The FINANCIAL — Johnson & Johnson announced million in commitments and collaborations over the next five years to invest in and promote health equity solutions for Black people and other communities of color in the United States. Society has been significantly impacted by systemic racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic decline throughout this year, which have all spotlighted healthcare inequities.
“There is an urgent need to take on the inequities rooted in systemic racism that threaten health in communities of color across the United States,” said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson. “That’s why Johnson & Johnson is focusing its efforts and committing $100 million to address racial and social injustice as the critical public health issue that it is. As the largest and most broadly-based healthcare company in the world, we are uniquely positioned to convene private, public and community organizations in pursuit of this shared aspiration—and work together to make a meaningful impact through science, business, public health, and philanthropy.”
The Company’s commitment prioritizes three key areas: Healthier Communities – investing in programs that help provide equitable healthcare for underserved communities; Enduring Alliances – forging partnerships and alliances that combat racial and social health determinants; and Diverse & Inclusive Corporate Culture – ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce.
“The quality of your healthcare should not be determined by your race and ethnicity,” said Alex Gorsky. Johnson & Johnson is investing in culturally competent community care solutions that create healthier outcomes for Black people and other communities of color. Several key community programs are immediately underway, and others will be deployed.
- In order to better connect clinical and medical care with social and cultural needs, Johnson & Johnson is introducing new scholarships, mentoring and non-financial support to improve representation of people of color in medical, scientific, and health professions.
- The Company will strengthen community health by providing technology enhancements and mobile health solutions, that put health within reach of underserved and minority populations through partnerships with Community Based Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
- Johnson & Johnson is undertaking a major initiative to increase access and participation in clinical trials in diverse populations.
- While health equity efforts will go beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing communities of color have been disproportionally impacted, the Company has funded mobile vans to extend the reach of care in high-need and hard-to-reach areas to support COVID-19 testing, starting with Detroit and New Orleans. Further, the Company is seeking diverse enrollment in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to inform the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
- As a kick-start effort to bring health equity ideas forward directly from those impacted, Johnson & Johnson will partner with local community leaders, businesses and entrepreneurs in six major cities across America to identify and invest in scalable and sustainable healthcare solutions that have the potential to create a positive impact for communities of color.
“Our 130+ year history in healthcare, science and technology gives us access to a global network that we will activate and inspire to join us in influencing systemic change that positively impacts the quality of healthcare for Black people and other communities of color,” said Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Chief Communications Officer, Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson & Johnson is leveraging its global network to also address social, environmental, and economic determinants related to health inequities. The Company is partnering with universities, health systems, NGOs and governments to build breakthrough coalitions to develop and expand economic, education and social programs that close the health disparity divide.
- Starting in 2021, the Company will introduce alliances, collaborations and partnerships that support health equity solutions and educational programming ranging from maternal health resources to inspiring black students to pursue science and health careers.
- Johnson & Johnson is partnering with The Executive Leadership Council to provide college scholarships and other resources to Black students who have a passion for STEM, business, or healthcare-related fields.
- The Company will invest in partnerships that address the disproportionate health impact of climate change on communities of color.
In addition to its commitment to health equity, through the Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain, the Company is also proud to commit several hundred million in annual spend with Black and Hispanic owned businesses over the next five years to drive positive social and economic impact.
Diverse & Inclusive Corporate Culture
“Our long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion gives us the foundation to drive sustainable change. We are accelerating and expanding our efforts to strengthen our inclusive culture and build a workforce that reflects the diversity of the patients and communities we serve.” said Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Johnson & Johnson.
Internally, Johnson & Johnson remains focused on cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce that inspires innovative healthcare solutions around the world.
- The Company is committed to hiring more diverse employees and has set a goal of achieving 50% growth of its African American talent at the manager and above levels in the U.S. over the next five years.
- Johnson & Johnson is also enhancing HR processes to optimize how it accesses, hires, and develops talent, and is offering cultural immersion programs to enhance awareness and understanding.
Johnson & Johnson will make multi-million-dollar investments in Healthier Communities and Enduring Alliances programs, while the investment made in its Diverse & Inclusive Corporate Culture will largely focus on enhancing processes, training, and education. Although this announcement represents immediate action, Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to address racial and social injustice is enduring.