June 30th, 2009

A Ripple Effect…

A few colleagues and I just completed a trip to Central America where we visited several NGOs with whom we partner on micro-financing projects. You may be asking, so what in the world is micro-financing? Essentially, micro-financing (also known as micro-enterprising or micro-credit) focuses on providing small start-up loans (usually $100 – $500 each) to individuals in resource-poor settings that enable them to create small, community-based businesses to improve their livelihood. This is a growing phenomenon over the past several years; thousands of organizations are doing a wide range of projects around the world.


Micro-financing appears to be an excellent platform upon which to deliver small business training and health education messages in community-based settings.


Our trip included stops in Costa Rica and El Salvador where we visited remote locations to see firsthand just how the concept of micro-financing plays out. A few examples…


In Costa Rica, we partner with Fundebase and APACO on projects that provide loans and a dose of health education, disease prevention, and wellness programs to local communities along the way. We visited with a mother and daughter in Santa Cruz de León Cortéz, for instance, who received a loan to start a sweater-knitting business. The loan enabled them to purchase a knitting machine, yarns and other materials to take a first step.

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June 24th, 2009

Testifying on the Health Reform Bill

Earlier today, Kathy Buto, Vice President for Health Policy here at Johnson & Johnson, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about the draft Tri-Committee Health Reform Bill . In her formal remarks, Kathy described how reform represents an opportunity to enhance access to healthcare and to improve the affordability of medicines and medical treatments and how the company is convinced that wellness and prevention will improve the healthcare system.

Overall, Kathy emphasized how the company believes that the best healthcare system is one that serves as many people as possible.

Rather than cover all aspects of the draft bill, Kathy focused on topics where Johnson & Johnson could provide some perspective that the committee could find helpful, including wellness and prevention, comparative effectiveness research, Medicare Part D, and options available through the health insurance exchange.

I’ve included a copy of her remarks below for your perusal:

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June 24th, 2009

ADHD — A Family’s Story

After we launched the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube in August of last year, one of the first videos I posted was a series on ADHD which was originally produced by Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The first part called ADHD: A Child’s Diagnosis told the story of Davina Beacham, a 37 year-old artist whose oldest son Brad was recently diagnosed with ADHD. During the course of this diagnosis, Davina discovered that she too had ADD (without the hyperactivity).

Now Davina is a frequent visitor to social media sites like YouTube, and when she saw that the video she was featured in was running on the Johnson & Johnson health channel, she felt compelled to leave a comment. When I saw her comment, I contacted her and asked if she was interested doing a follow up video. We decided that we would, and so I grabbed a cameraman and drove up to Dover, MA, to visit Davina at her home. She and her family were extremely gracious, and we did interviews with Davina, her husband, Hal, and her two boys Brad and George.

Subsequent to the original video two years ago, she also learned that George, her younger son, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as well as ADHD.

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June 19th, 2009

So What’s With the New Look?

Some of you may be asking yourself, what’s with the bathroom mirror and medicine cabinet? Where’s that quirky earhorn I’m so fond of???

JNJBTW has been around for more than two years now, and during that time, we’ve learned a great deal. We’ve started to listen a bit more to what is being said online about our business and our industry and have tried, whenever possible, to become part of those conversations.

While we are still learning and growing (hopefully that process will never stop) over the past few months, the earhorn that used to grace the top of the JNJBTW page has increasingly looked out of place.

You see, in the beginning, only a few of us were contributing to the blog and, admittedly, we were a bit unused to listening to people – hence the earhorn.

Today, however, more and more folks within Johnson & Johnson are not only paying attention to what’s being said online, but are turning to JNJBTW to share their stories and perspectives.

And so it was high time for a new look – one that would convey that people from within Johnson & Johnson are now starting to share useful information as well as their own thoughts and experiences on this blog.

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June 17th, 2009

JNJBTW and the Post

JNJBTW received a shout out the other day from one of our nation’s leading newspapers. But it wasn’t the kind of mention of the blog that I felt all that good about. The article concerned how pharmaceutical companies were turning to social media as a way to reach their customers, and listed JNJBTW as one of many examples of how companies were on the social web. It’s a trend we’ve noticed as well, and given the growing number of people who go online for health information, one that will continue. (Note to the Washington Post – Johnson & Johnson isn’t a “pharmaceutical” company – we have substantial medical device and consumer businesses as well. ) According to the paper:

Johnson & Johnson also hosts a blog (http://www.jnjbtw.com) that is largely self-congratulatory about what the company is doing (see “Giving Back Image of the Week”). But it recently had a couple of interesting tidbits, including a J&J expert on the value of corporate wellness programs and a series of tips on keeping kids safe from injury.

