April 27th, 2016

What We Can All Learn From Intentional Serendipity

By Michael Bzdak, Executive Director, Corporate Contributions

Switchpoint Ideas

Photo Credit: SwitchPoint

*This post originally appeared on intrahealth.org.

IntraHealth International is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to improving health care in developing countries through strengthening health workers and the systems that support them. IntraHealth primarily addresses health workforce and systems strengthening; family planning and reproductive health; HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; maternal, newborn, and child health; and malaria. IntraHealth hosts an annual conference, SwitchPoint, which focuses on great ideas, tools, and people making a real difference in the world in areas such as humanitarian innovation, global health, and technology.

On my way home from SwitchPoint 2016, I reflected on intentional serendipity—an overarching theme that emerged from an event where hundreds of passionate humanitarians came to connect. This idea has bubbled up over the past few years in TED Talks and scholarly journals, and intentional serendipity took center stage at IntraHealth International’s 5th annual SwitchPoint.

On my way to the conference on Wednesday, I was preparing for my role as co-facilitator of the Innovators Forum, a pre-conference event where all of the speakers gathered to get to know each other and to prepare for the rich experience to come on Thursday and Friday.

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April 27th, 2016

Dengue: A Global Public Health Threat That Deserves Attention

By Dr. Marnix Van Loock, Dengue Team Leader, Global Public Health

Aedes aegypti mosquito

The dengue virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declaring the Zika virus a “public health emergency of international concern,” the risk of vector-borne diseases, which are transmitted by insects like mosquitoes, has been catapulted into the global spotlight.

So not surprisingly, the topic was high on the agenda when I joined a group of experts at the International Society of Neglected Tropical Diseases’ annual conference, ISNTD Bites, last month.

Along with sharing the latest research, disease modelling and surveillance technologies, our task was to find ways to promote even greater collaboration between the many parties involved in the control of vector-borne diseases. With many of these diseases—like Zika—emerging rapidly, it’s a huge and on-going challenge.

Facts About the Dengue Virus
I was at the conference to talk about our dengue program, an important part of our commitment to Global Public Health within the Johnson & Johnson Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.

Much like Zika, dengue is a vector-borne disease that has not been widely known. It’s also a virus that infects nearly 400 million people each year, causing such symptoms as a fever, rash and muscle and joint pain.

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April 26th, 2016

HealtheVoices: How a Conference Is Helping to Empower Health Advocates Across the Country

By Molly Triffin


Attendees at this year’s HealtheVoices conference in Chicago

In the spring of 2014, Rebecca Tillet, regional pharmaceuticals communication and public affairs leader for the Janssen North America team, hit upon a novel idea: With social media playing such an influential role in how people make healthcare decisions today, why not have the company host a convention for online health advocates and patient bloggers who chronicle their experiences of living with challenging health conditions?

Through her work in the consumer sector, Tillet had become familiar with BlogHer, a robust community for women bloggers who routinely gather at conferences and tradeshows—and she was surprised to learn that there wasn’t a similar network for online patient health activists.

“It didn’t seem right that there was such a strong support system for women writing about fashion and cooking, but nothing existed for people who were blogging about life-altering diseases,” Tillet recalls. “They were completely on their own.”

And she understood well the growing significance of social media advocates. “For years, our team had been partnering with bloggers to gain insight into how to do a better job of helping patients,” Tillet says, adding that online patient health advocates are often a trusted source of information.

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April 21st, 2016

How the Congressional Commitment to Physical Activity Can Get America Moving Again

By Jack L. Groppel, Ph.D., Co-Founder Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute

National Physical Activity Plan

Groppel (far right) at the launch of the Congressional Commitment to Physical Activity

Yesterday was a truly exciting day on Capitol Hill—the Congressional Fitness Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Ron Kind and Robert Dold, have signed the Congressional Commitment to Physical Activity in support of the National Physical Activity Plan.

By signing this document, members of congress are committing to making physical activity a priority for themselves, along with their offices, communities and districts.

For reasons that aren’t hard to guess—from the rise of technology to an abundance of office jobs—people just aren’t getting up and moving as much as they used to. And believe it or not, most people know the benefits of physical activity, such as promoting bone and muscular health and preventing heart disease and diabetes.

So why aren’t Americans getting up and moving more?

That was the question I asked fellow members of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) just over five years ago. And what we quickly realized is that if we can start a movement based on promoting the physical and mental benefits of physical activity, we just might be able to get America moving again.

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April 19th, 2016

An Important Milestone in the Search for an Ebola Vaccine

By Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Ebola Vaccine
It seems there is always a new story in the media about an emerging health threat. Right now, understandably, there is significant public concern about the spread of the Zika virus.

But just over a year ago, it was the Ebola virus and its devastating impact in West Africa that dominated the headlines.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa may have subsided, but not after leaving a huge human cost—over 11,300 lives were lost, tragically, in the outbreak. Far too many families and communities in the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were devastated.

Today, flare-ups of Ebola continue in the region because the virus can persist in the bodily fluids of survivors. And experts predict that another Ebola outbreak—somewhere in the world—is highly likely. So we can’t afford to move on from Ebola until we develop the tools to defeat it.

That’s why Johnson & Johnson entered into global private-public partnerships with some of the world’s leading health and research organizations to advance an Ebola vaccine regimen in development at our Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.

The vaccine regimen uses a “prime-boost” regimen, in which one vaccine dose is given to prime the immune system, and then a second vaccine is administered with the goal of boosting the immune response.

