October 22nd, 2009

Getting Nexters Interested in Health Care

Conrad Person, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

I’ve been privileged to visit many of the inspiring charitable organizations that the company supports, such as the Nyumbani Children of God Home in Nairobi. But one of the things that challenges me the most takes place right in my office. During the past four years I’ve been a mentor to students in the Johnson & Johnson Bridge to Employment program, and they’ve taught me a lot along the way.

The Bridge to Employment program, which was launched in 1992, provides mentoring to high school students to help prepare them for college and, ultimately, for future careers in the health care industry. Johnson & Johnson employees volunteer as mentors to show students various career opportunities that exist in health care, as well as practical workplace skills such as how to communicate in a company setting.

I know Bridge to Employment was designed with the student in mind, but as a mentor, I have gotten a lot out of it, too. We talk a great deal about the multigenerational workforce and how we all must effectively manage our interactions with associates of other generations. Mentoring has brought this message home to me and made me challenge assumptions about communication.

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October 19th, 2009

Vegas Meets MedBlogging — What’s Next?

Last week, I was in Las Vegas to attend BlogWorld where Johnson & Johnson was one of two corporate sponsors of the event’s first-ever track on MedBlogging. Kim McAllister, one of the organizers of the Medblogging track, has a great synopsis over at Emergiblog, and together with Dr. Val Jones , pulled together a thoughtful series of panels throughout the day that drew some of the high rollers in medical and healthcare blogging from throughout North America — and even one, Bongi, who came all the way from South Africa!

As is often the case with these kinds of gatherings, it was great to finally put faces to names – and to see that the online personalities that they project through their blogs was a pretty dang close match to who they are in real life.

I had a chance to say a few things as part of a panel, alongside Paul Levy of Running a Hospital fame, who joined us virtually and Bob Stern from our co-sponsor, the medical news site MedPage Today, during our panel on “The Value of Blogs To Hospitals, Industry, and News Organizations.” Thanks to masterful moderating by Professor Gary Schwitzer whose Health News Review does its best to encourage responsible healthcare reporting, we covered a fair amount of ground — moving from how we each got involved, to covering some of the complexities associated with rolling the dice to make our blogs and sites a reality.

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October 8th, 2009

A Purpose Beyond Profits

Last week, I attended a conference that Fordham University and KPMG sponsored to discuss integrity in the global financial markets and the role that enhanced regulation might play in the economic recovery.  More than 150 participants met at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus in the heart of New York City, arguably the capital of “global finance,” and engaged in what turned into a very rich, timely and broad discussion of business ethics.

While Johnson & Johnson is a company known more for our baby powder and shampoo than for a role in shaping financial markets, we are well-recognized for having built an enduring values-based culture over our more than 120-year history.  It was this topic that Dominic Caruso, our chief financial officer, addressed with the audience of business leaders, students and academics.

After telling the history of Our Credo, which Robert Wood Johnson wrote in the early 1940s, Caruso explained the importance of having a “purpose beyond profits” as a company’s foundation.  Caruso said:

“Over the course of our history, we have not been perfect, but we have been fortunate to have built a values-based culture where our employees know they are expected to do the right thing and to put the needs of our patients and customers first … In an industry like health care, where people often place their lives and well-being – or trust the care of their loved ones – to our products, there can be no question, no doubt, about this primary responsibility.”

Though Caruso stressed that Our Credo was a powerful “connective tissue” for our employees around the globe, he explained that it could not stand alone. 

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October 6th, 2009

Shareholder Tools You Can Use

In my first blog post, I discussed the implications of some of the recent SEC reforms on you as a shareholder. I’d now like to introduce and explain some of the useful tools for keeping up-to-date on Company news and financial events without the need to keep checking our Company website.  

Investors Section of JNJ.com:  Not just for investment professionals           

The Investors section of our website is a wealth of information about the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company. It should be the first point of reference for any shareholder wanting to learn more about their investment in the Company, including current information about our stock. One feature we have added is a separate web address for the mobile viewing version of our Investors page. Since so many people are now using mobile devices, like cell phones, iPhones and PDAs, to check websites for information, mobile-optimized sites can be helpful when you need information while away from your computer. Since I often find myself on-the-go, I have bookmarked our mobile-optimized Investor Relations page on my BlackBerry web browser.  

Cool Tools to Stay Informed 

A few great tools that I personally use to stay up-to-date on our investor-related news are e-mail alerts, RSS feeds, podcast feeds, and the “shareholder briefcase.” These types of tools are sometimes referred to as “push technologies” because they push information out to the user instead of making the user actively seek the information when new materials come out.

