Sian Carr, Ipsen, Medical Affairs Director, Oncology

What excites you about your current role?

Our Ipsen UK Mission is: ‘Improving the lives of patients is what drives us: Everyday we strive to support positive change for patients and health services across the UK, working in close partnership to deliver meaningful results’. I lead an amazing team of diverse, intelligent and creative professionals who feel empowered to live this mission by supporting evidence-based medicine, working with the NHS to optimise treatment access and services, and providing quality education to healthcare professionals and patients.

What pathway have you taken to get into this industry?

I competed for Great Britain (Judo) from the age of 12 and as sport was a massive part of my life it was inevitable that I would do a degree in Sports Science. I did an MSc in Pharmacology, still driven by a desire to understand how the body worked, and a PhD followed. During my final PhD year my Mum was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. On the day of a routine blood test, she received a phone call to come to hospital immediately and was diagnosed within 12 hours. My Mum’s prognosis got progressively worse over time and my priorities and focus changed. During her last three months, one of her final two wishes came true and she saw me get married. Her second wish was to see me get my PhD, and I was driven to complete it within the year and then to make a difference to the lives of patients like her in her honour. Straight after my PhD, I went into the pharmaceutical industry as a research and development scientist before moving into Medical Affairs. I finally had the opportunity to move into Oncology four years ago and haven’t looked back.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Professionally, one of the best projects that I have been involved with was an educational website for paramedics that provided training on stroke recognition including atypical symptoms and stroke mimics. Despite time to diagnosis being critical, paramedics receive minimal training on stroke. The website was a massive success, but the most rewarding part was receiving so many unsolicited emails of thanks from paramedics wanting to share their stories of how they had recognised atypical stroke symptoms following the training and ultimately improved the outcomes for their patients. Personally, winning a silver medal at the World Masters and eight National titles.

When needing a work breather, how do you relax?

I still love being active and going to gym classes, even if they are virtual. Before the pandemic hit, I took on several physical challenges to raise money for charity including the Three Peaks challenge, two Tough Mudders and a mini triathlon. During the pandemic, my husband and I bought an old boat that we have done up and we are looking forward to taking it for its maiden voyage as soon as lockdown allows.

What have you learnt about yourself during the pandemic?

Professionally, how much I love the digital world. Despite being an extrovert and enjoying social contact, I have fully embraced and seen the advantages of the convenience, cost-effectiveness and environmental friendliness of the digital world. Personally, how much I love cats. Over the pandemic, we adopted four rescue cats!

This piece is written and sponsored by Ipsen UK | ALL-GB-000481 | April 2021