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Health Equity: The Role of Business in Building Healthy Communities

Health Equity

On October 7th , the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation hosted a discussion on Health Equity featuring Manan Shah, Vice President, and Head of Global Health Equity & Policy Partnerships at Bristol Myers Squibb; Jessica Johnston, Senior Director of Global Community Affairs at Becton Dickinson, and Company; and Ellen Rafferty, Senior Manager of Social Investing at Becton Dickinson, and Company.

Facilitated by Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, RICSI Associate Director and Erin Byrne, Distinguished Executive in Residence, the presenters outlined:

  • Public-private partnerships--what makes them effective, what are the challenges, and lessons learned
  • Pandemic learnings and driving strategic partnerships during times of crisis
  • Becton Dickinson and Company’s “Helping Build Healthy Communities Program” and other related initiatives

Students from Rutgers University had these takeaways:

  • “I think that having these conversations and raising awareness of these issues is extremely important if we want to make progress toward equity and equality.” [Ethan Choi]


  • “I learned that programs, measurement, and policy are the three main components that businesses focus on to build healthy communities.” [Sebastian Vlahovic]


  • “Hearing how vital it is for all of us taking part in this fight shows that even having resources that these companies have, it still comes down to all of us doing what we can to help.” [Timothy McDonald]


  • “The biggest takeaway was the difference between equality and equity in relation to the health industry.” [Ethan Choi]


  • “The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly put a spotlight on some of the most prevalent social inequities that have historically targeted millions of people on the basis of race, socioeconomic status, and location. This is why collaborative programs and partnerships with local, state, and federal government agencies are so crucial.” [Sebastian Vlahovic]


  • “Communities and companies need each other to function correctly, which I had not thought of previously. Businesses need us as workers to step up, and communities need businesses to keep the communities in line. The pandemic forced the health system to focus strictly on COVID-19, but as we come away from the pandemic, the health system is moving more toward innovation.” [Sofia Gorsd]


  • “What I found really striking was the role of demographics and the impact that racial differences had on health equity and overall access to health.” [Ethan Choi]


  • “Establishing a sense of loyalty and trust, as well as developing meaningful public policy, is significant to secure successful community relations.” [Sebastian Vlahovic]

Please join us for our upcoming webinar on November 4th - Shared Prosperity: Leveling the Playing Field through Inclusive Upskilling, Innovation & Entrepreneurship"

Register Here.

Recordings and other information relevant to previous webinars can be found here.

We look forward to sharing more ideas and engaging in dialogue with you.