Health awareness

How we can strengthen vaccination programs and build vaccine confidence together

Two Merck leaders share how we’re working to help protect communities from vaccine-preventable illnesses

February 21, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

How we can strengthen vaccination programs and build vaccine confidence together

Vaccines are one of the most significant public health achievements in modern history, playing a vital role in helping to prevent certain infectious diseases and protect communities across the globe.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth a new set of challenges in sustaining vaccination efforts for other preventable diseases — highlighting existing disparities and inequalities in access to health care and underscoring the urgent need for action.

In two op-eds for Devex, an independent news organization covering global development, Drew Otoo, Pharm.D., president of global vaccines, and Alfred Saah, M.D., executive director of scientific affairs, highlighted some of the ways we’re working to address these challenges at the global, national and local levels.

Collaborating to help increase health equity

Otoo said collaboration across sectors is key to building trust, enabling equity and establishing stronger, more resilient vaccination programs.

Drew Otoo

“Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to evaluate and strengthen our approach… Together, we can help create a more equitable future where vaccines are available to and accepted by all who can benefit from them.”

  • Drew Otoo, Pharm.D.
    President of global vaccines, Merck

Otoo shared examples of our work with local and global stakeholders to develop tailored approaches to improve vaccine confidence and supply vaccines for communities that might otherwise be without them:

  • Local organizations and community leaders have a deep understanding of the issues contributing to inequities and low routine vaccination rates in their communities, and they’re essential to identifying and executing solutions. We know this to be the case from our efforts through ImmUNITY Chicago, an initiative we helped catalyze with local stakeholders to address lower vaccination rates among neighborhoods in the Southwest Side of Chicago, predominantly among communities of color.
  • Strategic global collaborations are also critical to enabling stronger, more sustainable vaccination programs. We work with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — a global alliance that has helped to vaccinate nearly half of the world’s children in low-income countries.

Combating vaccine hesitancy and building trust

Saah emphasized our commitment to addressing vaccine hesitancy (the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines) and building confidence at local, national and global levels.

“By understanding the knowledge gaps and prioritizing strategies that strengthen how we communicate…we can potentially combat vaccine hesitancy, improve vaccine confidence and make a difference in global public health.”

  • Alfred Saah, M.D.
    Executive director of scientific affairs, Merck

Despite the well-documented benefits of vaccines, hesitancy is a longstanding public health issue that can result in under-vaccination and global disease outbreaks. The reasons behind vaccine hesitancy are often connected to the 3Cs Model, defined by a World Health Organization strategic advisory group:

Complacency

The perception that vaccine-preventable diseases pose little risk to individuals.

Convenience

The degree to which vaccination services are accessible.

Confidence

The degree to which an individual believes vaccines work, are safe and effective and are part of a trustworthy public health and medical system.

Saah shared some of our efforts to improve vaccine confidence, which include:

  • Working with collaborators to reach the global population and engage communities through mediums that resonate, such as social media, and through messages that can be delivered by trusted community members.
  • Building capabilities for our colleagues in local markets to better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of vaccination programs on a global and national scale.

Continuing our work to improve vaccine access

Despite the challenges ahead, both Saah and Otoo are optimistic about the future.

“Combating vaccine hesitancy is not an easy feat and has been a challenge our global society has faced for centuries,” wrote Saah. “However, these challenges bring new opportunities to improve our approach and be better advocates for ourselves, our families and our communities.”

“By going where the need exists and continuing to invest in innovative, strategic and diverse collaborations, I'm confident we'll find new ways to solve complex public health problems.”

— Drew Otoo

Learn more about how collaborations can help yield stronger vaccination programs.

Innovation

Our Q4 and full-year 2023 earnings report

February 1, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

article hero thumbnail

Merck’s (NYSE: MRK) Q4 and full-year 2023 results reflect sustained growth across oncology and vaccines. Our company announced Q4 worldwide sales of $14.6 billion, an increase of 6% from Q4 2022. Full-year 2023 worldwide sales were $60.1 billion, an increase of 1% from full-year 2022. ​

“2023 was another very strong year for Merck. I am extremely pleased by the progress we’ve made to develop and deliver transformative therapies and vaccines that will help save and improve lives around the world. We reached more than 500 million people with our medicines last year alone, over half of which were donations, including through our program to treat river blindness,” said Rob Davis, chairman and chief executive officer. “We also made investments of approximately $30 billion in research and development in our ongoing effort to discover, develop and collaborate to propel the next generation of impactful innovations. As we move forward, I’m confident that our strong momentum will continue, underpinned by the unwavering dedication of our talented global team.”​

Merck anticipates full-year 2024 worldwide sales to be between $62.7 billion and $64.2 billion.​

Take a look at the infographic below for more details on Q4 and full-year 2023 results.

