Faces of GSK's Pro Bono Efforts

How employees create positive change through volunteering
Jan 10, 2019 9:20 AM ET
Blog

As the Vice President and Director of Scientific and Public Health for GSK’s Vaccines practice, Dr. Len Friedland has a very rewarding job, but his sense of purpose extends beyond his day job to support people in poor health as well as those with limited access to quality healthcare, as a volunteer. “Helping patients feel better and live longer aren’t just words to me—they’re part of who I am. The way I see it, having great science at the company is fantastic, but it means nothing unless we make sure this science benefits the right people,” said Len.

"Helping patients feel better and live longer aren’t just words to me—they’re part of who I am. The way I see it, having great science at the company is fantastic, but it means nothing unless we make sure this science benefits the right people."

Len trained as a physician in pediatrics and emergency medicine and worked in pediatric clinics in Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before joining GSK in 2003. Even then, his passion for patient care led him to pursue work in a local hospital. However, as his responsibilities at GSK grew, so did the demand on his time, making it progressively more difficult to allocate time to work at the hospital. This is how Len came across the NGOs Rotaplast International and Partner for Surgery, which send volunteer doctors abroad to help children and their families affected by cleft lip, cleft palate, burn scarring, and other deformities.

Each year, Len spends two weeks of his personal vacation time volunteering with Rotaplast or Partner for Surgery in locations including India, Bangladesh, Venezuela, and Guatemala. For each trip, he joins a team that performs surgery on up to 15 patients per day. For the last two years he has been working with a team of pediatric reconstructive plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, orthodontists, nurses, and speech pathologists all from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he did pediatric training. The Philadelphia team includes non-medical volunteers, including Deena, his wife, who oversees medical records and project management.

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