Copyright © 2019, Biomedical Communications Alumni Association

Header illustration Copyright © 2019 Geoffrey Cheung

NEWS

Biomedical Communications Alumni Association

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO


Sarah Kim is an incredible BMC alumnus who currently works at Coactuate as a Senior Associate. She has a truly broad range of talent in medical communication, animation, storytelling and calligraphy. To see some of her collaborative work, visit https://www.coactuate.com/. To find her gorgeous calligraphy work, visit her on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/bysarahkim.

Where do you currently work? What is your current position?

Coactuate, Senior Associate.

What did you study before BMC?

Biology & Psychology.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I thought I'd either go into medicine or musical theater :) One of the two.

Can you share a nice/funny/weird/wonderful moment you remember from your days as a student at BMC?

I really loved our exchange trip to Georgia! It's kind of a foggy memory. We jumped on a bus with Nick, Dave, and Shelley and began our field trip down south. We were all probably delusional by the time we arrived to Augusta because I have no recollection of how long the bus ride actually was. This trip was when I was first exposed to the ~amazing~ network of medical illustrators. I came back super inspired and super full from fried chicken and Georgia peaches!

What was your MRP about?

My MRP was about the neurobiology of trauma. I created three 2D animations on this topic and created a learning module for doctors at Women’s College Hospital. It was cool because it involved a lot of neuroscience and doodling.

What is something you would really love to learn? (Can be a skill/creative thing, technical thing, software-related, research-related, BMC/industry-related or not... anything!)

I’d really love to learn more about printmaking. The process is super intimidating to me but I know tons of TLC and skills go into it. Also, maybe I can one day casually buy a letterpress and just make stuff...

What (if anything) surprised you the most when you started working in the field, post-grad? What (if anything) has surprised you recently (in terms of where the industry is headed, etc)? I was most surprised by how large of an impact BMCs can make, in any industry! I think as a student, I had a pretty limited view of what my career could look like but our skills are super transferable and there are a LOT of cool people doing awesome stuff who can really benefit from our sensemaking, translating, and visualization skills. I never thought I'd be in management consulting but hey, here I am with a team of six rockstar BMCs that our company can't function without ;)

Can you share a bit about what you’re working on right now? (This can be vague/general if confidential)

My favourite project that I’m currently working on is in an ultra-rare disease space. The molecule is in clinical trial and we were hired to help build the global commercial strategy as they prepare to launch. This project has given me the privilege to interact directly with patients to understand their experience with the disease. My role is then to synthesize and leverage these learnings to use as a foundation to build out the strategy. It’s rewarding when you see the patient at the core of these high-level, corporate strategies. We’re working with the VPs and Chief Commercial Officer for the US strategy but are now starting to build the strategies for all of Europe which is pretty epic :)

What has been one of the most exciting projects to work on? Can you tell us a bit about it? What were some of the challenges? And/or can you tell us about your favourite type of project to work on?

One project comes to mind. We were hired to build the launch strategy for a biotech company who was launching a drug in a disease area that has NO treatment or cure… and impacts 50 million people worldwide (yeah, you read that right!). I worked with this client for three years, supporting their strategy and engaging with thought leaders in Europe and Asia to build the infrastructure required for this therapy. These projects are challenging because it often feel like we’re building towards something that does not exist yet. It feels nebulous and ambiguous. It requires us to trust our process, be agile and iterative in our method, and be bold with our thinking.

If you had to go back and do an MRP now, what would your topic be (this can also be vague/general - such as a type of technology you would like to explore, a topic, etc)?

I wish I took my MRP hat off for a second and asked myself what challenges or gaps people were faced with all around me, everyday. I wish I spent more time observing and absorbing the world around me (maybe even outside of healthcare) and found a problem statement that stood out to ME and what I was passionate about. It would’ve probably been targeted to the general public and not trained MDs :)

What are some of your hobbies? And/or something people might not know about you?

I love dancing, singing, and watching musicals! Also I'm trying this new thing where I don't drink bubble tea everyday and it's making me stir cray.

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