(BA, Anthropology, '94; MA, Health Administration, '97)
Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
It is a tie between Dr. Morrissey and his anatomy and physiology classes and Dr. Leonard and his linguistics class. Both professors made learning so much fun, and they had such a flair for drilling down complicated facts and making them easy to understand – which is basically what I now do for a living.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job was with Atkins Nutritionals as an editor. I worked with Robert Atkins, the famous diet doctor and cardiologist, and his medical team on books, newsletters, and website copy. Being a vegetarian since 1989, I had no idea what the Atkins diet was so from a personal perspective it was pretty hilarious. But I learned so much about medical writing across media and audiences and about nutrition in general. I was honored when Dr. Atkins wrote a letter of recommendation on my behalf for admission to the doctoral program in nutrition at Columbia University.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I have been working on medical content creation since I finished my master’s, starting at Atkins Nutritionals, then in medical publishing, and ultimately landing in medical education and communications. Most people have no idea what medical education is, and the best way I could describe it is that we are an extension of the marketing and medical teams at pharmaceutical companies. We serve as an independent party in delivering non-biased, compliant, medically sound information about the latest FDA approved medications to health care providers in the United States and in some cases on a global level.
What advice would you give Hofstra students?
To not take for granted the value of a solid liberal arts education. As an undergrad very much focused on the sciences, I sometimes balked at the core requirements that I needed to fulfill. The truth is that what I learned in those classes has served me just as well, as the science courses more directly related to the work that I do. Across most of my classes there was a lot of information to process in a short period of time and I had to prove to my professors that I really understood them by communicating the key points in my own words. This is the best practice for gaining credibility and succeeding in the corporate world.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Intense. I ended up graduating with far more credits than I needed because I changed majors. But my experience could be summed up as 18+ credits per semester while working two jobs (student aide for the Math Department and campus security).
What are your responsibilities as executive director of Virgo Health?
I launched the NYC office of Virgo Health in 2012 as the first U.S. employee of a British company. I lead scientific services and editorial teams, and I am responsible for the integrity of all of our deliverables, new business development and strategic leadership, team recruitment and development, and overall business management.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love learning about new therapeutic areas and evolving treatments. I started out focusing on nutrition but then worked on ophthalmology for several years and then oncology, among many others since. I also find mentoring junior team members to be very fulfilling.
Who was the person who most influenced you, and how?
As I mentioned above, I just adored Dr. Robert Leonard. Beyond his excellence as an educator, he left such an impression on me as a person who was interested in the world and had traveled and experienced so much. He inspired me to travel and learn more about the world in general, and such experiences, much like a liberal arts education, make you a well-rounded person able to succeed in the corporate world.
Susan Cuozzo began her career as a resident for the NYC Department of Health and then worked at Atkins Nutritionals as an editor. She became managing editor for the McMahon Publishing Group, where she assigned, wrote, and edited various articles and worked on Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities. At Fission Communications, as vice president of scientific services, she spearheaded publication planning initiatives as well as promotional activities such as advisory boards (medical and commercial), symposia, speaker trainings, and coverage at major medical conventions. As team leader at ACUMED, Susan managed the U.S.-based team to execute promotional initiatives in emerging markets. She was also vice president, scientific services, at Science & Medicine and Medicus International New York. Susan launched Virgo Health's U.S. office in 2012, helping establish Virgo's footprint stateside.
Therapeutic areas of focus have included ophthalmology, respiratory, oncology, dermatology, wound healing, infectious disease, women's health, gastroenterology, and nutrition.
Susan earned a BA and MA at Hofstra University. She also matriculated in the Doctoral Program in Nutrition Education at Columbia University. Susan has earned a core certificate and an advanced certificate in medical writing and editing from the American Medical Writers Association. She is also a certified medical publication professional (CMPP) and active member of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals. Susan serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Communication in Healthcare. In May 2017 Susan was recognized by Pharma Marketers 360 magazine with an ELITE award for Transformational Leadership.