Perspective from Vitor Rocha Chief Market Leader of Philips North America
Estimated reading time: 6-8 minutes
Nearly five years ago, Philips launched its “There’s Always a Way to Make Life Better” campaign. More than a slogan, this powerful core belief has become a rallying cry in the face of COVID-19, that drives us to make a difference every day. The urge to make life better expands beyond our life saving healthcare solutions in hospitals across the country and around the globe and into our corporate social responsibility programs and ongoing efforts to support our partners and individuals in need.
There have been several initiatives that have arisen as the pandemic continues to grip the country and I’m proud of our most recent efforts with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, March of Dimes, MedShare and healthcare workers on the front lines who are putting themselves and their families at risk to help others. We have also come together as an organization as we bear witness to the racial injustices that continue to affect our society. Philips reaffirms our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are having the important conversations to drive change, encouraging our team to take advantage of 32 hours of paid time off for community service, and supporting organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and others.
Supporting our nation’s veterans and honoring military caregivers is a continuous theme at Philips and why we partner with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation on an ongoing basis. COVID-19 poses a new challenge for our military heroes and their families who may find themselves at an elevated risk for the disease. In the coming weeks, Philips and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation will once again team up to raise funds to address the pressing needs of this precious community.
Philips has supported March of Dimes programs that reach more than 40 states. Most recently, Puerto Rico needed assistance for new mothers. While the U.S. territory’s energy infrastructure is still recovering from Hurricane Maria and an earthquake earlier this year, electricity throughout the island is unreliable. As a result, hospitals banned the use of electric breast pumps in an effort to preserve electricity needed for essential equipment used to fight against COVID-19. To address the need, Philips shipped hundreds of manual breast pumps to 12 neonatal intensive care units so that mothers can stay onsite with their newborns rather than transport milk back and forth from home to hospital.
Philips and March of Dimes have also teamed up to support Yale School of Medicine’s Community Health Care Van which serves New Haven’s most impoverished areas. Due to COVID-19, new mothers were skipping their postpartum doctor’s visits for fear of exposure. The bus-turned-clinic visits the community providing free health care services. Philips donated its Avent baby monitors, Thermal Gel Pads and pacifiers which were in gift bags distributed to patients who otherwise may not have access to these helpful items.
The urge to make life better expands beyond our life saving healthcare solutions in hospitals across the country and around the globe and into our corporate social responsibility programs and ongoing efforts to support our partners and individuals in need.
Chief Market Leader of Philips North America
Another challenge in the fight against COVID-19 is addressing the influx of patients in underserved communities which have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Working with MedShare, a non-profit focused on humanitarian aid, the Philips Foundation is helping the organization to equip 170 free and safety net clinics in North America and over 40 homeless shelters in the southeastern part of the U.S. with protective supplies that allow clinicians to work in safety.
Along with efforts to help individuals gain access to care, Philips is laser focused on supporting our healthcare professionals with equipment and supplies. Last month, led by our Personal Health team, Philips sent 2,500 shavers to hospitals across the U.S. to help medical professionals comply with the CDC's facial hair guidelines that require removal of any hair growth between the skin and respirator masks to ensure a tight seal. The response was favorable so we are in the process of broadening this initiative by sending more than $1 million worth of Norelco grooming products to hospitals throughout the country to help keep our brave front line workers safe.
This year, Philips marked its 129th anniversary since its founding in 1891, and this is an extraordinary time in history to be a company focused entirely on health technology. In this role, my colleagues and I feel a responsibility to support our military veterans and their caregivers, moms and the babies they care for, our underserved communities and our healthcare professionals. While there is always more to be done, we begin each day with the belief that there’s always a way to make life better.