I’m glad the writer found the tips from Dr. Isaac and from Safe Kids to be of interest, but I was disappointed to hear that she found the blog – and in particular the Giving Back Image of the Week – to be “self-congratulatory.”

Through JNJBTW I had hoped to provide some of those folks in the corporation who are usually silent an opportunity to be heard and to engage with others online.

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June 9th, 2009

Giving Back Image of the Week

092-peraltaSociety for the Arts in Healthcare Partnership
Stagebridge Senior Theatre Company, Oakland, California

Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Society for the Arts in Healthcare since 2001 to provide grants to organizations that produce innovative projects to serve patients, their families and caregivers in health care settings, and to promote healing and preventative health.

Stagebridge uses theatre and storytelling to bridge the generation gap and to stimulate positive attitudes toward aging. Stagebridge’s intergenerational programs feature senior theater productions, storytelling in the schools, nurses training programs, acting classes for seniors, and writing contests for children.
These young girls from Peralta Elementary School watch with delight as the Stagebridge storyteller entertains their class.

(Photographer: Shraddha Borawake, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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June 8th, 2009

Keep Those Helmets On

Now that we are in warm weather season, I seem to be spending most of my weekends reminding my son — and his friends in the neighborhood — to WEAR THEIR HELMETS whenever they hop on their bikes, skateboards or scooters.
(This weekend, in fact, I had to add “go cart” to that list after my son and his friend threw one together using some of the scrap lumber in the garage.)

Most of the time, my pleas are met with blank stares or the occasional “why.” Well now, thanks to an article in today’s USAToday, I have yet another example of why they should keep their helmets on.

The article opens with the story of a mom who returned home to discover her 10-year-old son laid out in the street, his head in a neckbrace, his smashed bike beside him. Fortunately, her son remembered to wear his helmer. According to the article:

A police officer handed her Danny’s cracked bike helmet. “He said that if Danny had not been wearing it, he probably would not have survived,” says Kane, a Charlotte accountant and mother of three.

discover her son had that underscored the good work that Safe Kids has been doing to improve childhod safety.

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June 5th, 2009

NYC Blogger Dinner

Wednesday night, Rob Halper and I hosted another of our blogger dinners — this time in NYC.

The conversations we had at Piano Due (which served a really nice porcini mushroom ravioli course) spanned a variety of subjects — from how to monetize a Twitter account to dogs. John Mack, who was one of our guests, posted a nice wrap-up of the conversations that went on at HIS end of the table — which appeared to mostly focus on steps that can be taken to improve the accuracy of online health information.

At the other end of the table, there were discussions about the ROI of social media sites and expanding the awareness of social media efforts. Oh — and there were several conversations about dogs.

So what did I take away from all the socializing? Well, I picked up quite a bit, but one point stuck out in my mind — that ensuring the accuracy of healthcare information online is crucial — and that one of the best ways to do so is to encourage numerous stakeholders to enter the conversation. According to John’s summary of the discussion:

For patients, the best, safest, and most accurate health information is available through social media (eg, discussion boards, blogs) that are populated by a variety of stakeholders: patients, physicians, caregivers, etc.

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May 22nd, 2009

Giving Back Image of the Week


Tu Du Hospital Midwife Training
Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam

Tu Du Hospital offers midwife training to help reduce high neonatal death rates in Vietnam. Johnson & Johnson supports a training program for midwives in 32 cities in rural areas. The program also includes a train-the-trainer component that significantly increases the number of midwives reached.
Here, the photographer shows a young midwife holding a newborn infant close to her body, a midwifery practice that helps prevent heat loss in the newborn.

(Photographer: Janea Wiedmann, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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May 20th, 2009

Calling Mommy Vloggers

I wanted to share an interesting idea we’ve initiated on the Johnson & Johnson health channel. It’s a series we call “Real Moms.”

I’ve invited Mommy Vlogers to submit videos on topics relevant to them, and which might be helpful to a larger audience.

So far, I’ve received videos on safety tips for toddlers, how to make homemade baby food, and teaching your kids to be ecologically friendly. They don’t have to be perfect — most have been made on a flip cam — and I do post most of the videos sent to me, as long as they don’t reference specific products. To compensate the vlogers I pay $100 for each video used.

One of my favorites was done by Colleen Padilla (Classy Mommy) on tips about how to keep from going stir crazy with your kids when stuck inside during bad weather.

I’m always looking for more content, so if you are interested, just let me know by clicking “send message” on the Johnson & Johnson health channel.

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