In Memory Of Jessie Gruman, Patient Advocate Extraordinaire

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Earlier today I was on one of my regular healthcare Twitter chats and I heard the news that the wonderful patient advocate Jessie Gruman has died.  I was so shocked and deeply saddened to hear of her passing. Jessie was one of my first heroes of patient engagement and I often quoted her in my talks.

A three-time cancer survivor: at 20 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, at 30 she developed cervical cancer, and at 50 she developed colon cancer, she used her personal and academic background to understand how people respond to serious illness. In 2007 she published  AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You — or Someone You Love — a Devastating Diagnosis.

Jessie was president and founder of the Center for Advancing Health, a nonpartisan, Washington-based policy institute which, since 1992, has been supported by foundations and individuals to work on people’s engagement in their health care from the patient perspective.

She was a brilliant speaker and a cogent writer on the issues that effect patients and in her desire to see patients at the heart of healthcare. Last year I was honored to be asked by her to contribute to a Cancer Survivorship series on her website, and in my email interactions with her she was so kind and encouraging to me.

Jessie Gruman will be deeply missed as a compelling voice for the patient. We who mourn her passing will continue her work in her memory.