Ginny Deimantaviciute and Kirsty Alsop recently joined Mtech Access as Associate Medical Writers. In this interview, they tell us about what led them to a career in medical writing, to market access and to Mtech Access. Their different areas of study and experiences, from vaccine delivery programmes to supporting the police on homicide cases, highlight the variety of scientific disciplines that can lead to a career in medical writing.
A few weeks into their roles with us at Mtech Access, we are delighted to be able to congratulate both Ginny and Kirsty on completing their PhDs.
What led you to pursue a career in medical writing?
Ginny: After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Surrey, which included an industrial placement year in Sardinia, Italy, I developed an appreciation for scientific research. As a result, I pursued a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Kent, during which I worked on developing a novel vaccine delivery platform.
Following my PhD, I took on a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at the University of Reading, where I worked on elucidating the starch–gluten interface in wheat. It was at this time I began realising that I was not finding research as fulfilling as I once did.
I enjoyed communicating science immensely and so I began to research different medical communication roles. I was also lucky to have some advice from my Mum, who, with previous experience in the medical publishing industry, encouraged me to apply for medical writing positions. I secured myself a medical writing position and the rest is history!
Kirsty: Prior to starting at Mtech Access, I completed a BSc in Forensic Science with Neuroscience at Keele University, followed by two separate MSc degrees in Forensic Anthropology (Cranfield University) and Chemistry (University of Warwick).
I then completed a PhD in Forensic Imaging at the University of Warwick, with a focus on micro-CT scanning of human anatomy. Alongside my PhD, I worked as a research fellow in collaboration with the police on live homicide cases.
Forensics is an interesting subject, but I found the medical aspect was the most enjoyable. I also realised during my PhD that academic research wasn’t the ideal fit for me, and medical writing was definitely a more favourable path.
What motivated you to join Mtech Access?
Ginny: I was looking for a role that would allow me to work across a broad range of deliverables and disease areas and Mtech Access offered just that! Often in research you end up performing the same experiment multiple times and it can get quite repetitive, so having the ability to work on a variety of projects will definitely keep the learning centres of my brain stimulated.
Moreover, the collaborative environment at Mtech Access was something I was looking for. I really enjoyed working across different multidisciplinary teams during my academic career as this allowed me to learn a lot from different individuals. At Mtech Access there is a lot of interaction between different teams across a variety of projects, and this is something I look forward to being a part of.
Kirsty: After deciding on a career in medical writing, I was extremely impressed with the online presence of Mtech Access and, in particular, the positive employee feedback on Glassdoor. It was clear from the interview that Mtech Access was an encouraging and friendly environment to work in. My main goal was to find a medical writing role where I could be happy and have a good work-life balance, and I’m so glad I was able to find that here.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with Mtech Access?
Ginny: There has been a really good mix of tasks so far that have allowed me to engage with a large number of colleagues across the business. While the first 2 weeks mainly consisted of inductions to various parts of the business, including meeting the service leads, I have also been tasked with a variety of writing exercises in order to familiarise myself with the house style.
Excitingly, I have also been able to get stuck into some project work already! This has included support for a Global Value Dossier (GVD) for epilepsy, a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) for gastrointestinal disease, as well as assisting another medical writer with a slide deck on personalised care in the NHS. Next on my agenda is an NHS stakeholder map, which I am looking forward to working on!
Kirsty: My first few weeks at Mtech Access have been an amazing learning experience. The induction process has allowed me to efficiently gain knowledge about market access and the pharmaceutical industry. It has also been great to experience and support colleagues on a variety of project work, including resource onboarding for a GVD platform, and getting an understanding of the type of projects I will be working on in the future.
What deliverables are you most looking forward to working on?
Ginny: Since my journey in medical writing started not too long ago, I want to gain experience across a vast range of deliverables at Mtech Access before picking any favourites! However, I am really keen to work more on preparing visual slides for value communication tools and learning more about HTAs.
Kirsty: I’m looking forward to working on a variety of deliverables in the future, it’s great to know that the work we do here at Mtech Access can help new treatments get to patients and make a difference to their care and outcomes. In particular, I look forward to learning about, and working on, novel deliverables and deliverable formats such as the GVD platforms and stakeholder maps.
What has surprised you about Mtech Access?
Ginny: The thought that has gone into my training prior to me starting my role to-date remains unmatched. It’s been very comprehensive, and the timings of the training sessions have been carefully thought through. As a result, I have been able to understand the structure of the business and how my role sits within it much more quickly than I anticipated.
In my last role I only saw one other person on a semi-regular basis so working in the Bicester office has been such a nice change! I have definitely appreciated working with people face-to-face again and it has been invaluable for building good working relationships with everyone across the business.
Kirsty: The multi-disciplinary nature of the business; as a medical writer I am looking forward to regularly working and delivering projects alongside specialists from the market access, digital, NHS Insight & Interaction, health economics, and systematic review teams.
The NHS Insight & Interaction team are a very interesting aspect of the business, I am surprised at how involved their insights are in day-to-day projects as well as how much information from the NHS is fed directly into the services and materials we develop for clients.
One of the most pleasantly surprising things about Mtech Access is the great working environment. I’ve never known a company with employees that are so helpful, collaborative, and genuinely nice!
When you are not at work, what do you like to do?
Ginny: Outside of work I enjoy camping, cycling, and analogue photography.
Kirsty: I love to spend my time outside of work exploring the countryside and doing photography, as long as I’m accompanied by my perfect Labrador companion, Nala.
If you are interested in joining our team at Mtech Access, please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies.