Porter Novelli Realigns Global Health Practice to Better Serve Evolving Needs of Global Clients

Chief Medical Officer Barbara DeBuono, M.D. Appointed to Additional Role of Global Director of Health and Social Marketing

New Talent Added in U.S. and Europe

Oct 25, 2010, 09:20 ET from Porter Novelli

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to better serve the continuously evolving needs of health care brands, global public relations leader Porter Novelli has announced that it has restructured its global health care practice. This includes new roles for existing talent and external hires in New York and London.

"This structure is consistent with the relentless client-centric drive of the agency, which is marked by global thinking, integrated digital and differentiated talent," said Julie Winskie, president, global clients, Porter Novelli. "The health influencers, consumer engagement and brand integration requirements will continue to change radically and at a quicker pace. Defining this sector more broadly and hiring leaders who know health communications beyond traditional PR is at the heart of what health care clients need today."

Barbara DeBuono, M.D., Porter Novelli's chief medical officer, will lead the practice as global director of health and social marketing. Dr. DeBuono will oversee development of the practice, with special focus on the convergence of advocacy, issues, policy, digital and social marketing. She will continue to work closely with Shipra Singh, who leads health care for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as she builds the practice globally. In addition, Dr. DeBuono has assumed management responsibilities for Porter Novelli's health practice based in New York. She reports directly to Winskie.

Prior to joining Porter Novelli in 2009, Dr. DeBuono was executive director, public health and government for Pfizer, Inc., where she was responsible for creating and managing public-private partnership programs in public health innovation, health policy, education and research.  Prior to joining Pfizer in August 2000, Dr. DeBuono was chief executive, New York-Presbyterian Healthcare Network.

"As we enhance our team it is absolutely critical that our talent offer expertise that spans across health sectors and marketing disciplines," said Dr. DeBuono. "We have added leaders with well established global credentials as well as deep expertise in multichannel marketing, customer relationship marketing (CRM) and digital. These are the skills that are needed to help our health care clients not just compete but win in their spaces.

"In addition, our team will leverage our social marketing heritage and expertise to deepen our unbranded, disease awareness and patient-provider communication programs for our key health clients," Dr. DeBuono added.  Porter Novelli counts Merck, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and Eli Lilly among its health care clients, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anchoring the agency's social marketing practice.

New Hires in New York and London

Susan Hayes joins Porter Novelli for her second stint with the agency and will serve as a partner in New York managing the agency's Novartis business. Hayes boasts more than 20 years of experience in public relations and public affairs in the health care industry. During that time she worked in the fields of HIV and infectious diseases, vaccines, kidney disease, organ transplant, oncology and strategic corporate philanthropy at agencies including her eponymous firm, S. Hayes Consulting, from which she joins the agency, as well as Cooney Waters, Ogilvy & Mather and Porter Novelli. She is recognized in the industry for her global brand stewardship, most notably for her international work in HIV and vaccines. 

Cheryl Nigro joins Porter Novelli from her own firm, Rethink LLC, to become executive vice president (EVP) and lead the agency's Merck business from the New York office. With more than 20 years experience, Nigro brings a unique combination of in-market success stories for both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription health care products that touch all stakeholders from health care professionals to patients and consumers. Nigro has particular expertise in digital and CRM, having spent two years directing CRM programming at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and creating the brand's largest multichannel RM/patient support program, The BP Success Zone, a national, behaviorally based support program for patients on Novartis' cardiovascular drugs. She also worked on numerous CRM programs for clients including Merck, Novartis and UCB while she was EVP, client services and general manager of the New Jersey office of MicroMass Communications.

Kimberly Santiago has joined Porter Novelli's London office from Hill & Knowlton as associate director, working on men's health care brands. She has eight years of health care communications experience, with particular expertise in providing strategic counsel around product milestones and life-cycle management, crisis and issues, competitor blunting strategies and programming, media engagement, advocacy and third-party relationship management.

Sarah Schapira has rejoined Porter Novelli's London office from Tonic Life Communications as an account director, working primarily on women's health care brands. During her five years in health care communications she has led international communications programs for clients including AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk and Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals. She is experienced in managing a variety of programs for both pre-launch and post-launch brands, including data / milestone communications, media relations, key opinion leader and advocacy development, medical education and internal change management.

About Porter Novelli

A global public relations leader, Porter Novelli was founded in 1972 and is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC). In 90 offices in nearly 60 countries, Porter Novelli combines the power of immersion with the rigor of research to create deep human insights that enable us to transform the opinions, beliefs and behaviors of those who matter most to our clients. For additional information, please visit www.porternovelli.com.


Catherine Sullivan



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