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April 19th, 2010

40 Years of Earth Day

From Annette Russo, Manager, Communications and Training, WWEHS, Johnson & Johnson

Like twenty million other Americans, I was part of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. I heeded the call for a day of protest and education, and did a small thing to improve the environment. Looking back, I think my Earth Day experiences parallel the history of the day itself. As I eventually became a consultant and groundwater geologist, I understood the reasons for the growing number of environmental regulations. I became part of a growing cadre of environmental professionals trained to address environmental compliance and remediation. We learned to use environmental management systems as a tool for better environmental management.

And today, people take a holistic view of the environment – looking at the products companies make as well as the places where they make them while considering social and economic impacts alongside environmental ones. Many call this “sustainability”, and it has changed the way business gets done. 

It’s Earth Day 1970…I’m standing waist deep in a cold, spring-fed creek in my hometown pushing a wire box filled with heavy rock down into the mud of the creek bed. We’re trying to save the creek. The city moved it a few months earlier to build a new road, leaving a bed that was wide and shallow.

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April 16th, 2010

Giving a Hand to Raise Awareness of Diabetes

Just recently, a colleague of mine over at our LifeScan business gave me a heads up about a project she’s been working one that they hope will help raise awareness about a disease that is all too often about statistics and too seldom about the hearts and minds of the thousands of people it touches.

Back in 2008, LifeScan’s OneTouch brand team launched the Global Diabetes Handprint – which enables people with diabetes to share what it means to them to live with this disease. Inspired by the Word in Your Hand Project found on TuDiabetes.com, the idea is for you to write the one word in the palm of your hand that best describes what diabetes means to you and share it on the Global Diabetes Handprint website.

The Global Diabetes Handprint now has a home on Facebook. When you add your hand image to the site, it will be added to a community mosaic comprised of people representing every age, gender, and race from all around the globe.

Yet beyond raising awareness of a disease that afflicts about 23.6 million people each year what I found particularly intriguing about this initiative is that for every hand received, OneTouch® will donate $5 to one of three diabetes charities – Taking Care of Your Diabetes, Diabetes Education and Camping Association or Diabetes Hands Foundation.

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April 12th, 2010

Improving Health Through Prevention

From William C. Weldon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Although I’ve been a reader of JNJBTW since it was launched, I’ve yet to be a contributor. Today, though, I gave a talk on prevention and why we should pay as much attention to keeping people healthy as we do to treating them when they’re sick – and I thought it was something readers of this blog may find of interest. 

Now I know it may sound simplistic or obvious to say preventing disease is better than treating or curing it, and it may be surprising to hear someone like me – who heads the world’s largest health care products company – advocating this idea.  

But if you’ve spent a lifetime in health care, as I have, you just can’t ignore the nagging sense that there must be a better way to improve the health and well-being of people and make our health care system financially viable than just doing more of what we do now.

While new drugs and technologies help us treat – and cure – many diseases today, it’s also true that we’re treating a lot of preventable disease. The World Health Organization says 80 percent of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, and 40 percent of cancer could be prevented if people would just do three things: eat healthy, be physically active and not smoke.

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April 8th, 2010

Remember that Appointment!

OK. Perhaps it was that kind of day, but this one had me laughing out loud.

Seriously, it did!

Yesterday, for World Health Day, my colleague Rob Halper uploaded a funny, yet informative video that encouraged people to visit their doctor to the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube. Called “The Appointment” (there’s also a Spanish version called ”La Cita”), it was produced by the Johnson & Johnson company, Health Media, Inc. and, according to Rob, falls somewhere between “The Twilight Zone”, “Monty Python” and “Marcus Welby, MD”. Not sure I’d agree with THAT characterization, but it DID make me laugh — all while reminding me of the importance of making sure that the next time I visit my physician, I make sure to ask the right questions, understand what is being said, take notes if need be and share any changes in my health or life with my doc. Good stuff.

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April 6th, 2010

World Health Day

From Mark Krajnak, Manager, Corporate Communication, Johnson & Johnson

April 7th is World Health Day. Late last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for a story we were working on for the Johnson & Johnson 2009 Annual Report and I had the chance to see how Johnson & Johnson is working to keep children free of infection.

The story, which you can read here, focuses on Fernanda, an active fourth grader who lives her family in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, about an hour or so away from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. But while Managua is very hustling and bustling and where most travelers go, Jinotepe is less visited but gives one a true taste of the culture and heritage of the country.

Unfortunately, Nicaragua is one of the second poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and that’s what puts children like Fernanda and her brother Luis, at risk for infection with soil-transmitted helminths, or STH: roundworms, whipworms and hookworms.

About 400 million children worldwide are at risk of infection.  Found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas, STH is caused by a lack of clean water and sanitation. When Fernanda, and her little brother, Luis, are infected, they are listless, tired and don’t want to eat.

