October 15th, 2014

Johnson & Johnson Supports Spirit Day

by R. Scott Creighton, Global Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Companies

Spirit Day

The statistics are sobering and unacceptable. Half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years. For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth, that number climbs much higher to eight out of ten being bullied, according to a GLSEN National School Climate Survey.

But actions can speak louder than the words of someone who bullies. Johnson & Johnson will once again support Spirit Day, a national event created to stand-up to bullying and support LGBT youth.

Spirit Day began in October 2010 by Canadian high school student Brittany McMillan who rallied her classmates to wear purple to draw attention to the bullying of LGBT youth and some of its chilling consequences. During that year, there had been a spate of devastating LGBT suicides from bullying. She chose purple from the rainbow Pride flag as this color represents “spirit”.

This year, like last, many news stations, talk shows, professional sports teams, Hollywood actors and actresses and like-minded companies, will “turn purple”. Johnson & Johnson is committed to diversity and a proud advocate for LGBT rights. On Thursday, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies will turn many of our brand logos purple in support of Spirit Day and ask consumers and employees to show their support by using our “Donate A Photo” app.

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October 9th, 2014

Dr. Guislain “Breaking the Chains of Stigma” Award Bestowed to Photojournalist

by Greg Panico, Janssen Research & Development, LLC

Robin Hammond

One particularly unfortunate aspect of mental illnesses is the stigma attached to them. Stigma is one of the one reason why many people do not get the treatment they deserve. There is tremendous need to advocate for people with mental illnesses, to raise public awareness, and to invest in prevention, treatment and recovery. To spark the process of recovery there has to be public recognition that brain disorders are treatable and there must be no shame and no stigma attached.

That is why the Janssen Research & Development Neuroscience therapeutic area partnered with the Museum Dr. Guislain, a Belgian museum dedicated to the history of mental illness, to sponsor and present the Dr. Guislain “Breaking the Chains of Stigma” Award. The Award honors the legacy of Dr. Joseph Guislain (1797-1860), the first Belgian psychiatrist to provide scientifically based treatment for patients with mental illness, and a staunch patient advocate. The award is an important component of the Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Health Minds initiative which aims to encourage collaboration among biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and public-sector partners to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic solutions for diseases and disorders of the brain, as well as support the mental health community and various advocacy organizations and projects.

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October 7th, 2014

By Chance, I Kept My Vision

By Tier Brown Acker, Contract Administrator, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care

Editor’s Note: In recognition of World Sight Day, which is Thursday, Oct. 9, please take the #EyePledge and get your eyes examined.

At age 27, I hadn’t really failed at anything in life – until I failed a recent eye exam.  Although I have always kept a real focus on my health and wellness, it never dawned on me that my eyes were on a completely separate course than the rest of my body.  But through a chance set of circumstances, I was diagnosed with a serious eye condition and today I’m grateful to have avoided blindness.

The chain of events began when, as a member of the African American Leadership Council, I volunteered to provide free vision screenings at the National Urban League conference this past July. Working alongside local optometrists at a company-sponsored booth, I thoroughly prepared to answer any questions that might come up. And even though I had an eye check-up two months prior, my commitment included taking the same vision screening that passers-by would receive. It was an action that changed my life forever.

After a productive day on the conference floor, I was shocked to learn that it was my test results that stood out among the many eyes screened.

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September 24th, 2014

Helping Expecting Moms Get Ready for Fall and Flu

by Susan Can, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Johnson & Johnson

Text 4 Baby

It’s that time of year where days are getting shorter, flip flops and t-shirts are replaced by jackets and boots,  leaves are starting to change color and pumpkin flavored everything is in full force. All clear indications that fall and winter seasons are upon us.

These signs are not just indicative of winter and fall. They are also signs that flu season is also approaching.  There is no clear indicator for when flu season will begin and end, but flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February and can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May, according to the CDC.  In 2014, the CDC also calculated that there were nearly 10,000 flu hospitalizations.  And as the seasons begin to change, year after year, the importance of getting a flu shot remains a constant, especially for expecting mothers.

The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in expecting mothers than for women who are not pregnant. During pregnancy, things like changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs can make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu. Getting a flu shot can be an important step in protecting against flu. 

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September 24th, 2014

Upholding Our Legacy

By Alex Gorsky, CEO and Chairman, Johnson & Johnson


As a father and as CEO of a company advancing the latest innovations in science and health care, it is unthinkable to me that nearly three million newborns throughout the world die each year from mostly preventable conditions.

It’s unthinkable, but sadly it’s also true.

Knowing this fact, I feel an even deeper commitment to upholding our company’s long legacy of caring for the health of women and children and ensuring the health outcomes of individuals are not determined solely by where they are born.

This is an important week for maternal and child health as the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York City and global health advocates, country health ministers and thought leaders will gather to assess the progress toward achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

If you are unfamiliar with the MDGs, these are eight goals the U.N. established at the beginning of the new millennium to address the most critical, unmet needs of the most vulnerable populations with a deadline of fulfilling these goals by the end of 2015. Of these goals, three are related to health care and are the focus of our work:

  • MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
  • MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
  • MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

Working with our partners, we are on track to meet our MDG commitment, having reached more than 200 million women and children since 2010 when we became one of the first private-sector companies to pledge our commitment to the health goals.

