Moulton pairs law, public health expertise to influence health policy

 
April 28, 2008
Sandy Moulton

Sandy Moulton

Sandy Moulton has graced the page s of dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and Southern Living.

She’s not showing off the latest fashion designs — she’s telling people how to get life-saving medicines. As executive director of the Patient Access Programs Foundation for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), she is in charge of programs that give away more than $1 million worth of GSK drugs daily to uninsured, low-income patients. GSK has run ads, featuring Sandy, to let people know about the programs.

“I have the greatest job in the company,” she says.

Moulton was one of the first UNC School of Public Health students with a law degree. In the 1970s, many women lawyers struggled to reach partner — or even get jobs — in private law firms, so Moulton took a different tack.

“With so much emphasis on health policy, the combination of law and public health degrees is common now,” she says, “but when we started (she and two law school classmates), it was quite unusual.”

As a staff attorney in the N.C. Department of Human Resources in the 1980s, she influenced the future of the state’s health care policy by re-codifying public health laws that hadn’t been revisited for half a century or more.

In 1989, she went to work for Glaxo Inc. (now GlaxoSmithKline). The company had just pledged $5 million over five years to help the state fight infant mortality. As part of that program, Moulton and Marilyn Foote-Hudson, director of what is now the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation of North Carolina, started the “Glaxo Child Health Recognition Awards.” These honors have been presented annually since 1994 to local health departments, staff members and individuals in the community who have developed innovative programs to address some aspect of child health. The idea was to identify and share best practices.

Moulton has been leading GSK’s patient assistance programs for more than 10 years. She also is on the UNC School of Public Health Foundation Board, is a mentor in the School and, with husband Dr. Thomas Wong, is a scholarship donor and funder of renovations to a Rosenau Hall office.

“Many people at this school have encouraged me throughout my career,” she says. “It’s wonderful to have opportunities to give back.”

– by Ramona Dubose

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Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. To subscribe to Carolina Public Health or to view the entire Spring 2008 issue in PDF, visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.

Last updated August 28, 2008