Sheppard previously worked at the agency between 2013 and 2016. He left to take up an account director role at Hanover Communications, before joining the MS Society as the charity’s external relations manager. He returned to MHP as an associate director last August.
In his new role, which began this month, Sheppard is advising clients on their approach to building stronger programmes working with patient advocacy groups.
He said: "The importance of engaging with patient representatives and working collaboratively with patient groups is widely recognised. The industry has often defined success as being able to build relationships with and support some of the biggest organisations and brands in advocacy. However, this alone is no longer enough."
He added: "The world of patient advocacy is changing. Being truly patient-centric is about hearing and listening to the voices of the many, not just the few. Industry has a key role to play in making this a reality."
MHP’s health team has also been bolstered by the recent arrival of Arabella Moore (pictured below), who was appointed as a director in April. She was previously head of partnerships at Save the Children, with experience in roles at Plan UK, Ketchum Pleon, Ruder Finn and Fleishman-Hillard.
Kate Pogson (below), head of MHP Health, commented: "I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Arabella to the team, and welcome back Jonathon. We know that the industry is increasingly looking to engage in sustained and purpose-led partnerships which marry the expertise of the pharmaceutical sector with NGOs and patient groups to achieve meaningful policy change for patients."
She added: "Their expertise will help us to expand our international footprint and broaden our offer to reflect the growing and changing needs of our clients who are increasingly looking for innovative ways to deliver commercial benefit with purpose and commitment."
MHP’s 36-strong health practice has driven double-digit growth for the past two years. Its clients range from multinational pharmaceutical companies to professional bodies and charities, including Roche, AstraZeneca, AbbVie, MSD, Roy Castle Lung Foundation, UK Lung Cancer Coalition and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
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