At Six Degrees Medical (SDM), we take the work we do very seriously. As experts in medical communications, we understand that our contributions help our clients to deliver life-changing pharmaceutical treatments into the hands of the patients who need them most. We’re driven by a purpose bigger than simply punching the clock in a 9 to 5 job- instead we see our work as fitting into a larger wellness ecosystem.
But working at SDM isn’t all serious. For our team, a large part of our own internal wellness ecosystem is ensuring that our corporate culture supports diversity, work/life balance, and play. Patrick Pathammavong, Medical Writer at SDM, recently sat down to share what it’s like working for SDM, and how our team prioritizes teambuilding and innovation at every opportunity.
Patrick has been working for SDM for over two years. After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Master’s degree in Science (specifically, Aquatic Toxicology), Patrick joined SDM’s content team. Patrick is a perfect example of how SDM seeks to hire individuals with diverse skill sets that span multiple functional areas.
SDM’s projects often involve travel to facilitate full service delivery and smooth on-site rollout. Patrick enjoys travelling to assist his clients in person as they prepare for upcoming presentations and meetings. While on site, he’s able to ensure that presentations run smoothly, and make any last-minute changes necessary for the event’s success. Being there during the rehearsal stage is important in both setting the client up for success, and also further entrenching Patrick’s personal relationship with the client.
Patrick enjoys interacting with his clients and gaining a deeper understanding of the meeting attendees. This allows him to be more creative, and push the envelope to develop workshops that are more engaging and visually appealing, while also being scientifically accurate and informative in order to meet the scientific needs of the meeting program.
Patrick believes that a large part of SDM’s success is a result of the medical writers being able to integrate themselves with the clients to become an extension of their team. Having that one-to-one contact throughout the project, including weekly calls, virtual meetings and on-site visits ensures that his writing speaks to each client’s specific needs.
One of SDM’s core values is to have fun. We believe that a team that plays together stays together, and we prioritize opportunities to gather as a team outside of work hours.
“I consider Six Degrees Medical to be a family, and everyone there to be a family member”, says Patrick.
Part of this bond is related to team travel- it’s difficult to spend weeks together exploring new parts of the world and not feel uniquely connected. But the other part is due to the numerous social gatherings and team-building programs scheduled throughout the year. For instance, Patrick shared a game in which an employee is given a card that has a kind task that needs to be completed. This might be purchasing a co-worker a coffee. Once the task is complete, you sign the card and pass it on to another colleague.
In the spirit of sharing information, the team is encouraged to utilize their diverse subject matter expertise through “Grand Round Presentations”. In these scenarios, a team member chooses a topic and creates a presentation for the group. The topic doesn’t need to be medically focussed, just simply something that other team members would find interesting to learn.
The social committee plans quarterly social events like scavenger hunts, trivia nights, and canvas painting that garner a large crowd throughout the year, never failing to create lasting memories.
Most Valuable Experience
The close relationships built between the SDM team and their clients have led to many rewarding experiences for Patrick. In particular, Patrick remembers a recent experience in which SDM had been asked to produce an advisory board presentation. At the pre-event rehearsal, it became apparent that several last-minute changes would need to be made on behalf of the speaker. Having developed an understanding of the client’s needs over the preceding months, Patrick immediately understood the client’s requests, and got to work making the changes.
On the day of the presentation, all changes had been made in a timely manner, and the event was a success. The Co-Chair of the event, a prominent figure in the industry, made an announcement expressing his gratitude to Patrick and the SDM team for working so hard to pull all the last-minute details together. This “shout out” resulted in SDM meeting several other prospective clients at the event.
“It was really cool,” says Patrick, who above all was happy that he was able to assist. “I kept telling (the client), it’s okay – don’t worry about it. I wanted the presentation to be exactly how you’d want to present it.”
Six Degrees Medical: Adding Innovation and Engagement
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