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Merck Announces the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity to Accelerate Progress towards Improved Birth Outcomes for All

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today the creation of the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity, a grant award that will be bestowed annually to one organization in recognition of its commitment to and progress toward more equitable, high-quality maternal health care. The award will be granted by Merck for Mothers, Merck’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life.

The Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity is named in recognition of the legacy and commitment to maternal health by Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. Merck for Mothers flourished under his leadership following its creation nearly a decade ago and serves as only one of many examples of the company’s efforts to address systemic barriers to access to health during his tenure. This newest recognition will advance the ongoing efforts of Merck for Mothers to help advance birth equity and improve the health of mothers in underserved communities around the globe.

“Ken Frazier affirmed our company’s commitment to strengthening health system quality and accelerating access to high-quality care for all,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. “This award reflects the ongoing work of Merck for Mothers and our company’s legacy of achieving significant strides in the long-term quest for health equity.”

Aligning with Merck for Mothers’ commitment to centering women and those most impacted in health solutions, the award will be granted to an organization that has made a demonstrated and distinctive impact in advancing maternal health equity and whose leadership reflects and/or is representative of the marginalized group being served. The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2021. Upon review by an expert committee, one organization will be selected to receive a grant in 2021 of up to $250,000. More information about the award, the nomination process and eligibility and funding guidelines may be found here.

“Merck for Mothers is an exemplar of our company’s commitment to using our scientific and business expertise, and partnering with the public and private sectors, to improve maternal health in communities around the world,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “I’m honored to have played a part in this life-altering initiative that has already helped more than 13 million women have healthier pregnancies and safer birth outcomes.”

This new award builds on 100+ strategic social investments by Merck for Mothers since its inception, many of which are tailored to addressing health equity head-on through the advancement of innovative approaches to tackle racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. Most recently, Merck for Mothers announced a second round of Safer Childbirth Cities grants to make U.S. cities safer and more equitable places to give birth and a fifth round of projects through its Global Grants program aimed at advancing maternal health equity globally.

“Setting up women to thrive over a lifetime and reversing the concerning maternal mortality trends we see globally requires confronting inequalities in access to quality care,” said Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, lead, Merck for Mothers. “Through the organizations and leadership we will recognize through the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity, we hope to highlight the work of organizations that are championing equitable maternal health outcomes and birth justice.”

To learn more about Merck for Mothers, our commitment to advancing health equity and our impact, please visit:

About Merck

For 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Merck for Mothers

Merck for Mothers is our company’s $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life. Applying Merck’s business and scientific resources for nearly a decade, we collaborate across sectors — working with governments, nongovernmental organizations, patient groups, professional associations, entrepreneurs, UN agencies, research institutions, other businesses and even other pharmaceutical companies - to improve the health and well-being of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our efforts are focused on generating fresh thinking and infusing new approaches to help end the longstanding challenge of maternal mortality. We envision a world where every prenatal visit, every labor and delivery and every postpartum encounter for the year after childbirth should help people have the healthiest outcomes possible. We take a holistic approach to advancing high-quality maternity care, catalyzing solutions that respond to community needs and harnessing innovations to help improve maternal health and save women’s lives by strengthening health systems and how health care is delivered today and tomorrow. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (


Media Contacts:

Patrick Ryan

(973) 275-7075

Investor Contacts:

Peter Dannenbaum

(908) 740-1037

Courtney Ronaldo

(908) 740-6132

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