Alumna Ashley Scott, a Force for Good
When Ashley Scott, ’04, MCTM ’20, makes up her mind to get involved, she is a force to be reckoned with. A force for good.
Bridging the Gap
Scott wants to help bridge the gap so people understand the full process of taking a scientific finding from concept to clinic in an efficient and effective manner. This process, known as clinical translation, turns basic discoveries that occur in laboratories into usable drugs, medical devices and clinical processes.
Unmet Need for Translation is a Medical Tragedy
Scott, who earned a B.A. in Business with a concentration in marketing, will soon graduate with a Master’s in Clinical Translation Management degree. Currently, Scott works at M.D. Anderson as a program manager for the Experimental Radiation Oncology Department. She works with a physician/scientist who runs his own lab to find cures for thoracic cancer. He also sees patients.
She has worked there eight months and sees how the MCTM program’s faculty and graduates will play a big part in the process of moving scientific findings through the pipeline to the patient faster and for less money.
Before working at M.D. Anderson, Scott spent 12 years at Johnson & Johnson working on the end stages of life science product development including marketing, new product launch and sales.
Scott Has Language, Tools to Make a Difference
Now, with both work experiences under her belt, she is “learning how to carve out a new path for what I want to do. The MCTM degree helped me reshape my language to appeal to academia and industry. The MCTM is a gem and needs to be marketed to more people because there is a huge need for what it offers,” she said.
Doing Good in the World
A native Houstonian, Scott attended Pearland High School then UST as a first generation student, graduating when she was 20 years old. UST instilled in her a passion for giving back and today that reflects in her desire to help refugees as a volunteer and to make a difference in the quality of life of future patients that she helps.
“It is UST’s philosophy and ethics classes that teach you how to be a good human and from that platform you can do anything of value,” Scott said.
The commercialization of innovative products is her “do good” place and she sees all the incubators opening up as a place to bridge the mindset of academia and industry.
UST’s MCTM Program
The Master’s Degree Program in Clinical Translation offered at UST, bridges the gap between medicine and business.
“The goal of the MCTM degree is to make science minds a little more business savvy, and business minds a little more science savvy,” Scott said. “If we can bridge the gap between science and the business of product development in the early stages, then we save a lot of time and money and get the product to the finish line faster.”
“Now, scientists get grants to do their research and then publish their findings in white papers. Industry hires scientists who scoop up the information and develop products to bring to market.”
Sometimes, Scott says, there is a breakdown in the system and not all the innovation helps the patients.
It has been said that the unmet need for translation is today’s foundational medical tragedy.
On average in this country, it takes 17 years – from the moment that the science is proven – to have it become an actual product. Discovery isn’t the problem, the problem comes with creating a product after a scientific discovery, which is what is called translation. It also costs approximately $3 billion dollars and because of this very few medical discoveries that can help people ever make it to the clinic.
The MCTM program is a unique program housed in UST’s Cameron School of Business. It combines medical translation with marketing, financial management and ethical issues that arise in clinical translation. The blended program was designed to help streamline the translation process. The program was developed in collaboration with Houston Methodist Research Institute. The MCTM degree program has earned national rankings. Its graduates thrive in the nexus where business and biotech meet.
Scott notes that “today the trend is toward “value-based” healthcare, which is delivering the right care at the right time at the right cost.”
Value-based healthcare is a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes. In this model, you measure patient health outcomes against the cost of delivering the outcomes.
Armed with her work experience and her UST education, Scott will be a catalyst for good in the current value-based healthcare realm. Her work in clinical translation will help build the bridge between academia and industry.
Her work will be a force for good in the world.