December 8th, 2010

Celebrating Arts + Health Month

From Ashley Atkins, Ph.D., Art Administrator, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

November marked the first annual Arts + Health Month, promoted by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare.  The Society designated November as a time “for organizations and individuals worldwide to promote the integration of the arts—including literary, performing, and visual arts and design—into a wide variety of healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes.” A quick glance through the calendar of events shows an impressive number of conferences, exhibitions, performances, and other events that occurred throughout the world, all of which promoted the positive impact that the arts can have on health and wellness. 

For me, the month provided an opportunity to think about the impact that our Company’s partnership with the Society has been able to achieve in the past 10 years.  Since 2001, Johnson & Johnson and the Society have provided funds to 117 programs through the United States and Canada, all of which have used the arts to create positive impacts on patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals by incorporating the arts and design into the healthcare setting and environment.  It has been inspiring to see these programs and the field of arts and healthcare grow from creating innovative art displays and healing gardens in hospital environments to programs like Snow City Arts, which provides hospitalized children the opportunity to earn school credit through arts programs. 

I also had the privilege this month of visiting two organizations that have been the recipients of our partnership grant.

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December 2nd, 2010

The Wrath of Winter…Staying Safe this Season

From Lindsay Hansen, Program Manager – Recreational Safety, Safe Kids USA

Fall sports have wrapped up and the winter sports season is upon us.  As we all know, once the air gets colder and snow starts falling, kids head outside to the great outdoors to ski, snowboard, sled, snowmobile and ice skate.  While these winter activities provide hours of fun for our children, they also pose risks for injury.

I should note that JNJ BTW has posted before on youth sports injury; Andrew gave tips on preventing sports injury and Dr. Freishtat offered advice on communicating effectively with your children and their coaches.  That information should be kept in mind all year round, but here are winter sports specific tips to remember as well.

Safe Kids USA reports that about 250,000 people experience injuries while engaging in winter sports activities.  More than one-fifth of these emergency room visits are from children 14 and under.  For parents and kids to get the most enjoyment out of the winter sports season, it is important to remember some key safety tips.

  • Wear a sport-specific helmet!
  • Dress in layers and wear warm, close-fitting clothes.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Wear sunglasses and contacts with UV protection.

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December 1st, 2010

Recognizing Prematurity Awareness Month

From Joy Marini, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

Four or five weeks may not seem like much time to most of us. It’s about the time it takes to break one bad habit or form a good one, receive a rebate coupon in the mail, or flip one page of a calendar. It’s the space between two car payments, rent checks or haircuts. But those few short weeks can make all the difference in a baby’s life – setting him up for a strong and healthy start or a lifetime of health and developmental challenges.

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death in this country. In Kentucky, where one in seven babies is born too soon, the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute has partnered with the March of Dimes and the state Department for Public Health on a three-year community-based program to prevent premature births. The initiative, Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait, helps make sure that expectant mothers get the care and information they need to have a healthy pregnancy and give their children the best possible start in life. 

Our initial results show that Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait is having a positive impact – admissions to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) have decreased, and the rate of premature births in Kentucky has dropped significantly.

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December 1st, 2010

One Drop of Rain Starts a Waterfall

I recently had the opportunity and privilege to visit our company affiliate in East London, South Africa. The reason for my trip was to produce a video (below), in recognition of World Aids Day occurring today.

Unfortunately, the Eastern Cape of South Africa, like much of the continent, has been ravaged by HIV/AIDS. The health center, at the East London plant, provides support and education for those affected by the disease. Those include the many employees who are either infected with HIV, caring for stricken family members, or who tragically have lost loved ones to the disease.

Based in part on the learnings from East London, Johnson &Johnson has formulated an HIV/AIDS Global Workplace Policy, which states that we seek “to save lives, improve lives and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by being a socially responsible participant in the global response to HIV/AIDS.” A noble cause, and what was especially moving to me was the willingness of employees (mostly shot in silhouette, to protect their privacy), to share wrenching stories about their struggles with the disease.

One of the goals of the health center is to help people understand that having HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence, and that it’s possible to “live positively well, being positive,” as articulated by Penny Muller, RN, the health and wellness coordinator at the East London facility.

