Passion Underpins GSK’s Global Purpose and Local Partnerships

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By Katie Loovis, Director of U.S. Community Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, GlaxoSmithKline

What do Sanlin Town, Shanghai China and Nairobi’s Kibera slum in Kenya have in common?  They are two poor communities where GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) employees are deeply committed to local partnerships and both partnerships were recognized last week as gold standards in global corporate citizenship. 

Katie with BCLC's Stephen Jordan and ARAMARK's Rick Martella (BCLC chairman)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) recognized GSK’s Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education (PHASE) program as a Finalist in the “Best International Ambassador” award during their annual “Citizens Awards” on Thursday, December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC.

PHASE helps combat the devastating spread of diarrheal disease, which takes the lives of three million people every year, most of them children. The spread of this disease can be easily prevented by improving water quality and encouraging people to wash their hands, and that’s just what this GSK program does. GSK provides easy-to-understand children’s books and story cards all while helping improve the local water pipers, pumps, and other important infrastructure.

The Financial Times and Citi recognized the GSK New Citizen Health Care Project (China) as the leading innovative urban healthcare idea in action through their inaugural FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 in New York City. GSK’s program helps the 100,000 migrants in this community, many of whom live in one-room homes without plumbing alongside rancid alleyways, receive critical health education and other holistic services, as well as a respite from their difficult and dangerous life.

The success of both of these award-winning programs is inextricably linked with dedicated and trustworthy non-profit partners.  In China, the Xin Tu Center for Community Health Promotion trains volunteers to run the healthcare center. Throughout Africa, India, and Brazil, our non-profit partners, including the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF), Save the Children, the Millennium Villages Project, Plan International, Pratham (India) and Firjan/SESI (Brazil), work closely with local health and education ministries to bring PHASE into schools and communities.

As a new GSK employee – and former U.S. Chamber BCLC employee – who had the privilege of attending both award ceremonies last week, I was incredibly heartened to see and hear so many people praise how GSK’s employees and programs make a meaningful difference in the lives of people and communities around the world.

This week, I'll have the opportunity to attend two more impressive events: GSK’s IMPACT awards in Raleigh/Durham and a Healthy Communities event with The Atlantic in St. Louis. Improving access to healthcare is one of society's most pressing social challenges, and GSK is committed to bolstering healthy communities, everywhere – from Shanghai to St. Louis.  

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