International Women’s Day 2020 – The Women Who Inspire Us

International Women’s Day 2020 – The Women Who Inspire Us

Sunday 8 March was International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme was #EachforEqual, promoting the message that we can all actively choose to “challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.” With this in mind, members from each of our practices have highlighted inspirational women from different backgrounds and fields that have made huge impacts to our world as we know it.

Margaret Calver – Kat Dominiak (Creative)

Kat Dominiak

Female designers have had a huge impact throughout the history of design and their works are engrained in our everyday lives. It isn’t a surprise that historically the male-dominated graphic design industry hasn’t always had the best reputation for gender equality. However, female designers have played an important role in establishing graphic design as we know it today.

Did you know Margaret Calver’s work has helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the UK? Her very simple and easy to understand graphic language is on every single road sign and signpost across the entire country. She helps you get safely to work, school or home. Margaret is a typographer and graphic designer mainly known for her collaborative work with Jock Kinnir on the design of Britain’s roads – she’s a creative icon that had a huge impact on the design industry.

“With talent, dedication, and creativity in spades, women are – and always have been – killing it in graphic design.” – Rebecca Gross

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw – Elisha Raut (Insights)

Elisha Raut

You might have heard of the term intersectionality somewhere in the stratosphere. Maybe it’s because you’re engaged in critical race theory, or because you once eavesdropped on a pretentious and overly jargonated conversation at a LEON (just me?), or perhaps somewhere in between. In a reductive nutshell, it’s the idea that a person’s lived experience is contingent upon several overlapping axes of their identity, and it’s a foundational concept that was developed approximately 30 years ago by lawyer, professor, philosopher, and theorist, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.

While the inception of the term was mostly within the context of legal advocacy, where discrimination regarding sex and discrimination regarding race were treated as mutually exclusive entities, it has now pervaded many areas of academic and everyday discourse.

While Crenshaw’s past achievements could span novels, she remains consistently active in educating the masses, not just through academic avenues, but also as a public speaker. Many of her highly engaging and thought-provoking talks are available on YouTube.

Although the term intersectionality has entered the everyday vocabulary of many people who may be characterised as, and sorry in advance for using this term, “woke”, it has also faced criticism from the anti-woke crowd. This is the main reason her continual educational efforts are still invaluable: in the information age, we can (fortunately and unfortunately) still believe whatever we want, whether it is justifiable and evidenced, or not.

Rosalind Franklin – George Mitchell (Healthcare)

George Mitchell

Science is supposed to be paving the way for the future and yet, when it comes to gender equality, it is stuck in the past. At present, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and they continue to be overlooked and undervalued in a male-dominated field. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Rosalind Franklin, a chemist and x-ray crystallographer who, in May 1952, captured an image that would quite literally change the DNA of biological and healthcare research.

Franklin’s seemingly uninspiring and blurry ‘Photo 51’ would lead Watson and Crick to discover the DNA double helix, for which they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Since then, we have sequenced our genome, increased our understanding of genetic disease and even learned how to edit our DNA.

Franklin died in April 1958 from ovarian cancer, possibly caused by exposure to the very x-rays which led to her discovery, something for which she was not recognised until the years following her death. With the Nobel Committee still unwilling to award posthumous prizes, Franklin remains one of the greatest unsung heroes in the history of biology and healthcare research.

Admiral Grace HopperBen Gascoyne (Technology) Ben Gascoyne

While the typical tech sector stereotype is male-led, you should know that some of its earliest and most influential innovators were talented and inspirational women.

That includes Grace Hopper, an American mathematician who began her career in computer science as World War 2 began. Working with the very first computers throughout the 1950s, she pioneered the development of programming languages that were based on natural languages, such as English, instead of abstract mathematical symbols.

That may seem obvious now, but was met with resistance at the time. Delivering her vision for computing made programming more accessible for everyone who followed her and paved the way for the tech giants you know today, like Microsoft and Apple.

Somehow, alongside a hugely successful career in computing, Grace Hopper found the time to rise to the rank of Admiral in the US Naval Reserve. Admiral Hopper passed away in 1992, but today, social enterprises such as the fantastic Stemettes are making sure that girls across the UK can follow in her footsteps and are inspired and empowered to take up STEM careers, including in the tech sector.

