In this feature, the Editor-in-Chief of StartuptoEnterprise, Linda Ashok (LA), talks to Indian-American Senior Medical Director at Precision Value & Health, Dr. Deepika Vuppalanchi (DV), on emotions in medical science and visibility of women in scientific leadership. Dr. Vuppalanchi to talk on telehealth’s role in reducing care gaps, emphasizing the impact of COVI19 in the healthcare sector at the Digital Innovation Virtual Conference scheduled for Nov 5, 2020.
LA: As the Senior Director at Precision Value & Health, what is Deepika Vuppalanchi’s everyday operational and leadership responsibilities?
DV: At Precision Value & Health, I am involved in partnering with brand marketing leads from major pharmaceutical companies and identifying strategies for successfully launching their drugs and maintaining their market share through the drug’s lifecycle.
I lead a group of talented medical writers who all have advanced degrees, such as PharmDs and PhDs. We work together to create engaging scientific narratives that present complex scientific and clinical data in meaningful, digestible, and captivating medical stories for physicians and payer audiences. Working with creative leads in bringing life to medical science is always exciting, and the behavioral change it elicits in our audience is very satisfying! Educating the physicians and payers on therapeutic choices and helping them pick the optimal drug for their patient populations makes me get one step closer to making a difference in patient health outcomes.
LA: Women professionals as educators and doctors have higher social acceptance than women as coders or manufacturing technicians. But, what has been your experience so far as a woman in leadership? How has your journey been so far?
DV: As a woman with an advanced degree, I have always received a higher social acceptance level and immediate validation of my capabilities. I have always gained respect from people I interact with, as everyone acknowledges that it takes a lot of grit and determination to achieve a doctoral degree. As a woman in leadership – it is crucial to be your authentic self, and then it is all about finding your voice, honing it, and practicing it. Acceptance will follow when you stand and practice what you preach.
LA: What do you think about sharing your achievements on social media? I believe you are a shy person and refrain from such attention? How do you then establish your visibility where everyone has to stand up for themselves?
DK: I believe social media is a way to augment your leadership presence and make your voice heard for a broader audience. Social media stories on women in leadership add to the momentum of more visibility of women leaders. It is even more crucial for women of color and foreign backgrounds to demonstrate the value of diversity in an organization to inculcate women-leadership culture.
LA: Does Dr. Deepika Vuppalanchi ever get angry? What is your anger management strategy for young professionals aspiring to be in your profession?
DV: No, I do not believe that there is a place for anger in the professional world. Disagreements need to be worked out cordially, and attention should be refocused on the task’s primary goal and vision. All think of the big picture and move on from the nitty-gritty. As a scientist, there were many times, experiments failed, and hypotheses were proved wrong. There is no place for emotions in medical science – we have to keep emotions at bay – and critically analyze the situation and develop a path forward. I use the same principles of anger management in my current role. Tip for aspiring professionals would be to strive to put emotions at bay and let analytical thinking and science guide the way.
LA: From Hyderabad, India, to the US. Many years since you are settled abroad. Have you found your tribe with who you can hang out with or do you prefer staying indoors with family? Also, is it alienating at the top?
DV: Coming from a family of physicians, I naturally get attracted and involved with people with scientific acumen. Coming from Hyderabad, the almost Silicon Valley of India, I am surrounded by tech-savvy friends. I believe my tribe is a perfect amalgamation of science meets technology, leading to lots of creative and fun hangouts.
I do not believe it is alienating as you grow to the top – being your authentic self and humble with all your accomplishments takes one a long way!
LA: Do you feel there is a bias toward women speakers? If yes, what do you think are the reasons?
DV: I think women are generally underrepresented in tech conferences over a while. The attitude toward women speakers in tech is evolving as we see more speakers; however, the momentum is at a snail pace.
LA: Often, tech conference organizers complain that they do not know many women speakers and could not have them. Do you have some hacks to help these organizers identify and onboard many women speakers?
DV: Conference organizers must strongly encourage company owners to identify women speakers within their organizations. Reach out to women in senior leadership roles to either present or identify female colleagues who want to participate. Arrange breakout sessions or open forums that are focused on women’s leadership.
LA: You lead healthcare marketing practices. Do you think there’s an empirical conflict between “marketing” and “healthcare” when placed together?
DV: No, not really. I believe in medical storytelling – where accurate, scientific data interweaves humanistic values, behavior-driven, and engaging narratives. Medical communication is a crucial aspect of bringing awareness about FDA-approved drugs to physicians and payers; this ultimately improves patient access to the medication.
LA: At the Digital Innovation Virtual Conference, what are you going to discuss?
DV: At the conference, I will discuss the impact of the pandemic on healthcare, including technological advancements. I will be discussing how telehealth is playing a major role in reducing care gaps and how the future of telehealth looks like.