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Daily CSR
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A Pediatrician’s Journey to Giving Back to the LGBTQ+ Community


A Pediatrician’s Journey to Giving Back to the LGBTQ+ Community
Dr. Rodney Finalle, a pediatrician and global director of medical affairs for a vaccines organization, is a father of two who understands the importance of having support from family, colleagues, and the community. He believes that a supportive community can make a significant difference in one’s ability to thrive and be true to oneself.
“I came out at a time when things were very difficult in the United States,” said Finalle, who served as medical director of the Global Health Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before joining Merck.
“But I was fortunate to be working for an organization that was very open and supportive and made me feel welcome.”
When Dr. Rodney Finalle and his partner decided to start a family in the 1990s, it was a time when LGBTQ+ families were not common. Within a year, they adopted two sons, doubling the size of their family in an instant. This experience highlighted the importance of having support from the community.
 “I felt pressure to be perfect. There were lots of people scrutinizing the kinds of parents we were,” said Finalle while adding, “The happy surprise was that you can actually change one person at a time,” he said. “People might come in with a preconceived notion of us or our children or what our family was like, but once they met us — once they got to know my kids and see that we were just creating a beautiful family — we found support everywhere we looked.”
Dr. Rodney Finalle discovered support and resources at a local LGBTQ+ community center early in his journey. Recently, through a partnership between Merck and a program that matches professionals with nonprofit boards based on their passion and skills, Finalle had the opportunity to give back by joining the center’s board of directors.
“Being able to come back and support this organization as a board member really allows me to weave in my connection with them and serve this mission that has helped me so much over the years,” he said.
For him, it felt like everything has come full circle.
“It’s been a long journey, but really an empowering one. You forget what it was like in the ‘90s, and I’m happy to say that it’s far better than it was,” said Finalle.
“We still have a long way to go, but I am thrilled to work for a company that has policies in place to support us and encourage us to be our true selves.”
To know more about Merck’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) approach, click here.