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September 19th, 2014

Call to Protect Public Health by Bolstering the World’s Defense Against Antimicrobial Resistance

by Adrian Thomas M.D., Vice President, Global Market Access & Commercial Strategy Operations and Head, Global Public Health at Janssen

Early in my career in Australia’s Flying Doctor Service, I had the privilege of providing emergency care to the rural poor.  In many cases, I was able to give my patients innovative treatments that cured their ailments and improved their health and lives overall.  The feelings I experienced from helping those vulnerable patients stays with me today and continues to drive me in my current role overseeing our global health portfolio of products and services for diseases of high public health impact and working with committed leaders advancing our technologies including those directed against HIV, tuberculosis, and Ebola.

Providing patients with effective treatments is the goal of every healthcare professional, scientific researcher, developer and manufacturer of new treatments and therapies.  When those treatments and therapies don’t exist, there is nothing harder than looking into the eyes of your patient and their loved ones and telling them there are no options.  It is their stories that compel us to do more to meet their needs by working together to bring forward new therapies.

The recent Ebola crisis and the rise in drug-resistant bacteria have forced our attention to the inadequacy of our therapeutic arsenals to address these major public health threats. 

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September 12th, 2014

Transforming the Global Tuberculosis Response: Putting an End to Pediatric TB

by Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson and Worldwide Chairman, Janssen

In today’s global health efforts, we continuously highlight the plight of disease on children and remind ourselves that the needs of this population cannot be forgotten. In some areas, we have done extremely well in ensuring that young people receive the care they need to live healthy lives. For example, there has been a recent groundswell of activity around pediatric HIV, with growing awareness leading to unprecedented financial and resource commitments directed towards this important issue.

In other areas, however, we, as a global health community, have been less successful at mobilizing global support. Childhood tuberculosis (TB), in particular, is a serious problem that has received inadequate attention in international discussions. While TB more generally has garnered greater investment in recent years (due in large part to the creation of organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria), the specific needs of children suffering from the disease have been largely neglected. The first-ever targeted roadmap to end childhood TB deaths was only published less than a year ago.

In large part, this is because we simply didn’t know the magnitude of the problem. The results of a recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School revealed that one million children suffer from TB each year – twice the number previously thought to have TB and three times the number of children that are diagnosed.

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September 8th, 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day

By Dr. Husseini Manji and Dr. Carla Canuso

Tragically, approximately one million people die from suicide each year worldwide.  While the act of taking one’s life may be unthinkable to most people, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death in most countries and accounts for more lives lost each year than homicide and war combined.  It is a complex phenomenon influenced by biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and environmental factors.

Brain disorders, particularly depression and alcohol/substance use disorders, are a major risk factor for suicide.  Indeed, nearly two-thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths.  Other important risk factors include being male, having a family history of suicide, and suffering from a chronic medical condition.

Our heightened awareness of depression and its ravages is leading to increasingly widespread recognition that brain disorders are, all too often, fatal illnesses. This recognition is a key first step in suicide prevention.

It’s very important to understand that depression and substance abuse are treatable conditions, and there is help and hope for people who are suffering. The first step is to reach out for help to  a friend, family member, physician,  or other health care professional.  For more information about depression, see the Janssen Healthy Minds video here.

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September 5th, 2014

Racing For A Cause

Editor’s Note: September is AFib Awareness Month. In this post, NASCAR® Legend Michael Waltrip opens up about his mother’s experience with atrial fibrillation and stroke. During the month Michael is teaming up with Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson company, to help raise awareness about this condition.

By Michael Waltrip, NASCAR® Team Owner and Driver

As a racecar driver, I’ve had my fair share of hits, twists and turns. But one of the hardest hits I ever took was when my mom had a major stroke due to atrial fibrillation, or AFib, which left her permanently disabled. This was the moment that tables turned—our family knew we were all going to have to pitch in and care for her the same way she has cared for us all of our lives.

I recall 25 years ago my mom having a heart condition, which was an irregular heartbeat called Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. Now, I know that AFib is the most common “serious” abnormal heart rhythm in people over 65. What I wasn’t aware of is what AFib could do to my mother. None of us had any idea that she was at an increased risk of stroke because of it. 

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September 4th, 2014

Helping to Tackle the Ebola Outbreak

By Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread, we are reminded of our critical responsibility as the world’s largest health care company to help improve the lives of people around the globe whether it is working to prevent diseases in vulnerable populations or contributing to humanitarian relief efforts.

During this crucial time as the Ebola virus threatens to infect thousands more, we are working diligently to broadly collaborate with global health organizations and government agencies in the region to help minimize the impact of this crisis. Specifically, we are contributing to relief efforts to provide immediate aid to those people and health workers at the center of this tragedy, and are accelerating our efforts to advance our own Ebola vaccine research program.

With support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), we plan to work with Bavarian Nordic on a combination vaccine to target the Zaire strain of the Ebola filovirus responsible for the current outbreak. If we are successful, we expect this preventive vaccine to play an invaluable role in helping to protect people from contracting the Ebola virus and ultimately save lives.

The more immediate measures we have underway to support relief efforts include financial support of the non-profit organization Direct Relief International to facilitate the air transport of a variety of infection prevention products en route to Monrovia.

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