The Stakeholder Engagement function at Astellas has seen some changes in the first half of 2018. Maribeth Landwehr, Senior Director of Strategic Communications and Collaboration at Astellas, has recently taken on leadership of the team, and industry veteran Cheryl Davis joined the company as Director of External Stakeholder Engagement. Together with Jenny Kite, Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager, they make up the Stakeholder Engagement Team.
Change Together spoke to Maribeth about her new role and to get her thoughts on Stakeholder Engagement within Astellas.
“Stakeholder Engagement is a way to ensure the patient perspective is brought into all that Astellas does,” explains Maribeth. “By building relationships with advocacy groups and other organizations, we can better understand patients’ needs which, in turn, helps us in our mission to turn innovative science into value for patients.”
Maribeth sees her role within the Stakeholder Engagement Team as a natural continuation of her previous roles in Communications.
“Over the years, I have communicated Astellas’ strong commitment to patients. Now, I have the opportunity to live this message by building relationships with stakeholders who provide critical insights we need to help us meet the needs of the patients we serve. We take what we learn about the patient experience from these groups to increase the organization’s understanding of their journey and provide value to those we serve.”
Change Together, Maribeth added, is a good example of what can be achieved when pharma and advocacy groups work together toward a common goal.
More than 30 groups use the website to share best practice and patient resources, as well as draw inspiration from each other.
“It’s an amazing and engaging platform that gives us a two-way dialogue between Astellas, advocacy groups and other partners,” she said, adding that she and the team would be looking at new ways to use this platform to continue connecting with patient advocates in 2018.
Asked what she had in mind for her first year heading up the team, she said: “I’m going to start by doing a lot of listening.”
“We are looking to deepen existing relationships and broaden our engagement with non-traditional groups and those that represent diverse populations so that we can continue bringing different perspectives to the table.”
Maribeth, Cheryl and Jenny will also be looking for new members of the Astellas Patient Advocates Advisory Committee.
The confidential sounding board collects and evaluates patient feedback on healthcare needs and services. The input is then fed in the company’s early-stage development program and used to identify and bridge gaps in education.
“The first members are just finishing their first term,” explained Maribeth, “we’ll be looking for new members, so we can continue to listen to what advocacy groups have to say. The input we get from them means we can better serve the people they represent.”
We will be hearing more from the Stakeholder Engagement Team on Change Together in the coming months.
Find out more about the team here.