Steve Morgan has won the UBC President’s Award for Public Education through Media in recognition of his active use of both traditional and emerging media resources to foster public dialogue related to the issue of universal insurance for pharmaceuticals.
Since 2007, Dr. Steve Morgan has led Canada’s Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration (PPRC), a publicly funded network of university-based experts from across Canada, who share a commitment to conducting and communicating policy-relevant research on issues related to equity in access to necessary prescription medicines. With members of the PPRC, Dr. Morgan produced a significant body of research on prescription drug coverage in Canada, disparities in access to necessary medicines, financial burdens of medical needs, and drug pricing and reimbursement policies. This work was often done in collaboration with federal and provincial governments, as well as with health professional and public interest groups, and has been published in leading journals and by Canada’s most respected think tanks.
In 2012, Dr. Morgan founded Pharmacare 2020, a collaborative initiative of the PPRC, designed to foster evidence-informed conversation on the future of prescription drug coverage in Canada. Pharmacare 2020 is a multi-pronged initiative that both informs research activities and translates research findings through interactions with public and stakeholder audiences. The success of this initiative in terms of media penetration, using both traditional and emerging modalities, has been outstanding. Since its launch, Dr. Morgan has written more than 26 commentaries on pharmacare and related issues for the general press. These have been published over 100 times in newspapers and online news sources across Canada (including multiple pieces in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, and National Post). He has also given over 125 media interviews on issues concerning pharmaceutical coverage, access, pricing, and innovation. These media interviews have been featured on prime time news of CBC, CTV, and Global. He has also given more than 40 invited presentations, including numerous presentations for community groups, as well as formal testimony at parliamentary committees.
Dr. Morgan also uses social media to communicate directly with the public regarding prescription drug accessibility and affordability. His personal account on Twitter (@SteveUBC) has over 3,600 followers. The @Pharmacare2020 Twitter account has over 1,100 followers, and the Pharmacare 2020 Facebook account and YouTube channel feature original content that has garnered nearly 14,000 views to date. One initiative featured creative editorial cartoons; these have had huge uptake in terms of online engagement, with over 10,000 interactions for a single cartoon.
His hard work has clearly had traction: pharmaceutical policy was key issue discussed at the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health meeting held recently in Vancouver, with Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott agreeing to join a Federal, Provincial, Territorial working group to explore approaches to improve coverage and access to prescription drugs for Canadians.