Sam’s journey from journalism to the medical research community

27 May 2021

After 20 plus years in journalism and public relations, Samantha Townsend thrives on bringing stakeholders together to collaborate on a project and sharing the success stories that this brings. Now the Senior Communications and Engagement Officer at BDHP, Sam promotes and raises awareness about BDHP’s activities to the health and medical research community. She also provides communications and stakeholder engagement support to our partner organisations and their research teams. Sam says it’s a role she enjoys because of the opportunity to work on many exciting and innovative projects and for an organisation focused on improving public health outcomes. Before joining BDHP, Sam was a senior communications consultant at the Phillips Group. There she worked on projects ranging from major mergers and acquisitions to media relations and product launches. One of her career highlights was leading a community and stakeholder engagement project team responsible for gauging interest in a new hospital in Toowoomba for the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. The final report demonstrated strong support for a new hospital, which directly impacted the Board’s decision to apply for funding to build it. The project won the 2017 Queensland PRIA Awards in the Community Relations Campaign category and was highly commended in the national awards. During her time as a senior journalist with The Redland Times and the Bayside Bulletin, Sam did a three-part interview with a World War II veteran. The man lived in the Redlands and had an incredible life, including escaping three times from a prisoner of war camp in Europe. Despite this, his story was not well known. Sam won the 2006 Queensland Country Press Award for Journalist of the Year for her reporting. Aside from her skills at work, Sam is a whizz at shorthand (a dying skill), was a wedding and portrait photographer, has learned to (somewhat) play the electric guitar, can devour a novel in several hours and grows 31 different varieties of roses in her garden.

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