A Unique Conference for a Unique Year

Theresa Brady
Theresa Brady
September 23, 2020

This year has feels like an unfair pile on. One crisis follows another while the first never gets resolved. From the pandemic to global recession to civil unrest to raging fires to hurricanes, the relentless onslaught challenges every sector of our society. 

That is why the upcoming BIO Patient & Health Advocacy Digital Summit will address the issues that patient groups and other health stakeholders are facing during this year of calamities. One issue that is not new, but which was illuminated during protests against social and racial injustice, is the problem of health disparities that create inequitable access to therapies and lack of diversity in clinical trials. The first panel session of this virtual event to be held Oct 28 and 29 is Achieving Health Equity: How Will We Get There? It will feature healthcare stakeholders discussing ongoing health equity initiatives and agendas as they look both internally and externally to promote diversity.

Other very real issues stemming from the pandemic for patient advocates are unprecedented challenges in fundraising, reduced resources, and potentially disconnected networks. During a time of financial uncertainty many nonprofits must find new ways to fundraise. On day one of the summit, panelists will share key learnings and best practices as well as obstacles and solutions for fundraising in a virtual environment. Another panel discussion will center on how organizations can explore coalition work as one avenue to further advocacy work in the face of limited resources.

To keep things interesting, the summit will offer a unique way to learn about the inner workings of Capitol Hill. The Beekeeper Group’s “Live Interactive Political Capital Game” gets everyone involved in a fun game experience that teaches the finer points of how the media, lobbyists, and grassroots constituents interact to influence key legislation. Players will walk away with new confidence in navigating the often tricky and unpredictable legislative process.

Day two of the conference will focus on the practical aspects of building a patient advocacy organization from the ground up, access to clinical trials and rare pediatric diseases. It will also drill down on politics, executive orders and state and local policy initiatives.

“So many of the patient advocates who attend our summit are savvy navigators of the legislative and regulatory process,” said Michele Oshman, BIO’s VP of External Affairs. “Every year they come to this conference to deepen and strengthen their connections with our policy experts from companies, regulators and one another to ensure that the patient voice is loud and clear. We also welcome a number of advocates who are new to BIO or the Summit, and it is always exciting to see how the advocacy community welcomes, engages and supports them – that’s one of the reasons I love working in advocacy. I’m looking forward to convening in the virtual environment because we will reach so many more advocates this year. See you next month!”

This event is generously supported by these sponsors:

  • Champion Sponsors – Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Gilead, Lilly, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., Inc., Retrophin, Sangamo Therapeutics
  • Ally Sponsors – Astellas, Biogen, REGENXBIO Inc.
  • Advocate Sponsors – Alkermes, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Eisai, Inc., Harmony Biosciences, Incyte, Neurocrine Biosciences, Sanofi, Vertex, Zogenix

More details on the BIO Patient & Health Advocacy Digital Summit can be found here.