Mary Prince – Hoda Awad (Energy and Environment)

Hoda Awad

Mary Prince was a courageous woman who helped to change Britain as we know it. She was an enslaved woman who campaigned in the 1800s for abolition.

In 1829, Mary was the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament, arguing for her human right to freedom. She was also the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography, which was a key part of the abolitionist campaign in Britain. It was during that very same year that her peers in the abolitionist movement introduced a bill proposing that any slaves must be freed.

Mary was an inspiring woman who invented political activism almost 100 years before other more well-known movements began to gain traction, such as the Suffragettes.

With modern society becoming increasingly competitive and divided, it is more important than ever that we champion and communicate the achievements of women. We have a shared responsibility to remove barriers and create opportunities so that, regardless of gender, anyone can fulfil their potential. By working together towards gender equality and providing women and girls around the world with heroes and role models, we can inspire the next generation and create an environment from which we can all benefit.

International women's day
Madano appoints new Head of Healthcare Practice and creates Global Head of Healthcare role

Madano appoints new Head of Healthcare Practice and creates Global Head of Healthcare role

Strategic communications and insights consultancy Madano has appointed Katy Compton-Bishop as the new Head of Healthcare, with the existing Head of the Practice, Reghu Venkatesan, promoted to a new role as Global Head of Healthcare as the business expands its reach in Europe and the US.

With over 20 years of healthcare communications experience, Katy has a proven track record in new business development, team leadership and client service. During her career Katy has led large-scale pharma and disease awareness campaigns for GSK Vaccines, Daiichi Sankyo, Novartis and UCB across multiple channels and geographies. She comes to Madano from MSL, where she was brought in to help rebuild the health practice and generate new business opportunities through both the network and marketing activities.

Referring to her new position, Katy Compton-Bishop, Head of Healthcare, commented: “Healthcare clients continue to look for new ways to engage and connect key stakeholders, and the combination of strategic insight and creative delivery that Madano has to offer makes us ideally placed to address current and prospective clients’ needs. I look forward to bringing my experience to bear to help us continue to deliver the best work for our clients.”

Michael Evans, Managing Partner at Madano, said of Katy’s appointment: “Everybody in the industry knows the challenge of finding top-class, strategic communications professionals at senior levels. We’re delighted that Katy has decided to contribute her extensive healthcare communications knowledge and expertise to support Madano’s continued growth and success.”

Madano’s Healthcare Practice helps clients bring products, services and propositions to life, turning complex concepts into simple and compelling messages. Grounded in science, the team is also driven by a passion for creativity and a commitment to delivering programmes built on deep stakeholder insight.

Thumping Win for Boris – What the Result Means for Energy, Environment, Technology and Healthcare Sectors

Thumping Win for Boris – What the Result Means for Energy, Environment, Technology and Healthcare Sectors

The shackles are certainly off for Boris Johnson. Securing the largest Conservative majority since 1987, the Prime Minister has the parliamentary votes to deliver Brexit and push the policy agenda (loosely) outlined in the party’s manifesto.

Take a look at our analysis of what a Conservative majority means in our results-day mailer by clicking here (also pictured below):

Let’s Talk HIV

Let’s Talk HIV

Once considered a death sentence, claiming more than 32 million lives since records began, there are now nearly 40 million people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Increasing access to effective prevention, treatment and care, means that people who develop HIV are now able to live long and healthy lives.

Even with all these advances, a cloud of fear, prejudice and poor understanding still cast a shadow over individuals with HIV, reinforcing the importance of education and awareness days. 1st December 2019 was World AIDS Day, where organisations and individuals aim to raise awareness, knowledge and remove the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

HIV continues to be unwittingly spread in the 21st Century, with many people seeing HIV as a health issue of the past. The issue feels a lot closer to home here in London, where 34% of new cases in the UK are diagnosed. There are now, however, multiple drugs that are helping to reduce these numbers, allowing individuals with HIV and those at highest risk to live normal lives.


