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Q&A: Kate Paxton

PME interview's JPA Health's senior VP

Kate Paxton

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My cat Sophie. It starts with a slow march across the covers and ends in a nose-to-nose yowl that communicates an immediate need for kibble.


What’s the best thing about working in healthcare comms?

In the agency world, I get to work with a variety of clients who each have their own set of challenges but all share a common goal of improving lives. That is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding.

What’s the worst thing about working in healthcare comms?

We all wish there were less regulatory guard rails around how we communicate to the general public, particularly when we see inaccurate and potentially dangerous misinformation spreading online. But the positives far outweigh the frustrations, and
we work very hard with our clients to help them achieve their goals within those boundaries.

What buzzwords/office-jargon/ concepts get on your nerves?

If you want to ‘open your kimono’ or ‘go out on the skinny branches’, I’ve got a call I’ve got to make in the next room. And apparently, we’ve moved beyond putting things in a ‘parking lot’ and now ‘put a pin in it’. I could go on, but let’s put a pin in it.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

Any shady, lazy outdoor wine bar that lets me slow down and people watch.

Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?

Naked by David Sedaris. It will render you incontinent while also making you think and touching your heart.

David Sedaris

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?

My dad. He left a small town in Oklahoma to follow his dream in New York City and, against all odds, made it in the music business while cherishing his family and keeping his integrity. At 82, he’s still writing, performing and making people happy. He’s my hero.

Who’s your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

President Obama, who battled incredible forces to overhaul and improve the US healthcare system.


What has been your career highlight to date?

That’s an impossible question, but when I work most closely with people on the front lines of health, I am most fulfilled. I was very honoured to develop and launch the esteemed patient advocacy group Families Fighting Flu, and helping to launch the first community-ready nasal naloxone in the US during the opioid crisis was also incredibly rewarding.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in healthcare comms?

Love to learn. Read industry news every day. See everything from the perspective of multiple audiences because healthcare is complex. And dig extra deep into categories that have a personal connection to you. That passion is infectious and will inspire others.

2nd April 2020

From: Marketing


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