Originally published in WAPO,

My uncle was a paraplegic because of a polio infection when he was six years old. By the time I reached the same age, I was so inspired by the care my uncle received that I decided I wanted to be a doctor. Years later when I entered Howard University College of Medicine in 1976, I learned that my uncle’s story of excellent care and a fruitful life well into his seventies was atypical for people of color affected by polio. Theirs were stories of racism, mistreatment and denial of care.

That settled it for me: moving from health disparity to health equity, finding a way to deliver care to those denied, delivering healing for all no matter their race and creating healthier communities across the globe were to be my life’s work.

2020 has been a year of awakenings and re-awakenings for all people and across all industries. In this time of covid-19 and increased awareness of racial injustice, the biopharmaceutical industry is critical to the health of all citizens of our nation and the world. More than ever, the discovery and manufacturing of medicines to treat people of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds is essential to good health outcomes. To continue achieving this, the biopharmaceutical industry must take a greater leadership role in eliminating health disparities and creating health equity. I have worked in medicine development and corporate leadership for nearly three decades. If there has ever been a time to lean in, it is now.

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