Lead & Executive Director
Merck for Mothers
Principal, Population Health, Premier Performance Partners, Premier Inc
Senior Advisor, DSRIP & Population Health, Greater New York Hospital Association
Director, Ambulatory Care Strategies, NYC Health and Hospitals
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Wife, Sister, Mother of 2
Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet is the Lead & Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, Merck’s $500 million global health initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life. Dr. Etiebet was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, the eldest of five daughters. Growing up in that society and culture she noticed multiple inequities – gender inequities, economic inequities, health inequities, etc. – that impacted the quality of life. Witnessing that around her sparked an interest to build solutions that would help support equitable access to opportunities, especially as it pertained to gender parity. At Merck, Dr. Etiebet is responsible for developing collaborations and implementing health programs that leverage the private sector for the public good to help end preventable maternal mortality. Since 2011, Merck for Mothers’ programs and collaborations have reached over 11M women in 48 countries through programs promoting safe, high quality, respectful care. Dr. Etiebet is an advocate, physician, virologist, and investor who shares with our Program Manager, Sharon Mwale, how she’s building systems today that enable long-lasting progress for tomorrow.
How has your professional and/or academic experience influenced how you approach entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership?
Throughout my professional career, I’ve always worn many hats. In having several responsibilities and roles in one job, I have learned a lot of different things and more importantly, found ways in which multiple variables can fit and work together. Which, I think, and recognize now, is the true spirit of entrepreneurship. The first job I had after college was an experience that has informed much of my career decisions since. I worked for a relatively young, small health advocacy non-profit. The organization was founded by one woman and only had a handful of employees when I joined. As a team, we had to be flexible and fill in for each other to accomplish our goals. After two years, I saw how my work contributed directly towards growing the organization and increasing our reach. What I learned about myself in that time and have carried with me is a love for building from the ground up something that is sustainable and that could be molded to serve populations in need.
How do you leverage your professional role to advance healthcare and technology in the face of global inequities?
At Merck for Mothers, my team and I are in a privileged position because we can lead on issues like systemic racism and health disparities. After all, it’s in our mandate because those factors are drivers of poor maternal health outcomes. We can speak on systemic racism, which is a driver of these outcomes, and we are able to invest in research and policies to help us understand why and in programs and organizations that are addressing the issue from several different angles. Right now, there is a heightened awareness of and willingness to collaborate towards eliminating racial injustice. It will take more time to address inequities on a global level, but I believe the upcoming generation will have the tools to do so and the interest.
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