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Organon and BMS take significant steps towards reconciliation

Health Industry Hub | May 3, 2023 |

Organon Australia has launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to support First Nations communities in health, spiritual wellbeing, and caring for Country. Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Australia has also pledged its formal support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart as part of its ongoing commitment to reconciliation.

The RAP is a significant step in Organon’s two year journey. To demonstrate its commitment to reconciliation, the company signed the Uluru Statement from the Heart on National Sorry Day 2022 and is supporting a YES vote in the upcoming referendum for a Voice to Parliament.

“To mark this important milestone in Organon’s journey to reconciliation, and a demonstration of our organisations values, we are also pleased to announce a collaboration with Macquarie University and Walanga Muru which supports positive Indigenous higher education reform” said Nirelle Tolstoshev, Managing Director Organon Australia and New Zealand.

She added “Macquarie University is our local tertiary institution, and this partnership is further demonstration of our commitment to make a positive impact to healthy lifestyles, and advance equity through education and opportunity.”

Dr Leanne Holt, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy, Macquarie University said, “Walanga Muru and Macquarie University are really excited to be partnering with wonderful organisations like Organon. It provides a great opportunity to build respectful and reciprocal relationships that can contribute to positive outcomes for our first Nations’ students and communities.”

BMS Australia Managing Director, Leah Goodman, emphasised the importance of respectful listening, deepening relationships, and connections in achieving reconciliation. She also acknowledged the significant inequalities experienced by First Nations people in Australia, including high rates of chronic heart disease, infant mortality, and low life expectancy.

“As a contributor to this country’s healthcare system, we have a responsibility to understand and respond to the unique cultural and healthcare needs of First Nations peoples. The Uluru Statement from the Heart will be a vehicle for Closing the Gap, ensuring First Nations peoples have a say in policies affecting their communities. Self-determination is a guiding principle of the Statement, and self-determination in healthcare policy is essential in addressing structural inequalities,“ said Ms Goodman.

She highlighted BMS Australia’s responsibility to understand and respond to the unique cultural and healthcare needs of First Nations people, and recognised the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a vehicle for addressing structural inequalities and ensuring that First Nations people have a say in policies affecting their communities.

BMS Australia has already taken action towards reconciliation by delivering on its Reflect RAP and has started designing its Innovate RAP, with plans to launch later this year.

By supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, BMS Australia joins other pharma companies in recognising that it represents a way forward for all Australians to build a more reconciled country. Ms Goodman expressed the company’s commitment to learning more about the Uluru Statement in the coming months, calling it a key moment in Australia’s history and emphasising the importance of being part of the conversation.

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