Download infographic

primary article image
Health awareness

‘Wonder Angie’ enlists her ‘super friends’ to fight oral cancer

After receiving an oral squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis, a head and neck cancer survivor finds hope by embracing science, prioritizing mental health and leaning on her work family

January 26, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

Wonder Angie

In 2017, Maria Angelica Rosario Marquez — or Angie, as she likes to be called — joined Merck in Colombia as a clinical data specialist. She had lost her father the year before and was looking forward to starting a new chapter. The novelty of that first year, however, was short-lived, as her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.

Angie spoke to her manager, and he encouraged her to put family first. She booked a ticket to Chile and was there to support her mother and sister during the illness and her mother’s passing.

Just five months later, 34-year-old Angie was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.

Head and neck cancer includes cancer of the oral cavity, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), nose (nasal cavity), sinuses (paranasal sinuses), and salivary glands. In 2023, an estimated 66,920 people were diagnosed with a head and neck cancer in the U.S. Some risk factors that can contribute to the development of head and neck cancers include tobacco use and alcohol consumption — but Angie’s disease was not linked to these typical risk factors.

It all started with pain in Angie’s tongue 

When Angie developed bruxism (grinding, clenching, or gnashing of the teeth), she consulted her physician for evaluation. Angie also noticed that she was continuously biting the same spot on her tongue while she was sleeping. She assumed it was due to stress caused by the devastation of losing both of her parents and her move to a new country without her family by her side. When the pain on the right side of her tongue increased to a point that made it difficult to eat or brush her teeth, her doctor decided to take a biopsy, and in March 2019, he informed her of the diagnosis.

“It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever felt in my life,” she said.

A week later, Angie had surgery to remove the right portion of her tongue, which contained the cancerous tissue, as well as 21 lymph nodes on the right side of her neck. A further analysis of the lymph nodes showed evidence of cancer, so her oncologist followed up with a treatment plan that included three chemotherapy sessions and 30 days of radiation on her neck and tongue.

The toll of Angie’s treatment for oral cancer

Following her surgery and throughout treatment, Angie experienced a burning feeling in her mouth and throat, and it became extremely difficult for her to speak or eat — two of her favorite activities. Instead, she relied on a feeding tube for several months to receive her meals.

Though Angie was eventually able to resume eating normally, her sense of taste was impaired for a year after she finished treatment. The fact that chocolate, one of her favorite foods, tasted disgusting to her was heartbreaking.

“The doctor told me that he didn’t think I’d ever be able to speak well again. I told him that wasn’t an option because I love talking too much.”

— Angie Rosario

When Angie started to feel a deep depression, she prioritized her mental health and sought treatment from a psychologist, who taught her to focus on the present. Her psychologist encouraged her to visualize herself as a strong and healthy woman.

“I always say cancer was my teacher; it taught me how to live. If you have air in your lungs, you have everything you need,” Angie said.

Strong support and a welcome party from her work family

Angie is grateful for the science and research that helped play a part in her treatment. As of her last doctor’s visit, she remains healthy with no evidence of disease. Angie credits her work family at Merck for supporting her through much of her recovery. With the recent loss of her parents, her co-workers came to her aid with powerful emotional support that helped her through the toughest times. A lifelong collector of superhero toys, Angie came back to the office to find her desk covered in dolls, figurines and other gifts. Inspired by Angie’s courage, her colleagues even gave her a super-nickname: ‘Wonder Angie.’

Angie's desk decorated
Angie and her coworkers

“I’m thankful for the science and medicine that helped save my life,” Angie said. “I can talk without pain, and that’s amazing. I can brush my teeth every day, and that’s amazing. I can eat, and that’s amazing.”

Angie’s sense of taste has returned for the most part, and she’s enjoying chocolate once again.

Sustainability

Inspiring innovation through diversity and inclusion

When we bring together people from different backgrounds, the possibilities for invention are endless

January 25, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

Inspiring innovation through diversity and inclusion

A diverse and inclusive workforce inspires innovation and is fundamental to our company’s success. Having an environment composed of people from different dimensions of diversity also helps us better understand the unique needs of the customers, health care providers and patients we serve.

Below are some of the ways we celebrate our diverse workforce and a culture of equity, empowerment, engagement and belonging:

01.

