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Kaimahi

Staff Profile

Meet Lucy McDowell, Business Development Manager - Health

28 March 2023
Lucy McDowell is a business development manager specialising in women’s health.

Tell us a little about your background, how you got into this role and what motivates you?

I’ve always loved biology and medicine. After completing a Bachelor of Science at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland, I thought of becoming a doctor. However, this career path wasn’t quite the right fit and I started out in the surgical device industry.

I worked in this sector for over nine years, most recently as a senior territory manager for Medtronic, one of the world’s leading medical product organisations. We had very thorough training in order to verbally assist in surgery as a product specialist. It was meaningful to be working with the surgical team to ensure the best possible outcomes for each individual patient while feeding into the bigger picture of healthcare outcomes for all Kiwis.

What attracted me to the position at UniServices was that it provides a unique opportunity to engage first-hand with the incredible research being conducted and the tangible, life-changing effects it has on individuals and society. The fact that my role is to support the researchers in this process is extremely rewarding.

I am also very passionate about women’s health so when I joined the team and found out this was an area they also wanted to support, I was eager to dive in.

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What does your work in women’s health involve?

My team and I work in various areas of healthcare, but my primary focus is on women’s health research. This focus has become increasingly significant with the development of Aotearoa’s first-ever , which aims to evaluate the health outcomes of women, including gender-diverse individuals, and assess the performance of the health sector. A few of our dedicated academics were co-authors in the recent .

Historically women’s health and women’s health research has been neglected and underfunded. This has resulted in systemic failures in understanding and addressing women’s health needs. Some examples include endometriosis taking up to ten years to diagnose, incidences of gynaecological cancer rising by almost 40 percent in just over a decade, and increased health and wellbeing risks to women related to intimate partner and family violence.

This systemic imbalance leads to multiple sub-themes within women's health. The sub-themes I'm working on include puberty, pregnancy, menopause, gynaecological disorders, breast and gynaecological cancers, violence against women, and gender health equality. The University has exceptional researchers in these fields who are working on innovative diagnostics, treatments and solutions such as drug development, genomic testing, microbiome functions, diagnostic and modelling tools, extracellular vesicle applications, and educational platforms.

 

"What attracted me to the position at UniServices was that it provides a unique opportunity to engage first-hand with the incredible research being conducted and the tangible, life-changing effects it has on individuals and society."
Lucy McDowell, Business Development Manager - Health

How does the business development team create new opportunities in the health space?

We facilitate connections between the University, government and industry. By collaborating across the University, we gain a broader perspective on the skill sets available and the potential real-world application of research. From the other side, we identify sector needs and gaps and map them back to University capability. Our goal is to support both early- to mid-career academics and established researchers by connecting them with relevant partners and funding opportunities. This approach helps to propel new opportunities forward, benefiting the health sector and all parties involved. Our ultimate aim is to create impact and anticipate emerging future needs as society and research progresses.

When you’re not at work, what would we find you doing?

I definitely need to work on my work-life balance but when I’m not working one of my favourite pastimes is traveling alongside my husband to explore new destinations and experience different cultures. Some of our favourite trips were to Vietnam and across Europe. I also value time with family, friends and my two pups Basil and Benji.