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March 19th, 2010

Coach K on the health channel

As we enter the season fondly referred to by sports fans as “March Madness,” or the NCAA basketball tournament, we’re pleased to have posted a video on the J&J health channel about Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach K. Legendary men’s basketball coach at Duke University, 63-year-old Coach K has coached the Duke Blue Devils for 30 years, and has amassed an amazing 859 wins! He also began suffering from osteoarthritis in his 50s, and his debilitating pain and lack of mobility led him to contemplate an early retirement from the game he loved.

After two successful hip replacements and rehabilitation, Coach K said, “I wish I had made the decision to have hip replacement sooner. I had exhausted all the non-surgical options, but still put off the surgery. This cost me some quality of life and it almost cost me the joys I continue to experience as a coach.”

Duke is seeded number one in the Southern Region of the NCAA tournament this year, and we wish him the best of luck!

Disclosure: Coach K is a paid spokesperson for DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.

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March 4th, 2010

How Bridge to Employment Shapes Students’ Lives

From Imani Davis, Rutgers University Corporate Social Responsibility Fellow

As part of my responsibility as the Corporate Social Responsibility Fellow, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. this past October for the 13th annual Alliance Building & Training Session (ABTS)— a professional development and networking opportunity that brought together all Bridge to Employment (BTE) programs. Johnson & Johnson established the BTE program to help young people build solid futures by introducing them to a broad array of careers in health care.

This session allowed partners from around the world to share best practices as well as plan the next steps of their respective programs. The session also allowed interaction between students, mentors, school administrators, and corporate partners.

At this conference, I served two roles: student ambassador chaperone, which allowed me to work with a student group on their case study (they won best overall presentation, by the way!), and “roving” reporter, which allowed me to interview partners within every role of the BTE program; these interviews gave great insight from a variety of perspectives on how BTE impacted not only students’ lives, but also left a great impression on the mentors, administrators, and staff that worked with students.

This impression was also imparted on me.

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February 8th, 2010

More Perspectives on Text4Baby

I just had a chance to go through some of the online chatter about the announcement last week of the new Text4Baby mobile phone service that provides useful information for new and expectant moms. There are some more details on what this service means on the JNJ.com website (Johnson & Johnson is one of the founding sponsors) as well as on JNJBTW and BabyCenter, but I thought I would highlight a few of the posts I came across:

1) MobiHealthNews provides a snapshot of how mobile services are being used around the world to improve health literacy, highlighting a presentation made by Paul Meyer, co-founder, president and chairman of Voxiva, at a meeting last week in Nashville:

“Although there is a perception that everyone is on in Internet, only 31 percent of the population making less than $35,000 a year has broadband. Meyer pointed out that while only 51 percent of people with chronic illness have Internet access, 90 percent of Americans have mobile phones and 1 trillion text messages were sent last year.”

2) The Spohrs are Multiplying provides a personal perspective on the importance of quality care and information in ensuring healthy moms and babies:

“Information is power as they say, and this is rarely ever more true than when pregnant.

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February 4th, 2010

White House Launches text4baby

When my son Alex was small, his baby sitter told us of a horrible personal tragedy that befell her young niece. This seemingly healthy young woman died in childbirth. As the details of the tragedy came to light it became apparent to me – and the family — that with proper prenatal care, the outcome may have been different. 

Earlier today, the White House announced the launch of a new public health initiative, text4baby  – the US’s first-ever free mobile health service that provides timely and expert health information through SMS text messages for pregnant women and new moms. Simply by texting “BABY” to 511411 (or “BEBE” for Spanish language services) women can receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or to the baby’s date of birth that provide a wealth of information about the health of both mother and baby through the baby’s first year. 

According to a release issued by the White House the infant mortality rate in the US is one of the highest in the industrialized world – each year, about 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday.  This new text service is one effort to help address this situation.

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January 26th, 2010

Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon Highlights Johnson & Johnson’s Strategic Framework

I thought I would also highlight one other topic covered during the earnings call today. In addition to focusing on a common value system as defined by the company’s Credo, for many years, Johnson & Johnson has worked under an operating model that includes being broadly based in human health care, managing the business for the long term, taking a decentralized management approach and focusing on employees and the company’s value system. Within this strategic framework, the company will rally around common, high level priorities that reflect the current environment and the changing needs of the business. Today Chairman and Chief Executive Office Bill Weldon highlighted the common set of priorities that the company would focus on in 2010. In his words:

“These Growth Priorities are what we believe our businesses need to focus on. They are:

Innovative Products – Our growth has always been based on scientific innovations that serve unmet patient and customer needs in a meaningful way. This has led us to be a market leader, #1 or #2, in many of our businesses. We will stay focused on bringing forth innovative, accessible and effective products – and entirely new business models — that address the most prevalent health care needs of the day.

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