Category Archives: Blog

Purposeful Collaboration: Teaming Up to Increase Community Impact

By: Dr. Joshua Thomas, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness in DE

Josh Photo - CroppedAstraZeneca recently hosted a number of non-profit partners at our North America Headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware for an event, entitled Purposeful Collaboration, which was developed based on their interest in collaborating across organizational lines for greater impact. Experts in collaboration from The Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement shared a model called Collective Impact and the groups in attendance had the opportunity to connect with one another, share information about their priorities and begin to explore potential for collaboration.

Among those in attendance was Dr. Joshua Thomas, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Delaware. Below Dr. Thomas shares his reflections on the importance of collaboration as a mindset and the role that he believes it can play in generating greater societal impact.  

The recent Purposeful Collaboration event hosted by AstraZeneca provided non-profits like my own an opportunity for communication, exploration, brainstorming and identifying areas for collaboration. Our facilitators from the Delaware Alliance for Non-profit Advancement led us in a rich discussion to explore the needs of our community and how our missions aligned to help meet these challenges.

Our discussion of organizational partnership paralleled a recent situation in my neighborhood. My family was recently awakened in the middle of the night during a terrible storm and discovered a house in our neighborhood was on fire. The family residing in the home narrowly escaped and lost the majority of their belongings and valuables. Within minutes, those on our street went from being polite neighbors to concerned friends offering comfort and pooling resources to support the family. By working together and communicating we were able to support one another and let the family who lost their home know they had a community of caring people behind them.

Those of us in the non-profit world can learn from this difficult situation. It is easy for us to get stuck in our silos, focused on our mission and fail to recognize areas where we align. But collaboration needs to be internalized as a standard way of thinking and serving our community. Many of our groups provide access to basic resources like adequate food, housing and education and others support those struggling with serious health conditions including mental illness. We have an opportunity to offer hope, encouragement, and most importantly resources to offer substantial assistance for community members in need.

By sharing resources and ideas across organizations, the nonprofit community can increase our impact focused on specific community problems. At NAMI Delaware, I am excited to partner with those non-profits working in educational environments and healthcare settings to increase access to our no-cost mental health education and support programs. This kind of collaboration can help increase success not just for NAMI Delaware, but for our partnering organizations and their participants.

As members of the community focused on addressing significant societal issues it is our responsibility to continue to remove barriers to communication and partnership. It is clear there are opportunities for non-profits and the corporate sector to work together to tackle significant community concerns. I am energized by our discussion and ready to seize opportunities to unite our efforts to make lasting and positive change for those in our community in need of our support.

Dr. Joshua Thomas is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Delaware (NAMI Delaware). In this capacity he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of this non-profit organization, focused on advocacy, support, education and housing for people living with mental illness and their families


For more about the Collective Impact model for collaboration by visiting the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement.

Brenda Nunnally named Working Mother of the Year for AZ

For the 13th consecutive year, AstraZeneca has been listed among the top 100 Best Companies by Working Mother Magazine. Out of the 100 total companies listed, AZ scored the number 11 spot, steadily rising in rank from number 12 last year.

100 best companiesThis annual listing recognizes 100 companies for their outstanding leadership in establishing policies, programs and corporate cultures that support working moms, including through child care services, flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave and advancement opportunities for women.

As part of this program, the magazine asks each of the 100 winning companies to nominate a mom employee who deserves special recognition. AZ received over 40 nominations for working mothers across the company to represent our organization.


Brenda Nunnally and her husband Dave, son Davis and daughter Caroline

Brenda Nunnally, a Regional Account Director for Iowa and Wisconsin in Market Access and Patient Services (MAPS) and former District Sales Manager (DSM) on the CNS Specialty Sales Team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was selected by an internal committee as AstraZeneca’s Working Mother of the Year. Brenda, a mother of Davis (13-years-old) and Caroline (10-years-old) was nominated by her former manager, Steven Levandowski.

In her nomination, Steven called out Brenda’s leadership activities and her natural tendency to empower fellow employees and leaders and develop and maximize people. As for her skill set as a mother, Steven writes “Brenda is a beautiful example of continuously seeking balance. Whether she’s getting up extra early to make cinnamon rolls for her son’s school party before she flies out for a meeting, or the extreme pride she has when she tells me about her daughter’s swim meet, she really embodies the ideals of balancing family and career.”

