New opportunities for patient advocacy leaders

Mike Cohen-thumb-300x420.jpg

I just attended the 10th annual National PALS event. PALS is the Patient Advocacy Leaders Summit, established by GSK in 2002. Over the past decade, PALS has built a community of patient advocates who come together both nationally and regionally to address current issues impacting America's health. PALS events address the needs of those who advocate for access to healthcare.

This summit, entitled The Advocate's Role in Implementing Healthcare Reform in an Evolving Environment, brought together more than 100 advocates representing 84 different organizations. What an exciting day, to be alongside all these leading advocates who came to hear national experts talk about healthcare reform in the current political and economic environment. The presenters spoke about implications of the election results, federal budget processes, healthcare reform, and Medicare and Medicaid expansion. They talked about how information technology can drive improvements in quality, safety, and efficiency. And, importantly, they identified opportunities where we as advocates could make a difference. This event was incredibly timely, and it helped us recognize that we have opportunities to influence the changing environment.

As chair of the PALS Advisory Board it's a real an honor to work with health advocates from across the country representing different therapeutic areas who come together as a learning community. PALS gives me the opportunity to meet people with common interests, but who think about it from their own therapeutic perspective. PALS breaks down these silos to find common ground. We get together to share best practices, and learn from one another--how to legislate, how to use social media, how to educate constituents who don't know all there is to know about health reform and in particular the Affordable Care Act. As a direct result of PALS, coalitions have formed to advocate collectively for improved access to healthcare

I am thankful for this decade of support from GSK. These events involve thousands of advocates and ultimately impact public policy for the benefit of patients.

Attendees at the 10th Annual National Patient Advocacy Leaders Summit

Attendees at the 10th Annual National Patient Advocacy Leaders Summit