How Johnson & Johnson Is Helping Give Babies in Haiti a Safe Place to Sleep

The cause of supporting women and babies is one that's long been near and dear to Johnson & Johnson.

(Originally published on

When Hurricane Irma—the strongest observed in the Atlantic Ocean in over a decade—touched down this past fall in the United States and the Caribbean, it mercifully spared much of the country of Haiti.

The bad news: Haiti is still rebuilding from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which ravaged the island in October 2016. When the storm hit, Haiti already had the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere—in 2016, nearly 25 babies died there each day for every 1,000 births. That's six times more deaths than the U.S. saw each day that year.

Since then, due to Matthew's destruction of numerous hospitals dedicated to women's health services, resources for expectant and new moms have deteriorated significantly. So this past fall, The Baby Box Co., Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Haiti joined forces to provide 2,500 baby boxes through the end of 2017 to mothers in areas hardest hit by the hurricane and other regions in Haiti where maternal health resources are especially limited.

The Promise of a Simple Cardboard Box 

Why baby boxes? Even before Hurricane Matthew hit, many homes in Haiti lacked clean water, proper sanitation and reliable electricity—problems that have only gotten worse. These simple, durable cardboard boxes provide a safe place for newborns to sleep until they are able to pull themselves up. They also come stocked with infant care essentials, as well as health tools tailored to local needs, like insecticide-treated mosquito nets for use in areas where malaria is a concern.

Furthermore, there's evidence that baby box programs that integrate local health, education and social support lead to better infant and maternal wellness outcomes. In Finland, for instance, a program that enables every expecting woman to claim a free baby box once she receives prenatal care and parenting information from a healthcare provider has been credited with helping the country achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates.

It was hearing about this Finnish program that inspired Jennifer Clary and Michelle Vick—best friends since childhood—to found The Baby Box Co. And their goal isn't just to distribute boxes: The company is dedicated to teaching parents about safe sleep and providing childcare information through Baby Box University, an online educational platform. The Baby Box Co. also furthers its mission to reach families globally by partnering with hospitals, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

That's why "The Baby Box Co. is proud to support UNFPA's outstanding work for vulnerable populations around the world," Clary says. "This immediate baby box relief effort in Haiti is paving the way for other global initiatives, in collaboration with UNFPA."

The baby boxes distributed in Haiti were outfitted with a firm waterproof mattress and additional newborn necessities, including diapers, blankets, booties and bibs. Beyond offering these crucial creature comforts to new moms, the Haiti initiative came with an added component: Mothers received the boxes for free as an incentive for them to return to one of eight clinics for subsidized pre- and postnatal care in an effort to help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates in Haiti.

The cause of supporting women and babies is one that's long been near and dear to Johnson & Johnson, starting in the 1890s, when the company produced first-of-their-kind maternity kits to help skilled birth attendants ensure safe births.

"Since before Hurricane Matthew, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with UNFPA to strengthen healthcare for mothers during pregnancy and after delivery in countries ranging from Mexico to Zanzibar," explains Joy Marini, Global Director, Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact. "Working with The Baby Box Co., we now have the opportunity to give Haitian mothers the education and essential supplies that any mother needs, especially in difficult circumstances."

Sweet Slumber for Babies—and Sweet Relief for Moms 

As the boxes were distributed at a clinic in Marigot, in southeast Haiti, mothers waited patiently with babies in their arms, eager for a glimpse inside.

Magguy Brisson spoke confidently on behalf of the 20 moms in attendance: "I take the liberty to speak for all of us to recognize the importance of this box for the well-being of my baby girl. She is my second child, and I am relieved to not have to go through the burden of lacking a secure bed for her, as I did for my firstborn."

And it wasn't just mothers who were at the clinic that day. Dashka Mentor was there with her husband, Stephan Jean Baptiste, who proudly held his 3-week-old daughter, Darcy Jean Baptiste.

"We may be young, Stephan and I, but we are very much in love with one another," Mentor said. "We intend to spend our life together. Darcy will be overindulged, and the first step to her well-being is a decent bed for her to sleep in. The baby box is a true blessing."

Three weeks later, in follow-up visits to their homes in Marigot and the town of Jacmel, mothers who'd received baby boxes remained enthusiastic about their importance to their infants.

Jocelène Guillaume, for instance, explained how, in many Haitian households, mothers share their beds with their babies, believing it forges a stronger parent-child connection. Today, she now confidently uses her baby box as a safe place for her child to nap and play.

Mentor, too, was delighted to show off baby Darcy, happily nestled in her box.

"I am so grateful for this contribution," Mentor said. "It offers me a feeling of peace at night."

Learn more about career opportunities at Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson Announces Acceptance of Binding Offer From Platinum Equity To Acquire LifeScan, Inc.

LifeScan, Inc. is a world leader in blood glucose monitoring and maker of the OneTouch® brand of products.


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson announced that it has accepted the binding offer from Platinum Equity, previously announced on March 16, 2018, to acquire its LifeScan business for approximately $2.1 billion. LifeScan, Inc. is a world leader in blood glucose monitoring and maker of the OneTouch® brand of products.

