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One of the core values of Our Credo is caring for the communities where we live and work, and the world community as well. It’s a commitment we take very seriously, and one of the ways Johnson & Johnson fulfils our responsibility is by partnering with hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advance the health of communities locally and around the world. From direct product donations to employee volunteer opportunities to strategic collaborations on philanthropic programs large and small, our work together is making life-changing, long-term differences in the health of people and families around the world. In fact, through contributions of about $1B in products and cash we supported 500+ community programs in more than 60 countries in 2013.

The Worldwide Corporate Contributions is focused on three areas: saving and improving the lives of women and children, preventing disease among the most vulnerable, and strengthening the health care workforce. Our NGO partners, many with which we have worked for years, are doing amazing things. Learn more here.

At the end of 2013, two Johnson & Johnson leaders from our Medical Devices & Diagnostics (MD&D) group took on new adventures assisting communities far from home. Nuno Barboza, Vice President IT & Chief Information Officer, MD&D EMEA, and Suzanne Fiorino, Senior Director Strategy, Analytics and Sustainability, were given the chance to participate in on-site visits with two organizations we partner with, AmeriCares and Heart to Heart International. Below, Nuno and Suzanne share their most memorable experiences during their travels.

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Nuno Barboza

Nuno traveled to El Salvador in October with a group of J&J employees and members of the AmeriCares organization. AmeriCares has been supporting health care providers in El Salvador since 1986. For more than 10 years AmeriCares has been operating a Family Clinic in Santiago de Maria that provides high quality healthcare to people in the region – seeing over 5,700 patients every month.

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We can do so much with so little! The hope and happiness our group was able to bring to many children, patients and healthcare providers in El Salvador is something I will never forget.

The entire experience was fantastic, but three moments will stay with me forever: In the only pediatric hospital in El Salvador, and especially in the oncology area, we met with children suffering from cancer, saw premature babies swaddled in “NICU” units, and children with other ailments from internal injuries to anemia. Even through all of this, I could see the smiles we brought with the small gifts we presented to the children there, how it made their day so much better, and their hope to get better with the help AmeriCares and others are providing. As one of the hospital administrators said, they only have two rules for these visitors… “Bring a smile and come back.”

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The second moment was in the school we visited. Children had been waiting for us for hours; yet, their energy was amazing. One child I spoke with was concerned that her friend was not there at that moment when we were delivering gift bags. She was selfless in her concern. The children’s eyes were full of true joy by receiving just a few gifts from us.

The third memorable moment was when I saw our products on the shelf of a local clinic warehouse, and the impact that our company donations can have in improving quality of life and healthcare around the world. I was really proud to see J&J products on those shelves! I was also so impressed with the AmeriCares organization. The staff was amazing, super friendly, and they had the entire event very organized. I am excited for any similar opportunity to be available in the future!

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Suzanne Fiorino
Suzanne traveled to Haiti at the end of November this year, along with fellow J&J employees and members of Heart to Heart International.

I will always remember what one Haitian said to us during the trip: “Americans work to make things perfect, Haitians work to make things possible.” It was moments like that which helped me appreciate the resilient nature of the Haitian people.

We saw lots of possibilities in the work that Heart to Heart International is doing in partnership with the people of Haiti and supported by companies such as Johnson & Johnson:. There is a new medical clinic in Bleck, soon to be followed by a new school. We got to see the land purchased by the people of Cascade Pichon for the new schoolhouse to be built this spring, replacing the small school that currently houses 300 children.

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We also visited several medical clinics of all shapes and sizes: a portable clinic, which is a mile high up into the mountains, and run weekly by Haitian medical professionals on staff with Heart to Heart; a ‘clinic in a can’ in Fondwa – which is a donated ‘box car’ requiring costly transport into the mountainous area due to the difficult terrain; and finally, the clinic and laboratory housed in the former choir area of a church in the Bel-Air section of downtown Port-au-Prince that opened after the 2010 earthquake.

Everywhere we were greeted by hospitable and welcoming people. All expressing appreciation, but also highlighting the extreme need in their region. While the entire experience will always be special to me, there were a few moments that I will always remember:

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First, access to health care takes on a different meaning in the remote areas of a country like Haiti, where critically ill people sometimes must be pulled on a board by people walking more than five hours to get treatment.

Second, drivable roads, electricity and clean water are a given here in the United States, but are a wish in many parts of Haiti.

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And third, as we traveled around much of Southeastern Haiti (the Sud-Est), the vast geographic and socio-economic differences were astounding. But we were very welcome at all the venues we visited whether in the city, country, mountain, or along the shore. A big thank you goes out to Heart to Heart International for the tremendous work they do in partnership with the people of Haiti.

The opportunity to work with these two remarkable organizations, AmeriCares and Heart to Heart International, is a special one. Inspiring stories like these are great examples of how J&J employees have followed the values established by Our Credo and are making changes in our global community!

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