Apr 7, 2021

Building a fairer, and healthier world

Medtronic announces a series of initiatives and funding aimed at reducing global healthcare disparities.

Our world is an unequal one. Where you live and who you are often determines access to quality healthcare.

It should not be this way.

Today, in observance of World Health Day, Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation are announcing several new financial commitments, partnerships, and other measures aimed at eliminating healthcare disparities around the globe. These include several initiatives focused  on improving health equity for people of color living with diabetes in the United States and a partnership between the Medtronic Foundation and Children’s HeartLink to build capacity for access to heart surgery for children living in India, Brazil, and China through financial support and employee engagement.

The commitments announced today underscore the company’s long-standing work to expand global access to quality healthcare and eliminate disparities whenever, and however, we can.

“Not only are we tackling equity in healthcare through our philanthropic efforts with the Medtronic Foundation, our businesses are stepping up to fill gaps in access where socioeconomic issues have historically prevented people of color from getting access to the treatment they need and deserve,” said Medtronic CEO and Chairman Geoff Martha.

A gift from the heart -- $2.5 million to Children’s HeartLink

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Photo courtesy of the Medtronic Foundation.

Congenital heart disease is the worldwide leading cause of death from a non-communicable disease for people under the age of 30. And yet, inequities within global healthcare systems often prevent children in underserved communities from getting life-saving heart surgeries.

That’s why Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation have been long-time supporters of Children’s HeartLink, which trains medical volunteer teams in India, China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Vietnam to treat children with heart disease.

Announced today at the Global Minnesota World Health Day 2021 Symposium, the new $2.5 million sponsorship from the Medtronic Foundation – given in honor of former Medtronic CEO and Chairman Omar Ishrak –  is the largest to date for Children’s HeartLink, and builds capacity to provide heart surgeries for up to 10,000 children in Brazil, India, and China.

The new multi-year partnership will tap Medtronic employees’ skills and talents in areas like clinical and medical education and training, technology development, market access, data science, and analytics.  

“We are honored to partner with Medtronic Foundation and help thousands more children, and the impact of health worker training will be felt for generations to come,” said Jackie Boucher, Children’s HeartLink president. “This partnership gives 10,000 children the chance for a joyful childhood and the opportunity to lead productive adult lives.”  

Video courtesy of the Medtronic Foundation

Course correcting health disparities in communities of color – supporting diabetes research and technology

More than 1 in 10 people in the United States, around 34.2 million, live with diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control. Marginalized racial and ethnic groups have a higher burden of diabetes including African American people and Hispanic people who are twice as likely to die from complications of their disease.[i][ii]

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To help reduce these disparities and others, Medtronic is making significant investments, including:

  • A $1 million sponsorship of over the next three years to the American Diabetes Association’s Technology Access Project (TAP), which aims to provide access to and availability of diabetes technology regardless of gender, race, income, or location.
  • A new partnership with T1DExchange to support an upcoming pilot to test interventions in the healthcare pathway to determine implications on diabetes technology use among people of color who have lower adoption.
  • Supporting new research to study the efficacy of improving glycemic control in African American Type 1 diabetes patients who had not previously used technology to manage their disease.

“Racism, unconscious bias, and inequities are all unfortunate truths that exist in the U.S. healthcare system. Our work in this area seeks to bring awareness to these issues by getting to the root of these problems, and course-correct,” said Sean Salmon, executive vice president and president of the Diabetes Business at Medtronic. “As a medical device manufacturer, we have the responsibility to help reduce disparities within communities of color by ensuring they are granted the same access to technologies that may help them better manage their disease.”

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