Nicole Pulli


Nicole Pulli
social media specialist,
Marketing Communications at Merck


When you think of health care conferences and other “innovation” health summits, you typically think of long lines, packed agendas, and no time to get from point A to point B. At least this was my expectation, especially coming off of SXSW earlier this year. There wasn’t a planner app in the world that could help a first-timer navigate the chaos of an event of that magnitude. Stepping off the plane in Aspen though, I could already tell this conference would be different.

The panels were open, I mean physically open - scattered across the scenic campus of The Aspen Institute, and allowed for a very collaborative and flowing forum for learning and sharing. I lucked out in that my focus in school was psychology, and a track of the conference this year was the brain. I was fascinated to hear about topics ranging from the growing opioid epidemic and addiction, to the neuroscience of poverty, to the aging brain.

Did you know a medical “selfie” can save lives? One man told his story about advocating for himself and pushing doctors to catch a brain tumor… one that they then successfully removed while he was awake! Each session drew me in for two reasons: one, for the forward-thinking ideas and knowledge, and two for the passion that exuded all in attendance.

The most memorable moment in Aspen for me was during our very own Merck for Mothers panel: Turning the Tide on Maternal Mortality. It started with a video titled “PUSH” to kick off the session, and there was not a dry eye in the room. Despite seeing the video before, one quote in the video really stood out to me: ‘It takes a lot to be a mother, but for some, it takes their lives."

We can all play a part and do more to advance health. The Merck for Mother’s initiative is just one way I can have a hand in this by raising awareness about maternal mortality. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out.