“Be Proud of Who You Are” – A top leader reflects on her 20+ year journey in education and healthcare

Meet Elizabeth Munn, Managing Director, Global Medical Education at Elsevier, a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals.

Healthcare is the need of the hour. The science and technology industry is progressing at a faster pace than we realize, and the professionals need access to the right information to make better decisions and deliver better care. Catering to their needs are Elsevier and Elizabeth Munn, the Managing Director of Global Medical Education. She started her career with Elsevier around 20 years ago when she got an opportunity to be a manager of the marketing department. She built the team from scratch, and with every promotion, she was given additional responsibilities. Over the years, she has seamlessly managed, marketing, sales, product, and even the content department of the organization, working across both the health and science divisions.

Elizabeth grew up in a working-class family in Scotland with a single parent mother and her younger brother and was one of the first in her family to gain a degree-level qualification.  Often working alongside others who had Ivy league qualifications or with a consultancy background,  she had to work hard to find her voice and the confidence to prove her worth. As a senior leader at Elsevier today, she is proud to coach, mentor, and sponsor a variety of talented women from a range of backgrounds, starting out and in mid-career. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has had a chance to meet and connect with people from different countries and cultures as Elsevier has branches all over the world. She learned from their experiences, which has added to her own knowledge. 

Talking about what the company does, she says, “As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across global research and healthy ecosystems. In everything we publish, we uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity at scale to ensure value to our customers. We bring that same rigour to our analytical solutions for researchers, health professionals, institutions, and funders.

The shift towards digital learning had started long before the pandemic, but COVID rapidly accelerated this trend and Elsevier had to adapt quickly to remote learning.  They were able to provide access to their world-leading medical education content, often at no cost,  to ensure that faculty and students could get easy access. In 2019, the company acquired 3D4Medical, the Ireland-based developer of the innovative 3D anatomy tool, Complete Anatomy.  She notes that historically, anatomical illustrations featured a typically European male model, but the team are keen to bring a fresh perspective. They are designing a world-class 3D female model alongside a variety of skin options to represent a broader range of ethnicities. The goal is that a broader representation of the population at an early stage in a medical student’s education will lead to reduced bias in their clinical years. You can get a trial of the app on 3D4Medical.com.

The organization is constantly working to create relevant content for medical students, as well as to provide resources to assist them in becoming better healthcare professionals.

Being in the healthcare research industry for so many years, Elizabeth challenges herself every day to empathize with others – students, teachers, her team and wider stakeholders within Elsevier. She learns from the feedback and strives to become a better leader. She is proud to have the honour of making a difference in the teaching and practice of medicine. Her mission is to help students successfully become the medical professionals of tomorrow. 

Elizabeth’s journey has been a true bildungsroman in which she has learned and grown alongside the organization. Her hard work has gotten her this far and will only propel her forward on the path to success. Leaving an inspiring message for her readers, she says, “Be proud of who you are and what you can bring to the table – great leaders come in all shapes and sizes and if you look around you and don’t see anyone else like you, don’t let that deter you – indeed it shows how important your voice will be in bringing a fresh perspective.