The MIT Alumni Association (MITAA) annually recognizes graduates with several awards that highlight distinguished service and professional accomplishments. Guadalupe Hayes-Mota, SB ’08, LGO ’16, is one of eight recipients of this year’s Margaret L. A. MacVicar, SB ’65, ScD ’67, Award, which is given in recognition of one’s innovation at, dedication to, and impact on the MITAA or the Institute in any area of volunteer activity.
Hayes-Mota, who was also appointed Practitioner in Residence by the MIT PKG Center for his work in healthcare equity, serves as director of global supply chain and manufacturing at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical. He regularly provides mentorship to MIT students, advocates for diversity and inclusion at the Institute, and leads the MITAA’s reestablished Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Alumni group. As a Reunion-year alumnus of the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, Hayes-Mota values the lessons MIT Sloan taught him about realizing his ideas and promoting his values.
What drives or inspires you?
I’m driven by a desire to prevent children and adults from having to go through what I did. At birth, I was diagnosed with hemophilia, a blood clotting disorder. Growing up in a small city in Mexico, I had limited access to medication, which meant long hospital stays whenever I had a bleeding episode. When my appendix burst at age 12, I underwent emergency surgery, followed by a desperate eight-hour ambulance ride to another hospital searching for better medication to stop the bleeding. Doctors told my parents I was unlikely to survive—but against all odds, I did. As I grew older, I became determined to make sure people worldwide could get the medications and medical services they need.
How has your time at MIT Sloan influenced your ideas?
MIT Sloan taught me a lot about how to implement my ideas and promote my values in a global context. Within the LGO program, I learned how to conceptualize and solve problems that involve many different parts of the world and operationalize a vision on a global scale. For me, that was really important, as I am searching for the best ways to provide patients around the world with the medicines they need to live a healthy life. An especially valuable experience for me was the action learning lab course I took, through which I was able to collaborate with healthcare providers in India to design operational improvements for a state-level healthcare system. Working in a totally different healthcare context helped me gain a broader perspective on how medical supply chains and delivery systems work in different countries.
What’s the most important idea you are working on right now?
How to make medicines affordable and accessible globally, including in developing countries, is what I spend most of my time thinking about now. My particular priority has been figuring out how to decrease the manufacturing and operations costs of producing medicines. Still, I also want to explore further how to reduce the costs of implementing clinical trials and, down the line, start thinking about pricing. I want to recreate the whole business model we have in the biotech industry and start creating sustainable systems that will provide affordable medicines to patients around the world.