• August 2011

Disruptive Women in Health Care: An Enchanting Approach to Problem-Solving

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Be Inkandescent Magazine

For the last several months, we have been running articles by some of the most popular writers on Robin Strongin’s Disruptive Women in Health Care blog.

Strongin uses the articles written by dozens of senior female health care professionals—including clinicians, academic researchers, health advocates, management consultants, and political insiders—to put a spotlight on their important work. Appearing on her blog also pumps up the exposure for their ideas of how we can improve the health care system in the United States and around the world.

For this issue of Be Inkandescent Magazine, we sat down with the creator to find out why she established the website, what makes “disruptive women” enchanting, and what she’s got up her sleeve in the year to come. Scroll down for more.


Be Inkandescent: Not long ago, your blog was highlighted as one of “Five Fierce Female Healthcare Bloggers to Watch” on Fierce Healthcare.com.

Reporter Anne Zieger wrote: “This blog lives up to its name. It offers challenging ideas—and a strong dose of much-needed attitude—on critical topics like medication adherence and health plan design. There’s also a lot of play given to women’s topics, such as the new breast cancer screening recommendations, which sadly don’t get as much attention in other publications. While nobody’s suggesting that women’s takes on health issues are better than men’s, these contributors are exceptionally passionate in what they have to say, and it’s a pleasure to hear women roar. There’s much to learn here.”

That’s an impressive review. What was your response to what Zieger said?

Robin Strongin: Of course, I was thrilled that Zieger, a reporter who closely follows health care policy and writes about the types of topics we regularly discuss, was impressed by Disruptive Women in Health Care. Not only does it confirm that we are on the right track in terms of content, it tells me that we are reaching the audience that we intend.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us more about your readers.

Robin Strongin: We have thousands of followers—men and women who work in all industries—who check the blog daily. What I love is when they respond with questions on important issues that are constantly changing in the health care industry.

This is exactly what I hoped would happen when I started this project in 2008. My goal then was to have a broad discussion about what needs to be done to truly improve health care in this country and abroad.

Change begins only when many smart, savvy people who are educated about the topic get the opportunity to participate in the conversation and share their point of view. I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue with even more people—women and men—who have strong opinions on the future of health care.

Be Inkandescent: Can you give us more insight into your mission?

Robin Strongin: We have always had an audacious plan to serve as a platform for provocative ideas, thoughts, and solutions in the health sphere. We did not set out to manage change, thrive on chaos, or wait for cures. We wanted to drive change, create chaos, and find cures. In a nutshell, we have long been hell-bent on disrupting the status quo in the health machine. We recognized that to accomplish this, we needed to call on experts outside of the health industry. So that’s what we do each day, and the impact has been tremendous.

Be Inkandescent: You do give a nod to the men who are making important things happen in health care with your monthly feature on the Man of the Month.

Robin Strongin: That’s right! We love this column. In fact, my editorial team and I joke about doing an annual calendar of them. Can’t you just see pinning that up in your office?

But honestly, it’s not that we are trying to ostracize men. It’s just that there are so many of them who have a voice in the media when it comes to health care policy. As we said, the goal of the blog is to shine a light on the work being done by and for women in the industry. By giving men a voice once a month, we are simply shifting the ratio.

Be Inkandesckent: In the last three years you seem to have accomplished that goal, for this is certainly a “go to” health care blog—one that is recognized as a Petri dish for fresh ideas and bold solutions. But Disruptive Women in Health Care isn’t your only project.

Robin Strongin: That’s right. The blog actually grew out of my public affairs company, Amplify Public Affairs, a women-owned small business based in the heart of Washington, DC.

I’m currently am president and CEO of Amplify Public Affairs, which I consider the next generation in public affairs, for we are leading the way in integrating new media and traditional communications strategies.

We have unequaled expertise in aligning allies, connecting voices, and promoting action. Mostly, Amplify Public Affairs serves as a relationship builder, creating and sustaining win-win collaborations to move issues forward and influence targeted audiences. Through the blending of innovative communication technologies, credible coalition-building, grassroots and top-tiered public affairs expertise, Amplify leverages connections to achieve targeted objectives in the public, private, and political arena.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us more about your background. How did you get into the health care industry?

Robin Strongin: I started working in the industry here in Washington, DC, about 25 years ago. I have always loved the topic of health care and am especially passionate about advocating for the best policies in science, technology, and innovation.

In the time I have been in DC, I have had the privilege of working with and for federal and state governments, regulatory agencies, Congress, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, corporations, coalitions, and trade associations. Having spent this much time with leaders inside the industry gives me the perspective to see what has worked, what hasn’t, and where we need to create more change. Obviously, we still have our work cut out for us.

Be Inkandescent: You are active in many nonprofit organizations. Tell us about that work.

Robin Strongin: Yes, giving back to the community is very important to me. I serve on the Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Capitol Chapter and am a member of the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, and a board member of Physician-Parent Caregivers. Wherever I feel that I can reach out and make a difference, I try to lend a hand.

For more information, visit Disruptive Women in Health Care and contact Strongin and sign up to receive daily blog postings. Click here to contact Strongin by email: rstrongin@amplifypublicaffairs.net.