Global Medical Expert, Respiratory
A nurse’s eye view in our medical expert team
Monica Fletcher joins GSK, continuing a 30-year career in respiratory
Sharing our company’s scientific knowledge and insights with doctors and other healthcare professionals is integral to helping patients get the care they need.
That’s why, in 2013, we became the first pharmaceutical company to create an in-house group of Global Medical Experts – known as GMEs. These world-renowned colleagues focus on providing expertise and insights on our respiratory medicines.
Four years and nine appointments later, our GMEs are an indispensable part of the business. They are forging links with the scientific community and building our collective understanding of respiratory science.
Nurse and networker
In August 2017, we welcomed Monica Fletcher, the newest addition to our GME team. She brings an extraordinary breadth of experience in healthcare systems, research, policy and practical care. Her 30-year career in respiratory began in nursing and she has led numerous projects at a national and international level, including the WHO, the European Respiratory Society, the European Lung Foundation and the American Thoracic Society.
She is, by her own admission, a natural networker, a trait that makes her perfectly placed for her new role.
“I love bringing different voices and perspectives together at the table to make things happen,” she explains.
“I try to see through professional boundaries and put patient benefit as the core of all we do. It is incredible what we can achieve when we all work together with that as a common aim.”
She’s comfortable sitting at the heart of multidisciplinary teams – most recently as chief executive of international medical charity Education for Health, as well as the chair of the UK Inhaler Group, the Quality Assured Spirometry programme and the European Respiratory Nurses Association.
Making the switch to GSK
“I am keen to take on roles where I can make a genuine difference,” explains Monica, who was made an OBE for services to nursing in 2013 and awarded a European Respiratory Society fellowship in 2016.
“And this feels like a natural next step for me – bridging the gap between R&D and the world of healthcare professionals and patients.”
An in-house role at a pharmaceutical organisation is a new frontier. She says it’s a perspective she hasn’t yet seen, but was intrigued by the possibilities of the GME programme.
“The model was a big part of the appeal. I think it demonstrates real leadership.
“It works well for everyone – it’s a good opportunity for the company and a great opportunity for people like me to bring my expertise to something fresh and new.”
All the sweeties in the jar
Monica accepts there will be potential for discovery in her new role, but she already knows there will be opportunities to explore some of her clinical passions – such as smart inhaler technology and the importance of education.
“I am sure there will be numerous projects where I can bring added value and I will be keen to make a difference as soon as possible. But it may be like seeking all the sweeties in the jar at once; and I will need to be sure that I choose wisely and concentrate on where I can have the biggest impact.”
Listening to the patient
Her ambition is to continue finding new ways to integrate the patient voice, from the development of products onwards: “Truly involving real patients can be challenging, particularly when you’re working at a global level.
“But listening to the patient voice really is the future of healthcare – and we should always be asking how we can achieve better levels of involvement.”
For Monica, the role has come at just the right time: “I think the developments coming through GSK and in respiratory more generally at the moment make this a hugely exciting time. It won’t be without its challenges, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
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