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DEI in Innovation

Innovation and Growth
DEI in Innovation

Across our business, we advance product innovation, leveraging our expertise, experience and resources as well as global collaborations and partnerships. Through our innovation network, we connect life science and health technology innovators with the breadth and depth of offerings that are unique to Johnson & Johnson.

A well-established channel of innovation for Johnson & Johnson is our QuickFire Challenges—the specific, targeted crowdsourcing of ideas from innovators and entrepreneurs with interest and expertise in different health challenges and opportunities. In 2021, Johnson & Johnson Innovation leveraged the QuickFire Challenges platform to advance DEI to help tackle some of the biggest challenges driving health inequities. In 2021, 22 QuickFire Challenges addressing DEI objectives were launched across our Pharmaceutical, Consumer Health and MedTech segments as well as for enterprise-wide issues such as military and veteran health (see section: Veterans, Service Members & Military Families). A selection of these QuickFire Challenges included:

  • Black Innovators in Skin Health QuickFire Challenge: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, together with NEUTROGENA, invited U.S.-based Black innovators to submit late-stage ideas aimed at improving skin health.
  • Washington, D.C., Health Innovation QuickFire Challenge: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, together with Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, invited innovators from across the globe to submit potential science and technology solutions aiming to address racial and socioeconomic disparities that impact health in communities like Washington, D.C.
  • Decoding Disparities QuickFire Challenge: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, in collaboration with Janssen Scientific Affairs, invited U.S.-based innovators to submit data-driven research concepts aiming to better understand the root causes of health inequities and inform the crucial next steps we need to take toward achieving equity.
  • Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge: Improving Access to Care: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, working with the Johnson & Johnson nursing team, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Association of Public Health Nurses, invited nurses worldwide to submit their nurse-led ideas with the potential to help improve access to care amid the pandemic environment and beyond.
Pediatric nurse with patient

  • Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge: Improving Access to Care: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, working with the Johnson & Johnson nursing team, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Association of Public Health Nurses, invited nurses worldwide to submit their nurse-led ideas with the potential to help improve access to care amid the pandemic environment and beyond.

In all cases, winners of the QuickFire Challenges received grant funding to advance their innovations, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JLABS network—and mentorship from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

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Diversity in Clinical Trials

We aim to advance diverse and inclusive participation in clinical trials to ensure data and insights from underrepresented populations inform the development of safe and effective products and treatments. Gaps remain with respect to representation of diverse and inclusive populations in clinical research across the industry. Together with other companies, policymakers, academic organizations and advocacy partners, Johnson & Johnson is taking action to facilitate greater dialogue among underrepresented communities to help address systemic health inequities. These include unconscious and conscious bias, language barriers, overall trial design, and access to funding that can help build trust around increased participation in clinical trials.

We strategically partner with national organizations such as the National Urban League, UnidosUS, NMF and other community organizations to advance education, awareness, and the design and execution of inclusive clinical trials and to develop healthcare solutions for diverse populations. We are actively partnering with long-standing industry associations, including BIO, AdvaMed and PhRMA, on health equity initiatives in the U.S. and to propose new policies to enable more diverse clinical trial representation.

COVID-19 vaccine trial graphic

DEI in our COVID-19 vaccine trial: As reports of COVID-19 mortalities rose in the U.S., inequities in the healthcare landscape quickly became apparent, with the virus disproportionately affecting Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino communities. With these disparities in mind, Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, knew it was critical to enroll a diverse population of participants in ENSEMBLE, the clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, so that people who would eventually receive the vaccine were represented.

To ensure diversity and inclusion in the ENSEMBLE trial and based on years of clinical trial experience, Janssen rapidly implemented a multifaceted plan for recruitment and enrollment of participants from underrepresented communities. The approach included intentional site selection, community engagement and awareness building, and educational and training support for investigators. Janssen also took steps to remove barriers that clinical trial participants often face, including the use of demographic data to identify and utilize clinical trial sites located in underrepresented communities.

Diverse enrollment in ENSEMBLE ultimately included 43,783 participants from eight countries across North America (44%), Central and South America (41%), and Africa (15%). A total of 34% of participants were over the age of 60, and 45% were female. In the U.S, 74% of participants were White/Caucasian, 15% were Hispanic/Latino and 13% were Black/African American.

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Janssen Oncology launched two partnerships as part of our continued commitment to DEI. The Scholars of Oncology Diversity Engagement Program (SODEP) aims to build relationships with exceptional, ethnically diverse graduate and postdoctoral scientists, helping to shape their careers and increase greater visibility to Oncology job opportunities. Fifteen scholars are matched with mentors for a one-year term. Each mentee also receives a learning stipend that can be applied to conference travel, research supplies and training courses. The Diversity in Drug Discovery and Development (4D) Fellowship Program is a joint effort with Drexel University’s Pharmacology and Physiology Department is focused on fostering DEI in the research and development of treatments for patients with cancer. The two-year fellowship runs from fall 2021 to summer 2023 and offer three graduate students full tuition coverage and a stipend for living expenses.

