Institute for Health Policy Forum

Building Racial Equity into the Drug Development System

December 7, 2020

This webinar was the first of a two-part virtual forum examining racial equity in the drug development system, from research all the way through to access. The conversation specifically explored racial inequities in drug investment and research and identified new directions for the future.

Full event video

9:30 - 9:40 a.m.Opening remarks
9:40 - 10:00 a.m.Keynote: A framework for understanding structural racism in the medicines system
10- 10:55 a.m.Panel: In whose interests? Building racial equity into pharmaceutical investment and funding
10:55 - 11:00 a.m.Closing remarks
Maisha Draves

Maisha Draves, MD
Maisha Draves is the medical director for Pharmacy in Northern California for The Permanente Medical Group. In this role, she collaborates with the chair of the Regional Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee on formulary and pharmacy policy and with the Drug Information Services group on the strategies related to drug shortages and recalls. She provides oversight for pharmacy-related research and develops strategies for Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s drug utilization management efforts.  

She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Priti Krishtel

Priti Krishtel, JD
Priti Krishtel is a lawyer and co-founder of I-MAK, a non-profit building a more just and equitable medicines system.  She has spent nearly two decades exposing structural inequities affecting access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and in the United States. I-MAK’s work has been cited repeatedly in Congressional testimony on prescription drug costs, most recently in hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. 

Krishtel has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hill. A current Presidential Leadership Scholar and an Ashoka Fellow, her TED talk about the high cost of prescription drugs in America has been viewed more than two million times in 2020.  

Rojelio Mejia

Rojelio Mejia, MD
Rojelio Mejia is assistant professor of infectious diseases and pediatrics at the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine. He is dedicated to improving the understanding and treatment of parasitic infection through advancing systems of their diagnoses. The laboratory’s work involves defining the prevalence and parasitic burden in endemic populations and improving healthcare outcomes. The Southern United States has been plagued with unacceptable levels of poor sanitation, poverty, and parasites in the community. Dr. Mejia is committed to decreasing the prevalence and burden of these parasites among the poor and disenfranchised population. Parasites disproportionately impact people of color and further continue the cycle of poverty. Research studies include New York, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.

Uriri Onovakpuri

Ulili Onovakpuri, MBA
Uriridiakoghene “Ulili” Onovakpuri is a partner at Kapor Capital, an early stage, social impact venture capital firm that invests in gap-closing startups where she leads healthcare and people operations practice as well as the firm’s Summer Associate program. 

Prior to her role at Kapor, Onovakpuri served as director of global programs at Village Capital, a global accelerator program and venture capital firm. While at Village Capital she worked side by side with entrepreneurs from around the world helping them grow their ideas into marketable businesses. 

Onovakpuri received her MBA with a concentration in Health Sector Management from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is a native San Franciscan and a proud alum of the University of California at Berkeley.  

Hannah Valantine

Hannah Valantine, MD
Hannah Valantine received her M.B.B.S. degree from London University, cardiology fellowship at Stanford, and Doctor of Medicine from London University. She was appointed assistant professor of medicine, rising to full professor of medicine in 2000, and becoming the inaugural senior associate dean for diversity and leadership, in 2004. She pursued a data-driven transformative approach to this work, receiving the NIH director’s pathfinder award. Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, recruited her in 2014 as the inaugural NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce diversity, and as a tenured investigator in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s intramural research program where she established the laboratory of transplantation genomics. Dr. Valantine is a nationally recognized pioneer in her field, with over 200 peer-reviewed publications, patents, and sustained NIH funding. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020 for both her pioneering research in organ transplantation and workforce diversity.

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