July 16th, 2010

Preventing HIV Transmission in Newborns

From Anu Gupta, M.D., Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

As I pulled out my suitcase to pack for the upcoming International AIDS Society conference in Vienna, Austria, I was reminded of the last time I used it. A month ago, I had traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the Global Health Council Award Dinner. While I had been to the dinner before, this was a very special year because I had nominated mothers2mothers (m2m) for an award and they had won! 

As I sat with m2m founder Dr. Mitch Besser at the VIP table with luminaries in global health, I recalled my last visit to m2m in October 2006 to open a series of new sites in East London, South Africa, where Johnson & Johnson has had a manufacturing facility for more than 75 years. The mentor mothers I met on that trip, their stories, their songs and their struggles have stayed with me. 

It was no surprise to me that when Mitch went to the podium to accept the award, his speech was all about the mothers – the mentor mothers, all HIV-positive, who had recently delivered and gone through the process of taking antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and the pregnant women, also all HIV-positive, whom the mentor mothers were actively empowering through words and by example to have healthy children and live healthier lives. Joining the hundreds of guests in a standing ovation, I felt so grateful and honored to call Mitch and mothers2mothers our partner and friend.

Read More

July 15th, 2010

McNeil Consumer Healthcare Statement on its Manufacturing Operations

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is today announcing two actions related to its ongoing efforts to upgrade the quality of its manufacturing operations, and I wanted to share with you their statement:

McNeil Statement on Plan Submission

Today McNeil Consumer Healthcare has submitted to the FDA a comprehensive action plan on quality improvement. The submission details the next steps to be taken by McNeil to ensure that its operations meet the level of quality that consumers expect of us, and that we expect of ourselves.

McNeil looks forward to the FDA’s review of the plan and to working with the Agency moving forward. McNeil already has taken a number of significant steps to enhance quality, and is taking a systemic approach to strengthening quality through longer term improvements.

The plan addresses a number of areas, including:

  • Assessment and improvement of management controls;
  • Improvements in quality processes;
  • Interim controls and the use of outside experts to provide additional product quality assurance while the plan is being finalized and implemented;
  • Significant investment in manufacturing facilities, equipment, and laboratories, and;
  • A comprehensive program to ensure sustainable compliance with regulatory and McNeil quality requirements.

McNeil is committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to improve quality and earn consumers’ trust.

Read More

July 8th, 2010

Bridges to Brighter Futures

From Michael Bzdak, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

No matter where you live, you have the opportunity to play a role in the education and development of young people. Many of my colleagues at Johnson & Johnson are active in youth programs in their communities around the world ranging from sports to science to the arts and to the environment. Often, volunteer opportunities are linked to the organizations we support in many of the communities where we have offices and other operations.

I have had the privilege of serving as a volunteer mentor to a number of high school students in New Brunswick, New Jersey through the Bridge to Employment (BTE) Program, a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and the Academy for Educational Development. BTE was founded by Johnson & Johnson in 1992 to stem the high school dropout rate and address a projected shortage of health care workers by opening teens’ eyes to their own potential and guiding them toward promising careers in health care. BTE has helped thousands of students with mentoring and coaching over the years.  

In my eight years of mentoring, I have seen profound changes in the students as they progress through high school and into higher education.

Read More

July 7th, 2010

Partnering to Fight Diabetes

From Anthony Carter, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Chronic disease is a serious problem for our healthcare system and the nation. Few communities have been more seriously impacted by the spread of chronic disease, and diabetes in particular, than the African American community. Diabetes now affects about 3.7 million African Americans, almost 15 percent of individuals over the age of 20, and it is responsible for one out of every five deaths.

In an effort to help fight this epidemic, Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates are supporting launch of the Spirit of Healthy Living (SoHL) program with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.  The goal of SoHL is to promote diabetes education and awareness and give people the tools they need to prevent and manage this disease.

The SoHL educates community members about obesity, diabetes and the link between the two conditions.  The program also increases awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, encourages the use of local health and wellness resources to prevent and manage diabetes, and integrates online health coaching into health education sessions.

One other component of the Spirit of Healthy Living campaign that I really enjoy is our partnership with faith-based health ministries.  We know that supportive community based programs can have a positive impact on the way people behave, so we think this approach is very promising.

Read More

July 6th, 2010

Delivering HIV Education Through Soccer

From Brittany Hume, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

Among those who play it, soccer can lend lessons of the power of believing in yourself, working as a team, overcoming challenges, and persevering toward a goal. 

As it happens, these lessons are also the most important to teach youth at risk of HIV/AIDS. Low expectations, low self-confidence, and lack of hope are among the most dangerous risk factors for HIV/AIDS, as they can lead to risky behaviors. For this reason, evidence has shown that HIV prevention education is most effective when coupled with behavioral programming—like soccer—that addresses the social and personal root causes of risk.    

Since 2007, Johnson & Johnson has supported soccer-based HIV prevention programs for youth, working with partners Academy for Educational Development (AED) and Grassroot Soccer in northern Namibia to deliver Grassroot Soccer’s proven (and fun) “Skillz” curriculum to 8,000 youth per year.

This year, we decided to go one step further, drawing upon the world’s soccer zeal and the African backdrop to highlight the power of soccer as a tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We chose to focus on teenage girls, who are at three times greater risk for HIV/AIDS than boys, and with whom soccer’s messages of empowerment and leadership resonate well.