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September 28th, 2009

Language Shouldn’t Be a Barrier to Diabetes Education

From Dr. Victor Miranda, General Manager of Diabetes Juvenil

Given the volume of medical information on the Internet, you might think that reliable and accurate information about diabetes is readily available. While this may be true for online diabetes resources in English, dependable information about diabetes is harder to come by for those around the globe who speak Spanish.  (Dele un clic aquí para leer en español)

This is surprising given the prevalence of diabetes in the Hispanic population. I’ll give you an example from the U.S., where I live. According to the most recent national survey data from the NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) for people ages 20 or older, 10.4% of Hispanics have been diagnosed with diabetes. Among this segment, the rates for Cubans were 8.2%, 11.9% for Mexican Americans and 12.6% for Puerto Ricans. For those who are first and second generation Hispanic-Americans, Spanish is predominately the primary language spoken at home. What is a parent to do when they receive the news that their child has diabetes? Where can they go for information after the 15-20 minute medical visit is over? 

While I found the lack of accessible information in Spanish to be very concerning, our team involved in Children With Diabetes also recognized the importance of helping to foster a community where Spanish-language speakers affected by diabetes could connect.

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September 18th, 2009

Going Mobile for Info

Though I wish I had an iPhone (I have serious app envy), I do have a 3G phone that keeps me well-connected – and that has given the concept of being mobile an entirely new meaning for me. No longer am I chained to my desk in my corporate cave here at Johnson & Johnson, but I can wander wherever, and still feel connected. I know, I know – I’m not alone in that. In fact, according to a recent comScore, Inc. report:

…the number of people in the U.S. using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled between January 2008 and January 2009. Among the audience of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily; more than double the size of the audience last year.

Recognizing this, my colleagues over at McNeil Pediatrics recently created a new mobile web service that people can access from their phones to text for information about ADHD by texting “ADHD” to 87415.

(BTW: It happens that this week is ADHD awareness week as well….)

Once again, it is all about making sure information is available to people when and where they are looking for it – in this case, on their mobile phones.

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September 16th, 2009

How to Create a Culture of Health

From Fikry W. Isaac, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Global Health Services, Johnson & Johnson

I was privileged to participate in the Make Health Happen: Promoting Prevention and Wellness in Rural Communities summit at Montana State University in Bozeman. The summit was organized by Senator Max Baucus to bring together local businesses, public health workers, educators, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations interested in learning how to improve health and wellness in rural  communities. Several companies, including Johnson & Johnson, were invited to participate in the conversation.

With magnificent mountains and wide open spaces serving as an energizing backdrop, Montana was a great location to talk about innovative approaches to health and wellness—a beautiful, adventurous landscape that encourages action.

At the summit, I shared the experiences that the company I work for, Johnson & Johnson, has had in the creation of programs that are designed to help our employees improve their health – and, whenever possible, address the risk factors that lead to disease.  We call this wellness and prevention, and over the past 30 years, we’ve learned a lot about the strategies and programs we can put in place to make this work for our company.  As part of the recent discussions about  initiatives that can be put into place to  improve how we manage health in America, I’m often asked about what it takes to create a successful program – either within a community or a company like Johnson & Johnson – that can help people better manage their health.

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August 21st, 2009

Image of the week


Mama’s Club
Kampala, Uganda

As part of the Company’s philanthropy portfolio for HIV/AIDS and a partnership with the HIV Collaborative Fund, Johnson & Johnson supports Mama’s Club, a group that offers psychosocial support to HIV-positive mothers and pregnant women in Uganda. Mothers attend community outreach meetings where they learn how to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and connect with each other for emotional and social support, and participate in peer-to-peer counseling and support groups to reduce the stigma and discrimination often associated with the disease.

Here, the photographer portrays the sunlit room where young children enjoy the camaraderie of these community-based meetings. Their mother looks on from her seat behind. Though not the focus of the image, the mother’s adoration is apparent in pose and expression.

(Photographer: Myriam Abdelaziz, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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August 11th, 2009

Caring for Your Eyes

From Peg Achenbach, O.D., Senior Director Professional & Medical Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Across the world, there is a common misperception that seeing well translates to good eye health. However, even people with perfect vision can be affected by serious eye diseases.

According to a new survey from The Vision Care Institute, Global Attitudes and Perceptions About Vision Care, many adults and children do not visit an eye care professional for a comprehensive exam. Additionally, one-in-three parents/caregivers have never taken their child under 18 years of age for any type of vision assessment. The findings reveal that adults in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Unites States report high rates of comprehensive eye exams, while lower rates are reported in China, Singapore, Japan, and Russia.

Given the importance of comprehensive eye exams, I was very concerned by these findings. A comprehensive eye exam is different than a vision screening, which is a type of screening that children may receive at school or may be part of a driver’s test to detect vision deficiencies. A comprehensive eye examination, on the other hand, is conducted in an optometrist or ophthalmologist’s office. Eye care professionals check for vision correction needs in addition to determining overall eye health.

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