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- While promoting Betr Remedies, Ellen Pompeo told Insider she's ready for "Grey's Anatomy" to end.
- "I've been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end," she said.
- In the meantime, Pompeo wants to help make sure marginalized people's stories are told.
"Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo has no idea how her character Dr. Meredith Grey's story will end, but she knows she'd like everyone to have the answer as soon as possible.
"I've been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end," she recently told Insider while promoting her company Betr Remedies, where she serves as its cofounder and chief impact officer. But Pompeo says she's having a hard time convincing others to pull the plug on a show that has been so successful for nearly two decades.
"I feel like I'm the super naive one who keeps saying, 'But what's the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?'" she continued. "And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.'"
As she waits for everybody else to agree that "Grey's Anatomy" is approaching its natural end, she's forging a new path for herself outside of the halls of Prospect Studios, where ABC's hit most recently filmed its historic 18th season.
Pompeo is trying to make the world of medicine more equitable when the cameras stop rolling
A little bit of Meredith Grey's spirit must have seeped into Pompeo's veins after nearly two decades in the role. She told Insider that when the pandemic hit the US, her way of coping with the country's crisis was to start a series of Zooms called "Healing Healthcare."
The series featured Pompeo in conversation with medical workers, talking about issues like "the state of healthcare" and "racism in healthcare." The goal, she said, was to "provide a space for people to have conversations and people to listen to conversations about what healthcare workers were actually going through."
When Healing Healthcare ended, Pompeo requested that her team help her find ways to continue making meaningful contributions to health equity. The goal of "health equity," according to the Institute of Medicine (via the Association of American Medical Colleges), is to provide "care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status."
Pompeo's team then introduced her to Betr Remedies cofounders Livio Bisterzo and Jennifer Simone Hoffman.
Betr Remedies sells over-the-counter medication to the public and works with the non-profit organization SIRUM, whose mission is to donate unused ("perfectly safe, unexpired") prescription medications to underserved communities via charitable pharmacies distributing to people in need.
Pompeo told Insider she "had no idea how much actual medication goes into landfills" until she started working with Betr Remedies, which also has the goal of reducing medical waste by working with SIRUM.
"I saw this as a pretty interesting opportunity to be a part of a startup that was addressing some real issues that we have," Pompeo said of her partnership with Betr Remedies.
Pompeo's priority now is sharing stories that make an impact — both on 'Grey's Anatomy' and in her other ventures
Pompeo says she strives to use her platform on-and-off-screen in Hollywood to tell stories about and listen to marginalized voices, particularly on her new podcast "Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo."
But Pompeo, who is a co-executive producer on "Grey's Anatomy" in addition to its lead, told Insider that even though the ABC series is a medical drama, issues like pharmaceutical waste are "very challenging" to talk about.
So while that subject hasn't been depicted on the series yet, Pompeo notes that the writers do try to shed light on inequality in medicine whenever possible. A "Grey's" storyline that stands out to her as aligning with Betr Remedies' mission happened across seasons 15 and 16 when Meredith commits insurance fraud in order to help a young, uninsured woman receive treatment for cancer.
The mother of three told Insider that while she is "certainly no expert on social justice by any means" she tries to expose her kids to "examples of other people being active in fighting for things that matter, rather than trying to tell them what to do."
"I like to point out how many good people there are really working hard to try to make significant change in whatever areas they're passionate about," she added.
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