Reflections from an unconventional medical elective, Makeila Saka

Reflections from an unconventional medical elective, Makeila Saka


During this Summer we were delighted to welcome Makeila Saka, a final year Medical Student from Hull York Medical School, onto a medical elective placement with us for 7 weeks. This blog captures her experiences and what she learned.

Reflections from an unconventional medical elective

As a final year medical student, spending 2 months with Havas Lynx Group the global healthcare communications agency was an unconventional choice for my medical elective but one that was extremely valuable, and I reflect on my experiences in this article.

During my time at Havas Lynx Group, I was involved in several projects with a great variety of talented individuals working closely with strategists as well as the media and clinical trials teams. Tracking global trends of disease to influence product launch decisions, understanding different audience perspectives, and comparing pre-existing product offerings with potential future products were just some examples of the competitive landscape analyses I performed for the launch of new pharmaceutical products. But I quickly learned that within this information were the often-overlooked “so-whats?” which made all the difference. By being curious about the unique and complex perspectives of patients, carers, and healthcare professionals it is possible to extract valuable insights. These can be used to create meaningful connections and impacts. This was one of the most compelling takeaways from my experience.

The importance of effective storytelling was a concept that remained constant throughout my experience. But I learnt that it was really through good story listening that made this possible. For instance, during a corporate brand identity project, it was through continuous collaboration and listening closely to the client’s specific vision that allowed my team to come to a mutual understanding then ultimately bring it to life. Similarly, only by understanding the personal, often emotional experiences and motivations of patients and carers of people with rare disease could the clinical trial recruitment agency Havas Lynx Group Faze best communicate to and engage with those people participating in a clinical trial.

When working with Havas Lynx Group’s media agency I had hands-on experience with SEO, media planning and auditing data reports; using trends and data to aid a tailored ‘global to local’ social media strategy. It was so refreshing to learn how collaborative all the teams were. It was clear that integrating teams like this allowed insights to be shared, so encouraging the most meaningful use of media and data for healthcare. This was the most unexpected aspect of my experience and a big takeaway!

Ultimately, my time at Havas Lynx Group has been fantastic and I was welcomed with open arms by every team I worked with. Combining creativity with empathy and intelligent strategy to promote health innovations has been an incredibly exciting and fulfilling opportunity and one which will greatly influence my career going forward. Thanks again for accommodating me during such a difficult time! With countless opportunities to learn, this experience has reinforced that we all have a stake in health, and we can truly empower each other using effective communication.