Ellen Pompeo on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Ending, Making an Impact in Medicine

  • While promoting Betr Remedies, Ellen Pompeo told Insider she’s ready to end Grey’s Anatomy.
  • “I was trying to focus on convincing everyone that this should end,” she said.
  • In the meantime, Pompeo wants to help make sure the stories of marginalized people are told.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo has no idea how her character Dr. Meredith Gray’s story will turn out, but she knows she’d like everyone to have the answer as soon as possible.

“I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everyone that it has to come to an end,” she recently told Insider while promoting her company Betr Remedies, where she serves as co-founder and director of impact. But Pompeo says she is having a hard time persuading others to pull the plug on a show that has been so successful for nearly two decades.

She continued, “I feel like I’m the most naive who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story, what story are we going to tell?'” “And everyone is like, ‘Who cares, Eileen? It makes a million dollars.’”

While she’s waiting for everyone to agree that “Grey’s Anatomy” is coming to a natural end, she’s carving out a new way for herself outside the halls of Prospect Studios, where ABC recently filmed its landmark 18th season.

Ellen Pompeo in navy blue

Ellen Pompeo in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

ABC


Pompeo tries to make the medical world fairer when the cameras stop rolling

There must have been a little Meredith Gray in Pompeo’s veins after nearly two decades in the role. She told Insider that when the pandemic hit the US, her way of dealing with the country’s crisis was to start a series of Zooms called “Healing Healthcare.”

The series featured Pompeo in conversation with medical professionals, in which he spoke about issues such as the “state of health care” and “racism in health care.” The goal, she said, was “to provide a space for people to have conversations and for people to listen to conversations about what health care workers are already going through.”

When Healing Healthcare ended, Pompeo asked her team to help her find ways to continue making beneficial contributions to health equity. The goal of “equality in health,” 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, race, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.”

Then Pompeo’s team introduced it to Betr Remedies founders Livio Bistrzo and Jennifer Simon Hoffman.

Ellen Pompeo Peter's Treatments

Ellen Pompeo is Chief Impact Officer at Betr Remedies.

stable


Betr Remedies sells over-the-counter medicines to the public and works with the non-profit organization SIRUM, whose mission is to donate unused (“completely safe and non-expired”) prescription medicines to underserved communities via charitable pharmacies that distribute to people in need.

Pompeo told Insider that she “had no idea how much of the actual drug goes into landfills” until she started working with Betr Remedies, which also aims to reduce medical waste by working with SIRUM.

“I saw this as a very interesting opportunity to be part of a startup that addresses some of the real issues that we have,” Pompeo said of her partnership with Betr Remedies.

Pompeo’s priority now is to share stories that make an impact – both on Grey’s Anatomy and on her other projects

Pompeo says she strives to use her on-screen and off-screen platform in Hollywood to tell stories and listen to marginalized voices, particularly on the new “Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo” podcast.

But Pompeo, who is co-executive producer on “Grey’s Anatomy” in addition to his lead role, told Insider that although the ABC series is a medical drama, issues like drug waste are “very difficult” to talk about.

So, while this topic hasn’t been portrayed in the series yet, Pompeo notes that writers try to highlight inequalities in medicine whenever possible. The “Grey’s” storyline that stands out to her as aligned with Betr Remedies’ mission across seasons 15 and 16 occurred when Meredith committed insurance fraud in order to help an uninsured young woman receive treatment for cancer.

Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo attends the 2019 InStyle Awards Gala at the Getty Center on October 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

John Kopaloff / WireImage


The mother-of-three told Insider that while she is “certainly not an expert on social justice by any means,” she tries to expose her children “to examples of other people who are active in fighting for important things, rather than trying to tell them what to do.”

“I would like to point out how many good people are really working hard to try and make a big difference in whatever areas they are passionate about,” she added.

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