“We Work for Health” Champions

We Work for Health Champions Awards

04.11.13 | By

There is certainly no lack of talent in the biopharmaceutical industry. Every day, employees are working hard in a variety of roles to ensure that patients get the treatments they need. It isn’t just the research scientists in the lab, it’s sales executives and communications staff who go above and beyond to advance research, progress and hope in everything they do.

The We Work for Health Champions Awards recognize these hard working individuals. Awarded annually to industry professionals who have gone outside their job description as advocates for the biopharmaceutical industry, we are thrilled to announce the 2013 class of honorees. Comprised of 11 individuals from disciplines across the industry, these award winners exemplify what it means to drive innovation and advance progress. They not only excel in their everyday roles, but also work on behalf of the industry more broadly. Learn more about these remarkable champions below:


Rodney Gillespie, Executive Business Director, Sales,AstraZeneca, advocates for policies and practices that help support patient health and access to medicines as a member of the Corporate Advisory Council for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), the 21st Century Council for the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) and AZ’s Political Action Committee. 



Dr. Jim Baxter, Senior Vice President, Development, Boehringer Ingelheim, actively supports the biopharmaceutical industry through advocacy with patients, business leaders and public officials. He shared the industry’s economic footprint with members of Congress and boosted coverage of PhRMA’s Research in Your Backyard initiative. 



Dave Matthews, Manager, Environmental Services, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, as the company’s biological safety officer, he oversees animal care and use, water reduction, process safety management and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and excess energy. Since 2004, he has helped the site receive certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council.



Dr. Kristen Hege, Vice President, Translational Medicine, Celgene, has developed a comprenhensive, national strategy for policymaker education and engagement. Along with Celgene’s Corporate Affairs team, Hege has highlighted the research, development and innovation needed to ensure that patients have access to life-changing medicines. 



Jacquelyn Dungey, Manager, Outcome Liaisons, Eli Lilly and Company,has worked tirelessly to ensure the right voices are heard and the right information is seen by Indiana lawmakers and has encouraged the right level of access for patients and protections that ensure a successful environment for medical innovators in the state, while also finding data that proves how pharmaceutical interventions are cost effective, in addition to being life-saving. 


Steve Bushold, Associate Director, Procurement, Merck, advocates for the key role that pharmaceuticals play in the overall treatment of disease, where his goal is to drive business strategy and project planning. He has led the way for Merck to have significant process efficiencies, year over year cost reductions, working capital improvements, better value and innovation. 



Andrew Ajello, Senior Vice President of National Diabetes Sales, Novo Nordisk, took the lead in the company’s drive to increase advocacy, committing his entire leadership team of 61 employees to come to Washington this month for Advocacy Day. He plans to bring 150 sales executives to Washington in the fall for a second Advocacy Day. 



Peggy Staver, Director, Public Integrity, Pfizer, has been traveling to Washington for the past year-and-a-half to push for the enactment of a national tracing program to ensure the integrity of pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain and has been relied on by numerous members of Congress.



Dr. Mark Vaughan, R&D Scientist, Pfizer Consumer Health, has gone beyond his role as a scientist to help his community through various healthcare related initiatives and academic-industrial partnerships, which include volunteering as a pharmacist in a local free-health clinic for the uninsured, traveling on a humanitarian trip to Honduras, and leading discussions on proper diets.



Jaqueline Mitchell, Executive Sales, Professional, Sanofi US, has emerged as a champion of the biopharmaceutical industry through working with Sanofi US’s grassroots program, VOICES, and serving as a “Civic Champion” who educates and recruits fellow employees to be active politically. 



Dr. Jenny Colombo, Vice President, Medical Affairs Strategies & Communications, Takeda, has demonstrated a great passion for community service within the workplace. She has most recently worked with the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to coordinate the volunteer efforts of scientifically-trained Takeda employees to inspire children to continue their education in life sciences.




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