Supporting Our Veterans:

A Personal and Professional Commitment

By Sandra Milligan, senior vice president of Global Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Safety

As the senior vice president of Global Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Safety (GRACS), I oversee a large and diverse group related to getting and keeping MSD's products on the market. Our end goal is a lofty yet achievable one – to ensure our innovative medicines reach patients safely and quickly.

But there is another aspect to my life at MSD I take equally as seriously – I'm the executive sponsor of the Veteran's Employee Business Resource Group (usually shortened to EBRG). EBRGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with our mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.

MSD's Veteran's EBRG is open to all employees and raises awareness of veteran’s issues and honors veterans and active military throughout the year through events, activities and outreach. The group sends letters and packages to those currently serving, veterans and those in VA hospitals. They support employees who are deployed and help guide and mentor transitioning service members.

Supporting vets is both a professional and personal duty for me as I, too, am a veteran. I joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps during medical school and after graduation, I did my internship training at Letterman Army Medical Center during the first Iraq war (Operations Desert Shield and Storm). During the Somalia engagement (Operation Restore Hope), I led the adult outpatient clinic at Fort Myer, Va. through the end of my military commitment. I was privileged to treat active duty soldiers and their families dealing with the consequences of these overseas military engagements.

The military is the most diverse organization I’ve ever worked for. It attracts, cultivates and develops talent from every walk of life. Every soldier was invaluable to the success of the mission no matter what rank or role. Courageous leadership was demonstrated every day in unexpected ways and places. The discipline, experience and focus of these men and women are remarkable assets for any sector, whether private or public.

Bringing veterans into our company is an opportunity to leverage and benefit from diverse perspectives, experiences and leadership capabilities, enriching our organization at every level.

Supporting the Veteran's EBRG has allowed me to connect with veterans from a wide range of roles and geographies. I’ve met veterans who have served our country during times of conflict, and I’ve met staff whose family and friends include those who have served.

Through the leadership of Amy Thurston and the Veteran's EBRG, MSD is acknowledged and recognized as a leader in employing and supporting veterans.

Here are just some of accolades MSD has received for its support of veterans:

  • We've been a Best for Vets for the past four consecutive years by Military Times; in 2018 we were ranked 13th out of 100 companies.
  • GI Jobs selected us as a Most Military Friendly Employer for the past eight consecutive years (usually one of the only pharmaceutical firms to be acknowledged). MSD earned the first ever Most Military Friendly for Spouses Award in 2018.
  • US Veterans Magazine recognized us as a Best for Vets employer for three of the past four years earning the Best for Vets Index Award in 2018.
  • MSD was recently inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable, which recognizes and celebrates corporations who spend at least $1 billion with diverse suppliers.

We've had great success in elevating and supporting veterans at MSD, but the future looks even brighter — the number of vets at MSD is growing daily. It's a great honor to help support these exceptional employees (both past and present) while we all contribute to MSD's shared mission of serving patients and individuals every day, in every role.