We are committed to developing medicines and therapies that meet the needs of all people, and we know that diseases and drugs may impact people differently based on their race and ethnicity, so the alignment of clinical trial enrollment with patient population demographics is key.
Staci Hargraves
Vice President of Patient and Portfolio Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Executive Sponsor of Janssen’s DEI in Clinical Trials Program

DEI Through Consumer Health Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health advances personal health for consumers every day with products that are rooted in science and endorsed by professionals. Through our brands, we contribute to health and wellness for consumers at every stage of life. Equally, our brands embody our values, and we seek to ensure they are consistent with and promote our DEI values. Some examples from 2021 include:

Helping parents break biases: With the desire to give every baby the healthiest start to life, we developed From the Start, a parent’s guide to talking about racial bias to empower parents to raise the next generation of changemakers to fight racism. Our JOHNSON & JOHNSON BABY, AVEENO and DESITIN brands engaged with Some Spider Studios (Scary Mommy, The Dad, Fatherly) and development, education and entertainment experts to create multiformat resources and a content hub to inform, educate and empower parents to appropriately talk about race.

Delivering bandages in brown skin tones: BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages launched OURTONE, a collection of BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages designed to blend with a variety of brown skin tones for more inclusive wound care that embraces the beauty of diverse skin tones. To develop the OURTONE range, we listened to Black consumers, partners and employees to deliver wound care solutions that better reflect the communities we serve. For OURTONE packaging development, we worked with Hero Collective—a Black-owned agency committed to creative projects that amplify Black and Brown voices. The brand also commenced a multi-year partnership with the National Black Nurses Association and the National Student Nurses’ Association to address the fact that only 1 in 10 nurses is Black. Together with these partners the brand is now providing $450,000 to Black student nursing candidates via financial support and scholarships as they pursue a future in healthcare.

model showcasing Our Tone Band-Aid application

Relief for sensitive Black skin: As part of AVEENO’s ongoing commitment to helping consumers find relief for sensitive skin, in 2021, the brand launched #SkinVisibility, an initiative addressing the underdiagnosis, care and treatment of eczema on Black skin—a prominent chronic disease impacting the Black population. The AVEENO website hosted a dedicated channel that explored eczema on skin of color, providing a resource for Black sufferers looking for information. AVEENO also hosted a conversation series on Instagram to discuss Black skin health inequities and connect viewers with top skin experts, fellow sufferers and Black skin health advocates. In partnership with the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, AVEENO organized two events in support of Eczema Awareness Month. Overall, this campaign generated significant interest, helped raise awareness of the issues of eczema on Black skin and helped support our diverse consumer community.

Behind the Lab Coat: Aveeno® Scientist Sabrina Henry | Johnson & Johnson

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Consumer Health brands promote women’s health: In Brazil, our Consumer Health teams, through our well-known brands NEUTROGENA, JOHNSON’S Baby, CAREFREE and SEMPRE LIVRE, created a four-episode podcast series addressing women’s health and associated topics such as self-image, acceptance of aging and menstrual dignity. Over a 60-day time frame, the podcasts reached an audience of more than 60,000 listeners.

DEI Through MedTech Innovation

At Johnson & Johnson MedTech, we use our role as a leader to address health disparities and promote health equity solutions across surgery, orthopedics, interventional solutions and vision. We aspire to reach more than 1 million healthcare professionals through partnerships with the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, Advances in Surgery (AIS) and CME Outfitters (CMEO) to execute training initiatives focused on addressing disparities in healthcare.

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Johnson & Johnson Vision is the first major eye health company to sign the 13% Promise, an initiative created by the nonprofit Black EyeCare Perspective to increase equity and representation in the optometry industry to more closely align with Black/African American representation within the United States Census population.

In 2021, J&J MedTech advanced multiple initiatives for health equity, including:

  • Through a J&J cross-sector partnership, provided more than $1.5 million in educational grant funding to CMEO in partnership for the launch of a nationwide initiative to educate clinicians on unconscious bias and healthcare disparities
  • Training sessions for healthcare professionals on healthcare diversity, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Institute, AIS and the American College of Surgeons (ACS), with more than 244,000 participants from 150 countries
  • Launching an initiative to drive change in stroke care, starting with the collection and analysis of data and insights needed to identify and drive the change in closing the disparity gap associated with stroke care
  • As a member of AdvaMed, helped to publish industry-wide principles on health equity
  • Advancing work in clinical trials. Established think tank with industry experts to identify ways to improve diversity in clinical trials
  • Partnered with MedTech Color to be part of an FDA collaborative community focused on building diversity in clinical trials

Launching Education for Health Equity: To motivate and inspire people to prioritize their health during the COVID-19 pandemic and raise awareness about the importance of personal communication between HCPs and their patients, J&J MedTech launched a patient education effort, My Health Can’t Wait, in the U.S. and globally (Australia, India, Italy, Japan and Latin America) in 2020. The digital resource hub provides valuable information to help patients pursue care with confidence. In 2021 in Chicago, we piloted My Health Can’t Wait Illinois, informed by research that indicates Black and Hispanic adults deferred care at higher rates throughout the pandemic —thus, reinforcing the inequities facing communities of color in the region. Through both initiatives, we were able to reach millions of individuals with resources that can guide them to receive the healthcare they need.

physician in PPE face mask with mother and child patient

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