Wunderman Thompson Health has named Dania Alarcon chief medical officer.
Alarcon joined the agency in January and reports to Becky Chidester, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Health. In this newly created role, Alarcon is responsible for building the agency’s medical strategy team and integrating it with the other divisions.
“There was this opportunity to build something from ground up and put my stamp on it,” Alarcon said. “I see medical strategy very much being at the core of the brand teams, working in lockstep with strategy, creatives leads and account teams to really embed and integrate medical strategy into everything we do.”
Her team is currently small, about five staff including freelancers. Over the next few months, Alarcon will build a larger full-time team in medical strategy to integrate into client teams. In her previous roles, Alarcon has also built out medical teams, including during her tenure with FCB Health agencies.
“Part of what makes this role so important to have on the agency side is that clients are expecting it. They recognize the need for medical strategy to be part of the team,” Alarcon said. “Having that partner in the room that is in lockstep with [the client’s] medical affairs colleagues and speaks the way the client can speak, is critical to helping clients feel they can have that true strategic partner in the room.”
Previously, Alarcon was EVP and executive director for medical and scientific affairs at FCB Health and FCBCure. She also held similar roles at Area 23 and Draftfcb. In all, Alarcon spent 14 years at FCB agencies in medical and scientific roles. Earlier in her career, Alarcon spent more than a decade as a preclinical researcher, focused on oncology.
“Being in that lab, I found that what appealed to me was understanding the drug development process with each successive step from preclinical to what it takes to finally get a drug into the market,” Alarcon said. “What appealed to me the most was getting the drug to market and seeing it become a commercial success and benefiting the patient.”