About Geisel Advocacy for Patients
Geisel Advocacy for Patients is built on my greatest strengths and the most valuable contributions that I can make to help others.
In my first career, I was a journalist in the business press, covering the news and trends in different industries for professionals in those arenas. My journalistic skills will ease your stress in dealing with the health care system. I know how to research a diagnosis that you or a loved one are facing, find treatment options or providers for you to consider and simplify complex medical issues. I will help you ask providers the right questions. I will communicate effectively with you, your loved ones and all the providers on your care team.
Nearly five years ago, I began to think about other uses for my journalistic skills. I wanted to use my talent for a worthy cause. I applied to volunteer on the HelpLine of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where we are well trained to provide information, resources, guidance and encouragement to individuals living with mental illness and their families. I find the work immensely rewarding, and I feel that it comes naturally to me. I then read a feature in The Washington Post about patient advocates, which mentioned the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. I joined the organization, and I started taking advantage of APHA’s educational opportunities. I was excited to learn through APHA that the Patient Advocate Certification Board had been formed to develop a national certification exam for patient advocates. Those who pass the exam earn the Board Certified Patient Advocate credential. I earned the BCPA designation in March 2018.
I also bring to patient advocacy a life-long familiarity with the medical profession. My father was a general practitioner, as they were known in his era. My two older brothers are in the profession, one a pulmonologist and one a vascular surgeon. Add to the family’s health care roster two brothers-in-law, a nephew and two nieces by marriage. Yes, I have had an insider’s view of the medical profession. But equally important, not being a doctor nor being married to one, I also have a lay person’s view. I understand your questions, concerns and challenges navigating today’s health care system.
My father graduated from medical school in 1936—before penicillin, hi-tech diagnostic tools and the reign of specialization. We were told by much younger doctors who knew him that he was an amazing diagnostician, because early in his professional life he could not find the answers in technology. He cared for entire families and knew them well. With his gentle, compassionate and reassuring manner, he handled every sore throat, chronic disease or injury that a patient presented during office hours, no appointment necessary. He delivered babies and performed routine surgeries until hospitals no longer allowed GPs to do so. Yes, he made house calls, and his patients had our home telephone number. If a child had a fever, a worried parent could directly call our house at 2 a.m. for advice.
In short, I have seen quality, compassionate health care. The way my father practiced may not be a realistic model for today, but there are still doctors out there who want to take the time to listen, get to know their patients and work with you to maintain or regain optimal health.
I would love to help you find those practitioners.