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BMS, Black Higher Ed Institutions Help Get Black Talent in Biopharma

Despite representing roughly 12% of the U.S. adult population, in biopharma, Black professionals account for just 7% of the total workforce and 3% of executive teams. Today, in an initiative designed to increase access to and awareness of the biopharma industry among Black talent and build a diverse talent pipeline, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) announced its collaboration with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to launch Tomorrow’s Innovators—a multimillion-dollar strategic alliance to attract top HBCU-affiliated talent to the bio-pharma industry in the next five years.

Tomorrow’s Innovators extends the health equity and diversity and inclusion commitments announced by BMS in 2020, which includes the goal of increasing the diversity of the company’s workforce. By the end of 2022, BMS aims to double executive representation of Black and Hispanic/Latino employees in the U.S. and achieve gender parity at the executive level globally.

Designed to reach diverse talent sooner in their undergraduate career, Tomorrow’s Innovators will provide them the support and education needed to reach their career goals within the biopharma industry. Through this alliance, BMS and the HBCUs seek to:

  • design and host specific career-focused workshops for diverse talent
  • develop a two-way exchange program with commercial leaders and faculty members to facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration and research development opportunities
  • create custom biopharma curriculum to further prepare diverse students for internships and career opportunities within the biopharma sector, which is an area of historical underrepresentation.

“At BMS, we believe that bringing innovative medicines to patients requires a workforce with diverse experiences, perspectives and personal backgrounds that reflect the diverse patients and communities we serve around the world,” said Chris Boerner, executive vice president, chief commercialization officer at BMS. “While there is still more to do in addressing racial and societal equity, programs like Tomorrow’s Innovators provide a critical opportunity to reach diverse talent sooner and cultivate a richer talent pipeline within our industry. When diversity is celebrated and inclusion is intentional, everyone benefits, especially our patients.”

“The Tomorrow’s Innovators strategic alliance presents a meaningful opportunity to build the talent pipeline that will not only address the lack of representation in the biopharma industry, but also equip the industry to meet the challenges of the future,” said Danielle Winchester, associate dean, Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. “It offers another avenue for the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T to develop talented executive leaders who contribute to the global economy.”

“This alliance with Bristol Myers Squibb is a natural area of collaboration for FAMU, given our College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health,” said Larry Robinson, Ph.D., president of Florida A&M University. “We are eager to explore opportunities for faculty research and career development for our students. FAMU and other HBCUs can be a tremendous source of talent for the bio pharma industry when utilized in this manner. This alliance provides a framework for sustained progress.”

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