Philadelphia, PA – Emmanuel Fombu, Medical Director at Novartis was definitely one of the most dynamic presenters at Patient USA. He told stories about trying to change language, build value, and future proof our organizations against his prediction for the next big pharma company: Google.


One of the memorable stories he reminded us of is the Delmar Divide. Delmar Boulevard cuts straight through the middle of St Louis, MO. It separates the largely white community to the south from the mostly black community to the north. But it’s also a huge healthcare divide. Below Delmar, healthy people are living longer, have easy access to fruits and vegetables and have convenient access to healthcare providers. Above there are fewer healthy people, fewer hospitals and higher rates of important health indicators like heart disease and infant mortality.


A report from Washington University in St Louis, called For the Sake Of All, dug into the real life experience and the numbers on both sides of that line.

  • Average home value: $78,000 (north) vs. $310,000 (south)
  • Percent who say it’s easy to purchase healthy food in their neighborhood: 71% (north) vs 81% (south)
  • Percent who received inadequate prenatal care: 27% (north) vs 5% (south)
  • Every life expectancy: 67 years (north) vs 85 years (south)


Fombu said this kind of awareness and knowledge is important because we have important problems to solve. As we shift from volume to value, our role is providing more than just medicine. It’s medicine + service and relevant support. That’s healthcare. 

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 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 had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, 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. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, 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.