Celebrating Health Innovation at SXSW Online 2021

SXSW was one of the first industry conferences cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. But SXSW was back and W2O, a part of Real Chemistry, was a proud sponsor. Although we couldn't be eating BBQ together in Austin, did surface meaningful conversations about digital transformation, health equity, vaccine confidence, and the long-term impact of COVID-19. 

For the first time ever, we hosted a Healthcare Media Lounge, a two-day virtual event that featured industry experts from Pfizer's Judy Sewards and Sumitovant Biopharma's Myrtle Potter to Merck's Gregg Szabo. You can view a recording of each session below.


Media Lounge SXSW 2021

The Current and Future State of Healthcare: A Conversation with Myrtle Potter

Five Things to Know About Digital Transformation in Healthcare

COVID Innovation and the Pandemic's Impact on Healthcare Delivery and Access

Intersection of Healthcare, Gender, Race and Social Media

Science Will Win: A Behind the Scenes Look at Pfizer's Digital Communications Landscape During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It's Up To You: How the Ad Council is Collaborating to Educate Millions of Americans About COVID-19

The Renaissance of Digital Health: Plague, Technology and Capital

Targeting Patients When They Don't Know You Exist

Clinical Trial Innovation in Pancreatic Cancer

Culture Care: Addressing Disease Stigma and Bias Through Culture (Part One)

In the Driver's Seat: Patients, Technology and Data

20 Ways for Businesses to Engage Social Audio

How Healthcare Communication is Creating Confidence in Chaos

SXSW Official Sessions

We were proud to present four official sessions which were accessible to those with an official conference pass. You can view a recording of each session below and join us as we go deep on understanding what's next in healthcare and how patient lives have improved as a direct result of breakthrough elements of health technology.

COVID-19: The New Reality with Dr. Michael Osterholm and Real Chemistry Advisor, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

We are proud to have earned a featured session with Dr. Osterholm and our advisor and health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, to speak to the SXSW community about what is next in the fight against COVID-19. From the immediate concerns around new variants to the “collateral damage” we face from this pandemic, Dr. Osterholm and Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn will share insights to help navigate public health in 2021 and beyond.

Tech-Enabled Health Solutions and Patient Outcomes

In the year since the COVID-19 global pandemic changed life as we know it, virtually every sector of the economy has adjusted to a new reality of customers stuck at home, unable to travel but still needing services. Healthcare professionals did what other customer-focused sectors were doing: they turned to technology.

Tech-enabled health solutions, such as robotics, wearables, and mobile applications, have been fueled by this increased level of consumer comfort using technology to address their healthcare needs. This panel explores examples of how patient lives have improved as a direct result of breakthrough elements of health technology. The panelists will also discuss challenges that have come from this new ecosystem.

  • Terri Sanders, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Marketing and Communications, HIMSS
  • Ivan Tornos, Group President, Global Businesses and the Americas, Zimmer Biomet
  • David Cassak, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Managing Partner, MedTech Strategist

@Doctor @Patient: Healthcare Trends on Twitter

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, ushering in the most profound change in medical care in the modern era. In-person interaction with the medical system—outside of treatment for SARS-CoV2 infection— disappeared nearly overnight, fundamentally altering physicians' relationships with their patients, and their peers. Twitter sits at the intersection of relevant conversation from patients, caretakers, HCPs, and public health officials. At Real Chemistry, we observed a 93% increase in patient engagement with physician content on the platform from March through August of 2020. Using Symplur, an analytics platform purpose-built for healthcare, we explored how connections between physicians, their patients and their peers on Twitter impacted the delivery of healthcare and medical information. This panel will share those findings and explore future social media trends in the healthcare industry.

