Employee Ambassador Spotlight: Kleber Santos


I am the Social Business Innovation (SBI) Associate Director for Latin America (LATAM) and am based in São Paulo, Brazil. I am proud to share that I have happily been with MSD for five and a half years. In my current role, I serve as the connection between the global team and all of the local teams in LATAM as the regional representative for SBI. The challenges throughout LATAM are very different, even within Brazil, my home country, compared with the challenges faced by other countries across the world. Also, we have very innovative initiatives in the region that serve as best practices to our headquarters and to other markets. I work to ensure we have a tailored approach when it comes to programs led by SBI in LATAM, recognizing and considering the uniqueness, particularities and priorities of each market.

1. Could you explain the purpose of the Office of Social Business Innovation (SBI) and elaborate on your role?

Answer: At MSD, we believe we must take action in order to be good corporate citizens. This is where Social Business Innovation (SBI) comes into the picture. SBI is comprised of four pillars: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Strategy & Engagement, Global Impact Giving, Health Equity, and Engagement & Impact.

The mission of the united SBI teams is to accelerate our company’s purpose to save and improve lives by bringing an enterprise-wide approach to environmental, social and governmental (ESG) issues, as well as a priority and focus on health equity. Through our capabilities and resources, we aim to improve the health and wellbeing of underserved populations in communities around the globe with the help of our various programs, social investments and initiatives. By working to ensure that not only patients, but people everywhere, live better and healthier lives, this exemplifies that we are truly putting into practice and executing on our company’s mission.

As the connection between headquarters and our local teams in LATAM, I not only deploy SBI’s capabilities and resources at the local level, but I also work with country colleagues by identifying and leveling up initiatives and programs that fit into our global efforts. I find a great deal of joy in helping my country colleagues implement meaningful programs in support and for the benefit of patients and communities, as well as in navigating internally throughout the company in order to gather support and provide visibility of the positive impact we’re having across the countries in the region.

2. Where do you find inspiration?

Answer: Since attending university I have wanted to give back and create more equitable opportunities for others. Many of my extended family members did not have the resources to receive formal education or attend university. As I reflect upon where I am today, I am very aware of my privileges which I have in part from being able to attend university and graduate with a degree. I am extremely grateful, not only for my education but for the opportunities it has provided.

When I was at university, I knew I wanted to do something that served a purpose. I had my “ah-ha” moment when I first started working in the health care sector. This is where I realized that I could do something with purpose, not only for myself, but for better public health and the underserved communities around me. I knew that through working with MSD, I could gain both professional and personal achievement - that I would feel motivated every day that I could serve those in more vulnerable and inequitable positions. Throughout my career at MSD, I’ve been fortunate to work directly with the patients we serve and their organized groups, also including mothers and NGOs, and I’ve found inspiration by knowing that, through my work, I am contributing to have an impact on public health for underserved communities.

3. MSD for Mothers is working to help end maternal mortality in LATAM. Could you share the current footprint and impact?

Answer: Maternal mortality is a huge public health challenge in LATAM. Even though we have had some important improvements in the last decade, inequalities still persist within and across countries in the region. We’ve supported 15 programs so far in the region across 10 countries, which have helped over 650,000 women. These numbers are proof that our company is truly committed to solving the public health issue of maternal mortality and position us with more credibility and reliability to work and collaborate with public policy stakeholders, not only in the maternal health space, but also in other areas in which we have expertise and experience.

4. What is your advice for those that are interested in becoming involved with MSD for Mothers?

Answer: I think a great way to get involved with MSD for Mothers is to familiarize yourself with our Global Grants Program and review the types of projects that we’ve been able to support over the years. Learning about this work also comes with understanding the challenges of maternal health in your country and community and finding ways that MSD could support efforts to stymie these challenges. While I am not a woman and cannot understand the challenges and joys of being a mother firsthand, I do believe the support we provide is of critical importance.

Something that has always been important to me, especially since the start of my career at MSD and my work with MSD for Mothers, is the realization that everything starts with a mother. Each of our birth stories started with a mother, and some of us still have the privilege of having a mother in our lives. The more that we can make the experience of motherhood a healthy and enjoyable one, the better, because then the mother, the baby and the family are more likely to thrive and be able to live their lives to their full potential. A healthy society is a society where every mother or pregnant person can have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.