NEW YORK — Karsten Risch has joined Evoke, the Huntsworth-owned healthcare agency,  as the firm’s first chief medical officer after spending more than 15 years in that role at Havas Health & You.

Risch is leading Evoke’s agency's science & medicine practice across offices.  Responsibilities include implementing standard medical approaches, guiding strategy and scaling best practices for handling all clients.

In announcing the appointment, Evoke said Risch was hired for his broad range of experience in medical training and healthcare policy education (he holds an MD, a PhD and an MPH) and global healthcare communications.

"As we continue to deepen our capabilities and expand our scope, it was important to unite the medical and scientific talent across our group under the guidance of one medical leader globally," CEO & founder Reid Connolly said. "With a particular passion for medical storytelling, Karsten's approach will bring incredible value to multiple aspects of our work and our client relationships."

Before Havas, Risch was Interpublic Group’s director of medical affairs. Earlier in his career he held senior roles at Bogart Delafield Ferrier, Whole Systems International and Bayer.

Risch assumes the role as Huntsworth continues to hone its focus on healthcare, which was set into motion after the company took financial hits in its comms revenue in recent years.

Recent moves include the July hiring of Jennifer O’Dwyer to lead North America, succeeds Tom Donnelly, who now serves as chief growth officer for all of Evoke’s agency brands.

In less than two years, the holding group has purchased healthcare firms Kyne and CC, New Jersey's Navience Healthcare Solutions and San Francisco agency Giant Creative Strategy.

Huntsworth now has two distinct areas of focus: healthcare, which is made up of medical, marketing and immersive divisions; and communications