Read More Show Less

Johnson & Johnson Announces Progress Toward Health for Humanity Goals

Annual Health for Humanity Report Discloses Progress on Global Commitments and Highlights Key Achievements Toward Eradicating and Preventing Disease, Reimagining Care Delivery and Promoting Lifelong Health


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson today released its 2017 Health for Humanity Report, demonstrating its approach and the considerable progress it has made toward an ambitious social, environmental and governance commitment to advance the Company's mission to drive better health for all.

Read More Show Less

Johnson & Johnson: New Study Is First to Find Short, Intensive Workplace Wellness Intervention Provided Improvements in Employee Vitality and Purpose in Life

2.5-day behavioral intervention was associated with statistically significant sustained improvements in quality of life and wellbeing


Originally Published by Johnson & Johnson.

A new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion is the first to demonstrate that a short, intensive workplace wellness intervention can produce sustained improvements in wellbeing. Specifically, the study found that a 2.5-day intervention led to sustained improvements in employee vitality (energy levels) and purpose in life, two important components of wellbeing, over a period of six months. There have been studies on the value and importance of these components, but this is the first study to demonstrate they can be improved through a workplace wellness intervention. The study was led by nutrition scientists at Tufts University, with contributions from two additional authors from Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions.

Read More Show Less

Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

On November 1st, the National Organization on Disability held our Corporate Leadership Council Fall Luncheon and Roundtable. Hosted at Sony's New York offices, the event centered on the topic of mental health in the workplace.

Members of our Board of Directors and executives from nearly 40 companies held a candid conversation, heard from business leaders, and participated in an insightful Q&A where successful strategies were discussed to accommodate and support employees with mental illness in the workplace.

"Mental illness is the single biggest cause of disability worldwide," said Craig Kramer, a panelist at the event and Chair of Johnson & Johnson's Global Campaign on Mental Health. "One out of four people will have a clinically diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives," he continued. Another 20 to 25% of the population will be caregivers to loved ones with a mental illness.

The costs are staggering. "In the coming decades, mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of all chronic diseases, more than cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases combined…. It's trillions of dollars," said Kramer.

From an employer's perspective, the need for a successful strategy to deal with mental illness in the workplace is clear. But what are the most effective ways to confront this challenge? Roundtable participants discussed a wide range of ideas and success stories aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating the issue into wider conversations around talent, productivity, and inclusion.


  1. Be empathetic. "The most important workplace practice [with respect to mental health] is empathy," said NOD President Carol Glazer. Empathy is critical for normalizing conversations about mental health, but also for maximizing productivity. "A feeling of psychological safety is important," said Lori Golden, a panelist and Abilities Strategy Leader for Ernst & Young; and this sense of safety requires the empathy of colleagues to flourish.
  2. Tell stories. "Nothing is more activating of empathy than for people to share their powerful stories," said Dr. Ronald Copeland, NOD Board member and Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Copeland's organization partners with the renowned nonprofit, Story Corps, to capture the stories of Kaiser Permanente employees, and also provides a platform on the company intranet for employees to communicate in a safe space. Both Craig Kramer and Lori Golden also shared examples of how their companies provide opportunities to share their stories and "start the conversation, break the silence," as Kramer put it.
  3. Model from the top. Carol Glazer received a standing ovation at the luncheon for her account of her own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of executive-level modeling sends a powerful message that a company is committed to improving mental health for all employees. Lori Golden shared how EY had experienced great success with a program where top-level managers host office-specific events and share stories of mental illness or addiction that they are personally connected to – either about their colleagues or loved ones or, in a surprisingly high number of instances, about themselves. Senior leadership setting the example conveys that this is a forum in which employees can feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Communicate peer-to-peer. "We all know that there's greater trust of our own peers than there is of the organization," said Lori Golden. So to build trust, EY "took it to the grass roots," creating formal opportunities for employees to have conversations about mental health and asking other ERGs to co-sponsor these events. Craig Kramer also noted that Johnson & Johnson had simply folded mental health issues into their global disability ERGs, eventually building the world's second-largest mental health ERG by piggy-backing on existing infrastructure and leveraging existing connections.
  5. Be flexible. Accommodating [the fact that people live busy, complex lives] gets you better buy-in…and keeps production pretty high," suggested Dr. Copeland. A representative from one Council company concurred, explaining how their company has recently instituted a new policy of paid time off for caregivers on top of federally-funded leave. "Being in a culture in which we measure what you produce and not whether you show up in person all day, every day, and where if you can't be there, you negotiate how the deliverables will get done and in what time frame…is immensely helpful to people who themselves have mental illness issues or addiction or are caring for those who do and may need some flexibility," summarized Lori Golden.
  6. Build a trustworthy Employee Action Plan. Many employees do not access or even trust their organization's internal resources. According to Craig Kramer, the percentage of calls placed to most company Employee Action Plans (EAPs) regarding mental health is "in the low single digits," while "if you look at your drug spend, you'll find that around 50% is [related to] mental health." The people answering those calls must be trained in mental health issues, and employees also need to be assured that EAPs are truly confidential.

While revealing and accommodating mental illness remains a massive challenge in the workplace and beyond, a number of successful strategies are emerging for tackling this challenge – many of them pioneered by companies in NOD's Corporate Leadership Council.

Starbucks’ Optional Diversity Training Empowers People like Roseanne

Clearly communicated policies and values build corporate diversity success — treating people right is not an option for a well-run company.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc.

By making yesterday's diversity training optional, Starbucks revealed top management indecision about its own principles and how to treat customers.

Read More Show Less