Feature Stories

Diversity, Inclusion and Independent Medical Education

Apr 23, 2019

In our employee profile series, we highlight Astellas’ commitment to Diversity & Inclusion by exploring the personal stories of employees. In our fourth installment, we speak with Director Independent Medical Education Patty Jassak, who also served as chair of our women’s ERG for the past two years.

What do you do at Astellas?

I am currently the director of Independent Medical Education (IME). Our team provides grants to third parties to support medical education for a diverse range of healthcare professionals across all specialties. 

What experiences in healthcare led you to your role today?

Before coming to Astellas, I was a nurse working specifically with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patients. While I loved seeing the impact my work had on patients’ lives, it was often a very hard job. AML historically had a limited range of treatment options and the outcome was usually devastating to patients and their families.

Despite this, I became attached to the patients in my care and, even years after they passed away, I still kept in touch with their families. My child’s godmother is the wife of one of my former patients, in fact.

Why is diversity and inclusion important in your role?

To me, diversity and inclusion means that you’re giving everyone a chance to excel and to use their skills in the best way possible for their organization, their community, their family or themselves.

Diversity goes beyond characteristics like gender and race. I think of medical specialty as a form of diversity among healthcare professionals. When we evaluate outreach to various audiences, we always make sure that we are inclusive of a broad group of healthcare professionals not only from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but from a diverse group of specialties.

Does your personal life inspire your involvement in our women’s ERG?

I truly believe that we, as women and parents, need to help each other—and teach our daughters and our granddaughters—to trust in themselves and help them understand what they are capable of. It’s this conviction that contributed to my decision to take an active role in our women’s ERG.

I have two daughters, one of whom adopted my granddaughter, Lana, last year. My daughter and her husband have an open adoption with Lana’s birth mother, and they work together to make the best decisions for her. I believe that my daughter’s trust in herself and her belief in always doing the right thing has helped make this arrangement a success.

Within our women’s ERG and beyond, it’s so important to continue to support other women in believing that they have it within themselves to overcome challenges of all varieties and to remind each other that all of us have the capability to reach our highest potential.