Making medical research understandable for everyone

General information

Never before has there been such public interest in new medical research. But where do we find it? And does it have to be written in such a complex way that most of us struggle to understand it?

Fortunately, there is growing momentum for researchers to produce plain language summaries (PLS) of their medical research. But there are still barriers to overcome.

In this Shared Experience, we will hear how different groups are driving to overcome these barriers. We will also explore what the Healthcare Communications Association audience can do to help drive the uptake of PLS.

Target audience: Everyone who has an interest in communicating or understanding medical research


  • Jason Gardner, PhD, ISMPP CMPP™, is Head of Scientific Services at CMC Connect (McCann Health Medical Communications). Jason is a board member of the International Society of Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) and is co-leading the ISMPP-endorsed PLS Perspectives project to understand the PLS needs, challenges and opportunities of different stakeholder groups. He has researched preferred PLS formats, and is a champion for their adoption across the medical communications community.

Faculty members:

  • Dawn Lobban, PhD, is Global Lead, Patient Partnerships, at Envision the Patient (Envision Pharma Group). Through active participation in key working groups, including ISMPP and Patient Focused Medicines Development (PFMD), she works hard to explore effective ways to ensure effective patient engagement. Dawn is co-lead for the ISMPP-endorsed PLS Perspectives project.
  • Richard Stephens is the founding co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Research Involvement and Engagement (the only medical academic journal to invite resubmission if they cannot understand the PLS). He is the co-designer and co-facilitator of the (oversubscribed) Medical Research Council Clinical Trial Unit course on Writing Plain English - aimed at patients and researchers writing PLS together. Richard has been a patient advocate for 21 years, the last 10 of them full-time, following professional teaching, journalism and local government careers.
  • Angela Sykes, MA, MPhil, is Pfizer’s Publications Standards and Best Practices Lead with more than 19 years of experience in medical publications. She is an author of the fourth iteration of the Good Publication Practice Guidelines (GPP4), and is currently co-authoring a manuscript that will be a practical guide for the development of publication plain language summaries (PLS). Last year, Angela led the development and implementation of Pfizer’s publication PLS guidance, which is now being incorporated into the company’s global Standard Operating Procedure for scientific publications.  

£0.00 per person (ex. VAT)

£0.00 per person (ex. VAT)

£0.00 per person (ex. VAT)

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Making medical research understandable for everyone


Wed 26 May 2021

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM BST
(2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CEST)

16 places remaining