With a total of 106 attendees hailing from 10 different countries around the world, The Medical Science Liaison Society received overwhelming praise for this year’s North American conference held in Boston, MA from September 29 to October 1.
This year marked the society’s 3rd annual North American conference, granting conference-goers the opportunity to learn and share the latest best practices, hear innovative strategies for improving MSL performance, and network with peers while discussing timely topics. The event’s audience was comprised of participants from a range of backgrounds including those within the MSL community as well as aspiring MSLs.
The conference kicked off with a workshop for new MSLs entitled “MSL 101,” led by MSLS Global advisory member, Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD, WHNP-BC along with Kimberly Hart, RN, MSN, WHNP-BC – both of Bayer HealthCare. A welcome reception sponsored by IMS Health followed.
Day One commenced with opening remarks by MSL Society Board Chairman, Dr. Samuel Dyer. The day closed with a well-attended dinner gala at the New England Aquarium hosted by Leading KOL and Centers of Excellence profiler, Thought Leader Select.
Additional highlights from the two days included:
- Avery Ince, Global VP of Johnson & Johnson (China) spoke on the topic of “Leveraging MSL Insights from the Field to Advance Medicine.” Ince compared and contrasted the MSL experience in different marketplaces throughout the world based on factors such as varying regulations, organizational structures, and educational requirements. By highlighting the nuances of working in different markets, Ince very effectively bridged a number gaps for his diverse audience.
- MSL Society Global Advisory Committee Chair and Senior Manager, Medical and Regulatory Projects for Takeda, Alexander Tolmachev, presented “Discover the Difference: Results of the Global MSL Job Satisfaction and Best Companies to work for Survey.” Tolmachev revealed the results of a global survey on MSL job satisfaction conducted by the MSL Society which included that the majority of MSLs report a high level of job satisfaction, and on the other end of the spectrum, a negative disclosed by the survey included a lack of on-boarding and training as provided by MSL Managers.
- In “MSLs – The Double Doctorate Role. One in Science and One in Communication,” Leon Rozen, Global Head, Immunology Medical Affairs for Baxalta USA, emphasized the importance of “emotional intelligence” in contrast to IQ and how it better equips MSLs to overcome gaps and ultimately excel in their jobs.
- In “The Pathway to Professional Certification in Medical Affairs: A Journey to Professional Excellence,” Hudson Garrett Jr., Vice President of Clinical Affairs at PDI Inc. and MSLS Global Advisory Committee member, outlined the pathway to creating a professional certification for MSLs and the positive impact that the certification could have on the global MSL community.
- Kumaran Krishnan, European Medical Affairs Centre of Excellence at Sanofi and MSLS Global Advisory Committee member, spoke on the topic of “MSL KPIs- How are they and how would they want to be measured?” In his presentation, Krishnan offered advice on the development of Key Performance Indicators to assist organizations in measuring the value of MSLs; he additionally revealed early results from a global survey on KPIs conducted by the MSL Society.
- For the first time in conference history, the MSL Society hosted a Live PostDoc Poster Presentation Session, held on the final day of the conference. Presenters included three post-doctoral fellows from Bristol-Myers Squibb, one from Sanofi, one from Amgen, and one from Sanofi Genzyme all of which presented original research on Medical Affairs and topics specific to the MSL function.
Topics discussed by other esteemed speakers from around the world included:
- “Understanding the Complexities of Launching a MSL Team at a Medical Device Company” by Jennifer Williams, MSLS Global Advisory Committee member and Director of Medical Science Liaison Services and TTM Education at Bard Medical.
- “Development and evolution of a resource document for field based MSL inquiries” by Bayer Healthcare’s Kimberly Hart.
- “MSL Training: Tools & Skills for Impactful Engagement with KOLs” by Linda Traylor, MSL Coach with Novartis Oncology.
- “Empowerment, Transformational Leadership, and Intention to Quit in a Medical Science Liaison Team” by Dr. Jerome Meyer, Regional MSL Director at Genzyme Pharmaceuticals.
- “The Evolution and Future of the Medical Science Liaison” by Lisa M Mathis, member of the Hematology Oncology MSL team at AMAG Pharmaceuticals.
- “Optimizing the MSL On-Boarding Process” by Melody Davis, Associate Director, CNS MSL Professional Development, External Medical Affairs, U.S. Field Medical Affairs at Teva.
- “Collaboration with Field Sales: Lessons Learned from the Trenches” by Cindy Winfrey, Senior Medical Science Liaison at PDI.
- “Scientific Affairs Initiatives in the Diagnostics Industry” by Tiffany MacKenzie, MSLS Global Advisory Committee member and Manager of Scientific Affairs in the diagnostics IVD industry at DiaSorin.