September 8th, 2010

Announcing the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award Winners

By Paul Stoffels, Global Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson 

This morning, Johnson & Johnson and an independent selection committee of world renowned scientists are proud to announce the winners of the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

After careful review of more than 125 nominations of top scientists from 28 countries, the Selection Committee chose Dr. Erik De Clercq, Professor Emeritus, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Leuven, Belgium, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.  Drs. De Clercq and Fauci were selected for their pioneering work in understanding and combating viral diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS.

Having personally worked with Dr. Paul on the research and development of treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS, I could not be more pleased with the Selection Committee’s decision.  When AIDS was discovered in the early 1980s, we didn’t understand the virus and had very few tools to help patients. While many challenges remain, thanks to breakthroughs by scientists like Dr. De Clercq and Dr. Fauci, as well as Dr. Paul and his team, many people with HIV are now able to live long and productive lives.

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September 1st, 2010

Raising Awareness of Prostate Cancer

Editor’s Note: The following is from Robert Bazemore, Jr., President of our Centocor Ortho Biotech, Inc. company.

Recently, I had the honor of meeting Gordon Kenyon, an incredibly brave, young individual with late-stage, metastatic prostate cancer, who was accompanied by his wife, Kim. They recounted how tests for an unexpected back injury ultimately revealed that he had prostate cancer-induced bone fractures. The unanticipated and devastating news about advanced prostate cancer turned his life upside down, as he and his family were immediately faced with a host of decisions.

Since his diagnosis, this former Marine, tri-athlete and father of three young children has undergone several treatments in an attempt to win the upper hand over the disease. His wife gives the term “pillar of strength” new meaning, seeking out the latest information and resources while he focuses on maintaining his health and providing for the long-term needs of his family. His captivating story impressed upon me the need for new treatment options as well as the critical role of education and support services to manage the baggage that accompanies this disease.

Prostate cancer is often misunderstood. About 32,000 men are estimated to die this year from the disease in the U.S. alone – enough men to fill approximately 400 metropolitan buses, including standing passengers – or 77 Boeing 747-400 airplanes.

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September 1st, 2010

Aid for Pakistan

The recent flooding in Pakistan has devastated the region.  One-fifth of the country, an area about the size of Italy, is now underwater, and entire villages have been swept away.  It is estimated that 15 million people have been displaced by the flooding.  Johnson & Johnson has distributed three Johnson & Johnson Disaster Relief Modules to the region, which include items such as sutures, wound dressings, BAND-AID Brand Adhesive Bandages, Neosporin and emergency medicine.  In addition to these modules, Johnson & Johnson is providing cash and product donations, and working with partners in the area to give immediate assistance to the victims. 

Johnson & Johnson companies and individual employees from around the world have joined in contributing to the Pakistan relief efforts. Our colleagues at Johnson & Johnson Pakistan have been working with local emergency relief organizations in Pakistan to distribute flood relief kits to victims in the region. These kits contain emergency medicine among other items.

The Citizen’s Foundation, with support from Johnson & Johnson, is dispensing ration packs that consist of food, water-purifying packs and basic medicines.  These ration packs provide enough materials to sustain a family of 5 for an entire month.  Since the flooding, TCF has distributed packs to nearly 2,000 families.

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August 18th, 2010

A Passion for Caring

Last week I was lucky enough to be part of the Johnson & Johnson team at the BlogHer 2010 conference.  It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people and see the diversity of interests that bring bloggers to the conference and the blogosphere in general.

Our goal at the conference was to make connections and find out what people really care about. To that end we constructed a small tv booth on site, to record and edit “stories of caring” from attendees. We got some great stories, which we posted on-site to the Johnson & Johnson health channel, but we learned even more off camera.  I thought when we came to BlogHer we would mainly hear stories of caring, but as the conference continued we heard about so much more.   People did talk about caring for others, but more than that people talked about the causes that move them.   Bloggers talked about topics as diverse as education for children developing countries to the prevention of heart disease, but the thing they all had in common was passion.

You could see that passion in the attendees and you could feel it when they shared their stories with us.  I think it’s that passion that drives these bloggers to share their stories with others.  And I have to say it was a bit contagious.  As you can see I’ve taken up blogging myself.     

While I didn’t know exactly what to expect heading to Blogher, I’m certainly glad I attended.  This was our first time at the event with our own booth and I would have to say it was a success.  We had a great response from the attendees and we captured a lot of amazing stories.  I’ll be looking forward to BlogHer 2011, until then I’ll see you around the Blogoshpere.

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August 9th, 2010

Blogher 2010

Just returned from BlogHer2010, the premier event for women bloggers, who cover topics such as kids and family, relationships, “green” living, coupon collecting and fashion. Quite a wide range from the approximately 2500 “bloghers” who showed up at the Hilton, in New York City, on Friday and Saturday, August 6-7.

For the first time, Johnson & Johnson had a booth representing the company. During the previous 2 years at BlogHer, we sponsored a SAFE KIDS USA booth. The theme of our booth this year was “Johnson & Johnson, A Legacy of Caring”, which celebrates our 125 year history of helping people lead healthier and happier lives. We invited attendees to tell their own “stories of caring”, which we videotaped and posted to the Johnson & Johnson health channel on you tube. We had over 50 stories over the two day period, focusing on caring about family, children, helping others, charitable giving, and even a couple about pets.

All in all, it was a great experience and a wonderful way to connect with people, and we hope to have a continued presence at BlogHer going forward. Here’s one of the videos recorded, by Mom, Vera Sweeney

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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