November 2020 – preemiePRO Professional Highlight

Mike Walsh
President of Patient Advocacy Strategies – a consulting firm that bridges life sciences companies and patient communities.

I’ve always felt Teddy Roosevelt’s quote “do what you can, where you are, with what you have” can apply to every human being on this earth. It’s particularly appropriate to health advocacy and patient engagement. Nobody can do everything but everyone can certainly do something productive. – Mike Walsh

PREEMIEWORLD: How long have you been working in your field?
MIKE: I’ve been in the healthcare sector my entire career and segued to a specialization in patient engagement and health advocacy in 2005 as Advocacy Manager at MedImmune. We worked closely with the premature infant health community at the national and grass roots level. That was where I was blessed to cross paths with, collaborate with and become inspired by Deb Discenza.

PREEMIEWORLD: Why did you choose your current profession?
MIKE: I can’t think of a more exciting or compelling place to add value than at the intersection of patient perspectives and medical innovation.

PREEMIEWORLD: What do you want other professionals to know about what you do?
MIKE: I’ve held a number of Advocacy leadership roles at various biotech companies but often found myself shackled by restrictive legal and compliance guidance that limited the collaboration with patient communities or overzealous commercial partners who viewed advocacy as an approach to sell a product. I started Patient Advocacy Strategies 4 years ago to listen to understand the needs of patient and disease communities and infuse those insights to inform life sciences companies developing innovative solutions with the patient at the table from the outset.

PREEMIEWORLD: What advice do you give to preemie parents?
MIKE: When it comes to working with patients and their care providers, I try to listen more than give advice. Witnessing the evolution of the preemie space over the past decade with so many incredibly sophisticated support organizations such as Preemieworld, my advice would be to reach out early and often as the valuable support needed exists. It truly does take a village and is incumbent upon healthcare providers and all of us to make these resources accessible. Parents need to be their own advocates which can be intimidating when they find themselves with a healthcare outcome they didn’t anticipate. The work you folks at Preemieworld do on a daily basis of connecting parents with appropriate support eases the burden of taking a high risk infant home from the NICU. You’re changing lives!

PREEMIEWORLD: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
MIKE: The premature infant health community is the reason I dedicated my professional career to patient engagement and health advocacy . I’m forever indebted to this special community for that gift.