Some of the various ways that HIV CAN NOT be transmitted “Myths About HIV and AIDS” –

HIV IS transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids with an infected individual, the most common of which is through sexual intercourse without a condom. Despite the misconceptions of many, heterosexual individuals are at an equally high risk of infection. In further contradiction to the stigma around the disease, HIV can also be transmitted without sexual intercourse, through sharing of needles or maternal inheritance during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

HIV is VERY RARELY transmitted through oral sex and kissing and only in occasions where there is exchange of infected blood.

HIV is NOT transmitted through air, water, mosquitoes, saliva or touching.

With effective treatment, HIV may not be transmitted at all!

Treatments and Prevention

Antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) have been available since 1987, and work by reducing the amount of virus (or viral load) in the blood – allowing the immune system time to repair itself. By taking a daily dose of ARVs, individuals can keep their viral load at an undetectable level, which is now understood to mean that they can also not transmit the virus to others.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)

Started by the Prevention Access Campaign, the slogan is intended to educate and remove the stigmas around transmission of HIV. U=U is based on scientific evidence that when the viral load in the blood of people with HIV is undetectable, they are unable to transmit the virus to others.

The most effective way to prevent the transmission of HIV is through the use of condoms during sex, but there are other methods that have been proven to significantly reduce and prevent the risk of infection.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily use of ARVs by HIV-negative individuals (people who do not have HIV), to prevent infection from their HIV-positive sexual partner. Studies have shown that, if taken correctly, PrEP can be 100% effective. If an individual not taking PrEP is exposed to HIV, they can start a course of an ARV called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours to prevent infection.

Despite the availability of effective treatments and an ability to control the transmission of HIV, the wider public remain uneducated about these advances, leading to the retention of historical beliefs about the virus and those who carry it.

Tackling Stigma

Rugby Union legend Gareth Thomas completing a 140.6-mile Ironman following his announcement that he has been living with HIV.

Misconceptions have been publicly challenged over the past couple of decades, with celebrities and sportsmen speaking about their experiences with HIV – from Charlie Sheen to Magic Johnson. One of the most high-profile cases in recent years in the UK has come from Rugby Union legend, Gareth Thomas, who revealed in September 2019 that he had been living with HIV, through a video titled “I’ve got HIV and it’s OK”. Thomas decided that he wanted to educate himself and others and tackle the stigma of carriers being ‘frail and sickly’, by completing a 140.6-mile Ironman challenge. Thomas’ willingness to communicate in the media around this, as a high-profile and well-respected sportsman, enabled wider attention to be brought to the virus, and physically demonstrate that HIV no longer needs to be a death sentence or a limitation.

Initiatives like World AIDS Day, and the efforts of those such as Gareth Thomas, will always be vital for raising awareness about HIV and tackling stigma. Communication is essential to remind everyone that people who develop HIV are now able to live long and healthy lives, without infecting others, in order to reduce the stigma associated with this condition.

Written by George Mitchell, Programme Executive

Madano advises clients across the healthcare sector – if you’re interested in learning more please drop us a line. You can also follow Madano on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Election Manifestos 2019 – Side-by-Side Policy Comparisons: Health and NHS

Election Manifestos 2019 – Side-by-Side Policy Comparisons: Health and NHS

We’ve taken a look through the three manifestos, pulled out the key policies affecting Health and Care, including the NHS and pharmaceutical companies, and provided our take on who comes out on top; for comprehensive fact checking, please see

As would be expected, all three of the main parties include substantial policies relating to healthcare and the NHS, and although some policies have been very quickly debunked, the most beneficial and realistic (yet admittedly ambitious) of the three is laid out by Labour, with a disappointing lack of attention to mental health support from the Conservative manifesto.

NHS management

NHS Management

Madano analysis An increase in investment (financially and physically) is definitely overdue for the NHS, and all three parties are reflecting this in their policies, however there are significant differences in how to go about this. The Lib Dems might actually take the title for most ambitious policies in NHS management, but come in last for achievability. So far, the only plan ‘fully costed’ with regards to healthcare is Labour, with the backing of economists and academics as achievable, and if implemented, could have long-lasting benefits for the NHS. Of course, the big question on everyone’s lips is whether the NHS forms part of a US trade deal if handled by the Conservatives, with all three parties claiming to be against privatising the NHS. However, with a number of the Conservative policies already debunked (see ‘40’ new hospitals), and questions on the feasibility of some Labour and Liberal Democrat policies, the follow-through on these pledges remains to be seen.