Read More

July 1st, 2010

Collaboration is Key to Maternal and Newborn Health

From Paul Stoffels, Global Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development

Last week I was privileged to represent Johnson & Johnson at the Pacific Health Summit (PHS) – an annual gathering that convenes nearly 250 leaders in science, policy and industry to focus on issues of critical importance to global health. It is a unique event that connects decision makers to spark solutions in the quest for a healthier world.

This year’s theme was Maternal and Newborn Health. The idea is that caring for mothers and providing opportunities for better prenatal, newborn and childhood care can lead to a healthier, more productive world.

For many of us in the developed world, access to maternal and child care is a given. But for many mothers and children around the world, that’s not the case. According to a recent report, globally, 8.8 million children a year die before their fifth birthday, more than 40 percent of them during their first four weeks of life. At least two-thirds of all child deaths are preventable.

No theme could be more aligned with the work and values of Johnson & Johnson. Women and children have been at the heart of our core business for nearly 125 years.

Read More

June 25th, 2010

Richard B. Sellars

Earlier today, we learned that Richard B. Sellars, who was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer between 1973 and 1976, passed away this week at age 94. My colleague, Margaret Gurowowitz, uploaded an extensive post on Mr. Sellars over on her blog, Kilmer House, that I thought I would share in its entirity here. From Margaret:

Kilmer House salutes Richard B. Sellars, retired Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (he served from 1973-1976), who passed away this week at age 94. Though only chairman for three years, Mr. Sellars had a 40-year career with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and he had an impact that continues to be felt today. Two of the things we owe to him are successfully steering Johnson & Johnson through the tough economic times of the early 1970s, and committing the Company to stay in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where it was founded in 1886.

Richard Sellars joined Johnson & Johnson 71 years ago, at the tail end of the Great Depression in 1939, as a junior salesman for the newly formed Ortho Pharmaceutical Division and 40 years later, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. From 1941 to 1945, Sellars was president and general manager of the Canadian Ortho affiliate company, after which he helped establish the manufacturing and sales divisions for Ortho in England and Scandinavia.

Read More

June 25th, 2010

The People’s Lifeline: Midwives in the Philippines

From Katsura Tsuno, Director Corporate Contributions, Asia-Pacific, Johnson & Johnson

I still remember the sights and sounds that filled the maternity hospital in Manila when I visited in 2005. It was my first trip to the Philippines after taking a position in Corporate Contributions at Johnson & Johnson. Although the public hospital had been described as the largest for mothers and babies, to me, it looked more like an old train station. There was an emergency room inside with simple bedding, and a separate family waiting room with a ceiling, yet no walls – providing no refuge from the hot and humid weather. As I approached the delivery room, I noticed two pregnant women sprawled out on one bed. Newborn babies were the same – two babies shared each basket.  

When I finally reached the hospital room, I saw an overwhelming number of mothers and babies. Three to four pairs of mothers and babies lay horizontally on two beds connected to each other, also known as a tandem bed. As I surveyed the room, I could see that there were obviously not enough doctors and nurses. “The average income of a doctor working in the public sector is not better than the salary of a call center operator,” one doctor revealed. The crowded and under-funded hospital was daunting to me, yet the women with access to it were considered fortunate.

Read More

June 24th, 2010

Social Moms: One size does not fit all

Dina Freeman , Social Media and Communications Consultant , BabyCenter

When my son was 18 months old, he decided it would be fun to jump out of his crib head first one night at around 3 am. He was totally fine, but I wasn’t. I was freaked out and needed advice. I immediately reached for my phone and instead of calling my mom like I would have done 5 years ago, I tweeted “Ugh. 18mo just fell out of crib. Not ready for big boy bed. Help!”  Within minutes I received about 20 suggestions, one of which worked like a charm. Crisis averted.

To many of you, solving personal problems using something as public as Twitter sounds ridiculous. For others, crowdsourcing answers from strangers is on par with calling a friend. Although there has been a massive increase in the number of moms using social media since 2006 (591%), it would be wrong to assume all moms use social media in the same way or that they all wield the same amount of influence.

Last week, we released our “BabyCenter 2010 Mom Social Influencer Report” based on a recent study we did of moms in the BabyCenter Community.

Read More

June 15th, 2010

The Importance of Improving Health Literacy

From Scott C. Ratzan, MD, MPA, Vice President, Global Health, Government Affairs & Policy, Johnson & Johnson

Years of working to improve worldwide public health has taught me that giving people access to care and medicines are only part of improving health. Almost as important is what people do once they have access. Can they find the care that they need in a sometimes complex health care system? Do they understand the instructions their doctor or nurse has given them? Do they have the basic tools to improve or change their behavior? 

The way people interact with the health system has great impact on whether they can improve their health. And improving people’s understanding of health information is an important first step. “Health literacy,” as this skill is called, is the degree to which people have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make good health decisions. 

Limited health literacy affects people of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels, but its greatest impact is among lower socioeconomic and minority groups, where it underlies health disparities. Limited health literacy is also linked to worse health outcomes and higher costs. 

Two decades of research shows that today’s health information is presented in a way that isn’t usable by most Americans.

Read More