Syneos Health Communications: 2021


Syneos Health Communications




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“Through the power of storytelling, Syneos Health Communications brings science to life,” says the network’s leadership team. “Together, as a community of health-focused agencies – including GSW, Chandler Chicco Agency, Biosector 2, Chamberlain Healthcare Communications, Managed Markets Communications, Cadent Medical Communications, and Addison Whitney, among others – we operate at the industry’s center, where technology, creativity, and humanity come together.” 

According to management, “The past year tested all of us in new ways, but as a community, we came together and showed resilience and empathy that resulted in success on nearly every front. When healthcare becomes the centerpiece of life, our work connects, prepares and empowers people to make informed, sure decisions and to live with courage and resolve on the path to better health. That is who we are. At the Heart of Health.”


The network added almost 150 new accounts in 2020, and the executive management team says half of these clients are new to the roster. “That means we have new clients who are getting to know and love us, but also means that current customers are coming back because of the value we deliver.”

According to the leadership team, clients sought the counsel of the network’s agencies in many areas related to the state of the world, including employee engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion, value and access, managed markets, and public policy. 

“We brought in significant senior talent that is bolstering our ability to bring innovation and flawless delivery in these areas including Ian Dorrian, president, Europe; Maria Tender, head of strategy; JD Cassidy, president, advertising; Orrin Pollard, European head, creative expression; Mark Sudwell, head of value, access and reputation communications in Europe; Leigh Ann Bruhn, value and market access lead; and Laura Keehner Rigas, senior reputation strategist, public affairs and value access,” management says. 

And Syneos Health leaders say the network didn’t just “win big” in 2020. “We won while working from home, pitching via Zoom, and praying that the cacophony of WFH life – children, lawn mowers, and the doorbells – stayed mute. We showed up for our teams and families through our Syneos Shares program, a series of live Zoom sessions to engage and inspire the children of our team members. The sessions included topics ranging from art, music, dance, language skills, and fun and games, and were led by a volunteer from one of our agencies.”

In 2020, Syneos Health launched a formal diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) council comprising 17 members from across the organization including three from the network’s communications business line. 

“The council is responsible for developing and overseeing DE&I initiatives that enable us to attract and retain the best talent, truly reflecting society at large, and to best serve customers in a culturally appropriate manner,” network executives say. “We have many established Employee Resource Groups (ERG), including a Women’s Group, Veteran’s Group, LGBTQ Group, Black ERG, and RISE (Realizing Inclusivity and Success through Equality), a group dedicated to ensuring everyone has the same opportunities to grow and advance as the person sitting next to them. Started in our Columbus GSW office, RISE went from a local community to an ERG in all of our locations.”  

Maria Tender, head of strategy; Ian Dorrian, president, Syneos Health Communications Europe; Tim Pantello, president; JD Cassidy, president, advertising


Syneos Health says the network uses its “passion” to amplify “the profound impact scientific innovation can have on the lives of people around the world to empower patients and physicians with information.”

“By tapping into our deep network of experts, we custom build each team and solution to ensure clarity when the understanding and adoption of new science is critical,” management says. “Other communications companies ‘outsource’ this kind of knowledge, but being part of Syneos Health means these experts and perspectives are right within our walls, never more than a step or phone call away.”

Syneos Health acts in service of the healthcare industry – the scientists, clinicians, manufacturers, and patients – to give a clear, definitive, persuasive voice to research, development and innovation that improves the health and wellbeing of society, network leaders say. “This results in solutions that breathe life into our customer’s innovations so they can make the strongest impact on the right audiences.”

In 2020 the network formally branded KineticTM, its modern customer engagement capability that was built to address business-critical challenges with greater precision, efficiency and effectiveness, according to the leadership team. “Powered by a team of data scientists, behavioral experts and channel strategists, Kinetic deploys advanced targeting, analytics and the latest technologies to make fully integrated omnichannel solutions accessible to healthcare organizations.”

As the pandemic accelerated use of remote detailing activity between sales representatives and clinicians, network executives say Syneos Health AnswerSuite – which has for 30 years been the biopharmaceutical industry’s premier drug and diagnosis audit – was able to provide one of the only comprehensive analyses of promotional spending and effectiveness of in-person vs remote detailing. “Coupled with information on location of treatment and customized survey feedback, it gave companies the ability to anticipate trends and adjust promotional strategies in real time within an evolving market environment.”

Management says Kinetic and AnswerSuite are just two examples of how Syneos Health uncovers actionable insights through data and intelligence, and then build integrated solutions to address the biggest industry challenges. “We never view data for the sake of information; rather we harness data and behavioral sciences to get to deeper, more actionable insights. Our process revolves around unleashing the motivational edge – the tipping point where behavior change occurs.”

In 2020, the network used its extensive insights to develop two new products that fill unmet industry needs, according to the leadership team. “We introduced RepConnect making GSW the first to market with a viable solution to rep communication accounting for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” network executives say. “The platform empowers reps to deliver an engaging sales call while maintaining social distance by ‘beaming’ content directly to HCPs’ or nurse practitioners’ mobile devices.”

The network’s Cadent Medical Communications team, in collaboration with the broader Syneos Health CNS, Medical Management, and Scientific Services team, launched VIPro (short for Virtual Interactive Protocol), an interactive, web-based, device agnostic speed tool that can improve the time to complete clinical trials by reducing protocol violations, network executives say, adding that VIPro tracking can help identify and address early warning signs to mitigate confusion throughout the life of a trial.


Our people triumphed together during the pandemic, and did amazing things to serve our communities, clients, health professionals, patients and caregivers,” the leadership team says. “From making masks and delivering them to neighbors in need, to creating small business campaigns to help local restaurants survive, to doing pro bono work using our vast talents, we could not be more proud of the way our employees answered the call of their communities in need.”