Impact on the pharmaceutical industry

Impact on the pharmaceutical industry

Madano analysis Labour and the Conservatives policies have greater impact in this area than Lib Dems, with agreement that more UK-based research is needed. The Tories’ focus on faster access to drugs could help fast-track molecules from lab to clinical practice, however, clinical trials often need investigation over a lengthy period of time to demonstrate proper effectiveness. Labour takes a firmer stance that, should initial pricing discussions fall through, there could be consequences for pharmaceutical companies in the form of competitor generic products, which could deter companies from approaching the UK as a priority market. Both Labour and the Lib Dems want to raise corporation tax, to differing amounts, though both are still ‘mid-range’ for EU tax rates.

Services and patient care

Patient care

Madano analysis Nothing revolutionary from the Conservatives here – “keep on keeping on” as well as reversing a few cost-cutting policies that were brought in by the Conservative Government in the last 9 years. Labour and the Lib Dems have the most extensive policies to improve a wide variety of personal experiences for patients, primarily aimed at addressing inequalities and improving access for all. Questions will abound about the feasibility of implementing all of these policies, but the firm stance taken by both to improve abortion services, along with increasing access for LGBT+ community, are policies notably lacking from the Conservative manifesto.

Mental health

Mental health policies

Madano analysis Once again, a section neglected by the Conservatives, with Labour and the Lib Dems proposing similar policies. This area is in dire need of investment, so it would have been good to see this reflected in all three main party manifestos. Labour’s policies again seeming the most achievable yet ambitious, and it would be good to see the parties working together to improve things nationally, regardless of election outcome.


NHS Staffing policies

Madano analysis Conservatives are the only party to commit to a specific number of new GPs and nurses, but a closer look at the manifesto reveals that these numbers may not be quite what they appear. The breakdown outlines the 50,000 nurses includes 18,500 ‘retained’ (and therefore not additional nurses) and 12,500 recruited from abroad. The Nuffield Trust also stated that the 6,000 additional GPs may not be sufficient to cover the rising population. All three parties highlight the return of bursaries for nursing students, though differing in approach to this, and all seem to agree that the NHS is currently understaffed and it’s good to see efforts to address this from all.

Carbon neutrality in healthcare

carbon neutral NHS

Madano analysis Labour stand alone for specific policies on healthcare specific carbon neutrality, but check out part 1 of the manifesto reviews for a full analysis on environment.

Let’s talk organ donation

Let’s talk organ donation

Let’s talk organ donation

If you’ve somehow been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you might have missed Lewis Capaldi’s hit song ‘Someone You Loved’ and the original music video telling the story of a successful heart transplant, in partnership with Live Life Give Life – a video that truly tugs on the heartstrings (if you’ll excuse the pun).

As of September 2nd, the start of Organ Donation Week, 6309 people are waiting for a transplant – and only 1489 have received a transplant since April 2019.[1] Sadly, every day 3 people on the transplant list will die due to a shortage of organ donors.[2]

If you haven’t put much thought to this previously, now is the best time to think about it. It can be a scary thing to consider, but having conversations with loved ones and signing up to be an organ donor can be life-changing for many people.

For every 1 organ donor, 9 people could receive a life-saving transplant.

Just let that sink in.

Spend 2 minutes of your life signing up on this website, and you could save the lives of 9 other people.

  • Yes, you can be any age – young or old.
  • Yes, you can usually donate with a medical condition yourself – your health will be taken into account so only healthy organs are donated. You can check out your eligibility here.
  • Yes, you should probably tell your family or next of kin – they will likely be the ones asked in the hospital.
  • Yes, the doctors will always try to save your life first, even if you are an organ donor.

So, will you say ‘Yes, I can donate’?

Then click here.




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