As a physician who has worked in hospitals and healthcare systems around the world – in Ireland, Australia and in the Middle East – I know how important it is to have the right resources to help a patient. Miles and circumstances can mean the difference between having the necessary medication and surgical equipment … or not.
That’s why I am so proud to work for a company like Johnson & Johnson with the global footprint and resources to activate. Today is World Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) is announcing a new campaign to build a fairer, healthier world. It’s a Herculean task, but one that fits right in with Our Credo commitment that compels us to put patients first.
Change requires a concerted effort; I’ve written about this previously. I continue to challenge myself to learn, talk and act more – and to use my role as Chief Medical Officer of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson within the Office of the J&J Chief Medical Officer (OCMO), to help our company address health inequities that persist for too many.
Inequities can be addressed in a number of ways, and so I ask myself, where and how can we at J&J help bridge this divide with our deep capabilities in science and medicine and with a clear and articulate voice on relevant bioethical topics? Through my lens as Janssen CMO and as a leader in J&J, data and evidence, ethics and values should drive patient-centered decision-making and action.
I am proud that there are already so many examples of this in action at our company. Our dedicated Child Health Innovation Leadership Department (CHILD), within the OCMO, addresses ways to enhance access to medicines for children through innovative approaches to pediatric pharmaceutical development. My colleagues on Johnson & Johnson’s Global Public Health (GPH) team developed and launched a pediatric friendly formulation of our legacy product to treat intestinal worms and work with the WHO to donate 200M doses annually in endemic regions of Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America to help children thrive. Along with other OCMO colleagues, we partner internally and externally to ensure continued access to this true innovation for children where it is needed the most around the globe. Johnson & Johnson teams also look at ways to improve health outcomes for mothers and their newborns – an equity issue globally as well as in the U.S.
Every step forward brings us closer to greater health equity, but our work is far from done. The global pandemic, and our response to it, despite some heroic efforts to achieve equity, has brought the problem squarely front and center once again. We are a global community; what affects one of us can affect many others. We can and we must work harder together, to build a fairer, healthier world community. Today, let’s challenge ourselves to dig deep and commit: “what more can I and we do?”