Advocacy in Industry

Jamie Ring | May 22, 2012

When I started working at Genzyme in 2005, I immediately realized how lucky I was to be in patient advocacy. Having worked at another biotech company and also at a non-profit organization in the health care arena, I had never heard about such a role even existing within this industry. Over the past few years, I’ve received many requests from other biotechnology companies to speak about the Genzyme model of patient advocacy – its function, structure, and staffing needs. But the question I get asked most often is about how to make the function thrive within an organization. I believe there are two key factors in creating a successful advocacy function. First, hire good people--people with strong ethics, compassion, and a true commitment to helping others. I’ve been very lucky to work amongst a team of people who work hard every day not just for Genzyme, but for the communities that we serve, and they inspire me daily. Second is support from your colleagues and executive management. Genzyme has always been a company full of patient advocates and it remains that way today--the support the function receives from our colleagues is incredible. From the CEO to medical affairs to marketing to legal, we are included in business decisions, are in constant dialogue, and are listened to when we are sharing feedback from the community. Keeping us informed of your needs as advocacy leaders, the needs of your community, and suggestions on how we can do more together is such an important foundation of our ability to do our jobs. We have a seat at the decision making table here, which in turn means that all of you do, too.  

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