Johnson & Johnson Shares the Stories of 7 People Who Inspired in 2022

Originally published at Johnson & Johnson is a Hall of Fame company.


As 2022 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and some of the memorable people we met along the way.

It’s also a good time to look back on some of the strides Johnson & Johnson made over the past year toward its core mission: helping create a healthier world for everyone, everywhere.

The people who inspired us in 2022 are proof positive that the actions of a single individual can have a tremendous ripple effect. Here are their stories.

1. A Johnson & Johnson Researcher Whose Personal Loss Inspired Her Career Path

Deepu Madduri, M.D., Senior Medical Director at Janssen Oncology was in medical school when her beloved grandmother died of colon cancer. Distraught by the loss, she thought to herself, “This is a field I should go into.”

Today, Dr. Madduri is charged with running a global Phase 3 clinical trial on CAR-T therapy in multiple myeloma patients. She believes this research could potentially be a game-changer. “The median survival time is less than 12 months for myeloma patients,” she says. “What we’re finding is that new immunotherapy approaches are offering more options and more hope.”


2. A Mom Whose Kids Are Living With a Disease That Causes Blindness

Retinitis pigmentosa is a type of inherited retinal disease (IRD) that involves the degeneration and loss of cells in the retina — the tissue lining the back of the eye that detects light and color — and eventually leads to blindness. When Allison Galloway’s children were diagnosed with the uncommon genetic disorder not quite 10 years ago, she asked about next steps and was told, “There’s really nothing you can do about this.” That answer wasn’t good enough for Galloway, who ultimately turned to genetic testing.


3. A Physician Who’s Helping Boost Clinical Trial Participation in Historically Underserved Groups

It’s a well-known fact that there’s a huge disparity among races, ethnicities and genders when it comes to clinical trial participation. When that happens, trial results reflect an inaccurate picture of whether therapies are safe and effective for the patients who will be using them.

That’s why the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Merck are co-sponsoring and funding the National Medical Fellowships Diversity in Clinical Trials Research (NMF Dctr) program, which trains clinicians of color to serve as Principal Investigators in clinical research. Ronald Rembert Jr., M.D. — a family medicine physician in Chicago with experience running clinics and organizations in communities of color — is part of the first cohort of doctors in the NMF Dctr program.


4. A Woman With Multiple Sclerosis Who’s Spreading Awareness — and Hope — About the Disease

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease resulting in damage that can interrupt the normally smooth flow of signals from the nerves to the brain and back. It causes symptoms like vision problems, numbness and tingling — the very symptoms Jenna Green experiences as an MS patient.

And yet MS is not always as debilitating as many believe; in fact, many of the complications are preventable or manageable, due in large part to the more than 20 disease-modifying therapies available that, when started early in the course of the illness, can prevent relapses, stave off disability and help people with MS lead normal, healthy lives.


5. A Transgender Woman Who Underwent Gender-Affirming Facial Feminization Surgery

Gender-affirmation surgery, also known as gender-confirmation surgery, is a name for medical procedures that help people transition to their self-identified gender. This year, Lynn Discenza — engineering executive, runner, church leader, parent to four grown children and transgender woman — completed the two-part procedure for facial feminization.

“When you’re a cis woman, no one addresses you as the wrong gender,” says Discenza. “As a trans woman, I wanted to overcome misgendering for my mental health and my physical safety. For instance, I travel across the country for work. These days, I can go into gas stations anywhere without worrying that I will be targeted for being different.”


6. A Tuberculosis Survivor Who Became a TB Researcher, Activist and Advocate in Africa

In 2012, Zolelwa Sifumba, M.D., was in her fourth year of medical school when she was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) — a form of TB that doesn’t respond to the most powerful anti-TB drugs. “When I looked up the statistics on MDR-TB, I found that only 40% of patients make it through,” says Dr. Sifumba. “I knew this would be the fight of my life.”


7. A Johnson & Johnson Employee Who Led the Effort to Help Colleagues in Ukraine

Johnson & Johnson has a long history of sending supplies and donations to people all over the world during times of trouble, including the Syrian refugee crisisHurricane Michael, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and most recently the crisis in Ukraine.

Even so, the company’s employees in neighboring Warsaw, Poland, wanted to do their own part to help coworkers in Ukraine by sending them care packages. It was Tomasz Piechal, General Manager for Central Eastern Europe at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in Warsaw, who coordinated the effort, mobilizing a group of 180-plus employees in Poland to get more than 4,000 boxes of food and care items to colleagues in Ukraine.



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