Week in Review: Exercising the Mind & Body for Innovation

Week in Review: Exercising the Mind & Body for Innovation

05.24.13 | By

If you’re like me, physical education class was a welcome break from history and math. Unfortunately, it is being cut from school programs. Yesterday, The Today Show featured a report released by the Institute of Medicine that found children need at least one full hour of exercise in school daily and that physical education needs to remain a core class. Not only did the report conclude that kids participating in greater physical activity have greater attention spans, faster cognitive processing speed and better performance on tests, but they also are more likely to develop healthier habits as adults.

Our industry is largely perceived as focusing on maintaining healthy bodies, but we recognize that developing sharp, healthy minds is equally as important. With fewer than 40 percent of college students who intend to major in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field actually graduating with that degree, it is important that the biopharmaceutical sector get actively involved in encouraging student engagement so that we can help cultivate the next generation scientists and researchers. 

Olof Larsson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Eli Lilly and Company, weighed in on the subject this week on the blog. He noted that some students have the misconception that scientists are “a bunch of nerds,” when in fact they are fascinating people with the ability to bring innovative medicines to patients. For Dr. Larsson, common denominators in the field of science include curiosity, passion, drive and persistence so that one can accept challenges and failures. Ultimately, he emphasizes that working everyday to battle diseases like cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s is extremely rewarding and something in which young people should be more interested.

It is now more important than ever to cultivate the next generation of scientists. As the American Cancer Society celebrated its 100th birthday this week, Josie Martin, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, reflected on the progress the organization has made. A generation ago, there were only 3 million cancer survivors, and today there are 13 million. The hope is that this next generation of young scientists can build on the success we’ve seen. In her blog post, Josie recognizes the doctors and researchers at the American Cancer Society that have forever changed the way we view the disease. Due to their foresight and perseverance, health care professionals and biopharmaceutical researchers better understand cancer and have created treatments that have saved millions of patients.

The biopharmaceutical sector is committed to both mental and physical health because without healthy, research-focused minds, there will likely be fewer medical breakthroughs and fewer healthy patients. To learn more about new research and to hear additional perspectives from PhRMA’s scientists, stay tuned to the Catalyst and check out our I Am Research. Progress. Hope. initiative. We look forward to your thoughts and feedback.


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