The importance of health literacy in health equity
Q: Describe your role at Mirati?
A: At Mirati, I am one of the Sr. Regional Health Outcomes Directors who provide clinical and pharmacoeconomic data to healthcare decision makers across the US.
Q: What made you pursue a career in Pharma and specifically a role that allows you to influence the change of health outcomes?
A: As the medical point of contact for national payers and integrated delivery networks (IDNs), I have the opportunity to impact patient outcomes from a global perspective by educating healthcare decision-makers on the most up-to-date clinical & value-based data so they can make informed decisions regarding the populations they serve.
Q: As a clinician by trade, what made you want to take a role at Mirati?
A: As a patient advocate, I have been able to impact patient care in the community pharmacy space and the inpatient hospital setting. My transition to Mirati provided a unique opportunity to utilize my core clinical sets to educate and evangelize vital information to decision-makers across the US, so they can make the best decision for the large population of patients they serve.
Q: The Office of Minority Health has announced that the theme of National Minority Health Month (this month) is “Better Help Through Better Understanding”. What are your thoughts on the connectivity between of health literacy and the gap in health equity?
A: An investment in health literacy is an investment in health equity. The need to improve the quality of care all healthcare Americans receive, remains a critical goal. To achieve this goal, one must evaluate what information is delivered to patients, because this is an indicator of quality. To delivery high quality safe and high value cares, healthcare ecosystems must provide information that people can easily find, understand, and use, so if we want to achieve health equity, we need to make health literacy a priority.
Q: From your perspective, what are the biggest barriers to health equity, specifically for cancer patients?
A: In order to advance health equity here in the US, we must address the multitude of structural barriers in place. Some of these include the lack of people of color in clinical research, the dearth of appropriate representation of people of color in oncology-both clinical and industry, and institutional inequities such as the lack of community partnerships to promote engagement of core medical needs.
Q: Mirati launched the HBCU Speaker Series which is designed to address one of our core goals of developing the next generation of STEM leaders, especially with the communities of color who are largely underrepresented. Can you elaborate on how this program came to life and the projected impact this will have on PharmD and PH.D. students attending Historical Black Colleges and Universities?
A: The HBCU Speaker Series was born from the internal DEI committee, specifically the community pillar. One of the primary goals of the community pillar is to transform our relationships with local communities across the US through active partnerships across healthcare and education. The HBCU speaker series aids in this cultivation of exposing underrepresented PharmD and Ph.D. students to non-traditional career paths, such as opportunities to work in biotechnology Pharma industries. Pharma plays a vital role in advancing health equity, and having people employed that represent the communities we serve is an essential component to reaching DEI goals in clinical research and beyond.
Q: What is your personal perspective of the importance of sustaining a culture of inclusion to strengthen, inspire and cultivate a culture of belonging at Mirati?
A: Data has consistently shown that diverse and inclusive organizations perform better and produce better results. In pharma, developing an internal culture that fosters a sense of inclusivity can also impact how we strategize with external stakeholders to impact health equity across the healthcare continuum.