and look forward to helping shape the future role of the HCA in our industry."

Cherry will be supported by Julia Cook, veteran of the healthcare PR industry and former HCA chair, who has served as chief executive for the organisation for the last three years.

1st February 2011

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