Patient-Centricity Reduces Healthcare Inequality

The CDC has reported increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Factors such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare and poor housing conditions contributed to this inequity. Patient-centric solutions in healthcare have the power to help reduce this inequality. Looking holistically at a patient's journey requires navigating the impacts of race, gender, ethnicity and religion. This deep understanding of the patient experience supports development of innovative solutions and behavioral drivers of care. This panel will explore the importance of involving diverse patient voices in conversations around clinical trials, drug development, and advances in specific disease areas.

  • Mary Stutts, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Sumitovant Biopharma
  • Mary Michael, Vice President, Patient Advocacy and Stakeholder Management, Otsuka
  • Anya Harry, MD, PhD, Global Head, Demographics and Diversity, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Abby Hayes, Practice Leader, DEI Engagement, Real Chemistry

Event Speakers

Internal Communications Manager

Hawai'I Pacific Health

Senior Director, Head of Clinical Trial Diversity


Executive Director, Health Innovation


Founder & Chief Executive Officer

The MINDS Foundation

Chief Medical Scientist

Microsoft Research

Chief Digital Transformation Officer

UCSF Health

Chief Product Officer

Signify Health

Founder, The AAKOMA Project, Inc.

Host, Couched in Color

Global Head of Employee Engagement and Corporate Communications

Real Chemistry

Vice President, Strategy & Evaluation

Ad Council


Equity Quotient

Senior Communications Specialist

Oregon Health & Science University


Media Empathy Foundation

Family Nurse Practitioner, OBGYN

Georgetown University Hospital

President & CEO


Kelly Gentile

Senior Director, Influencer Marketing Strategy


Senior Director, Content Strategy & Engagement, Corporate Affairs


Chief Operating Officer

Real Chemistry

Global President

Real Chemistry

Senior Director, Communication Strategy

Dynamic Signal

Program Manager

Sutter Health

Founding Partner, Editor


VP and Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research

Kaiser Family Foundation

Practice Leader, Integrated Intelligence & Activation

Real Chemistry

Chief Executive Officer

Citius Pharmaceuticals

Chief Commercial & Strategy Officer


Global Practice Leader, Executive Communications

Real Chemistry

Senior Manager, Internal Communications

Oregon Health & Science University

Executive Fellow

Yale School of Management

SVP, Head of Polling


Senior Director, Corporate Affairs

Real Chemistry

Chief Executive Officer

Clarim Media

SVP & Chief Technology Officer


Founder and Principal Consultant, PopWorks Africa

Co-Founder, The Black Doula Project

Alisa Lask

Vice President and General Manager, US Aesthetics


Co-Founder What's Trending, Peace

Inside Live

EVP & General Manager

Director of Patient Care – Critical Care

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health

Jordan Lloyd

Healthcare Influencer

GM, Editor-in-Chief, MM+M

Haymarket Media

Heather Magro

Associate Director, Entertainment Marketing


CEO & President


President, Life Sciences


Chief Technology Officer

Real Chemistry

DVP, Global Marketing, Structural Heart


Chief Executive Officer


Industry Analyst & Founding Partner

Kaleido Insights

Producer and Former President of Motion Picture Production

Lionsgate Films

Practice Leader, Executive Communications

Real Chemistry 

Chief Executive Officer

Sumitovant Biopharma

Vice President, Trial Diversity & Inclusion

Chief Community Officer


Global Chief Digital Officer

Real Chemistry

President, twist

Real Chemistry

Chief Marketing Officer

Swoop + IPM.ai

Head of Clinical Affairs

Real Chemistry

Vice President, Head of Clinical Trial Experience


Executive Editor

PRovoke Media

Group President, Managing Partner

Real Chemistry

Board Member, Advisor, Speaker and Former President

American Express Global Commercial Services

Global Innovation Evangelist


Group President

Real Chemistry

Vice President, Innovation and IT Corporate Business Systems

Houston Methodist

Chief Marketing Officer

Real Chemistry

VP and Global Commercial Leader, Virology/Immunology



Black Coalition Against COVID

Executive Editor, PRWeek

Haymarket Media

Founder & CEO

Real Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief, Campaign US

Haymarket Media