BAND-AID® Brand used the launch of OURTONE™, which offers bandages to match a more diverse array of skin colors, to connect more deeply with and support the work and equity of Black nurses across the US.
In May 2021, when Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health launched BAND-AID® Brand OURTONE™ bandages in three brown shades — offering more inclusive bandage options for communities of color — the company also looked for ways to support the healthcare professionals across the country who need it most.
As part of the OURTONE™ launch, BAND-AID® Brand has partnered with the National Black Nursing Association (NBNA) and the Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association (FNSNA), and will award scholarship funding to Black nursing students through multi-year commitments with both organizations.
To find out more about these partnerships we spoke with leaders at each organization. Starting with BAND-AID, we asked:
In June 2020, a BAND-AID Brand Instagram post referenced the upcoming OURTONE launch, as a commitment to donate to Black Lives Matter. Why did the company feel it was important to link the bandages explicitly to the fight against systemic racism?
BAND-AID: We’re always looking for ways to have a deeper connection with the communities we serve. As the most widely accessible brand in the First Aid category, we recognize our responsibility to make it more inclusive and to offer bandages in a variety of shades at an accessible price point.
Our contribution to Black Lives Matter-supported programming focused on creating a future of inclusivity. We are dedicated to inclusivity and remain committed to working with organizations to advance racial equity and social justice.
How was BAND-AID Brand able to launch the product so quickly?
BAND-AID: Though OURTONE had been in the works for some time, the recent country-wide outcry for racial and social justice spurred an accelerated production timeline. Through significant collaboration with cross-functional partners — marketing, sales, finance, packaging, supply chain and R&D — the team found ways to accelerate timelines to bring this meaningful launch to market as quickly as possible.
And while designing new packaging and securing a new brand trademark can take more than two months, together with Hero Collective — a Black-owned digital agency that worked on the strategy, branding and subsequent creative campaign for OURTONE — and other company partners, BAND-AID Brand was able to complete both tasks in just three weeks.
What did you learn from partnering with Hero Collective?
BAND-AID: Part of our work in making care more inclusive with OURTONE includes investing in and partnering with Black-owned businesses and diversifying our supplier base. With Hero’s expertise and proximity to BIPOC communities, they guided us in the creation of the OURTONE bandages that embrace the beauty of diverse skin tones.
Other companies are already offering a range of bandages in shades of brown, including Tru-Colour and Browndages — both Black-owned businesses. What role does BAND-AID Brand play in this market?
BAND-AID: We fully support and applaud any company that champions diversity within the First Aid category and strives to meet the needs of consumers. As the most widely accessible brand in the category, we recognize our responsibility to make the First Aid category more inclusive and to offer bandages in a variety of shades.
What were you looking for in partners, and why did you choose to partner with the National Black Nurses Association and the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association?
BAND-AID: Only 1 out of 10 of all nurses in the US are Black, and research shows that better representation leads to better care. We are committed to playing a role in addressing this lack of representation by leveling the playing field through financial support and career opportunities needed to advance in the healthcare field.
BAND-AID Brand is strengthening its commitment to elevate Black professionals in the healthcare field by partnering with the National Black Nurses Association and the National Student Nurses’ Association in a multi-year commitment to provide scholarships, with the goal of increasing representation within the nursing field.
Our Company has a legacy of supporting the nurse profession for over a century and we’re proud of our $100 million commitment over the next five years to invest in and promote health equity.
What do the commitments to the NBNA and the FNSNA include?
BAND-AID: BAND-AID Brand has committed $300,000 in scholarships to the organizations to expand its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. We recently established the BAND-AID Brand Champions for Health Equity Scholarship with the National Student Nurse Association — a multi-year commitment to financially support Black nursing students.
We have also aligned with the NBNA to establish the BAND-AID Brand Black Healthcare Heroes in Nursing Scholarship to financially support Black nursing students, increase representation and contribute to more equity in the nursing profession.
Turning next to Dr. Martha A. Dawson, DNP, MSN, RN, FACHE — President and CEO of the NBNA; and Diane J. Mancino, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN — Executive Director of the FNSNA — we asked:
What were you looking for in a partner, and why did you choose to partner with BAND-AID Brand?
Dr. Martha Dawson: NBNA’s leadership believe that our partners must align with our service mission. Therefore, we select companies and organizations that support our work in communities of color to promote healthy living, decrease inequities and improve health outcomes. BAND-AID Brand has a long history in the healthcare space and aligns with NBNA’s work.
Diane J. Mancino: The FNSNA has partnered with Johnson & Johnson for more than 20 years. Our latest partnership with BAND-AID Brand is incredibly meaningful, as OURTONE respects and honors diversity by providing a product choice compatible with shades of brown.
The BAND-AID Brand Champions for Health Equity Scholarships administered by the FNSNA seek to increase the number of Black registered nurses by supporting scholarships for Black nursing students. These values are compatible and are the basis of the relationship. Additionally, leadership, communication, respect, sincerity and recognition are essential for any successful partnership. Combine these elements with positive team chemistry for outcomes that benefit all.
How will the BAND-AID Brand grants and scholarship support Black nursing students?
Dr. Martha Dawson: Nursing is the largest healthcare group in the US and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed global health inequities that Black and Brown populations live with daily and the need for a more diverse healthcare workforce. The BAND-AID Brand scholarships will help our nurses graduate on time, reduce their student loan debts and increase diversity in nursing.
What challenges and opportunities are there for Black nursing students pursuing careers in the medical field?
Dr. Martha Dawson: Black nursing students face many barriers in pursuit of their degree, such as inadequate academic advising, lack of faculty role models, mental and moral distress, lack of financial support, physical exhaustion due to the need to work and attend school, and social isolation due to the small percentage of students that look like them. Therefore BAND-AID Brand’s grant and scholarship program is critically important and much needed.
How have Black consumers reacted to seeing more bandages in shades of brown?
Dr. Martha Dawson: First, I will share that our over 4,000 members were excited, especially the students and under 40 population. BAND-AID Brand has taken a very important step to celebrate our differences and show respect and appreciation for diverse skin tones. Representation matters and it increases positive self-identity, shows an appreciation for diverse cultures, and provides realistic role models that helps our children and others embrace their differences.