“With her passion for developing others rivaled only by her passion for family, we are truly honored to have Brenda as part of the MAPS organization,” said Diane Sullivan, Vice President, MAPS.

Brenda Nunnally with her escort on the red carpet.

Brenda Nunnally with her escort on the red carpet.

Brenda attended the annual Working Mother Magazine Gala in New York on October 15 with her husband Dave and several AstraZeneca colleagues. Although only one AstraZeneca woman can be selected to be recognized, AstraZeneca congratulates all of the nominees and the mothers who do a tremendous job every day on finding balance through focusing on their careers, volunteering in their communities and being the best moms possible.

AZ Recognized with Alianza Award at the Hispanic Choice Awards

AstraZeneca was honored to have been presented a Hispanic Choice Award at a star-studded event on Saturday, October 11 at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. The Hispanic Choice Awards program honors Latino professionals, organizations and businesses across all sectors in the Delaware Valley. AstraZeneca was recognized with the 2014 Alianza (“Alliance”) Award – an award given to the Company of the Year that has empowered the community through special partnerships, charitable giving and public service.

AstraZeneca employees – including Laura Mably, Vice President of U.S. Human Resources for AstraZeneca, who accepted the award on behalf of the company – were treated to a red carpet entrance and mingled with guests at a special VIP after-party, following the ceremony.


Laura Mably, Vice President of U.S. Human Resources for AstraZeneca accepts the Alianza Award at the Hispanic Choice Awards Ceremony.

“AstraZeneca values the power of diversity and understands the importance of having a workforce that reflects the diverse needs and perspectives of patients, physicians, nonprofit groups and others we work with,” said Mably. “On behalf of all our employees who are so dedicated to improving the lives of patients and to supporting healthy, vibrant communities, I’d like to extend our gratitude for this incredible honor.”

AstraZeneca’s dedication to improving the lives of patients drives our efforts to support healthy communities across the region and nationwide. We achieve this through charitable contributions, nonprofit partnerships and additional programs, including those within the Hispanic community.

In 2013, AstraZeneca donated more than $15 million to nonprofit organizations for programs and projects aimed primarily at improving health across the U.S. AstraZeneca and its employees also organize and participate in a number of volunteer efforts year-round to give back to our local communities. AstraZeneca’s Hispanic Employee Network Group (HiNAZ) aims to establish a strong connection between the company and Hispanic communities, by supporting multi-ethnic community groups, providing guidance and mentorship on ways to develop healthy initiatives in our local communities, and creating opportunities for employees and others outside of AstraZeneca to become involved. AstraZeneca is focused on outreach and education tailored to the needs of the Hispanic community, including providing educational materials in Spanish and concentrating on diabetes and other disease areas that impact this community.

AstraZeneca was one of several Hispanic Choice Award recipients this year, which included actor Wilmer Valderrama and Grammy Award winner Luis Enrique , both of whom received Living Legend Awards. The full list of winners is available here. The award show was taped to broadcast as a half-hour television special slated to air on the CBS and CW affiliates in the Philadelphia market in early 2015.

Congratulations to AstraZeneca and its employees for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of others, and to celebrating diversity within our company and across our communities.

(Pictured above) AstraZeneca group on the Red Carpet at the Hispanic Choice Awards. (L-R) Primary Care Executive District Sales Manager Carolina Boutaugh and her husband Thomas Boutaugh; Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist Karyna Holmberg and her husband Eric Holmberg; Sr. Manager of External Communications Alisha Martin; Vice President of U.S. Human Resources Laura Mably and her husband Paul Dalglish. (Photo Credit: Priscilla Marion Photography)

Spotlight on Gout: A Serious, Yet Understated Form of Arthritis

By N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, Rheumatologist and Chairman, Gout & Uric Acid Education Society

N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, Rheumatologist and Chairman, Gout & Uric Acid Education Society

N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, Rheumatologist and Chairman, Gout & Uric Acid Education Society

Gout is not a disease that gets a lot of attention. Consequently, gout is widely misunderstood and often understated by the general public – and even by those who suffer from the disease. In fact, just 10 percent of people with gout receive needed, ongoing treatment. This needs to be changed, considering the devastating consequences of untreated gout and elevated serum uric acid (SUA) levels.

Caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints and other tissues, gout is an extremely painful and chronic form of arthritis. Affecting more than 8.3 million Americans and growing, gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis – even three to four times more common than Rheumatoid Arthritis, yet it gets just a fraction of the attention. Despite its growing prevalence, 70 percent of Americans don’t know that gout is a form of arthritis; three-quarters don’t know what parts of the body it affects; and half are unaware of gout’s potentially crippling consequences.

Many people may recognize the classic signs of a gout attack – sudden pain, warmth and swelling in one or more joints. Gout often begins in the big toe, but can also affect other areas including the feet, ankle, wrists, hands and elbows. The pain during a gout flare is so excruciating that many visit the emergency room for care. On a typical pain scale, most people with gout will rank their pain as a nine or a 10 – with even the slightest touch causing agony.

What many do not realize is that gout goes far beyond a flare-up. Untreated gout and elevated SUA levels can lead to permanent joint damage, destruction of tissue, deformities and even loss of normal joint use. Gout has even been connected with other serious health problems, including kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Gout is a disease that requires lifelong treatment and management – not just during a flare. Proper treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis by a medical professional. Once the diagnosis is made, a plan for management can begin. For everyone, this includes lowering SUA levels to a target of less than 6 mg/dL. For the majority, this requires taking long-term uric acid-lowering medications. Everyone with gout should also take steps such as exercising regularly and avoiding foods that are high in purines – like beer, red meat and seafood – and high-fructose corn syrup.

Gout most commonly affects middle-aged men, but it can affect anyone at any time. Anyone suspecting gout should talk to their medical professional immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can help pave the way for a healthy future.

The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society is the leading nonprofit organization for providing medically-based gout information. To learn more, visit

Want to put your gout knowledge to the test? Visit


About N. Lawrence Edwards, MD

As Chairman of the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, Dr. Edwards is committed to educating the public and health care community about gout and the related consequences of hyperuricemia. Dr. Edwards is also a Professor of Medicine for Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Florida.

Each year October 12 is recognized as World Arthritis Day. It was established in 1996 by Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) as an opportunity to raise awareness of issues affecting people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.



Mental Health America and AZ to Promote Screening and Early Intervention for Mental Illness Awareness Week

By Theresa Nguyen, LCSW, Strategic Policy Analyst, Mental Health America

Theresa Nguyen, LCSW, Strategic Policy Analyst, Mental Health America

Theresa Nguyen, LCSW, Strategic Policy Analyst, Mental Health America

When we feel a nagging pain in our chest or see a strange mole on our skin, we’re usually comfortable asking our doctor to run tests to identify potential health problems. If we have a hard time getting out of bed, feel unnaturally agitated, or just feel like “something’s not right,” we often don’t know what’s going on or who to turn to.

Many who suffer with mental illness suffer in silence. We often suffer for months or years before seeking help. We don’t know how to make sense of what we feel. We don’t know how to tell our families or friends. Most don’t know what treatment is, or where and how to get help. Unfortunately hospitalization is often the first mental health intervention for many suffering from mental illness. As a clinician, I have had many families tell me, “We didn’t realize what was going on, but looking back it’s so clear now. We wish we could have gotten help earlier.”

With cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we usually don’t wait years to provide treatment. We have strong public health campaigns that promote education, early screening and treatment; but screening and treatment is just as essential for mental health. Identifying mental health problems early saves lives.

Healthcare professionals try to intervene for physical illnesses before they can reach stage 4, and we should have the same approach for mental illness. Treating mental illness before it reaches “stage 4” keeps people in school, helps them get and keep jobs, helps them stay connected to their family and friends, and ultimately helps people feel better. In other words, with early screening and treatment, what we’re really offering is life.

If the mental health community is serious about helping people and families in the fight against mental illness, we must promote education, early screening and treatment. Since Mental Health America launched in April 2014, over 120,000 screens have been taken by people across the US and internationally. People are looking for help and when they don’t know where to turn, many start on the internet. Online screening tools provide a private way to identify potential mental health problems, to learn more about what treatments are available, and even reach out to get help for the first time. Of those who screened and reported moderately severe to severe mental health problems, around 60% had never been diagnosed. Since diagnosis is often the first step in treatment, a majority of those who screened and need help may not be getting help. The earlier we can reach populations at risk for mental health disorders with our screening tools, the earlier they can receive the treatment they need.

MHA b4stage4 imageMental Health America (MHA) is proud to partner with AstraZeneca to act B4Stage4. At MHA, we believe in prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated health and behavioral health treatment for those who need it, and recovery as a goal. Screening is an integral part of prevention, early identification and intervention.

