Women in Leadership and COVID-19: Spotlight on Sheila Borgman

We’re proud of the powerful roles that women at Clarivate have played in addressing COVID-19. In this continuing series, we share their stories.

More than half of the colleagues in the science organization at Clarivate are women. Their achievements are invaluable to our contributions to innovation and customer success, as evidenced in the roles women researchers and scientists have played in addressing COVID-19 during the past two years.

To mark International Women’s Day in March this year, and in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality, we began a series of interviews with women researchers and scientists to showcase them and the essential roles they have played, and continue to play, in addressing COVID-19 and creating a more equitable STEM field post-pandemic.

In this interview, we speak with Sheila Borgman, Senior Science Writer and Editor, Life Sciences at Clarivate. Sheila is based in California, working from her home office near San Francisco.


Tell us about your research. 

The study of how diseases manifest themselves in certain populations and regions has always fascinated me, so my work in the field of epidemiology has been rewarding.

I’ve spent more than 20 years working on the Incidence and Prevalence Database™ (IPD), a Cortellis™ solution and global epidemiology database that covers incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, procedure rates and related topics. The IPD Team reviews and curates data from medical literature on an ongoing basis to help our clients make informed decisions.

My primary role is to create disease/procedure summaries and write new content. We currently have summaries for more than 1,000 topics, around 400 of which are rare diseases. Over the past few years I’ve learned a lot about rare and neglected diseases, and this sort of discovery keeps my job interesting!

How have Clarivate data and solutions been helpful in researching and understanding COVID-19? 

In early 2020, I created a summary to track COVID-19 case numbers and related topics such as health service use, vaccination, mortality, disparities in outcomes, the emergence of variants and long COVID. The amount of published data has been staggering, so collaborating with other groups at Clarivate has been vital.

I’ve been in ongoing communication with my colleague Annie Graul, who created the COVID-19 Disease Briefing, to discuss trends and share literature, as well as with Shyama Ghosh, who has been involved in additional pandemic-related projects at Clarivate.


In a new short film, women at Clarivate share their inspiring stories of contributing to the global fight against COVID-19. Watch now for their reflections on women’s role in pandemic research, and how it’s shaping a new path for women of science.



How have the events of the past year impacted your ways of working, including the pandemic, quarantines, shifts to remote work and other macro-social and economic trends? 

I have worked from home for most of my professional career, so I already had my home office in place when the pandemic hit. I’m more efficient working from home than I ever was in an office setting, even though my cat sometimes steals my chair.

What advice do you have for women and girls interested in entering your field? 

Epidemiology and public health are vital fields of study. Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented as lead authors in the science-writing profession.

In a 2021 study from the journal Nature, a research group evaluated the number of articles in which a woman was the lead author. From 5,554 articles published between 2015 and 2018 in five high-impact medical journals, only 35.6% were written by a woman as the primary author.

Do you see women’s leadership role in COVID-19 research and response as a springboard for a more equitable future and recovery post-pandemic?  

Absolutely. There has never been a time when medical and scientific communities from around the world have had to come together to combat a shared public health threat, and women have contributed significantly to the thought leadership.

Gender should never be a limiting factor in scientific discovery.

Learn more about Coronavirus (COVID-19) insights from Clarivate.

Learn about our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

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