Supporting a disability-confident workforce

At our company, everyone should feel empowered to help deliver on our purpose of using the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. This includes our colleagues who live with disabilities.

Our Global Disability Inclusion Strategy Council recognizes and values the importance of a disability-confident workforce and offers resources to ensure people with disabilities — including physical, neurological, mental, rare or any other forms of disabilities — are included and prepared to succeed in all areas of our business.

Michael A. Klobuchar

“My hope is for our company to be an example of what’s possible.”

  • Michael Klobuchar
    Executive vice president and chief strategy officer, and executive sponsor of the Global Disability Inclusion Strategy Council

Key programs and partnerships include:

  • capABILITY in Action, a joint program launched with Accenture and run in partnership with workforce solutions company Rangam to attract, recruit and retain neurodivergent talent.
  • Valuable 500, a global partnership of 500 companies committed to accelerating disability inclusion through best practices such as digitally accessible technology, mental health awareness and more.

02.

Building a pipeline of diverse talent

With our Skills-First approach to hiring, we’re shifting the ways we attract, develop and advance talent. For appropriate roles, this new approach increases the focus on skills instead of a four-year degree, creating equitable access to meaningful career opportunities for diverse candidates.

Key partners in our efforts include:

  • OneTen, a coalition of leading companies helping to close the opportunity gap for Black talent in the U.S.
  • Year Up, a nonprofit that offers economically disadvantaged youth six months of training followed by a six-month corporate internship.
  • Hiring Our Heroes, an organization that connects the military community to civilian employers and helps upskill service members in preparation for post-service careers.

“OneTen provides an opportunity to create a workforce that reflects the diverse communities we serve, and make a significant long-term impact.”

  • Ngozi Motilewa
    Associate director, talent acquisition, and Skills-First/OneTen lead

03.

Economic inclusion and business diversity

We’ve been championing business diversity and underrepresented entrepreneurs for nearly 40 years, recognizing that a diverse supply chain creates a competitive advantage for our company and positively impacts the global community.

We continue to exceed industry best practices by spending more than 10% of our purchase budget with minority-, women-, veteran-, LGBTQ+-, disability-owned and small business enterprises. And we’re continuing to push ourselves to do more: As a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, we’ve made a long-term commitment to spend $4.4 billion with diverse suppliers and small businesses by 2030.

“We’re thinking broader and bolder, and we’ll continue enriching a global diverse business community, reaffirming our commitment to creating healthy and equitable outcomes for our business, patients and communities.”

  • Susanna Webber
    Senior vice president and chief procurement officer

Key initiatives include:

  • The Merck Drexel Advanced Leadership Program for Diverse Suppliers, in partnership with Drexel University, provides diverse business owners and executives opportunities to enhance their networks, build business and leadership acumen and more.
  • Our Economic Inclusion Virtual Lab offers monthly opportunities for diverse and small-business owners to engage with our supply chain professionals, prime suppliers and advocacy organizations.

04.

Celebrating global diversity and inclusion

Since 2015, we’ve celebrated Global Diversity & Inclusion Experience Month in September to foster meaningful discussions and learning around diversity, equity and inclusion, while highlighting diversity and inclusion–focused work and the people who make our company unique.

This monthlong celebration builds diversity and inclusion capabilities among the workforce and creates a platform for employees to speak up about their experiences.

Celeste Warren

“We’ve strengthened our commitment to making diversity and inclusion a central strategy to business growth.”

  • Celeste Warren
    Vice president, diversity & inclusion center of excellence

05.

Employee business resource groups (EBRGs)

With more than 21,500 members across 10 groups, our EBRGs play a critical role in driving an inclusive culture and supporting employee career growth. They represent diversity within our company and reflect the communities in which we live and serve.

Marcos Roberto da Costa headshot

“I’m proud of our long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

  • Marcos Roberto da Costa
    Vice president, operational excellence, MMD, and executive sponsor for Merck’s EBRG supporting colleagues with disabilities and their allies

“It has made us a more innovative and agile company — one that’s better attuned to the needs of our employees, patients and customers.”

Health awareness

Facing global shortage, Merck commits to meeting patient demand

We know how important it is to get medicines to the people who need them and providing those medicines is at the center of what we do

January 24, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

TICE Facing global shortage, Merck commits to meeting patient demand for crucial treatment option

In 2012, Merck unexpectedly became the sole manufacturer of TICE® BCG BCG LIVE (for intravesical use) in many countries around the world. Increasing global demand has outpaced our current maximum manufacturing capabilities. In recognition of the medical need for this product, Merck continues to operate at maximum production capacity. Due to the increasing global demand, Merck has been experiencing a supply shortage for TICE BCG. 