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December 1st, 2010

Jon Lovitz wants to work with us to raise awareness of psoriasis? Are You Serious?

From Craig Stoltz, Director, Product Communications, Immunology, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.

Earlier this year, I received a very interesting voicemail message from someone I didn’t know, but it was a voice that I instantly recognized.  It belonged to renowned Saturday Night Live actor and comedian, Jon Lovitz, who was calling with a proposition: help him raise awareness for a disease that he’d suffered with for nearly a decade – severe plaque psoriasis.  Thankfully he had recently worked with his dermatologist to find a treatment that worked for him and he now had his psoriasis under control.  Basically, Jon wanted to use his comedy to raise awareness about psoriasis, without making fun of having the disease. 

This week, we are launching a disease awareness campaign with Jon, called Are You Serious?TM, following several months of telephone and in-person creative meetings, production shoots, editing sessions, and coast-to-coast trips between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. I was also fortunate to be a part of a few very serious meet-and-greets with Lovitz and his longtime friend, Hollywood director Jerry Zucker (the legendary director behind hit movies including AIRPLANE!, The Naked Gun series, and Ghost) who worked with us on the campaign’s public service announcements.  (Full disclosure: not only weren’t the meetings serious, they were hysterical!) You can see the end result of all this by going to the campaign website: www.SeriousAboutPsoriasis.com

The campaign is a collaborative educational effort between Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., maker of two treatments for the management of moderate or severe psoriasis, and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), starring Lovitz.  It aims to raise awareness about this autoimmune condition and motivate patients to speak with a dermatologist about how to effectively manage their symptoms.  That’s what Lovitz did less than a year ago, and he couldn’t be more passionate about sharing his positive experience with others to let them know they absolutely can take control of their disease.   

At the cornerstone of the campaign is a national public service announcement (PSA), airing on television and radio stations across the country, which uses Lovitz’s unique comedic style to illustrate some of the everyday challenges faced by people with psoriasis.  In addition to being a hilarious comedian and scriptwriter, I learned along the way that Jon is actually quite a talented lyricist, and to that end, the campaign includes a psoriasis parody video written and performed by Lovitz to Maroon 5’s famous hit, “This Love.”  By visiting www.SeriousAboutPsoriasis.com, people can watch the PSA and song parody, as well as sign up to receive access to behind-the-scenes footage and blooper videos (which I’m slightly embarrassed to say I made a cameo appearance in). 

Psoriasis affects approximately 7.5 million Americans, and according to the NPF, it is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the United States.  It manifests itself on the skin as red, scaly plaques that may itch or bleed.  In a press release announcing the launch of the campaign, Lovitz says, “I decided to use my comedy to raise awareness about psoriasis, without making fun of having the disease.  I hope that through hearing my story, people with psoriasis will feel inspired to talk with a dermatologist and get their symptoms under control.”

To further Jon’s cause of raising awareness of, and getting people serious about, psoriasis, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.

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November 23rd, 2010

The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything

The following post is from Alan Arnette, an alpine mountaineer and Alzheimer’s disease advocate who is climbing to the highest peak on each continent to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of the disease and the enormous financial and personal burden it places on people with the disease, their caregivers and society.  Alan’s goal is to raise $1 million to advance Alzheimer’s research.

The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is funding Alan’s climbs for The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything campaign. All money Alan raises will go directly to the organization he has selected, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund™, for research.

I lost my mom, Ida, to Alzheimer’s about a year ago. As my family and I went through the stages of the disease with her – watching her lose her short term memory, then long term memory, not being able to take care of herself, losing her identity and finally succumbing to the disease; it was horrifying.

We were helpless knowing there was no cure. We could only keep her comfortable.

But what is more tragic is that every 70 seconds another family starts that same devastating journey. The toll on the individual, families, caregivers and finances is beyond belief.

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November 11th, 2010

One Child, One Blanket

From Leila Mueller, Humanitarian Assistance and Product Giving Specialist, Johnson & Johnson

I traveled to Peru this past August, where record low temperatures took the lives of hundreds of children in the country.  The disaster forced the government to declare a state of emergency as citizens living in poor and isolated communities nestled among the Andes Mountains struggled to cope with the freezing temperatures.

