FUNDING AREAS: Global health
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-733-2323
IP TAKE: Roan oversees millions of dollars in public health grants around the world. She has a preference for non-profit partnerships that leverage Pfizer's pharmaceutical expertise.
PROFILE: As vice president of corporate responsibility and reputation at Pfizer, Caroline Roan protects the company's perception in the public eye. And frankly, that's no easy taks. Some Pfizer PR highlights from the last few years: Pfizer was ordered to pay $491 million in civil settlements and criminal fines for illegally marketing an organ transplant drug. The company had to pay the feds some $60 million to fight off bribery charges. Pfizer settled with Brigham Young University to the tune of several billion dollars over the violation of a research agreement regarding the well-advertised pain med Celebrex. And Pfizer was also forced to shell out $2.3 billion in settlement money after pressuring doctors to prescribe unsafe levels of antipsychotic drugs.
There are plenty of other documented examples of Pfizer corporate misbehavior, but the company does have some positive things going for it: (1) Despite a seemingly endless supply of expensive legal battles, the company is very profitable, and (2) Pfizer's charitable arm, the Pfizer Foundation, does some great work in helping people around the world to live healthier lives. Fortunately for Roan's sanity, a big part of her Pfizer reputation-defending job is running the foundation, of which she is president.
Roan came to Pfizer in 2008 with a background in philanthropy and public health. She was on staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, served as associate director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale, and also was a study coordinator at Yale's Department of Internal Medicine. Roan has master's in public administration from Columbia University.
Compared with Pfizer's average legal settlements, its foundation is fairly small. The Pfizer Foundation gives out about $16 million in grants annually. However, $16 million in charitable dollars can go pretty far, and Roan makes sure that it does.
The Pfizer Foundation's global programs prioritize several health areas, including trachoma, malaria, infectious diseases, HIV-related opportunistic infections, and global health generally. The foundation's signature initiative is probably its Global Health Fellows program, which sends Pfizer employees to "key emerging markets" to volunteer for NGOs working on health access issues. Forbes has a glowing piece on international corporate volunteerism and Roan and Pfizer's Global Health Fellows program in particular. According to Forbes, Pfizer and its ilk are changing the development sector in a manner that rivals the Peace Corps.
On the grant side of things, applying for global program support from the Pfizer Foundation is a bit complex, largely because the foundation does a lot of its international giving through intermediaries. Pfizer "oversees" its investments in global health, for example, but the actual grants are made through the King Baudouin Foundation U.S., Give 2 Asia, the TCC Group, and the Resource Foundation.
Regarding its malaria work, Pfizer donates hundreds of millions of doses of the drug Zithromax to combat the disease around the world, but the operations of the antimalarial program are mainly done though the Pfizer Foundation's partners, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And for its HIV-related opportunistic infection efforts, Pfizer works with various NGOs to get its drug Diflucan to needy people in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The Pfizer Foundation believes in effective philanthropic alliances that leverage its pharmaceutical know-how, it seems. Pfizer does, however, have a more typical giving process for the broad category of "health care charitables," which includes domestic health-care work. Information on that application process is available here.