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MedTech POV Podcast | J&J’s Ashley McEvoy on Leading Through Challenges: “Yes, You Can”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ashley McEvoy, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Medical Devices, at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recently joined AdvaMed’s Scott Whitaker on the Medtech POV podcast where they discussed how she is reimagining the future of health today, her views on leadership, her work with the Trevor Project, and her role as chair of the AdvaMed committee tasked with addressing head-on the issue of racial disparities in health care access and outcomes. 

McEvoy said, “I was really pleased with how the medtech industry came together to collaborate throughout COVID and take a stand collectively to [improve] the inequities in health care. Part of that is a science- and data-based understanding of the root causes of those discrepancies, and then starting to deploy the smarts, the guts, and the resources we all collectively have to effect change.”

The AdvaMed-led, industry-wide initiative began in summer 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and McEvoy said the committee’s first task was “to really start to understand, from a health care economics and mortality [standpoint], what are some of those root causes of these inequities? And then gain awareness of the facts and data, and then start to pilot interventions to ensure our clinical trials have diverse populations and ensure that our innovations are getting input from people of diverse backgrounds to reflect our patient workforce.”

Whitaker noted that McEvoy, head of the second largest medtech company, with $23 billion in revenue, has shown strong leadership through her tenure, including on critical goals like eliminating racial disparities in health care. “The value of having you lead that,” he said, “not just because of your capacity to lead it, but also because there are so many companies in our space that I think can learn from you and J&J and what you’ve done and why it really matters to the health care system. And the example that you all are setting I think can help be transformative for the industry. So, we appreciate your leadership there.” 

In addition to leading on health disparities, McEvoy demonstrated remarkable leadership on behalf of frontline workers and HCPs throughout the pandemic. As COVID-19 swiftly halted elective surgeries around the world in 2020 and other companies in the sector opted to downsize, McEvoy and her leadership team bolstered Johnson & Johnson frontline superheroes – about 70% of the sector’s workforce – with hazard pay, resources and supplies needed to stand up and support frontline HCPs in providing patients with the lifesaving and life-enhancing procedures needed throughout the pandemic. McEvoy’s team also convened a partnership with Advances in Surgery and other industry associations to provide more than 1 million healthcare professionals with online courses on COVID-19 related professional education ranging from PPE guidelines to ventilation best practices.

McEvoy’s leadership has not just benefitted the industry broadly, it has also delivered year-over-year business momentum. In the first half of 2021, she’s led the launch of 17 key products, the highest number of first-half-of-the-year launches in five years. This leadership has resulted in business growth of 5% over market, all while modernizing business models and deepening partnerships to continually improve service to patients and healthcare partners.

Whitaker and McEvoy also discussed she and her husband both work full time and how they balance family life as the parents of five children. Whitaker asked what McEvoy’s advice would be to young people coming out of college. “I would say it starts with a mindset of: ‘Yes, you can.’ And listen, there is no perfect balance. I don’t buy into that. There are moments you might be traveling for six days and you’re away from your family, and there are times you are in a parent-teacher conference … You learn how to manage through that, but the most important thing is: ‘Yes, you can.’”

McEvoy, who has been with J&J for more than 25 years, discussed the ways J&J creates opportunities for employees to excel in their professional and personal lives. McEvoy noted, “Even in COVID, we still see some of the inequities that happen in families when stress happens in the system. We want to create the right pathways where folks feel like they can contribute professionally as well as feel personally fulfilled.” 

To listen to the full conversation, including J&J’s ongoing equity initiatives and how the work environment has shifted since the coronavirus pandemic, download the MedTech POV podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever podcast streaming is available. Visit AdvaMed’s website for more information on the podcast and past guests.

The MedTech POV podcast is hosted by Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed, the world’s largest medical technology association. It premiered in April 2021 and has featured medtech and health care policy leaders such as Dr. Steven Hahn and General James Mattis. In each episode, guests and host Scott Whitaker cover the intersection of medtech and policy from every perspective, including current issues in business, policy and current events.

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AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and digital health technologies that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies. For more information, visit www.advamed.org.