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How I’m helping to #BreakTheBias: International Women’s Day

What do you think of when you imagine a scientist? Who do you see in a lab coat? Gender stereotypes and assumptions are rife and, as a child, the thought of working in STEM never crossed my mind. I didn’t see people who looked like me. Growing up, I was told: life will be hard because you are a woman; life will be tougher because you’re black; you’ll have to work harder to be recognised, but don’t be too loud because that could be seen as ‘aggressive’. Unconscious bias affects us all; knowing it exists isn’t enough, we all must share, we all need to talk, and we all need to challenge.

As part of International Women’s Day, I’ve been given the opportunity to tell the story of my journey into the world of medical communications and it must start with my love of science. I studied Biology and Chemistry at A-level, and then completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Microbiology and Virology, followed by a MRes/PhD, staying in higher education for 10 years. In all my years of education I’ve never once had a black teacher or lecturer, despite studying at four universities across the UK and living in a multicultural area.

During my PhD, I was keen to disseminate and communicate my research at scientific conferences, presenting my work at public engagement events and at a workshop run by patient groups. After handing in my PhD thesis in March 2019, I started my first role in medical communications that April. It was an easy decision on reflection: I enjoyed talking about my research, communicating and travelling to congresses. I had a few friends who worked in med comms on the medical writing side, but I was immediately drawn to client services – where I could be involved and exposed to the data, while working in a fast-paced environment that combined science, creativity and communication.

In 2020 I joined Lucid, a company with a vision of transforming patients’ lives. While I’m no longer in a research environment, I’m proud to work for a company that partners with the pharmaceutical industry, aiming to change clinical practice and behaviours and advance health outcomes. I’ve worked on materials that give patients a voice, sharing their stories to support their empowerment to understand their disease.

I continue to advocate for a young black female in our household, who is forging a career in nursing, and is the first in her family to go to university, surprising many who have preconceived notions of children in care. Sharing my story on IWD was a challenge, but this year’s theme is one that resonates. I’ve aimed to break the bias at home where we have fostered teens. I share and I’m open with my struggles. I celebrate their successes, I challenge their behaviour and I advocate on their behalf. We can all #BreakTheBias, in our workplaces, in our communities and at home.

“Every day, you have the power to choose our better history – by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right.”–  Michelle Obama

8th March 2022

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Lucid Group Communications Limited

0345 0536671

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Address:
First Floor, Jubilee House
Third Avenue
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Marlow
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SL7 1EY
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