MM+M has announced this year’s Women to Watch honorees and we want to say a huge congratulate to Health4Equity Strategist Briana Hecht, who was included on the list. The program, formerly housed under the Hall of Femme banner, celebrate the industry’s most esteemed up-and-coming talent.
Briana has a heart and passion for using healthcare for good that started at the beginning of her career, as a biochemical engineer in preclinical development at Merck Research Laboratories. The experience led her to earn both a MD and MPH at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
While achieving these degrees, Briana worked at the Brooklyn headquarters of EMEDEX International, an organization whose mission is to advance emergency care with a deep commitment to offering relief in Haiti. Briana had the opportunity to travel frequently to Haiti during her MPH year in support of the “Involved Citizen Project,” where she developed a train-the-trainer program to strengthen the capacity of communities to respond to medical emergencies in the country. This program served as a key steppingstone to building a formal EMS system in this region, as well as in other resource-limited settings.
After graduating, Briana was a medical consultant for ABC Television Productions, where she helped develop the medical drama “Code Black,” which aired on CBS from 2015-2018. Following her foray into the world of entertainment, Briana participated in a strategy internship that fuelled her interest in the health advertising space.
As a medical strategist at FCBCURE from 2018-2020 and at Wunderman Thompson Health from 2020 to present, Briana has acted as a key scientific and medical strategy resource for brands across many therapeutic spaces including: HIV, neurology, orthopedic/rheumatology, psychiatry, radiology, rare disease, urology and women’s health. Briana is a lead strategist for Wunderman Thompson Health’s health equity practice, Health4Equity, and is also the lead strategist for its pro bono partnership with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC).
Most recently, Briana and the Health4Equity team won grant funding from WPP, as part of its $30 million investment to help combat racial injustice, to build out Wunderman Thompson Health’s Health4Equity practice as a Center of Excellence.
The goal of the Health4Equity practice is to address inequities in healthcare. Internally, the practice focuses on building a framework and a preventability index to measure progress against health inequities. This has begun with a focus on COVID vaccination in BIPOC communities, earlier screening for prostate cancer in Black men and how community networks can improve Black maternal health. Its latest work, "We love you to health," can be viewed at: www.health4equity.org.
The Health4Equity practice has already contributed to developing action plans and improving cultural competency in communications for several clients in the US and globally, across a number of disease states, including acute care, dermatology and enhancing diversity in clinical trial recruitment.
Outside the Office
Briana has been awarded the US Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award for her outstanding dedication to addressing healthcare disparities among rural populations in the North-East Department of Haiti. Briana has received multiple other honors, including being elected by Faculty in to Delta Omega, the Honorary Public Health Society, and being elected by peers to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, recognizing excellence in patient-centered care. Briana and EMEDEX International’s work was published in the International Journal of Academic Medicine in 2020.