Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s touches of compassion impact communities around the world - Bristol Myers Squibb - Our stories
Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s touches of compassion impact communities around the world
Health equity has been a buzzword the past few years. But it’s been woven into the fabric of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s mission for more than two decades, bringing help and hope to people around the world who are often seemingly forgotten.
BMS is a company that cares about the entire patient. And their support of the Foundation allows us to develop and test models of care that ensure vulnerable populations can benefit from medical innovations.”
John Damonti, President, BMS Foundation
He said the Foundation’s reach is deep, and has the ability to function like a public health institute, identifying gaps in care and taking a long-term approach by creating programs and systems to help people regardless of where they live.
And you can see those touches of compassion all over the globe.
Helping cancer patients in southern Africa
You can see them in the small country of Lesotho in sub-Saharan Africa, where last year the Senkatana Oncology Clinic’s local health care professionals administered the first-ever chemotherapy infusion in that country.
The facility has brought hope to the resource-constrained country, where cancer survival rates are far lower than in some higher-income countries. And it keeps patients from having to travel several hours to receive treatment. The Foundation team worked on the planning of the center and supported its efforts with a three-year, $1 million grant.
It’s not the first time the Foundation has provided life-changing help in Lesotho. Two decades earlier, it partnered with the government and community-based organizations to create the Senkatana Center, which was the first adult HIV treatment program in the country.
Damonti said the work on HIV was successful and that people began living longer on effective treatment. That gave the Foundation the opportunity to focus on non-communicable diseases such as cancer and to help build capacity for better diagnosis and care.
New name and partners for clinical trials program
You can see touches of compassion in the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program, which started in 2021 to increase the diversity of people participating in trials in the United States.
The program was renamed last year to honor Winn, the first African American director of a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. He is a passionate advocate for diversity in medicine and chairs the Winn Awards National Advisory Committee. The Clinical Trials Award Program is a six-year, $100 million commitment from the Foundation.
Damonti said the program welcomed two new funding partners last year: Gilead Sciences Inc. committed $14 million over four years last April, and Amgen pledged $8 million over three years in January of this year. As of early 2023, the program had trained 114 early-stage investigator physicians and provided 44 diverse medical students with an immersive experience in community-based clinical research toward its goal of over 300 in both tracks of the program.
It’s a program that will create the next generation of community-trained clinical investigators who can work on the front lines of recruiting diverse patients into clinical trials.”
John Damonti, President, BMS Foundation
Supporting disaster relief around the world
And those touches of compassion are apparent in how the Foundation responds during disasters and other major events around the world. The Foundation and the company donated $1.2 million last year to organizations helping in the crisis in Ukraine. The Foundation also matched employee donations to nonprofits providing aid there.
This year, the Foundation and the company donated $1.1 million to four nonprofits helping people in Türkiye and Syria recover from devastating earthquakes in February. In addition, BMS Türkiye donated 200,000 TRY, which is $10,000, to support medical needs. The Foundation also matched employee donations globally.
Building on the work in 2023
Damonti said this year the Foundation will continue its work in Brazil, which will have a focus on the health of Black Brazilians, and in Africa programs, where the Foundation is developing more integrated systems to address cervical cancer, the number one cancer killer of women in Eastern and Southern regions of the continent.
The Foundation will also look at refocusing and building out its work on gastric, lung and liver cancer in Taiwan and China.
More touches of compassion being added to those already under way.