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April 19th, 2016

How the Global Initiative on Health and the Economy Can Help Us Invest in Healthy Societies

By Dominic Caruso, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Johnson & Johnson

Global Initiative on Health and the Economy

As a company whose mission it is to help billions of people around the world live longer, healthier and happier lives, we have long understood the tremendous impact that better health can have on an individual’s life—enabling greater contributions to their family and their work.

But research has also shown the much broader impact that better health can have on global societies, which is why I met recently with a number of stakeholders from across business, government and academic institutions in Washington, D.C., to help launch The Global Initiative on Health and the Economy, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce initiative co-founded by Johnson & Johnson.

As the world’s largest healthcare company, we are proud to be a leader in this initiative to champion good health and good healthcare policies that are vital to advancing economic growth and prosperity.

Why Investing in Health Matters
The health of a nation’s population is increasingly recognized as having an impact on its security and stability, economic growth and socioeconomic status.

According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy has increased from 47 years in 1950 to 69 years in 2010.

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April 15th, 2016

The Second Annual HealtheVoices™ Conference Kicks Off in Chicago

By Sara Wyen

HealtheVoices ConferenceIt goes without saying that the Internet has changed the way we live our lives in ways both big and small—and how we approach healthcare is no exception.

Increasingly, patients and caregivers are turning to online health advocates and bloggers for much-needed moral and emotional support when it comes to navigating and living with challenging healthcare conditions.

To help create a forum for all these individuals to come together and share and exchange ideas, Janssen North America and Everyday Health, Inc., sponsor HealtheVoices™, an empowerment and leadership conference exclusively for online health advocates and bloggers.

Now in its second year, HealtheVoices™ 2016 is taking place April 15-17 in Chicago, with the goal of providing tools, resources and inspiration to help support online patient and caregiver communities. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with other health activists and learn from experts in health, social media and advocacy.

The conference will feature both new and returning speakers, including Kevin “KevinMD” Pho, founder and editor of KevinMD.com; Amy O’Connor, editorial director of Everyday Health; and Laurel Netolicky, business development manager at WEGO Health who will be leading a discussion on how a community can help elevate a cause in advocacy efforts.

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April 13th, 2016

What I Learned from the Health Tech Hackathon

By Kristie Resetco, Business Enablement Lead Worlwide Commercial Phamaceuticals IT

Health Tech Hackathon

A group of Health Tech Hackathon mentors and volunteers

Brilliant professors, innovative industry mentors, and passionate multidiscipline students (technologists, doctors, pharmacists, financial and business analysts). The Health Tech Hackathon hosted by Cornell Tech and MIT recently enabled this diverse population of individuals to pull their energy and creativity together to tackle real, everyday healthcare needs.

Half the battle of a hackathon, or any startup, is defining and refining the problem or need—and in healthcare, the list of problems is growing as rapidly as the solutions we invent. As a technologist captivated by the healthcare industry I see the potential in cooperative events such as Cornell and MIT’s annual Health Tech Hackathon.

In a matter of 36 hours this event provided a unique benefit to over 300 participants—a student identified a new healthcare issue (and even the beginnings of a solution), a mentor volunteered his or her technical skills in an impactful way, a sponsor reestablished a connection to why the healthcare industry is a valuable and exciting place to work.

Healthcare is a broad term and the ideas we witnessed that weekend dove into many facets of it: precision medicine, timely access to prescriptions, transparency between patients and physicians, automating tasks which derail a physician from fully engaging with their patient, improving medication adherence, tackling public health issues with medication abuse … And the list goes on.

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April 7th, 2016

World Health Day Wishes for People Around the Globe

By Ryan McCoy

World Health Day

If you could wish for one thing for all of mankind, what would it be?

That’s the question we posed to people throughout Johnson & Johnson in homage to World Health Day, which has been commemorated each year since the World Health Organization was founded.

It’s a chance to stop and reflect on an important world health issue, and this year, the theme is “Beat Diabetes.” According to WHO, the number of people living with the disease has nearly quadrupled since 1980, so the focus is on raising awareness about the disease worldwide.

But World Health Day can also be a time to look at how we can help improve the world in a more holistic way—as you will see from these moving wishes.

“If I were granted one wish for World Health Day, it would be that we could reach ‘virus free living’ worldwide. My wish is to have continuous funded research into vaccines and potential cures for chronic and fatal viruses, including HIV, TB, hepatitis and Ebola. I also wish for clean water supplies and non-contaminated food for all—wherever and forever.” –Donna Sabatino, Senior Community Liaison, JT Medical Affairs

“We’re in a new golden age of neuroscience—one that I believe will lead us to a future free of mental illness and other brain disorders.

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April 6th, 2016

Johnson & Johnson Launches a New Global Public Health Strategy in Africa

By Nanette Varian

Global Public Health Africa

An HIV education and training facilitator teaches young girls in Kenya how to protect themselves from infection.

You can innovate and create groundbreaking new treatments to help fight infectious diseases, and then work to make those drugs accessible and affordable in the world’s poorest nations. But if you can’t address the full spectrum of obstacles preventing you from getting such medicines to patients, you’re “missing a piece of the puzzle,” says Jaak Peeters, Head of Johnson & Johnson’s global public health organization.

And that’s where a new Operations Center that the Global Public Health organization will launch in South Africa this April comes in.

The goal: work in close partnership with local governments and NGOs on the ground to help get the most innovative treatments for such diseases as HIV and tuberculosis to the people who need them the most, as well as develop programs designed to improve access to healthcare for vulnerable communities throughout Africa.

So we sat down with Peeters to hear more about the ambitious program and the obstacles that he hopes to overcome in the process.

You’ve described the company’s global public health strategy as one that focuses on “holistic” solutions. What do you mean by this?

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