January 27, 2023

The Issues That Matter Most in 2023: Equity

Black woman holds laptop near glassed server room

Each year, we forecast several trends that will influence life-sciences marketing the most in the months to come ahead. Success in 2023 will mean addressing each of those five issues meaningfully – understanding them fully and giving them real action, not just lip service. You can read our complete whitepaper here. Today, let’s talk about one of those pressing issues: equity. 

A trend isn’t the same as a fad or a novelty, even though sometimes those words are used similarly. The former is a cultural movement, but the latter are transient. 

In medical research, in healthcare delivery, and in life-sciences companies and their partners, responsible organizations are working to uncover and address entrenched inequities. They may be due to bias or geography, to ignorance or intent, but regardless, they need to be eliminated. 

The need for equity isn’t a fad or a novelty. It’s a powerfully relevant, wide-ranging, desperately needed area of focus. In medical education and in clinical trials, research has excluded women and other historically marginalized populations, deliberately, for generations. In care delivery, the facts are staggering: care is not equal for all.  

And in pharma marketing – as well as pharma generally, and marketing generally – as Kelly McCoy, SVP, Managing Director, Head of EVERSANA INTOUCH Solutions, put it, “The industries have talked a ton about DE&I, but in reality, we’ve seen little action.” 

“Digital solutions will also need to continue to be a part of the strategy to bring more participants to clinical trials as we strive to create a more equitable research landscape,” said Liz Katta, Manager, Engagement, Clinical Trials, EVERSANA INTOUCH Engage. “Wearable and telehealth technologies can help engage individuals far away from a clinical trial and encourage participation, while digital and social content can increase awareness and education to meet diverse populations where they are and increase buy-in throughout the development process.” 


In current work for an HIV brand, EVERSANA INTOUCH Proto has ensured that its efforts include people who are truly reflective of the patient population at every step, from ideation to creative to outreach. 

“When it comes to representation, authenticity matters, so it was really important to us to recruit from within the community,” said Meg Holland, SVP, Client Services, EVERSANA INTOUCH Proto. “We wanted to ensure that the people who we were trying to help could see themselves in our outreach,” said Charley Aldridge, VP, Group Creative Director, EVERSANA INTOUCH Proto. 


You can’t succeed without understanding and addressing longstanding equity gaps.  

Marketers need to be aware of these historic and current gaps in equity, as well as their extent and their causes, in order to do work that can address those still-present needs. 

“From the makeup of the teams leading marketing initiatives, to co-creating with the communities we serve, to understanding all patients’ holistic experiences, all the way down to the data that creates our digital ecosystems and the process of building accessible brands from concept through execution – it all needs to be done,” said Kelly McCoy.  

Data-driven digital technologies offer promise, both to better quantify the problem, as well as to advance our capabilities to overcome historic barriers. But even the best solutions can only work once the right people are in the right rooms having the right discussions. 

“We’re seeing increasing demand for our health equity services, which enable clients to see the blind spots in their own communications, prioritize where they need to act first, and most importantly credibly and confidently communicate to these underrepresented communities,” said Nicole McCann-Davis, Director, Strategic Planning, EVERSANA INTOUCH. “The net result is integrated communications plans that are, simultaneously, fully inclusive communications plans.“

“Now, more than ever, we’re seeing the reality of inequality within our health services,” said Nathan Stewart. “Access, outcomes, and representation all vary across race, sexual orientation, and gender. There is an ever-growing need for pharma to be a part of driving health equity. We at EVERSANA INTOUCH continue to develop deliverables and perspectives to inform our work, and improve our clients’ content, so that it is relevant to and representative of everyone.” 

“Patients are seeking care outside of the traditional HCP office or pharmacy with telehealth, at-home care, or concierge care. This will drive disruption and new approaches in demand generation, channel strategy, HCP marketing, and more,” said Maria Kirsch, General Manager, Patient Services, EVERSANA.

Further reading: