Real Chemistry and the Media Empathy Foundation Partner at SXSW, Launching “Culture Care” to Reduce Disease-Related Stigma and Bias Through Data-Driven Creative Content

New partnership brings together empathy expertise with data, analytics, content, creative, communications, celebrity and influencer capabilities to create positive cultural change

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Global health innovation company Real Chemistry announced today at the 2021 SXSW Healthcare Media Lounge that it is partnering with the non-profit Media Empathy Foundation to deliver “Culture Care” engagement and education campaigns that will help reduce stigma and bias for people living with various diseases and health conditions. The “Culture Care Project” was announced during a virtual SXSW panel today entitled “Culture Care: Addressing Disease Stigma and Bias Through Culture”, hosted by Real Chemistry’s Bryan Specht and Media Empathy Foundation president Helene Ellison, along with guest panelists including Mike Paseornek, originator and long-time president of Lionsgate Films, and Myron Holubiak, CEO of Citius Pharmaceuticals and former president of Roche Labs.

“Health stigma is absolutely unacceptable. It is a complex challenge to address because it can span many areas of society from entertainment and culture to the entire health ecosystem,” said Jim Weiss, CEO and Founder of Real Chemistry. “Worst of all, stigma and bias can make people who suffer from any one of many diseases feel isolated and ashamed, leading to a reluctance to seek help, and that can have terrible consequences.”

The Culture Care partnership will focus on using data-driven creative strategies to educate and engage people and professionals across the healthcare spectrum to educate and create empathy and understanding for real people living with highly stigmatized diseases. The partnership will leverage the expertise of the Media Empathy Foundation, along with various Real Chemistry expert services including the creative advertising team from 21GRAMS, proprietary content experience engine Real Chemistry Catalyst, and the cultural strategy, entertainment and influencer expertise of starpower (part of Real Chemistry). Utilizating precision targeting from Real Chemistry data and technology tools such as Symplur, Swoop and, Culture Care will integrate empathy expertise with marketing and communications services to create customized “data-driven story worlds” that will include branded or unbranded long-form and episodic content like documentary or scripted films, digital series and embedded celebrity segments in film and television. All campaigns will be designed to challenge health-related stigma, increase empathy and portray the realities of people living with certain diseases.

“Stigma is widely talked about but it’s not widely recognized as a factor that worsens health outcomes for patients who believe they will be poorly judged or shamed for seeking treatment for a disease or medical condition that they think will negatively reflect on them,” said Helene Ellison, president of the Media Empathy Foundation. “We believe we can work with patients, from celebrities and influencers to regular people everywhere, who have overcome stigma to inspire others to find a path forward and drive a cultural shift that destigmatizes conditions that can be mitigated with treatment.”

Stigma is defined as the labeling, bias, stereotyping, discrimination, and/or prejudice against patients with certain diseases, and is widely recognized as a leading barrier to optimal care.

“There are so many important conversations happening today around overcoming various forms of bias and the resulting societal, economic and human health consequences of stigmatizing people,” said Bryan Specht, group president of Transformation, Activation and Marketing for Real Chemistry. “Health-related stigma is another critical area where we must deliver education and engagement that generate empathy and, most importantly, increase the likelihood of treatment for people who may be suffering in silence.”

About Real Chemistry

Real Chemistry is a global health innovation company with an alchemic mix of 1,600 people and hundreds of clients and partners working from bench to bedside, making the world a healthier place. Purpose-built by Jim Weiss to address modern healthcare challenges, Real Chemistry is the culmination of 20 years of intentional, fiercely independent, sustained growth. With offices across the United States and Europe, Real Chemistry believes that the way to real, transformative change is through the uncommon combination of talents, disciplines and technologies.

Real Chemistry’s proprietary technology products include Swoop, and the Symplur Suite of social listening, analytics and engagement tools, all housed within Real Chemistry Health Technologies. Tools focused on clinical trial engagement live within Hū, and expert service brands include W2O (integrated communications), 21GRAMS (advertising and medical), Discern (value-based care consulting), and starpower (influencer and entertainment marketing). Integrated intelligence, media and marketing are all within Real Chemistry’s Integrated Marketing and Intelligence Services (IMIS).

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About the Media Empathy Foundation

The Media Empathy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to drive a change in culture, conversation, and perceptions around stigmatized diseases, and remove barriers to care for those affected.


Peter Duckler, 773-343-3069

Release Summary

Real Chemistry announced at the 2021 SXSW Healthcare Media Lounge that it is partnering with the Media Empathy Foundation to deliver “Culture Care”.


Peter Duckler, 773-343-3069