Merck and Her Campus Ask College-Aged Women to Take the Pledge to Plan It Forward For Their Futures by Evaluating How Today’s Decisions Can Affect Tomorrow


August 1, 2013 8:00 am ET

Program Encourages Women to Plan their Future

On- or off-campus housing? Which major to declare? An internship or work study? These are questions often debated by college-aged women at the start of a new school year. One question that they may not be asking themselves is, “how will the decisions I make today impact my future?” This year, as college women prepare to head back to school, Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) (NYSE:MRK) and Her Campus, an online community for young women in college, have partnered to create the Pledge to Plan It Forward, which provides valuable resources to college-aged young women in order to help them better plan for their future.

By taking the Pledge, women can also show their support for She’s the First, a not-for-profit organization that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world and fosters leadership in young adults in America by inspiring them to lead fundraisers. Merck is proud to be working with She’s the First for the second year of this program

Merck and Her Campus encourage young women to ask themselves what potential roadblocks may arise. Throughout a planning process, it’s important to consider everything from internship or job application deadlines to financial considerations like student loans, while also practicing healthy lifestyle choices. Things like eating well, sleeping, exercising, and sticking to their scheduled doctor visits are important. Young women should also give some thought to a plan that may include birth control options that don’t have to be taken every day, and should speak with their doctors to explore options.

From a Merck-sponsored survey, Her Campus and the company know that approximately half of women aged 18-25 (228 out of 466 women who are not planning to have children in the next year, or at all) want to achieve their personal goals before having children.  And data from the most recent statistics, 2006, show that there were more than three million unintended pregnancies in the United States alone, with the highest incidence occurring with women 20-24 years old.

“Research shows that 95 percent of unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. occur because contraception is used incorrectly, inconsistently, or not at all.  As young women plan for their futures, it’s important they talk to their health care provider about all their birth control options, including non-daily contraceptives,” said Michelle Vichnin, M.D., director of Medical Affairs at Merck. 

“I am so fortunate that every day I can wake up and do what I love,” said Tammy Tibbetts, founder and president of She’s the First.  “Although I could have never predicted even five years ago being where I am today, higher education was always a part of my plan and I have devoted my career to helping young women gain access to education.  When girls have a solid plan in place with a good foundation, they can dream big and take small steps each day to unlock their unlimited potential.”

Merck encourages all women to kick-start a plan for their future at the Plan It Forward section of, and to ask themselves if their plan includes starting a family.  At, young women can find resources like the Course Creator, which helps them navigate the planning process and consider potential obstacles, next steps, and deadlines.  Accompanied by a worksheet to help craft their personal roadmap, young women can leave the site with a better idea of how to chart their course.

Women can learn more about the Pledge and the Plan It Forward campaign by visiting

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by GfK on behalf of Merck from September 22 – October 6, 2011 among 700 women aged 18-25.

About She’s the First

She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. In the process, She’s the First fosters leadership and self-awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students. Their efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists, and cross-cultural communicators.

About Her Campus

Her Campus is an online magazine for college women, individualizing its content college-by-college by establishing My Campus branches at schools across the country. With national content on Style, Beauty, Health, Love, Life, and Career, supplemented by campus-specific content produced by teams of students at 200+ colleges across the country, Her Campus serves as a hub for everything college women need to know about today. is the flagship website of Her Campus Media LLC.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Merck Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

Christina Gibson, 212-485-6902
Tina Grasso, 267-305-2347
Carol Ferguson, 908-423-4465

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