In October 2020, we announced our plans to construct a new manufacturing facility in Durham, North Carolina, to significantly expand our production capacity for TICE BCG. This investment reaffirms Merck’s longstanding commitment to producing this medicine, and all our medicines, for patients who need them.

If patients have questions regarding TICE BCG, they should speak with their physicians.  Additional information related to the shortage, current allocation practices and Merck’s efforts to increase supply, including construction of a new manufacturing site, is below.





Innovation

The Wall Street Journal names Merck among top 10 best-managed companies 

We’re proud to be recognized for our strong performance and unwavering commitment to patients

January 11, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

article hero thumbnail

Our company has been recognized for our leadership and strong performance powering the work we do for patients and everyone who depends on us. We were named No. 10 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of the 250 best-managed publicly traded U.S. companies in 2023, advancing 78 places from the previous year.

article quote image

“This recognition reaffirms our strategic focus, innovation, hard work and collective, unwavering commitment to our purpose of saving and improving lives each and every day.”

— Rob Davis

Chairman and chief executive officer

“To make the list of The Wall Street Journal’s 250 best-managed companies is quite an honor,” Davis said, “and to be ranked in the top 10 is especially exciting and humbling.” 

This year, nearly 800 companies were scored. Placement on the list is determined by a company’s strength in five components:

  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Employee engagement and development
  3. Innovation
  4. Social responsibility
  5. Financial strength

We placed first in customer satisfaction and were one of seven companies to score in the top 20% in each of the five components.

“Customer satisfaction is directly tied to the innovation we bring and the benefit we can deliver for patients,” Davis told The Wall Street Journal.

Top ranking for corporate citizenship 

In addition to our Wall Street Journal recognition, we’re deeply honored to be ranked No. 1 on Newsweek’s 2024 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies. This marks our first time in the lead spot, a distinction that affirms our steadfast commitment to operating responsibly and doing good for people and the planet.  

Health awareness

Empowering others to speak up about HPV-related cancers

The impact of Gina’s diagnosis inspired her to help others prioritize their health

January 5, 2024

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

Empowering others to speak up about HPV-related cancers_ Photo 1
Assets / Buttons / UI / Play Button / Large clear hover

After 20 years of normal cervical screenings,* Gina Esposito was confident her next routine screening wouldn’t be any different. So, when she was diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical precancer at 47 years old, she was surprised.

“The sinking feeling I had when I received my diagnosis was intense because I wasn’t expecting it,” she said.

*A cervical screening, often referred to as a pap test or pap smear, looks for precancers or cell changes that might become cervical cancer if not treated appropriately.

The impact of HPV-related cancers and diseases

More than 80% of cervical cancers are associated with HPV. For most people, HPV clears on its own. But for those who don’t clear the virus, it could cause certain cancers and diseases.

After her diagnosis, Esposito underwent a procedure to remove the abnormal cells from her cervix. When a follow-up test showed that there were still some abnormal cells present, she consulted with a doctor and decided to get a hysterectomy.

At first, she felt embarrassed by her diagnosis. As she started to share her story, she noticed that others felt ashamed to speak about HPV-related cancers and diseases. She knew something had to change.

“I have a newfound responsibility to take the stigma away, to say ‘the shame has to go away,’ whether you’re a woman or a man,” Esposito said.

Throughout her experience, she says her daughter has been a source of strength.

“You don’t want your child to be without you or to experience the loss of a parent. You want to be around for all of their milestones and they want you around,” Esposito said. “So, she keeps me motivated because there’s an expectation that mom’s going to be around.”

article quote image

“I try to be a positive disruptor in this space and normalize it so that people go for early screenings and routine screenings and that they get treatment if they need it.”

— Gina Esposito

The importance of routine care

In some ways, Esposito considers herself lucky. Her commitment to prioritizing routine care helped her catch her disease early.

“I’m so glad I took the time to go to my screening – it helped catch my disease early,” she said.

Esposito is working to ensure her daughter also prioritizes getting routine care and understands the value of prioritizing her health, especially as she approaches adulthood.

“She knows you need to own your own health because no one else is going to do it for you,” she said. Esposito encourages colleagues across our company to prioritize their health, too.

Esposito plans to continue helping men and women feel comfortable discussing HPV-related disease and get the preventative care they need.

