Debra DeShong

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs

Photograph of Debra DeShong, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Debra DeShong is Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)—the trade association representing the country’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies. At PhRMA, Ms. DeShong is responsible for developing and executing the overall communications strategy for the organization and oversees a team that encompasses media relations, digital/social media, advertising, message development, internal communications and executive visibility. In this role, Ms. DeShong serves as a lead spokesman for the association and manages multiple high-profile public affairs campaigns on the value of biopharmaceutical innovation, patient access to medicines and other industry priorities.

Prior to joining PhRMA, Ms. DeShong was Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Communications and Industry Affairs for MGM Resorts International. In that role, she oversaw both external and internal communications as well as the development of messaging strategies for issues impacting the Company around the world.

Ms. DeShong has more than two decades of experience in public policy, communications and international relations. Prior to working at MGM, she was the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Public Affairs at Subject Matter, a public relations and communications firm in Washington, D.C. 

Her prior experience also includes serving as Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, working as a founder and executive at Washington public affairs firms Point Blank and Five by Five and holding top communications positions with the United Nations Foundation, U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli, the Democratic National Committee and the John Kerry for President campaign.

Ms. DeShong has a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Fairfield University.