In response to the escalating disaster, employees at Johnson & Johnson Peru worked together through their One Child, One Blanket program to provide warmth and comfort by donating 500 blankets to children affected by the state of emergency.  One Child, One Blanket, as its name indicates, provides blankets to children in disaster affected areas.  Employees knit, sew or purchase blankets, which are distributed to children in need following a disaster.  This program, with its personal connection between Johnson & Johnson employee volunteers and communities in need, serves as one component of Johnson & Johnson’s disaster relief efforts across the globe.

Johnson & Johnson USA employees matched the donation, bringing the total to 1,000 blankets.  With the help of our in-country U.S. partner organization Americares, Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (VIDA), employees distributed blankets to children and families to help battle the drastic cold. 

On a Saturday afternoon in the low income community of Ventanilla, about an hour outside Lima, I watched as one by one, children received their new blankets.  The children were full of smiles as they clung to their blankets.  Later, I listened as parents told me how important this initiative was to their survival.

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November 10th, 2010

Communicating About Sports Safety

From Dr. Jamie A. Freishtat MD, FAAP, Safety Advocate, Spokesperson, Blogger, Safe Kids USA

Last month, I participated in an online webinar entitled Preventing Youth Sports Injury: What Every Parent, Child and Coach Needs to Know.  During the event, orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Hurley, athletic trainer David Csillan and I provided tips for keeping kids safe from sports injuries.  Sponsored by Safe Kids USA and founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson, the webinar also allowed parents, coaches, trainers and other participants to ask questions of the panelists.

One of the things I discussed during my session was the importance of communication between parents, their kids and their coaches.  Recently, I’ve also written on ways to help your kids stay safe and healthy.  Sports injury prevention goes beyond making sure your kids have the right equipment and drink plenty of fluids.  It also includes successful communication between all parties: parents, kids and coaches. 

Talk to your kids.  Have a healthy discussion about you and your child’s goals for the season.  Foster realistic expectations and stress the importance of safety throughout the season.  You are your child’s number one cheerleader, and by encouraging a conversation about sports safety, you can help to decrease the chances of an injury.

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November 4th, 2010

Knowledge is Power in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

From Michael Yang, General Manager, Veridex

Last year, the Veridex team met Jesica Harrington, a young mother and fifth grade teacher from Castle Rock, Colorado.  Jesica’s story as a breast cancer survivor, mother and advocate for others fighting this disease inspires us and makes us proud to be part of an organization that is changing the way we think about managing cancer.

Jesica is one of 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.  Further complicating an already devastating diagnosis was the fact that she was pregnant at the time she was diagnosed with the disease.

As we described in Johnson & Johnson’s 2009 annual report, Jesica learned about the CELLSEARCH®Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Test, a blood test to capture and detect CTCs, from her father, and she and her doctor made the decision to use the test as a tool that helped to determine her prognosis during her treatment regimen.

Today, a year after she finished treatment, Jesica is cancer-free and is celebrating the birth of a healthy baby boy.  Based on her experience battling the disease, she is sharing her story in the hope that other women will understand the power of knowledge in the fight against cancer. 

It’s overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer — especially at a young age.

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November 2nd, 2010

BlogWorld 2010 and #SocHealth

There have already been a few recaps of the Social Health Track at Blogworld. Phil Charron and Russell Starke from Brownstone, Kerri Sparling at SixUntilMe, Dr. Kevin Pho and Dr. Bryan Vartabedian at 33Charts have all posted on the day, sharing some of insights they gleaned from the panels as well as conveying some of the passion that was in the room.

As one of the co-sponsors of the event, I was pleased to see that so many attendees shared their thoughts about the day with the world. Far too often, events like the Social Health Track at Blogworld come and go, touching only those who made the journey to attend.

That’s why, knowing that there were no doubt going to be a lot of smart, passionate people in the room, we decided to make the last session of the day an opportunity for the audience, presenters and panelists to have a rich discussion of what they took away for the day – and what we all could be doing as a next step to enhance how health information is shared, found and used by patient advocates, physicians and caregivers.

Thanks to Edelman’s David Armano who tapped into his artistic skills to brilliantly capture the flow of the discussion in a series of images, we have a visual account of the session.

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