“When I talk with others, I focus on what happened to me so they can use it as an example,” Esposito said. “I get people emailing me, texting me, going, ‘I’m going to make my appointment today.’ And if we can have one person that we get early, then my job is done.”

Health awareness

The impact of RSV: a father’s story and call for prevention

When his own daughters became sick, one colleague saw firsthand the need to protect kids from RSV

December 14, 2023

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

two girls smiling under Eiffel Tower

Frederik Tack, a Merck employee and devoted father, has spent over a decade working in infectious diseases. So, when his daughters both contracted respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, the impact of his work hit especially close to home.

RSV is a contagious, widespread seasonal infection that is similar to the flu. While people infected with RSV are usually contagious for about three to eight days, infants can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms for up to one month.

“Being quite familiar with infectious diseases, I knew the basics of RSV and that almost all children contract it at least once before they’re 2 years old,” said Tack, executive director for our company in France.

"For most healthy children, RSV is like a cold, but for some it can become complicated. And unfortunately, my family witnessed these complications firsthand."

Frederik Tack

Executive director, France

Tack’s eldest daughter, Oriane, developed RSV and bronchiolitis at just 1 year old, leading to dehydration and a brief hospital stay for one night. A few years later, his second daughter, Anora, contracted the virus twice and experienced even more severe complications, including pneumonia that required a week-long stay in the hospital. Fortunately, Tack’s daughters both recovered following their hospital visits and have not experienced any long-term effects of the virus.

“As you can imagine, it was a pretty stressful time,” he said. “After experiencing it myself, my hope is that other parents won’t have to go through such an uncertain and frightening experience.”

The impact of RSV on infants and families

Grateful that his daughters are now healthy and fully recovered, Tack is acutely aware of the near- and long-term complications many other children may face with RSV. RSV can impact both children and adults but is particularly threatening for infants, who may not be able to fight the virus on their own. It can potentially lead to more serious respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

“In the first years that followed, we often held our breath, hoping those experiences with RSV wouldn’t repeat themselves or provoke long-term complications of other respiratory conditions,” Tack said.

A closer look at RSV

— RSV is contagious and can be spread through virus droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV.

— The virus can cause cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose, fever, coughing and wheezing.

— It’s one of the most common causes of infant hospitalizations in the U.S. and a leading cause globally.

~58-80K

Hospitalizations among children <5 years old each year in the U.S.

~100-300

Deaths in children <5 years old each year in the U.S.

~3.6M

Estimated hospitalizations globally each year in children under 5 years old*

~101K

Estimated deaths caused by RSV globally each year in children under 5 years old*

~95%

An estimated >95% of RSV infections and >97% of RSV-related deaths globally occur in resource-limited countries*

*Data based on 2019 estimates.

There’s a widespread need for protection for both healthy and high-risk infants from RSV globally, including in resource-limited countries where RSV represents a substantial burden of disease. And during RSV season, the impact can be even greater. RSV can put a significant strain on the health care system, but most importantly, it impacts families who want to help protect their children and keep them healthy.

Tack said he takes great pride in being part of a company with over 130 years of innovative work dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of certain infectious diseases around the world.

“Nobody wants to see their children suffering with little that you can do to help them,” said Tack.

“I’m inspired by the ongoing commitment and dedication within the public health space to help address these diseases through scientific innovations.”

— Frederik Tack

Health awareness

Biomarker testing may help inform treatment decisions in certain cancers

An oncologist explains why cancer biomarkers may provide more precise information about a person's cancer

December 5, 2023

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

Scientist at Merck

Over the past 20+ years, there’s been an evolution in how we think about cancer. Cancer biomarkers — substances produced by tumor cells that reflect unique features of a tumor — can change the approach to certain cancers.

Advances in biomarker testing may help inform treatment decisions

It wasn’t long ago when conversations were about simply “breast cancer” or “lung cancer.” Now, physicians can get a lot more precise.

Merck's Scott Pruitt

“We’ve come to understand that two people with the same type of cancer may have differences in the specific changes in the genes, proteins and other substances that may allow cancer cells to grow and spread.”

  • Dr. Scott Pruitt
    Associate vice president, early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories

“The field of breast cancer research was arguably the first to realize that there are multiple cancer subtypes and that biomarker testing could help inform therapy,” said Pruitt.

In the treatment of breast cancer, understanding various tumor biomarkers and pairing that understanding to help guide selection of relevant medicines has helped physicians evaluate potential treatment approaches. And the same is true in lung cancer where understanding tumor biomarkers has been used to help guide therapy aimed at targeting certain genetic mutations.

