Words Matter: At The Crossroads Of Innovation And Dignity

Life Science Leader magazine recently published one of my most honest opinion pieces, “Words Matter: At The Crossroads Of Innovation And Dignity.”

In this article, I highlight a tension between patient-centered language (that prioritizes neutral language to respect variation and individual autonomy) versus drug development language (that may lean toward hyperbole or negativity to help establish urgent unmet needs). 

Perhaps my favorite point comes toward the end of the article:

“To be ‘sick’ enough to deserve advancements urgently, can I be ‘a person with a serious condition’ or do I need to be a ‘patient suffering’ to biblical proportions? When we speak about people with chronic conditions, could the individuals who urgently need improved treatments be the same people looking to find a way forward in the current world, hoping for jobs, partners, fulfillment, and human dignity?”


Important Additional Resources on this Topic:

Rebecca E. Fuoco; People-Centered Language Recommendations for Sleep Research Communication, Sleep, Volume 40, Issue 4, 1 April 2017, zsx039, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsx039

Is it Narcoleptics or People with Narcolepsy? Watch Video by Julie Flygare

Special Thanks!

Special thanks to John Novack at Inspire and Rob Wright at Life Science Leader for this unique opportunity to share a message with drug developers. Life Science Leader magazine is an essential business journal for life science executives who work for everything from emerging biotechs to Big Pharmas. 

I’m really excited to hear what you think. Please read, share and comment below. 

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