A day in the life of a Senior Medical Writer

Written by Gabby Santa Cruz, Communications and Connectivity Manager on Thursday 17th March 2022

We caught up with Shireene Kalbassi, Senior Medical Writer to hear how her role at OPEN Health has evolved and what one might expect in the day-to-day life of a medical writer.

How would you describe your role at OPEN Health?

As a medical writer, my primary role is content generation, guided by research into the topic, with the aim of ensuring that the content is accurate, suitable for the audience, and in line with the authors’ and clients’ goals.

There is a huge variety in the types of content that I work on in terms of the therapy area, intended use of the content (promotional and non-promotional), and material type. Content that I have worked on recently includes websites, training materials, webinars, symposia, podcasts, talking heads, and much more!

How would you describe the culture at OPEN Health?

The team that I work with is made up of friendly and enthusiastic people, and everyone is supportive and happy to help when needed. I’m proud of how everyone has responded to the challenges associated with the COVID pandemic; even while working remotely, the team remains friendly and personable.

What training and development opportunities are available to help you excel in your role at OPEN Health?

There is a range of training available on OPEN Health’s training portal “Bloom,” where we have access to recorded virtual training sessions or eLearning modules. The training available covers a range of subjects, such as the ABPI Code of Practice and document development. The training is really helpful, especially for those who are new to the industry. Also, there is now an OPEN Writing Program for new medical writers, which provides a foundation of knowledge for a medical writing career.

Additionally, our team is always looking for new ways to onboard, support, and welcome new members, so as well as these formal training activities, we also have less formal experience-sharing meetings and events.

Finally, and probably most importantly, feedback received from other writers and the wider team is invaluable as a learning tool!

What have you learned over your first year as a medical writer?

A lot! Since working at OPEN Health, I have developed so many different materials that I had never previously worked on, and I am always learning new things about a range of therapeutic areas. In the past year I have been involved in more new business activities, which has been very interesting.

Were there any challenges you faced when you became a medical writer? If so, how did you overcome them?

Coming from academia and having never worked in a medical communications company before, working in a large company was not something that I was used to. However, it goes without saying that you aren’t left to figure it out by yourself. All of the teams have their own inductions, and everyone is happy to point you in the right direction.

OPEN Health aims to improve health outcomes and patient wellbeing; how do you see this in action in your role at OPEN Health?

Since being at OPEN Health, I have worked on a few patient materials, including those for a charity as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility program, so I am happy to have had an opportunity to really live up to this OPEN Health value.

More broadly, this value is core to our work at OPEN Health; even if you are not working on content that patients will interact with directly, much of the content will be focused on therapies for patients and highlighting patient unmet needs and how they might be addressed.

What are some of your reflections from your time at OPEN Health so far?

One of the reasons why I was interested in medical communications was because I was interested in healthcare science but did not want to focus only on one topic. OPEN Health has provided me with the opportunity to work across a range of different therapy areas and across a range of different materials. It is great to be able to work on more visual and creative pieces and to also be able to take “deep dives” into the therapy area. It is also always interesting to be able to work with experts in their fields and hear first-hand the latest clinical developments.


For information about OPEN Health’s services and how we could support you, please get in touch.


Visit our careers page to view opportunities at OPEN Health.