Dr. Charlotte Jones-Burton
It goes without saying that Dr. Charlotte Jones-Burton’s professional credentials are elite. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine. Prior to arriving at Otsuka, where she serves as VP, global clinical development, nephrology, she held high-level research and development posts at Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck.
But what elevates Jones-Burton as both a person and a professional is her willingness to lead — and her ability to do so effectively and empathetically at a time when the industry is practically crying out for such guidance.
Internally, she is among the leaders of Otsuka’s diversity and inclusion committee, which has taken steps to ensure that the company remains an inclusive place to work and stays focused on issues around health equity. Externally, she cofounded Women of Color in Pharma, a nonprofit designed to support women of color in an industry that hasn’t counted many of them in its leadership ranks.
The 5-year-old group has stepped up its efforts to that end, calling on companies to create a chief equity officer role. Jones-Burton believes that pharma can and must do better by Black Americans and other people of color, particularly in the realms of access to medicines and clinical trials.
She’s one of the few individuals who seems not just up to the challenge, but also equipped to effect real change. This might have something to do with her ability to forge easy, meaningful connections with colleagues and industry leadership alike. “When I went to boarding school, I was one of five Black girls at the school. I learned to create relationships to survive and leverage similarities to thrive,” she told MM+M earlier this year.
Clearly Jones-Burton has embraced the responsibility that comes with mentoring the next generation of women leaders in pharma.