Live from Cannes Lions: In healthcare we ask people to do an incredibly difficult thing: talk. Talk about the symptoms that scare them, the medications they don’t understand, the pain that’s hard to put into words. This year, four short-listed entries brought entirely new ways to start those conversations, from universal languages to simple tools to technology that literally gives a voice to voiceless:

LOCOMO Challenge: Too many older people in Japan find themselves unable to walk and confined to bed for years before their death. These limitations have a terrible impact on their overall quality of life and create a public health challenge as well, including increased medical expenses and a burden on both nursing and hospital facilities. For most of these older people, their limbs actually start losing their strength in their 40s, but not in a way that’s easy to notice or track over time. The Japanese Orthopedic Association wanted to start new conversations about increasing weakness that could ultimately improve outcomes overtime. First they gave these orthopedic deficiencies a name – Locomotive Syndrome (LOCOMO) and then helped people diagnosis it with the LOCOMO Challenge. At its core is a simple test that lets people – at home or with their doctors – easily assess their strength and compare to their peer groups, giving them new language and new understanding. Want to try it? Stand up from your chair and onto one foot. Learn how:

Revoice for ALS:  ALS is a progressive disease that, over years, will leave many patients paralyzed, needing a wheelchair to move around and a text-to-speech tool to help them “speak” in a computerized voice. Project Revoice wants to give them their real voice back. They started with Pat Quinn, the founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He is widely seen as someone who gave the ALS community a voice. But, now the disease has robbed him of his own. Using breakthrough voice technology, Project ReVoice recreated Quinn’s voice to allow his text-to-speak tool to sound like him. Now the group is beginning a voice bank that will let people living with ALS preserve the real sound of their own voice for a future when they may need it. 

Blink To Speak: ASHA EK Hope Foundation created another way to give speech to the speechless. They call it eye language. It’s designed to support the ~60 million people living with ALS, MNDs, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis who have unwilling bodies but a very alert mind. The Blink To Speak language was developed through research with patients, families, nurses and doctors and tested / improved in both clinical and home environments. It includes basic eye movements that translate into words and responses that help patients quickly communicate to care partners and healthcare providers. 

Rx Prescription Stickers: The Dubai health authority wanted to help the country’s 750,000 blue-collared workers, who are mostly illiterate or have limited literacy, better manage their medications. Many were unable to read the labels and made mistakes on dosing that could either impact the efficacy of the drug or put them at risk of overdose. They ultimately built icon-driven stickers that are applied to the medication at pharmacy where the pharmacist can mark each section of the label – circling time of day, number of pills, number of days, etc. – to make sure the patient can easily see what to do, without reading a word.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.