Merck for Mothers - Committed to Saving Lives
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The Merck for Mothers  team is dedicated to achieving our vision of a world where no woman dies giving life.

Priya Agrawal, BMBCh, MA, MPH, DFSRH

Executive Director, Merck for Mothers

Dr. Priya Agrawal is an obstetrician and gynecologist and global women's health expert. As Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, she is responsible for guiding the strategic direction toward reaching Millennium Development Goal 5 and execution and oversight of the broad portfolio of activities: product innovation; programs to ensure access to affordable, high-quality care; and global advocacy and awareness.

Dr. Agrawal previously served as Director of Research and Development for the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she led the implementation research agenda and supported the development and evaluation of healthcare innovations. She also worked closely with Dr. Atul Gawande as the Obstetric Lead on the World Health Organization's Safe Childbirth Checklist Program and was Medical Director of a maternal and child health social enterprise in Kenya. She has worked and traveled in more than 45 countries using the introduction of simple and sustainable innovations to improve the health outcomes for underserved women and their families.

After receiving her degrees in medicine from the University of Cambridge and Oxford, she graduated with a master's from the Harvard School of Public Health on a Fulbright Scholarship, and is finishing her Ph.D. at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 2012, Dr. Agrawal's contributions to global women's health were recognized with the Harvard School of Public Health Alumni Award for Public Health Professionals.

"We chose maternal mortality because quite frankly, it's unacceptable that in this day and age 800 women die a day of something that is completely preventable. We also believe this kind of commitment is not a charity or gift, it's an investment. And there's nothing better to invest in than women."

(GBCHealth Conference)

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James Cunningham, PhD

Director of Product Innovation, Merck for Mothers

Dr. Cunningham is a pharmaceutical development manager with 10 years of industry experience. He leads Merck for Mothers' innovation efforts to improve access to new medicines for the prevention and treatment of post-partum hemorrhage in low-resource regions.

Dr. Cunningham has a multidisciplinary scientific background encompassing engineering, life sciences, and pharmaceutics. Prior to joining Merck, he worked at Elan Drug Technologies, where he supported formulation development of nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems.

Dr. Cunningham holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and a BS from Cornell University, both in Chemical Engineering.

"It's deeply rewarding to come to work each day and apply our collective skills to finding and advancing solutions that will save mothers' lives where the need is greatest."

Jennifer Allen Woodruff, MS

Director of Communications, Merck for Mothers

Jennifer Allen Woodruff is a communications and public relations professional with extensive experience in business and consumer health initiatives. As Director of Communications for Merck for Mothers, she is responsible for guiding strategic communications for both domestic and international programs.

Prior to joining Merck for Mothers, Jennifer served as Director of Communications for Merck Vaccines, where she implemented a broad range of global communications and advocacy efforts for Merck's vaccine products. In addition to her contributions at Merck, Jennifer has served as a board member for Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Senior Law Center in Philadelphia. She holds an MS in Advertising from Syracuse University and a BA in Journalism from Rutgers University.

Scott Higgins

Director of Operations, Merck for Mothers

Scott Higgins is an accomplished business executive with over 25 years of experience guiding organizations through transformational change. As Director of Operations for Merck for Mothers, he leads efforts to implement global programs that help reduce maternal mortality. His responsibilities include project management, reporting, budget tracking, and ensuring compliance with grant requirements.

Scott has a broad background in the pharmaceutical industry. He has served in leadership roles in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) chemical manufacturing, environmental control operations, strategic sourcing, and process improvement. Prior to joining Merck for Mothers, Scott led the Global Supplier Management Group's Process Operations and Strategy organization.

Scott holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and certified Change Agent.

"It's a great privilege to apply our collective business expertise to remove obstacles and help achieve sustainable improvements in maternal health."

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Get Informed

Take Action

  • Once upon a birthShare your birth story today to help us raise awareness about maternal mortality. For every story shared, Merck will make a donation to Join My Village, a program from CARE that empowers women and girls and supports safe pregnancies and childbirths.

Partner

Merck for Mothers is committed to supporting eligible non-profit organizations dedicated to improving maternal health around the world. Beyond our current country programs, we will update funding opportunities as our portfolio of projects continues to develop. In the meantime, we invite you to reach out to us for further information on partnering.

Have a PEP Talk

Tragically, women still die from complications experienced during pregnancy and childbirth. In the United States, three of the leading causes of these deaths are Preeclampsia, Embolism (pulmonary) and Post-partum hemorrhage.

You can help in the fight to ensure a healthy pregnancy by making sure your loved ones "Have a PEP Talk" with their doctor and/or other healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications.

  • Once upon a birthHelp us make sure that no birth story goes untold. Share your birth story today to help us raise awareness about maternal mortality. For every story shared, Merck makes a donation to Join My Village, a program from CARE that empowers women and girls and supports safe pregnancies and childbirths.

Merck for Mothers is committed to supporting eligible non-profit organizations dedicated to improving maternal health around the world. Beyond our current country programs, we will update funding opportunities as our portfolio of projects continues to develop. In the meantime, we invite you to reach out to us for further information on partnering.