Program Highlight: Xavier Health

By: Andrew Koch ~Editor-In-Chief~

Students interested in one day entering the pharmaceutical or medical device community can take advantage of the Xavier Health partnership.
Xavier Health, once part of the Xavier Leadership Center, is a professional network that connects the university with medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies and federal regulators. The group hopes to serve as an intermediary between medical device and pharmaceutical companies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the production and sale of food and health products.
While the relationship between companies and the government bodies that enforce rules upon them can be somewhat hostile, the organizers of Xavier Health believe their work will help create a safe place for the two factions to come together to improve the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
“What we’ve put together is a neutral setting for industry and the regulators to come together,” Associate Director of Xavier Health Matty Toomb said. “Xavier wants to be a university that’s tied to health care supply-chain.”
Each year, the program sponsors two conferences that bring together high-ranking members of each industry, federal regulators and members of the Xavier community: PharmaLink in March for pharmaceutical companies and MedCon in May for the medical device community. Both conferences focus on the need for continuing innovation and cooperation in developing new and better products. Earlier this year, more than 200 people attended PharmaLink while about 420 people attended the sold-out MedCon.
“These companies are paying to come and learn what the latest and greatest is and what to be on the lookout for when making and launching their products,” Toomb said.
Keynote speakers at past events include John Lechleiter, a Xavier alumnus and President & CEO of Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company, and Congressman Erik Paulsen from Minnesota, a state that is central to the medical device community.
Toomb believes that the program has potential for students of many backgrounds and areas of academic interest.
Because the program connects with many of the industries’ leading companies in the region, including Procter & Gamble and Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Xavier Health hopes to bring these professionals (many of them high-ranking in their organizations) to Xavier students.
“There’s 600-plus people coming into the university that are vice presidents and directors and owners of companies,” Toomb said. “If you want to be in quality or in supply-chain or want to work in a medical device company, we’re who you should talk to because we have those relationships at those companies with those people.”
The program also recently hired three graphic design students from Xavier as a way of getting students more involved with the program’s mission.
“(The internships) give (the interns) experience in putting together campaigns, and it also gives them experience to learn about a certain industry,” Toomb said. “All these companies are looking at Xavier as a place to get information and help their businesses.”