Alumni Update – Nancy Griffin 1982 TFHA Scholar
1982 TFHA Scholar
VP, Alliance Management. Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Novo Nordisk
Current Volunteer Positions
- EcoHealth Alliance (EHA): Board Member, Secretary and Chair, Audit Committee
- Boston Cares: Volunteer
- LasagnaLoves: Volunteer
We have Terry Fox Scholars working in a wide range of fields, including medicine, activism, and tech. Do you have an area of humanitarian work you are passionate about? Tell us about it.
I am passionate about human health, and conservation of both land and wildlife. This has led me to the EHA Board work. EHA is a global environmental health nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease. Working internationally through local alliances, EHA is an environmental science and public health leader dedicated the a “One Health” approach. Working on the Board has allowed me to apply my science, business and public health knowledge at a strategic level.
I also believe that it is important to find ways to have a positive impact in small, everyday activities. I have been fortunate to recently find the Boston Cares organization, which allows me to match free time with volunteer opportunities. I also participate in LasagnaLoves which matches lasagna cooks with people who are in need of a meal. Small acts may not seem like much in the grand scheme, but I believe that small things make a difference.
Since Terry ran his Marathon of Hope we have seen many new life-saving advances in cancer treatment. How has the humanitarian area you have worked/volunteered in changed over the years?
I have been fortunate to work at a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies where I get to witness and support the amazing progress in science directed towards the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. My early career was focused on clinical trial work, which relied heavily on my nursing training. Since then, I have focused my work on bridging alliances across and between groundbreaking academic institutions, small innovative start-up companies and large patient-centric organizations that work together to speed healthcare from the bench to the bedside. Over the years, I have seen that alliances have a tremendous impact by bringing together complementary skills and capabilities in a concerted effort towards an aligned goal. No single person, institution or organization can solve the healthcare problems we face, but together, maybe we can.
You are the first year’s recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in 1982. How has humanitarian work impacted your life?
Terry Fox had an impact on numerous generations of Canadians through the example that he lived and the awareness that he generated. My participation in the Award program has heightened my awareness and driven home the knowledge that I have a personal obligation to “do something good.” Sometimes in my life I have been able to realize my goals in this regard more directly and sometimes less so, but I always come back to the understanding that I have so many things to be grateful for and a duty to try to share with others.