Patient advocacy groups need to work together to ensure people and their families can access education and support to help address their unmet needs, says Monica Bryant, Chief Operating Officer, Triage Cancer.
Cancer rights attorney Monica says she and her sister Joanna Morales were acutely aware of this when they founded Triage Cancer, a group that focuses on helping people with the legal and practical issues surrounding a cancer diagnosis.
“We all have the same goal, to eradicate this illness and improve the lives of individuals and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” she says. But rather than competing with other groups in the same space, Triage Cancer works with organizations across disease states. “There is no need to reinvent the wheel. When something is already being done well, a partnership can bring those strengths together.”
Rather than working in the treatment journey space, which is already well served, Triage Cancer focuses its efforts on practical areas such as navigating employment rights and health insurance.
The American Cancer Society was one of the first supporters of the group’s insurance and finance initiatives, and Triage Cancer partners with “almost all disease specific organizations, both big and small”.
Tapping into the experts
Triage Cancer’s Speakers Bureau, for example, connects groups looking for people to give talks at educational events with people who are not only experts in their field, but excellent communicators.
“We have an expert panel, including nurses, social workers and nutritionists, and a panel of survivors and caregivers who have stories with strong, clear messages and are adept at sharing them,” says Monica.
“We have partnerships with many different entities, which makes it incredibly diverse,” Monica notes. “Such coalitions are places to put ‘competition’ aside, to learn from each other and work together. I truly believe we are stronger together.”