Karen Lancaster joined ACLA as Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs in January 2023. Karen is a seasoned communications strategist with more than 25 years of experience, with specialized expertise in health care, academia, pharma/biotech, and the life sciences. Her extensive career portfolio of strategic communications disciplines includes media relations, issues/crisis management, and patient advocacy, as well as executive and key stakeholder communications. Karen has led several award-winning communications teams recognized for excellence in the execution of impactful, collaborative, and creative campaigns and strategies.
Karen most recently served as Assistant Vice President of External Relations at Johns Hopkins University, where she oversaw the media relations, internal communications, social media and analytics functions in the central communications office for the nine-division global research university. Prior to her time at Hopkins, Karen was on the executive leadership team as Vice President of Media Relations and Corporate Communications at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), a 14-hospital, academically-centered regional health system. There, she co-led the joint media relations team with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and oversaw critical communications functions for the University of Maryland Medical Center, including its R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, and University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
Karen joined UMMS from MedImmune, the global biologics unit of AstraZeneca, where she was Director of Corporate Public Relations, overseeing marketed brand, emerging brand and corporate public relations. Prior to that, she enjoyed a nine-year career with Spectrum Science Communications, one of the country’s leading independent health sciences public relations firms. She began her career in the Washington bureau of PR Newswire, where she managed media relationships and supported an account base of Washington newsmakers including Federal government agencies, policy groups, and trade associations.
Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.