Conversations with the Academy webinar:

February 24, 2022

The Power of Purpose and Professional Identity in Medicines Development

Recent worldwide events and experiences have accentuated the need for optimized healthcare systems, in an increasingly interdependent world, driven by shared values and purpose between professionals across the spectrum of medicines development. Especially, if we are to achieve our aspiration of improving patient community outcomes, globally.

The underlying elements across these myriad aspects – self-identity and purpose – continue to intrigue social scientists and psychologists all over the world.

Professional identification is a facet of social identification and is the sense of oneness individuals have with a profession, comprising the individual’s alignment of roles, responsibilities, values, morals, and ethical standards. It’s an integration of the professional self with the personal self, bolstered by a sense of integrity and feelings of self-worth. The complex journey to forming professional identity and social purpose as a shared value in the medicines development arena is garnering increasing attention in both professional and academic circles, as a critical attribute for greater engagement and for delivering improved patient and health outcomes.

Eastern philosophy has long nurtured this, with a striking example being “ikigai” – the Japanese concept meaning “life’s worth” or “a reason for living” – the confluence of “do what you love, do what are you good at, do what the world needs, and do what you can be rewarded for.”

Expounding on the influence of purpose and professional identification on ourselves and on patient communities around us, Jill Donahue, Author, Founder Excellerate, Co-Founder The Aurora Project, Kevin Williams, Chief Medical Officer, Internal Medicine, Pfizer, Andrew De Leon, Regional Director, Medical Science Liaisons, Hematology, AstraZeneca, and Wilmelenne Clapper, Principal Scientist, Translational Pharmacology, Travere Therapeutics, analyzed and deliberated on shaping evolving concepts around these fascinating human traits.

Being cognizant of one’s purpose has been increasingly demonstrated to be directly linked to a greater degree of accomplishment as a medicines development professional, and to a more meaningful personal sense of satisfaction. The panel emphasized that, notwithstanding the evidence, an overwhelming majority – an astounding 90%! – of people are not connected to their sense of purpose.

The discussants elaborated, with compelling evidence, that discovering one’s purpose is the primary step to unlocking one’s unlimited potential for contributing to improving health outcomes. The audience was cajoled into introspection: What does being purpose-driven mean, and what difference does it make for those who are? How does one establish and connect with one’s own purpose and professional identity?

It was a humbling experience, as the panelists shared their personal odysseys, the expressions unanimously extending the passions, beliefs, and dedication in their journey for self-worth – and transforming vulnerability to strength and inspiration. These are our peers demonstrating that, though we emanate from different backgrounds, we all share a common professional identity based on our pledged mission and resolve, to help develop and provide access to better medicines for patients.

The thoroughly engaged audience actively brought their voices into the conversation – in identifying those essential characteristics of professionals in medicines development that make for a more empowered and engaging attribute, and in conveying the power of purpose and professional identity on the individual, on the organization, and on HCPs, for contributing to enhanced healthcare solutions and more successful patient outcomes.

This conversation opens the door for more platforms to encourage and champion the dialogue for fostering the critical qualities of self-worth, purpose, and professional identity, in a more structured delivery and format.

As always, we express our sincere appreciation for the keen insights from our expert faculty and are motivated by your active participation at these events.

Pravin Chopra, MD