Pfizer: Equity Fuels Breakthroughs that Change Patients’ Lives

by Quinnie Wong

Equity is one of Pfizer’s core values. We believe everyone should feel seen, heard, and cared for. Only when we choose Equity can we deliver on our purpose: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy starts with our colleagues. We want the best talent from all backgrounds to join us. From our internships and fellowship programs with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to our partnerships with the National Society of Black Engineers, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and others, we are committed to building a diverse talent pipeline.

Getting the best talent in the door is just the first step. We want all our colleagues to be their best selves and thrive. We strive to foster an inclusive environment where we can share our unique experiences and bond over our differences. Leveraging external viewpoints from speakers such as activist Ibram X. Kendi and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project Nikole Hanna-Jones, we regularly hold company gatherings to discuss racial equality, disability awareness, and social justice issues. Nothing that concerns equity is off limits.

To help deepen colleagues’ sense of belonging, employee-run colleague resource groups (CRGs) are a powerful platform. Our CRGs include Disability CRG, Global Asian Alliance, Global Black Community, Out Pfizer Employee Network, Pfizer Latino Community, Pfizer Women’s Resource Group, and Veterans in Pfizer. Global Black Community is one of our biggest CRGs and their theme for 2023 is “The Wealth and Impact of Black Talent.” They are boldly creating opportunities for colleagues to collaborate and work toward greater diversity at Pfizer.

Health equity is another focus of our DEI strategy. On a global level, we launched a transformative initiative, An Accord for a Healthier World, in 2022 to reduce health inequities that persist between wealthy nations and many lower-income countries. Our full portfolio of medicines and vaccines for which we have global rights is now offered on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people living in 45 lower-income countries.

Back home in the United States, we formed the Pfizer Multicultural Health Equity Collective (MHEC) to help improve health equity across ethnic groups and other underrepresented communities. The MHEC team partners with key groups across the country – including patient advocacy organizations, healthcare provider associations, community groups, and legislative caucuses – to address health disparities among the most vulnerable populations through community programming and outreach.

One recent example of the Collective’s work is the 2022 Health Equity In Action Summit. Sponsored by MHEC, The Century Foundation, the National Minority Quality Forum, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the event featured diverse representatives across the healthcare ecosystem discussing new opportunities for collaboration and disrupting systemic racism in healthcare.

Our Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine (ITEM) is another effort to achieve health equity by preventing, treating, and identifying disease drivers that disproportionately impact underserved and minority populations nationally and globally. The work is focused on three key dimensions: research, development, and medical activities leveraging science, data, and translational expertise to close gaps in health disparities. Last November, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center announced a collaboration with ITEM to launch a cancer genomics study across populations of African Ancestry. The resulting registry will allow us to conduct studies that will add to the limited available data for Black people, including genetics, genomics and gene-environment interaction studies that will help to fill knowledge gaps in the literature addressing aggressive disease in African-ancestry cancer patients.

We know that health equity is only achieved when breakthroughs are made accessible to all. There is much work to be done, and we are relentless in our pursuit of Equity.

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