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Pharma, medtech and diagnostics companies amplify voices for a more equitable Australia during National Reconciliation Week

Health Industry Hub | June 5, 2023 |

In a powerful display of solidarity and commitment, healthcare companies across Australia’s pharma, medtech and diagnostics sectors commemorated National Reconciliation Week 2023. This week-long celebration encouraged all Australians to actively contribute to the creation of a more equitable society through their words and actions.

AbbVie proudly announced its reconciliation journey during this significant week. Nathalie McNeil, Vice President and General Manager of ANZ at AbbVie shared that the company had taken the first step by finalising its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) over the past year. The RAP symbolises the company’s dedication to supporting and advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ms McNeil emphasised the importance of listening and being guided by the voices of these communities. AbbVie also took the opportunity to educate and inform its teams about their role in shaping a different and inclusive future for Australia’s First Peoples, especially leading up to the imminent Voice referendum.

AstraZeneca also embraced the spirit of National Reconciliation Week by hosting a morning tea that featured Geoffrey Bilney, an Indigenous Corporate Engagement Consultant from Macquarie University, as a special guest. Penny George, the Director of Corporate Affairs at AstraZeneca ANZ, expressed her pride in facilitating a discussion about the significance of learning about shared history and the ancient culture of First Nations Peoples.

Baxter Healthcare’s General Manager of ANZ, Brendan Cummins, acknowledged the week as an opportunity for collective exploration of ways to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. With a unique position in the healthcare industry, Baxter recognises that its products and services can have a direct impact on the health of all Australians. Acknowledging the disproportionate impact of chronic illnesses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Baxter feels a responsibility to explore all avenues in solving this pressing social and health problem. The company’s Reconciliation@Baxter employee group in Australia and New Zealand has been instrumental in fostering understanding among local employees, enabling them to appreciate shared histories, cultures, and achievements. Through initiatives like the Reconciliation Action Plan and partnerships with Indigenous communities and organisations, Baxter is actively addressing long-standing disparities in healthcare as part of its global racial justice initiative, “ACT: Activating Change Today.”

Roche Diagnostics Australia proudly welcomed Ray Mahoney, Andrew Goodman, and Vicki Wade as part of their National Reconciliation Week celebrations. These distinguished guests shared their personal journeys and stressed the importance of collaboration with Indigenous communities in co-creating meaningful solutions that improve healthcare access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The day concluded with a screening of the thought-provoking film “Take Heart: Deadly Heart,” shedding light on the devastating toll of rheumatic heart disease on Indigenous communities.

At Sanofi, Corporate Policy Lead Stephen Richardson expressed his delight in hosting Shelley Ware during National Reconciliation Week. The session revolved around the theme “Be a Voice for Generations,” with a key takeaway being the significance of education. Mr Richardson stressed the importance of remaining open and actively seeking opportunities to listen and learn from First Nations peoples.

Gilead Sciences’s Susannah Wade, Associate Director of Public Affairs ANZ, emphasised the importance of all Australians learning about shared histories, cultures, and achievements during National Reconciliation Week. Gilead is acutely aware that First Nations Australians bear a disease burden more than twice that of non-Indigenous Australians. To address this disparity, the company introduced its Reflect RAP 2022–2023, aimed at understanding and supporting First Nations people while working toward reconciliation. As part of the Gilead RAP working group, Ms Wade takes pride in facilitating education and support for colleagues, enabling them to contribute meaningfully to reconciliation efforts and reduce healthcare disparities.

Amgen Australia has also made significant strides in its reconciliation journey over the past year. The company’s commitment to building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is evident in its efforts to create a more inclusive workplace and contribute to a more inclusive society. To reflect on their progress, Amgen employees came together for a special event hosted by their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group. The occasion featured a heartfelt Welcome to Country delivered by Elder Uncle Neil Evers and an inspiring address from guest speaker Brooke Prentis, a proud Wakka Wakka woman. The event provided employees with valuable insights that fostered greater understanding, respect, and unity.

GSK Australia took a unique approach to commemorating National Reconciliation Week by participating in the 2023 Worawa College Reconciliation Sports Carnival. The GSK team actively engaged in various activities, including Indigenous art classes and basketball matches. The day was filled with action and served as an opportunity for the team to deepen their understanding of reconciliation through sports, cultural exchange, and social interaction. GSK remains committed to expanding its vision for reconciliation by continuously learning about the rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

As National Reconciliation Week came to a close, it served as a poignant reminder that reconciliation should not be confined to a single week but should resonate in the hearts, minds, and actions of all Australians. The week reinforced the importance of fostering respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the nation strives for a stronger and more united future.

Through their various initiatives, healthcare companies across the pharma, medtech, and diagnostics sectors demonstrated their ongoing commitment to reconciliation and the pursuit of a fair and equitable Australia.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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