Bridging Healthcare Disparities By ‘Doing the Right Thing’ for Diverse Patients

While some may say my career has taken many turns, my path has always been clear: the desire to help people—first as a lawyer/public defender, and then as a healthcare industry professional, continuing to act as a voice for those with unmet needs and unequal access.

Almost 20 years ago, I started in pharmaceutical sales. Since then, I have worked in almost every commercial area, focusing on oncology after my dad passed away from prostate cancer. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, so you can understand why my work is so deeply personal.

I was looking for a company that was as committed as I was to finding a cure for cancer—and that company was Merck.

First, Merck was highly focused on oncology. Second, it’s a company of high integrity and unwavering ethics. Third, Merck always follows the science, which directs important outcomes. Finally, the company is truly patient-centered. As our founder, George Merck, famously said, “Medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear.”

As an African American, I am keenly aware of the healthcare disparities that exist in the U.S. and around the world. Working in the pharmaceutical industry is a way to help bridge the gap, through patient assistance programs and focusing on the diversity of those participating in clinical trials. The more pharma reflects the patient population it serves, the more it can truly fill the spectrum of need. I am proud of the work we’re doing at Merck. To be a champion for people in a world that doesn’t always accept you is extremely empowering. I know I have chosen the right path—working on a mission to save and improve lives.

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