Baxter Advocates on Behalf of Diverse Patient Populations

Baxter Advocates on Behalf of Diverse Patient Populations

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Charles Cush serves breakfast to veterans during the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses' Community Breakfast and Health Fair.

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 12:15pm

CAMPAIGN: Case Studies in Sustainability

CONTENT: Article

Case Study: Baxrter Advocates on Behalf of Diverse Patient Populations

Baxter engages in a variety of advocacy and community outreach efforts throughout the year to educate policymakers on issues affecting patients. These efforts also provide opportunities outside of the office for Baxter employees to voluntarily engage and raise awareness of healthcare disparities and diseases that disproportionately impact the populations they represent.

"It is a rewarding experience to see the positive impact Baxter is making on patients," said Charles Cush, senior director of marketing, who served breakfast to attendees of the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) held in September 2012. "It's one of the reasons I came to work at Baxter."

Cush was one of several Baxter African-American Leadership Council Business Resource Group (BRG) members who attended the conference, where the company sponsored the CBC Spouses' Community Breakfast and Health Fair. Delegates from Baxter served breakfast to veterans alongside elected officials and manned a table with information about end-stage renal disease. The event enabled the group to engage with individuals who are often at risk for significant health issues, including diabetes, which can be a precursor to end-stage renal disease. Members of Baxter's African-American Leadership Council also took part in the annual policy briefing and attended various sessions concerning healthcare issues.

That same month, members of the Latinos@Baxter BRG flew to Washington, D.C. during Hispanic Heritage Month to take part in the 35th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Gala and Latino Brunch hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Inc. (CHCI), of which the company was a sponsor. Baxter delegates met with elected officials affiliated with CHCI and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and discussed healthcare issues and legislation important to patients. The Latinos@Baxter BRG also took part in the 2012 CHCI High School Latino Leaders in D.C. program, in which they sponsored four Chicago-area high school students on a week-long program in the capital to develop leadership skills, meet with leaders, visit historic sites and become inspired to impact their own communities.

"Being able to take part in those discussions on behalf of the Latino patients that Baxter impacts was really meaningful for us," said Francisco Rausa, III, senior manager of research at Baxter, who attended with other members of Latinos@Baxter. "We were honored to have been able to help make the D.C. experience possible for emerging young leaders as well."

Baxter's business resource groups, such as Latinos@Baxter and the African American Leadership Council, support the company's business goals and aim to enhance personal growth and multicultural understanding, while strengthening relationships among employees and with customers and community partners. Baxter has five business resource groups—which also include the Asian Leadership Network, Baxter Equality Network and Building Women Leaders—and more are in development.

Advocates from Baxter's Building Women Leaders BRG attended the fourth annual Healthcare Summit in November 2012, hosted by the Women in Government (WIG). With participants that included 45 female women state legislators from around the country, the summit focused on state implementation of federal healthcare reform; increased awareness about diabetes, oncology and rare diseases; and chronic disease prevention and management. Baxter's delegates attended sessions about issues of high interest to the company and its patients, including women's health, the changing role of pharmacists, transmission of hospital acquired infections, and policies and legislation related to Alzheimer's disease.

"This was a great learning experience for me and definitely made me have a stronger appreciation for the role that healthcare can play in government, beyond actual legislation," said Melanie Neal, director of operations in the United States for Baxter's Medical Products business.

Finishing off the year with a trip to the capital in December, delegates from Baxter's Asian Leadership Network visited with seven Asian American and Pacific Islander Congressional Caucus leaders. They addressed healthcare issues affecting the Asian American community, including access; language barriers and disparities in care; increasing awareness of and screening for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV; and enhancing data collection for Asian groups. As a result of the visit, the Asian Leadership Network identified opportunities to continue engagement with stakeholders including policy makers, patients and physicians and shared feedback with Baxter business leaders regarding potential collaboration opportunities.

"It was wonderful to connect with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) policy makers and leaders," said Michelle Luo, director, market access for Baxter's Medical Products business. "Some of them even commented that we were the first company to do so."

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