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014. Join Mental Health America, AstraZeneca, and our other partners and affiliates in promoting early intervention for mental illness through and #B4Stage4. As a community, we must work together to shift the conversations around mental health and help people obtain hopeful and meaningful lives.

Mental Illness Awareness Week Highlights Available Resources

By Mary Giliberti, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mary Giliberti, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mary Giliberti, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Today marks the beginning of 2014’s Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which provides an opportunity to inspire conversations about mental health care, helping to end the silence that often surrounds mental illness and bringing help and hope to people affected by these conditions.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as MIAW in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise public awareness about mental illness as a significant health condition. Each year since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities, large or small, for public education about signs and symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions.

Today, MIAW includes the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (Oct. 7) and National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 9).

For many people it comes as a surprise to learn that one in four adults experience a mental health problem ever year. One in five children and teens also live with mental illness. One-half of cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24, distinguishing mental illness from other chronic health conditions, which often begin later in life.

Unfortunately, there are long delays−sometimes decades−between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help. Early identification and treatment can make a difference for successful management of an illness and recovery, but only one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with mental illness receive treatment.

MIAW aims to educate the public to recognize symptoms and understand the importance of getting help early. With the right services and supports, people can and do recover. NAMI offers support to those affected by providing free education classes and support groups, which play an important role in helping individuals with mental illness, their friends and families get information and support.

Thanks to AstraZeneca’s support, NAMI also will be launching a new social media in 2015 to broaden our ability to help people affected by mental illness.

Horseshoe falls at night

Niagra Falls, lit up green for Mental Illness Awareness Week

During MIAW, people are also encouraged to wear green to help raise public awareness. Green is the traditional symbol of hope and renewal—themes which are important to NAMI’s vision of resiliency, recovery and wellness in working to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

“Going green” can be as simple as wearing a green ribbon or green shoelaces or painting your fingernails. You might want to arrange for a landmark, such as a school or church, to be illuminated in green light at night. No matter how we bring attention to this critical issue, the goal is to initiate conversations about mental illness.

The more people know, the better they can help themselves, their families and their communities.  MIAW is a time to learn. It is a time to raise awareness. It is a time to make a difference.

Information about mental health conditions, recovery, and treatment options is available from NAMI at or from our HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264.


Fitness and Health Centers Offer Convenient Wellness Resources for Employees

Though most people would agree that making healthy habits a priority is a goal they strive towards, finding the time and resources to adopt those habits is often more than a little challenging. Busy work schedules and ongoing family and personal commitments can make it nearly impossible to fit in exercise and general wellness practices.

Increasingly, companies realize that when wellness initiatives are offered in the workplace, it not only helps employees stay healthier, but also improves overall productivity. According to the Centers for Disease Control, companies that support workplace health have a greater percentage of employees at work every day and healthier employees are less likely to call in sick or use vacation time due to illness.

20140911_143355This week AstraZeneca reinforced its commitment to workplace wellness by welcoming employees to the newly renovated Fitness Center and Health and Wellness Center in Wilmington, Del., AstraZeneca’s North America Headquarters. A festive wellness fair featured tours of the new facilities, free massages, golf lessons, food tastings and opportunities to visit a range of local wellness suppliers. The YMCA, Weight Watchers, Delaware Running Club, Christiana Hospital and many others provided information about their services, free samples and discounts to those who attended the fair. The event was an effort to remind employees of all the programs and resources available that support health and fitness.

Laura Mably, Vice President, US Human Resources, cut the ceremonial ribbon for the new facilities, after announcing that the Fitness Center will be free of charge for employees to use. “We know that healthy and engaged employees are more productive employees,” said Mably. “Our wellness slogan is – my wellness. It starts with me! We’re taking steps to make it easier to get healthier.”

In its new location, the Fitness Center features more space, upgraded exercise equipment and locker rooms, and a beautiful outdoor view with a lot of natural light. With a dedicated spin room and separate studio, employees can take advantage of the newly expanded class schedule. The Health and Wellness Center saves employees valuable time by offering an on-site pharmacy, physical therapist, lab services, as well as preventive, acute and urgent care services.

Chris Kalina, Lead, Employee Health and Wellness added, “We want everyone who works on this campus to know about the many activities available in Wilmington that promote employee wellbeing. These programs are all about helping our employees stay productive and engaged by being healthy. We want to be a great place to work!”

