I am very fortunate to work at GSK where volunteer work is encouraged and where our goal is to run a responsible, values-based business. In 2009, GSK launched PULSE--an initiative that empowers employees to make a sustainable difference for communities and patients in need, and at the same time supports employees' development. Employees are given an opportunity to use their professional skills and knowledge during an immersion experience within a non-profit or non-governmental organization. This week I embark on a PULSE assignment!
For 13 years before joining the pharmaceutical industry in 2000, I was a full-time, hospital-based pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine physician. Today, I lead the GSK clinical and medical affairs team for vaccines in North America. While my career is now focused on public health, I remain interested in caring for individual patients. Since leaving my hospital-based clinical practice I have kept my clinical skills current through volunteering as a summer camp physician and through other community service. A few years ago I began volunteering with the non-profit organization Rotaplast. Rotaplast is a non-profit humanitarian organization providing free reconstructive cleft palate/cleft lip operations and treatment for children in need worldwide.
This week, I depart on the first of two back-to-back medical missions with Rotaplast--first to Udaipur, India, and then to Chittagong, Bangladesh. On these missions, I will be providing pre-operative and post-operative pediatric care. Each mission, our goal is 125 cases, resulting in many new smiles and transformed lives. In the week between the two medical missions, as well as after I return, I will be working on sustainable, quality improvement medical activities for Rotaplast. For instance, one of the projects I am working on is to help link Rotaplast up with non-profits that perform similar operations to create one, central database to record and track patient safety information. This will enable medical teams to find ways to improve care of children around the time of surgery.
Empowerment is a core GSK value. My manager is very supportive of my assignment, and while I'm gone my GSK team will have the opportunity to step into my shoes. I am confident the business will be well served in my absence while also creating growth opportunities for my team.
If you are interested, you can follow a blog of the Rotaplast surgical mission to India and Bangladesh http://rotaplast.typepad.com/missions/. I also plan to post periodic blog entries to More Than Medicine. I'll be back in a few days, coming to you from Udaipur, India.