Alia Bucciarelli

Director of Health Communication, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Why Plain Language Summaries?

“Plain language summaries make it possible for people who are not experts in a given disease area, including both health care professionals and lay audiences, to understand complex medical information. They improve access to and understanding of information needed to make decisions about medical care.”


Alia Bucciarelli is a health communications leader with more than 20 years of experience in the field. As head of Health Communications at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, she leads a team that develops user-centered, innovative ways to communicate scientific information. In her career she and her teams have developed podcast series, video abstracts, visual abstracts, author videos and mobile posters for scientific congress publications, and multiple interactive educational exhibits, including an augmented reality program about the pathophysiology of various neurological diseases.

Before joining industry, Ms. Bucciarelli was an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine where she developed and taught health communication classes with an emphasis on plain language writing and writing for lay audiences. She also was a freelance writer and plain language consultant for healthcare-related organizations.

Ms. Bucciarelli is a skilled communicator and expert in health communication who is often recruited to give talks and provide training workshops on health communication principles. Ms. Bucciarelli earned her Master of Health Communication at the Tufts University School of Medicine.