Health

Health

For more than a century, our company has been inventing medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases.

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And we continue to invent new approaches that save and improve lives so that people can positively contribute to a healthier and more hopeful world. As a global health care company, in addition to our focus on invention, we have a responsibility to help enable access to medicines, vaccines and quality health care worldwide.

We are committed to discovering smart, sustainable ways to expand access, especially in parts of the world where there are limited or nonexistent health care infrastructure and resources. Given the immensity of this challenge, we believe we can make the strongest contribution by working in partnership with others—governments, donors, patient organizations, health care professionals, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, multilateral organizations and the private sector.

We focus on select areas of global health need and relevance to our company, namely the following noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and chronic conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Our program investments in these areas focus on innovative interventions showing evidence of effectiveness in improving health care quality and reducing disparities in access and health outcomes among underserved populations who are particularly burdened by these diseases.

Key Foundation Programs

ALLIANCE TO ADVANCE PATIENT-CENTERED CANCER CARE

With funding from our company’s Foundation, the Alliance aims to increase timely access to patient-centered care and reduce disparities in cancer care, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations in the United States. Learn more.

ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter

With support from our company’s Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter, will expand its Dementia Care Coordination program in Massachusetts, and take it to Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  Learn more.

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY—CARE COORDINATION NAVIGATION

With a four-year (2015–2018), $1.58 million grant from our company’s Foundation, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is enhancing its Patient Navigator Program (PNP) in the United States to improve care coordination, promote patient activation and increase access to high-quality cancer care in communities where health care disparities exist.  The ACS has selected six PNP sites to participate in a community-based pilot program—Care Coordination Navigation Program—including the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California; the Fox Chase Temple University Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Queens Hospital Center in Queens, New York; the Multicare Regional Cancer Center in Auburn, Washington; the University of New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the John Peter Smith Cancer Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

This program aims to enhance the ACS’s existing navigation program by providing navigators with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Support patients in overcoming or managing barriers to timely initiation of treatment
  • Empower patients with the information and skills to more actively engage in their health care, treatment planning and shared decision making
  • Enhance the coordination of care
  • Advance best practices in the field of patient navigation

The Care Coordination Navigation Program provides training in participating communities for ACS lay-patient navigators on concepts of care coordination and patient activation, as well as effective patient-provider communication about such topics as treatment planning, palliative care and survivorship, among others. The training also equips navigators with effective communication strategies and problem-solving and coaching skills to help support and coach patients in managing psychosocial issues and treatment side effects, building social support networks and engaging in healthy behaviors throughout the cancer care continuum.

Over the past 14 months of implementation, navigators have reached nearly 500 eligible patients through this program. Among the most common types of cancer experienced by patients served through the program thus far are breast, lung and colorectal cancer.

Through this project, ACS is also collaborating with the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN) and Oncology Solutions to develop a Metrics Implementation Toolkit which will guide navigation programs in implementing standardized metrics to support consistent high-quality patient navigation.

The ACS is implementing an evaluation of the program. While final results are anticipated in late 2019, preliminary findings suggest that:

  • Navigators are able to track the specific barriers that patients encounter in the course of cancer treatment, and can use these identified barriers to guide the specific coaching strategies and action plans that they co-create with patients along the care continuum
  • Navigators are able to develop and use action plans with their patients to overcome or manage barriers (e.g., financial issues, transportation, lodging, treatment side effects) to cancer care
  • Navigators have reported an increase in their knowledge and skills, as well as increased confidence in their ability to execute effective problem-solving and coaching strategies with their patients
  • Navigators have reported that the program provides valuable “refresher” training for existing skills, as well as a foundation for developing new skills in action planning and coaching that are tailored to the patient’s level of activation and need

BRIDGING THE GAP: REDUCING DISPARITIES IN DIABETES CARE

With funding from our company’s Foundation, Bridging the Gap aims to improve access to high-quality diabetes care and reduce health disparities among vulnerable and underserved populations with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Learn more.

HEALTHPARTNERS CENTER FOR MEMORY AND AGING

Our company’s Foundation is supporting HealthPartners Center for Memory and Aging and its partner, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to implement UCSF’s Care Ecosystem program for people with dementia and their caregivers in rural areas of Minnesota with limited access to specialty care. Learn more.

MARSHALL HEALTH—GREAT RIVERS REGIONAL SYSTEM FOR ADDICTION CARE IN WEST VIRGINIA

Our company’s Foundation is supporting a new initiative with Marshall Health through a $2 million grant over four years (2018–2021) to establish the Great Rivers Regional System for Addiction Care—a comprehensive program to address the opioid crisis in West Virginia. Learn more.

NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR OUTREACH IN ALZHEIMER’S, AGING AND COMMUNITY HEALTH 

Our company’s Foundation is supporting the North Carolina A&T State University Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s, Aging and Community Health (COAACH) to implement several programs for communities affected by Alzheimer’s disease in rural North Carolina. Learn more.

PROJECT ECHO® IN INDIA AND VIETNAM

In 2017, our company’s Foundation established a new partnership with the ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Institute™ at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Through a $7 million, five-year (2017–2021) grant, the partnership will expand the replication of Project ECHO® in India and Vietnam. Through this partnership, we aim to improve access to specialty care for complex, chronic conditions such as hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, and noncommunicable diseases, including cancer and diabetes, as well as mental health conditions. Learn More.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA (UNC) SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH—DIABETES PEER SUPPORT PROGRAM IN SHANGHAI, CHINA

Our company’s Foundation has established a three-year (2016–2018) partnership with the UNC School of Public Health to support the development, implementation and evaluation of a diabetes peer support program, based on the Peers for Progress model, in nine Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Shanghai, China. This program aims to improve diabetes self-management, treatment adherence and quality of life among people living with diabetes. Using a practical and flexible peer support model, peer leaders work in a variety of areas, such as: helping professional staff lead monthly meetings for patients and their families; helping individuals with diabetes address challenges in their daily self-management; promoting diabetes awareness initiatives in the community; leading tai chi or other exercise groups; and offering support and day-to-day contact with patients.

The peer support program is part of the Shanghai Integration Model which links hospital and specialty care with primary care through Community Health Centers. It is a collaboration between the Shanghai Municipal Government, the Shanghai Health Bureau and the Shanghai Sixth People’s Hospital, led by Professor Weiping Jia, also president of the Chinese Diabetes Society.

As of January 2018, 74 peer leaders have completed training and reached 885 adults through nine Vanguard CHCs. Program participants are broadly representative of the diabetes population in China, averaging 68.2 years of age and having lived with diabetes for about 12.5 years. Especially encouraging is the progress in reaching men─a population often difficult to reach with health promotion programs. Forty percent of participants in the program to date are men.

In addition to the clinical challenges of improving care, the peer support program raises adaptive challenges for health systems, organizational practices, and both professionals’ and patients’ roles. Lessons learned to date include:

  • Support and engagement of CHC leadership is critical
  • Program managers need autonomy to tailor the program to their individual settings
  • Professional staff need to learn how to encourage their patients’ use of peer supporters in their diabetes management
  • Professional staff also need networking opportunities to learn from professionals in other CHCs
  • Peer leaders need backup and linkage to clinical teams and resources

Shanghai has a total of 240 Community Health Centers. Extending the peer support program to these CHCs also will entail adaptive challenges beyond training staff on a new protocol. A dissemination conference is planned for September/October 2018 to chart how the lessons learned from the Vanguard CHCs may be adapted to the varied programs and strengths of all 240 CHCs, which is anticipated to begin in November 2018.

The UNC School of Public Health and its partners are conducting a robust program evaluation. Anticipated outcomes to be evaluated include:

  • Patterns of care, including attendance at regular care, follow-through on referral to specialty care and perceptions by patients as well as primary and specialty care providers of the continuing need for integration of care
  • Components of care, including medication adherence as well as key aspects of disease self-management, such as healthy diet and physical activity

Results from the program evaluation are anticipated in 2019.

YMCA’S DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM

With a three-year (2016–2018), $2 million grant from our company’s Foundation, the YMCA will expand its Diabetes Prevention Program in 60 communities across five U.S. states: Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence-based chronic-disease prevention program that aims to improve the health of participants with prediabetes through modest weight loss achieved by healthy eating and physical activity. It is also part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One participant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, shared the following observations:

“Diabetes can become a very expensive disease later in life, and this program has helped me to decrease my chances of developing type 2 diabetes. I would rather continue to prevent it for the rest of my life than pay for it later in life. I also feel more physically fit and have benefited from the increase in energy and stamina. To me, this program is a no fail program if you do your part. If participants take the information presented and use it, do their part and homework, they are all bound to succeed in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.”

To date, 57 local YMCAs in these states have served more than 1,379 participants in their Diabetes Prevention Program. At the conclusion of the first 16 program sessions, participants attended an average of 15.5 sessions and achieved an average 4.3 percent weight loss.