Biomarkers may help us understand a cancer better and how to approach it. That’s why biomarker testing may be an important next step after a cancer diagnosis.

Key terms to know:

  • Biomarker: a measurable indicator of a biological state or condition found in blood or tissues.
  • Biomarker testing: medical tests to look for measurable indicators (genes, proteins and other substances) that may provide information about a biological state or condition.
  • Biopsy: the removal of cells or tissue for examination.
  • Genetic testing: medical tests to look for certain mutations in a person’s genes that may be a sign of a disease or condition.

Biomarker testing after a cancer diagnosis

blood test vial

Blood test

microscope

Biopsy of the tumor

Testing for proteins and/or genes to look for known biomarkers

Testing for proteins and/or genes to look for known biomarkers

Biomarker testing and genetic testing may enable detailed characterization of some cancers

Some biomarker tests can find inherited genetic changes that you may have been born with that may increase your risk of cancer or other diseases. Genetic testing might help determine if you have certain mutations (for example, the BRCA gene) which could help inform treatment options.

Merck has been at the forefront of research to advance the understanding of biomarkers for certain cancers.

"We're fully invested in leveraging biomarker data to help inform cancer care."

— Dr. Scott Pruitt

“Across our oncology studies in every phase of development, we continue to incorporate multiple biomarker approaches to more fully understand biology as well as identify new targets of interest,” Pruitt said.

Discussing biomarker testing with a health care provider

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to ask your doctor about biomarker testing. Start with these questions which may help you prepare for conversations with your doctor:

  • Is biomarker testing appropriate for the type of cancer that I have?
  • If there’s a chance my cancer was caused by an inherited risk factor, should I undergo further testing?
Sustainability

Collaborating to help make cancer care more accessible worldwide

How we’re advancing health equity through partnerships to help patients navigate cancer care

November 30, 2023

Share this article

.st0{fill:#00857C;}

woman talking with health care provider

In underserved and under-resourced communities across the globe, from the U.S. to Rwanda, our company is helping patients at risk for and living with cancer access the care they need to stay well and lead fulfilling lives.

We have a global-to-local approach, where we support programs and initiatives that help advance health equity directly in communities around the world by addressing barriers that people may face when accessing high-quality, equitable health care.

Advancing patient-centered cancer care in every community

Our company collaborates with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to address high disparities in cancer care. In the U.S, we partnered with ACS on its Get Screened Initiative, which encourages people to schedule regular cancer screening tests. Through this initiative:

~497K

vulnerable community members enabled to be screened in 2021 and 2022 combined

~11,200

incidences of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer found

Our company also supports Get Screened’s efforts focused on increasing access to lung cancer screening in communities with historical inequities. Through this effort, which includes mobile screening, community outreach, patient navigation and other support, ACS aims to reach up to 10,000 additional eligible individuals.

We’re also helping the ACS bring its expertise in patient navigation to resource-limited settings in sub-Saharan Africa as well as develop a toolkit to help low- and middle-income countries adopt navigation programs as part of delivering comprehensive cancer care.

Our global partnerships at work

In addition, we’ve partnered with City Cancer Challenge to implement a Patient Navigation Program in Kigali, Rwanda. With our support, City Cancer Challenge has trained nurses to become patient navigators. They help patients understand health information more easily, identify and assess cancer care gaps and barriers, help to accelerate the path to health care options, and mitigate the risk of patients falling out of the care continuum.

Olivier Habimana, a cancer patient navigator with City Cancer Challenge, said he witnessed first-hand how this program has given his team the ability to effectively communicate, share and exchange information so that vital data can be used for the benefit of cancer patients.

“Before the implementation of this project, patients faced all sorts of challenges. If they were referred to a hospital for cancer care, sometimes they’d go to the wrong hospital, while others missed their follow-up visits.”

  • Olivier Habimana
Oliver Hamimana

The Patient Navigation Program has created an impact in the east African country:

1,220+

patients supported by the program

Building on our legacy for high-quality, equitable care now and in the future

We continue to forge new partnerships to help reach underserved and under-resourced communities. This includes:

  • Partnering to improve access to cancer care to under-served communities in Georgia.
  • Supporting solutions like MedHaul that can help to address transportation barriers to accessing care.
  • Providing access to educational and advocacy resources on the unique challenges faced by Black women
    diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
  • Working with Go Further, a partnership that aims to reduce cervical cancer incidence in HIV positive women in eight African countries with the highest rates of HIV prevalence and cervical cancer deaths in the world.