Mimi Huizinga, Vice President of Strategic Data and Digital, Novartis Oncology
As part of our “Novartis Presents: Women in Science” series, we interviewed Mimi Huizinga, who serves as Vice President of Strategic Data and Digital at Novartis Oncology. Huizinga joined Novartis in August 2017 and since then has shown her devotion as an educator and an advocate for patients, families, front-line clinical staff and physicians. She is one of the key team members creating a digital revolution at Novartis.
Learn more as Huizinga reflects on her career in healthcare.
When did you first know you wanted to work in science?
When I was a little girl, I was always interested in science. My two favorite toys were a microscope and a cardboard box that I decorated to look like a space shuttle. I grew up in the country and had a lot of opportunity to roam free and let my imagination soar.
What is your advice for young women and girls interested in science?
Believe that you can do it. Don’t let others question your ability or cause you to question yourself. I remember teachers telling me that I was good in math “for a girl” and that young ladies “don’t ask so many questions.” Luckily, I had a few adults who supported my desire to learn and excel.
What is your favorite part of your job at Novartis?
The work I do has a direct impact on patients. My team creates evidence to show the value of our products so that patients can have access to them. In addition, we create digital tools that help them learn more about their disease and treatment options. As the leader of my digital team says, “If we can make even one part of the disease journey easier, then it is worth it.”
The work I do has a direct impact on patients. My team creates evidence to show the value of our products so that patients can have access to them.
What is the most challenging part?
There is so much opportunity right now! I am someone who loves to learn – and when there is a great opportunity, it can be hard to say no. However, if we want to deliver value to our patients, we have to prioritize our areas of focus.
Share one thing people would be surprised to know about you.
Many people know that I work hard, but I think they would be surprised to know that I play just as hard. I have two teenage sons and we all like to stay active. On our recent spring break vacation, we hiked over 70 miles [112 kilometers] in high altitude; my sons say that it wasn’t really a vacation! I also love to be outside – hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, swimming, paddle-boarding, doing anything!
“Novartis Presents: Women in Science” is an ongoing series showcasing women at Novartis who are helping develop innovative oncology medicines for people with cancer and related diseases.