AZ Honors the Courage of Women Living with Ovarian Cancer

In recognition of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, AstraZeneca is empowering women with ovarian cancer to know the facts and make informed treatment decisions. The commonality of ovarian cancer symptoms, its potentially asymptomatic nature, and lack of a reliable screening method have contributed to why ovarian cancer has often been called a “silent killer.” Sadly, ovarian cancer still ranks fifth in cancer deaths among U.S. women and claims more deaths than any other female cancer of the reproductive system.


AstraZeneca’s has launched during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to continue this important conversation around disease awareness.

In spite of these challenges, AstraZeneca believes every journey with ovarian cancer is unique. For this reason, AstraZeneca has launched to provide the support women in this community need to live their best life. The site provides key information, such as what to expect during the ovarian cancer journey, the importance of personalized care, and information about treatment centers and support groups. Recognizing the power of the support system, also provides useful resources for caregivers. AstraZeneca encourages the ovarian cancer community to share information from with others as a way to help raise continued disease awareness.

AstraZeneca remains committed to expanding on our more than 30-year history in oncology through continued gynecologic cancer research and believes that women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer need to stand together. There’s strength in numbers and with strength comes hope.

AZ Launches Metastatic Breast Cancer Photo-Sharing Campaign


Post a photo of yourself on Twitter using #MBCStrength to shine a light on metastatic breast cancer.

More than 173,000 women in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), and each has a story to tell. Women with MBC encounter unique challenges, and it is often an important part of their journey to share their stories and connect with others who are living with the disease.

In support of women living with MBC, AstraZeneca recently launched the #MBCStrength photo-sharing campaign. Women with MBC are encouraged to take photos of themselves that highlight their personal journeys and post them on Twitter using #MBCStrength. Photos posted by October 1, 2014 will be considered for a display in Times Square in New York City on October 13, 2014, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

For more information about this photo-sharing campaign, visit This site also houses tools and information tailored for women living with MBC. New to the site are personal MBC accounts from Priscilla and Linda: two inspiring women who draw love and support from their family, friends and community.

AZ Announces TEDMED2014 Sponsorship

A healthier world does not come from medicine alone. Through innovative discoveries, new approaches to medicine and health, and thought-provoking dialogue with the brightest minds across a wide variety of sectors, we are able to make a consequential difference to the healthcare community as a whole. Sustaining this forward-thinking approach affects the lives of all populations in the healthcare ecosystem, from patients and caregivers to scientists, physicians, and the broader health system. This is why AstraZeneca is supporting TEDMED2014 as a Corporate Innovation Patron.

TEDMED1This year’s conference focuses on nine themes aimed at unlocking the imagination, many of which align with AstraZeneca’s vision and values. One of TEDMED’s themes, “Flat Out Amazing,” for example, explores the liberation that happens when we recognize the limits of our knowledge – those transformational moments when we realize that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Speakers will include Diana Nyad, who swam 110-miles from Havana to Key West at age 64, and Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the revolutionary blood diagnostics company Theranos.

Other relevant TEDMED topics are “Stealing Smart,” demonstrating how some of the best solutions to problems in health and medicine can come from other worlds than the domain where the problem originated, or the controversial issues in health and medicine that many people are reluctant to discuss publicly that will be tackled in “Don’t You Dare Talk About This.”

TEDMED also features The Hive, a community of startups and entrepreneurs powering transformation and innovation towards a healthier future. Selected from hundreds of applications and nominations, these inspiring leaders will be showcasing game-changing startups and the inspiring entrepreneurs that power them at TEDMED 2014 in both San Francisco and Washington, DC. This year, AstraZeneca will send a team of 10 leaders and representatives to attend the conference in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco, CA, and encourages all global employees to join virtually.

Follow the conversation in real-time on Twitter with #TEDMED and @TEDMED. Stay tuned to TEDMED’s YouTube channel over the coming month as they release videos of this year’s Talks.

TEDMED logoAbout TEDMED: TEDMED is the annual multi-disciplinary gathering where leaders from all sectors of society come together to explore the promise of technology and the potential of human achievement in health and medicine. Bringing together doctors, patients, policymakers, technologists, educators, students, media, researchers, innovators, and many others, TEDMED shares and celebrates the best of what the world has to offer in health and medicine.

TEDMED, LLC is an independent organization. The TED logo is used under an exclusive license from the nonprofit TED conference. For more information, please visit

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