Amrit Ray

Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Essential Health

Nothing is more inspirational to me than making a difference in the lives of my patients.

As a physician in the U.K. Health Service in the 1990s, Dr. Amrit Ray gained a ground-level appreciation for the complexities of health care, and also experienced the deep personal fulfillment of helping others. “Nothing is more inspirational to me than making a difference in the lives of my patients,” says Dr. Ray, who earned his MBA at Tuck and now serves as the global president of research and development and Pfizer Essential Health.

In his medical practice Dr. Ray observed firsthand that good medical care depended not only on the treatment he provided his patients, but also research, organizational leadership, good fiscal management, and a host of other factors.

“The question became how could I learn more about not just the medicine that I loved, but also about these other attributes that contribute to an effective healthcare system,” Dr. Ray says. “Part of that thinking was that sometimes, if you put one plus one together in the right way with science and business, you can get three—or more than solely the sum of the parts.”

In a quest to develop a better health care approach, Dr. Ray became a management consultant with McKinsey in London, where he participated in a Business Bridge program jointly run by Tuck and Oxford University. The experience caused him to think seriously about an MBA, and he made connections in the Tuck community, notably with health economics and management professor Michael Zubkoff.

“I saw that there were a lot of parallels in this inspiring figure of professor Zubkoff, and so I reached out to him and asked, ‘Do you have any pointers for me, a young man figuring out what he wants to give in life?’” Dr. Ray says. “And the conversations we had made it very clear that this was a person I wanted to be near and to learn from.”

When he arrived in Hanover, Dr. Ray discovered that such access and encouragement was not the exception at Tuck, but the norm. “Initially I thought of Tuck as an MBA experience, but I was misinformed,” he says. “It is really about joining a family—one that I'm very proud to be part of, and that has enriched me immeasurably.”

Ray also was struck by Tuck’s emphasis on citizenship and ethics, which resonated with his experience as a physician. “That sparked a flame, so here I am many years later a passionate champion of bio-ethics,” says Dr. Ray, who chairs Johnson & Johnson’s bioethics committee. He has a particular interest in compassionate access to investigational medicines and medicines for children—callings that combine his professional strengths with his personal convictions.

“Compassionate access certainly has aspects of science and organizational policy, but it also has a large element of personal empathy,” says Dr. Ray, who has been an outspoken public advocate for compassionate access and has helped make Johnson & Johnson an industry leader in the field.

“None of us decides to be a patient. And, none of us gets to pick our own disease,” he says. “I ask myself: What could be more of a privilege than helping to overcome challenges that can so deeply affect the lives of so many?”

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