Over the past several years, there has been no shortage of DE&I initiatives in the biotech space. Takeda is adding another to the list, partnering with digital education platform Discovery Education to launch a health equity education project.
The Better Health in Action: From Classroom to Community initiative aims to educate sixth to eighth grade students on health equity issues across science, tech, engineering and math (STEM).
“Health is a building block for success in life,” said Amy Nakamoto, general manager of social impact at Discovery Education, in a statement. “With comprehensive health-focused resources highlighting STEM skills through engaging activities and inspiring career opportunities, Better Health in Action empowers the students of today to effect positive change lifelong.”
The program will encourage students to engage with videos and learning modules that focus on community inequities, and present several ways they can address those inequities in their own lives. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about STEM- and health-related careers that could enable them to make a difference in health equity.
Among the individuals whose careers are profiled in the program are Charlotte Owens, VP and head of the Center for Health Equity and Patient Affairs at Takeda; Craig Kaftan, an associate director of pharmaceutical sciences at Takeda; and Kimbery Aguilar, a manufacturing scientist.
“I know there’s much more to be done before we can achieve health equity — where everyone, everywhere has the opportunity and resources to reach their full health potential,” Owens said in a statement.
The program website notes that it aims to “inspire student changemakers through health equity education.” It cites social determinants of health (specifically, that a child’s life expectancy is predicted more by ZIP code than genetic code) and delves into the significance of these determinants (economic stability, access to healthcare access and more).
Any number of pharma companies and medical marketing agencies have created DE&I initiatives since the summer of 2020, belatedly committing themselves to improving diversity in C-suite leadership and bolstering mentorship programs. Nonetheless, the industry still has a long way to go.