WASHINGTON: LaShon Beamon traces her successful healthcare communications campaign record to her experience with family members who suffered health problems, she said.
Beamon, who grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, was raised by foster parents who were in their 50s when they adopted her and her sister. When she was in college, her parents started to suffer health problems such as Alzheimer’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.
Then her younger sister died from breast cancer in 2009.
Those painful experiences have helped her not only advocate but understand the “changes that need to be made” in healthcare, said Beamon.
Beamon has spent much of her career working in communications for government and nonprofit entities. In May, she entered the private sector as SVP of healthcare for the Clyde Group, an agency in Washington, DC.
Beamon joined Clyde Group because of its focus on health equity, diversity and its client roster, she said.
Beamon worked in both city and federal government, most recently as associate director of state relations and communications for the Department of Health and Human Services, the firm said in a statement. She also worked for the District of Columbia’s Departments of Health Care Finance; Health; Youth Rehabilitation Services; Forensic Science Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
At HHS, she oversaw communications for a public-private partnership focused on improving the economic mobility of underrepresented communities and on efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. In city government, Beamon advised agency heads on efforts to reform child welfare, healthcare and public safety.
To “move the needle forward, everyone needs to have a seat at the table,” she said. “When you are anchored in a mission and you bring those various voices to the table, that's when I have seen true systemic changes.”
In those communication roles, she frequently interacted with Washington Post reporters, she said, noting how journalists improve government accountability.
“Being able to work with such esteemed reporters that are making sure that we are doing right by the taxpayers’ dollars…truly has helped,” said Beamon. “In addition to the legislative branch and the executive branch, there's also the media who are holding you accountable.”
At Clyde Group, Beamon will work on a project to increase awareness of the lack of diversity in clinical research. African-Americans and Hispanics represent 5% and 1% of clinical trial participants, respectively, even though they make up 13% and 18% of the U.S. population, according to a report from Clinical Research Pathways, a nonprofit that aims to increase diversity in clinical research.
“Medicines are basically being studied for much more of the general population, and there are many, many segments of the population that are not actually really being accounted for,” Lisa Josephy, Clyde Group managing director and healthcare practice lead, said.
Clyde Group’s clients include entities in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, health payer, government and nonprofit sectors, according to Josephy.
“When it came to LaShon, hiring her was a no-brainer because her previous work in both the public and private sectors perfectly aligned with our mission and with our passion points, and she just really has a proven track record of helping affect change,” said Josephy. “We also know she's going to be an amazing resource and mentor to our team members, given how vast and diverse her career experience has been.”