The Point of Care Communication Council (PoC3) has tapped well-regarded health media veteran Nicole Divinagracia as its new executive director. She fills a role that had been vacant since the departure of Karen Newmark, who returned to her marketing consultancy on a full-time basis last October.

Divinagracia is no stranger to PoC3. As a member of the group’s industry advisory council, she worked alongside a host of POC leaders on the most recent iteration of its verification and validation guidance. Prior to starting her new job this week, she served as VP, group director of POC investment at Havas Media Group.

Divinagracia’s path to the PoC3 role was slightly circuitous. Following work on Merck brands like Gardasil and Vytorin during her tenure at Draftfcb, she left the business after the arrival of her third child. When she went back to work, it was for a local construction developer.

But Divinagracia missed health media and, in November 2017, placed a call to former Draftfcb colleague Rich Gagnon. Now head of Havas Media’s health media practice, he brought in Divinagracia to direct the firm’s nascent point-of-care operation on a freelance basis. They made the role permanent in the wake of the addition of new business from Bristol Myers Squibb and Sanofi, and before long Divinagracia was heading up a team devoted exclusively to point-of-care media.

“[Point of care] went from being kind of small to being in really high demand,” she recalled.

The surge was one of the factors that motivated Divinagracia to accept the role with PoC3. “Leaving the agency wasn’t an easy decision and I wasn’t planning on making a move,” she explained. “But knowing I could be an advocate for the channel and that I could take everything I learned at Havas and make it bigger and better from an industry standpoint – that was an intriguing opportunity.”

Given how nimbly the point-of-care community managed challenges created by COVID-19, Divinagracia has high hopes – and expectations – for the industry’s future. “The innovation is there,” she said. “Point of care has expanded beyond the walls of the visiting and exam room. Patients’ interactions with physicians don’t have to be in a physical office anymore… There are so many opportunities to leverage those new behaviors.”

As for her short- and longer-term plans for PoC3, Divinagracia is placing a premium on education. To that end, she said the organization plans to launch an educational series (“Point of Care Academy, something like that”) designed to develop and support point-of-care media specialists.

Similarly, look for PoC3 to continue to create resources designed to help member organizations and their people make an even stronger case for marketing dollars.

“I want to put myself back in the shoes of somebody who just started in point of care,” Divinagracia said. “What were the resources I needed on the agency side to make my job easier, to make it easier to provide good recommendations to clients? I had so many questions back then and there weren’t any resources. So yeah, I want us to be that resource.”