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Women's History Month

I‑MAK’s Priti Krishtel is Working to Build Equity in Health Systems

This March, we’re recognizing the women who are making history today by working to impact policy change in various areas where Arnold Ventures works.

Courtesy photo

March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by recognizing the women who are making history today by working to impact policy change in various areas where Arnold Ventures works. 

Today, we’re highlighting Priti Krishtel, health justice lawyer and co-founder of I‑MAK, a nonprofit aimed at building a more just and equitable medicines system.

Who She Is

Krishtel has spent nearly two decades exposing the structural inequities affecting access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and in the United States. I‑MAK’s work examining the intersection between the patent system and prescription drug costs has been repeatedly cited in Congressional testimony, and most recently was featured prominently in hearings held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is a Presidential Leadership Scholar and an Ashoka Fellow.

What She’s Currently Working On

Krishtel is focused on building equity in health systems. That includes advocating for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe to ensuring that the Biden-Harris administration is prioritizing equity in the Patent and Trademark Office. To improve equity in the patent system, I‑MAK recently developed a new tool called Participatory Changemaking that provides an assessment of the patent system and brings together stakeholders from across the spectrum, from patients to investors and policymakers, to drive sustainable, long-term change into what has long been an exclusionary process.

What Inspires Her

I draw inspiration from smart people who are generous with their time. I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the invaluable mentorship of other women of color in my field, particularly Cheryl Dorsey. Cheryl provided me with both tangible advice that improved my work and that of my organization — but just as crucially, with a model of what great leadership looks like. One of the things I carry with me always is Cheryl’s belief that the pie can always get bigger, which is something that’s imperative to remember in the nonprofit space where operating under a scarcity mindset is the norm. Cheryl set an example for me, so that I’m now serving as a mentor for others, which is a privilege. Women of color especially still have a lot of doors to break down and hands to reach out. As Toni Morrison said, If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’” 

I draw inspiration from smart people who are generous with their time.
Priti Krishtel health justice lawyer and co-founder of I-MAK