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Health Literacy At The Heart Of Trans-Tasman Health Advertising Agency

Healthcare brands and consumers are in pursuit of improved health literacy, now, more than ever – that’s the word from the head of Essence – The Health Agency (Essence).

Ryan and Lucy at Essence’s New Zealand HQ, located at St Patricks Square, Auckland.

The Auckland-based healthcare advertising and marketing agency made a splash when it revealed its new brand identity in August, and now it’s shifting the focus to its medical content team.

A key part of Essence’s overarching pillar of ‘capability’ lies in scientific and health-based content to support medical education and data rich sales tools for healthcare professionals and patient campaign materials.

“The industry and healthcare consumers are calling for clear, informative and culturally-intelligent communication. We use insightful communication to close the gap between complex health information and relatable consumer content and creative,” says Essence Director Ben Hart.

To grow its specialist communication offering, Essence, recently appointed Dr Lucy Barry – formerly at TBWA/WorldHealth in London – to the role of Medical Writer, building on the agency’s expertise in medical content.

Lucy, who works across a suite of accounts, including Novartis, Merz Aesthetics, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen, holds a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Cork and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Neuropathology from Lincoln University. She says the role is a rewarding one.

“I feel really privileged to be able to use my love for science to help educate professionals and consumers about their healthcare choices. It’s all about supporting our clients to take the most complex data and translate it into relatable, relevant and engaging communication,” says Lucy.

Lucy joins Ryan Chandler, who assumed the role of Medical Content Manager at Essence in 2019, following an eight-year stint at Cure Kids.

During his time at the non-profit, he worked in Research Grants, writing about paediatric research across a range of conditions, including child cancers, mental health, and respiratory conditions including Cystic Fibrosis. Now at Essence, he leads the agency’s largest client, MSD (NZ/AU), ensuring medical information is simplified and communicated effectively.

“We are awash, more than ever, with health recommendations. What I love about working at Essence, is that we are at the coalface of health research, which enables us to play a pivotal role in democratising health information so that it is easier for different audiences to digest – be they a health care professional or patient, and everyone in between,” says Ryan.

“I’m passionate about getting the right information to the right people and working as a medical writer for Essence helps me to achieve this.”

Essence ensures the Medical Content team are across projects from start to finish – embedding medical writing principles into all client work.

“With the addition of Lucy, and Ryan, we are able to help healthcare professionals and consumers achieve better health outcomes, thanks to more coherent and well-researched messaging,” adds Ben. “We’re proud to be enhancing clients in this space in Australia and New Zealand.”

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