Joy (Maria Rowena) Ramos, PhD

Senior Medical Director​
International Meetings & Science
AWIS member since 2003

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ to something. It allows you to say ‘Yes’ to what is more important and closer to your heart.”

AWIS member Joy Ramos, PhD

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

Do not think of mistakes as failures, but rather as opportunities to learn and build a better path forward for yourself and your team.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

I was proud to be part of the team that developed a global medical educational program for healthcare providers, which was recognized by an international organization as the Most Valuable Educational Program during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?

I would like to be a positive role model, and support the development of junior colleagues in medical communications as much as possible, especially women. It is a field that is still under the radar for people from the academic community. It meets the interests of those who have a passion for a wide range of scientific research and want to communicate that information effectively to the target audience.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

I helped develop a range of engaging and impactful disease state education programs across multiple therapeutic areas, in collaboration with global experts at the forefront of scientific, clinical research, for a live 2-day forum with over 200 global healthcare providers. It was an amazing opportunity to help connect clinicians all over the world and make a positive impact on patient care.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

Joining my first AWIS Chicago chapter meeting when I was a graduate student more than 20 years ago, and soon after joining its Board, introduced me to an amazing group of women in STEM. At AWIS Chicago, we jointly developed a wide range of programs that helped connect like-minded individuals to support not only their professional development, but to establish a community across institutions. AWIS played an integral role in developing my leadership skills outside of graduate school and built my network both locally and nationally.

What is your favorite word? (only one word)


How do you define it?

Positivity is seeing the silver lining, even during difficult times.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

It helps me not get disheartened (at least not for long!) in the face of unexpected challenges, and recognize aspects to be grateful for and what we can learn from them.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

AWIS definitely played a pivotal role in helping me spread my wings from graduate school, make the right connections, and transition into industry. As I advanced in my career, AWIS also provided me an opportunity to give back to the community and help pay it forward for the next generation of AWIS members.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

RadioLab is one of my favorite podcasts! It helps satisfy my scientific curiosity and allows me to keep learning about a wide range of fascinating topics in a fun, insightful manner.

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to say “No” to something. It allows you to say “Yes” to what is more important and closer to your heart.

Joy (Maria Rowena) Ramos, PhD, is a Senior Medical Director at International Meetings & Science (IMsci), a full-service scientific communications agency under Wunderman Thompson Health and part of the WPP network. With more than 15 years of experience in the medical communications industry, Joy has provided scientific oversight and strategic thinking for multiple teams, spanning across therapeutic areas such as diabetes, oncology, and respiratory diseases, to name a few. Joy enjoys using her scientific expertise and training, to engage with a wide range of key stakeholders in both clinical practice and industry, to positively impact patient care. Joy is originally from the Philippines and first stepped foot in the Midwest when she earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She fell in love with the Windy City and has lived there ever since. Joy has been a proud member of AWIS and the AWIS Chicago chapter since 2003 and continues to support AWIS’ mission of championing the interests of women in science across all disciplines.