“I’M IN” to Deliver on Diversity for Patients
15 JUN 2022
The diversity that we bring to the table is invaluable to patients, as they come from all different walks of life. Whether they are participating in a clinical trial or being treated in a hospital setting, varied points of view are critical to understanding patient needs.
While we share a collective passion for helping patients, my team members and I are more different than alike on the basis on our life experiences. We look different, come from different corners of the world, celebrate different holidays, and have unique ways of thinking due in part to our life experiences. This diversity has in fact helped us be open to multiple ways of approaching any situation with mutual respect and humility, become more aware of and have the incentive to begin to act on any unconscious bias we may have, and ultimately bring us together to deliver on what’s best for providers and the patients they serve.
From my early days studying in India and the US, later working as an engineer in the US and Europe, then having the opportunity to help develop and launch innovative life-saving medicines and medical technologies, to my current role at EMD Serono as the Head of US Neurology and Immunology, I’ve observed and experienced health care industry operations in various capacities all over the world. Those experiences have taught me that seeking diverse perspectives is critical, no matter the job title.
The diversity that we bring to the table is invaluable to patients, as they come from all different walks of life. Whether they are participating in a clinical trial or being treated in a hospital setting, varied points of view are critical to understanding patient needs and challenges and dispelling unconscious bias.
EMD Serono has a long heritage of researching, supporting and advocating for people with neurological and immunological diseases, both in and out of the laboratory. That’s why the company took an important step in recent years on behalf of patient experiences; specifically, launching the “I’M IN” program in the healthcare setting, which aims to enhance diversity, elevate underrepresented voices, and expand meaningful connections through conscious collaboration with physicians & healthcare professionals (HCPs).
I’m proud of the work of our “I’M IN” team, as they work to drive diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) though educational events and sharing the learnings with HCPs. Since 2019, we have engaged with over 420 HCPs with I’M IN events and panels happening at large annual conferences. Among these events, we have run panels to discuss important topics, such as "Recognizing and Addressing Unconscious Bias in MS Care,” “Health Disparities in Research and Healthcare in MS,” and this May, we united in person once again to talk about serving the LGBTQIA+ patient population in MS, during the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting.
EMD Serono Funds First-of-Its Kind Fellowship Dedicated to Reducing Neuro Disparities
In addition to hosting these events, EMD Serono is taking an important step toward increasing DE&I in medical offices by becoming the first company to support and fund national fellowships dedicated to reducing disparities in neurological care for MS patients.
Researchers from Georgetown University will receive financial support to enable a research project that will collect data on Hispanic/Latin patients with MS to implement strategies to address barriers to healthcare access for this population in the Washington D.C. area.
Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania will launch a research project to identify, define and address barriers leading to neurological disparities in care at their institution, the surrounding community and beyond.
DE&I issues cannot be resolved through a few meetings, or the funding of fellowships… but it’s an important step in the right direction. And EMD Serono will continue to invest in the future of “I’M IN.” to amplify the voices of underrepresented populations and improve the healthcare ecosystem.