The Patient Engagement Dinner, presented by BioOhio and PhRMA, was the first of its kind for the bioscience industry in Ohio. With its truly original concept and non-traditional format, more than 120 attendees, including representatives of 20 patient advocacy groups, were treated to unique and memorable experiences.

Guests representing the bioscience industry, from medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare, to research, digital health, and biotech education, came together in Columbus, on a sunny afternoon in late July for the opportunity to be one of the first guests at the inaugural dinner. Upon entering Walter’s Commons Hall, located on the campus of St. Charles Preparatory School, guests were in awe of the venue with its unique blend of historic architecture and modern flare.

“It was such an honor to be present for the amazing speakers. I am grateful for the reminder that there are a lot of great things happening in this country, especially in Ohio.” – Stephanie Glover, American Regent (Pharmaceuticals)

“The Patient Engagement Summit was an inspiring and classy event!” – Alexa Konstantinos, Battelle (Research & Development)

“Having a chance to advocate for others suffering from glaucoma was tremendous. I can’t wait until next year!” Judy Huang, Patient Ambassador (Glaucoma)

“The panelists shared incredibly personal stories on patient centered healthcare and I left last night humbled, grateful, and hopeful.” – Brittany Buza, SmartShape Design (Medical Devices)

The Patient Engagement Dinner agenda was a balance of education, inspiration, and celebration. The day began at 4pm with the Patient Engagement Panel. John Lewis, President and CEO of BioOhio, led the discussion. The panel featured Ian Burkhart, patient and founder of the Ian Burkhart FoundationDr. David Friedenberg, Technical Leader in Medical Devices and Neurostimulation at BattelleKelly Maynard, President of Little Hercules Foundation, whose son was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Cathy Patten, Director of Patient Services, Cardinal Health Sonexus™ Access & Patient Support. The conversation was a captivating discussion full of personal stories of overcoming insurmountable obstacles, finding success, and hope for the future.

Ian shared his story about an ill-fated dive into a wave at the beach resulting in him becoming a quadriplegic. He is a participant in a neural bridging research study through The Ohio State University and Battelle. Dr. Friedenberg is part of the cutting-edge care team working to restore movement to Ian’s paralyzed hands.

Kelly shared her heartbreaking story about her son being diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age 5. Desperately searching for treatment, and finding none, Kelly left her career to devote her time and energy to advocating not only for her son’s future, but for other Duchenne Families as well.

With the goal of helping patients and families like Kelly’s, Cathy and Cardinal Health assist patients in attaining prescribed medications or therapy. In some instances, patients only need help completing paperwork and understanding the process, while others need more specific assistance with insurance or have financial hurdles to overcome. Cathy made a point during the discussion to emphasize the scope of resources made available by drug manufacturers that patients and healthcare providers often do not know about. Helping those in need by connecting patients to impactful assistance is rewarding – especially when it can be life changing.

Following the panel, guests were invited to the Patient Perspective Reception where Patient Ambassadors guided attendees through their personal journeys. These Ambassadors were real patients who are direct recipients of care and innovations from doctors, researchers, engineers, and revolutionary thinkers within the bioscience industry.

Patient Ambassadors (click here for more information)

  • Kelly Arledge, Voters for Cures
  • Ian Burkhart, Ian Burkhart Foundation
  • L. Scott Clay, Diabetic Wound Care Patient
  • Craig Cote, Ohio Health Modernization Movement
  • Dr. David Friedenberg, Neurostimulation Researcher
  • Judy Huang, Glaucoma Patient
  • Kristin Kerwin, LAM Foundation
  • Kelly Maynard, Little Hercules Foundation
  • Christopher Moore, Gastric Bypass Patient
  • Cathy Patten, Patient Access Advocate
  • Annie J. Ross-Womack, Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association
  • Justin Rezkella, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Patient
  • Rosemarie Rossetti, Spinal Cord Injury Patient
  • Angela Snyder, Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative
  • Felice Thomas, Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association

Following the reception, dinner began with remarks from John Lewis of BioOhio, welcoming attendees and thanking ambassadors and panelists for sharing their stories. Jenny Camper, representing PhRMA, shared the mission of Voters for Cures, an organization that advocates for proposals supporting the next generation of treatments and cures, ensuring patients can receive the medicines they need. Jenny also introduced RALI Ohio, a program that supports a broad range of programs to address substance misuse, including prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

Keynote speaker Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice, was introduced by Tony Severoni of Sunovion, as dinner concluded. Evelyn shared her story of growing up in missionary family in Thailand and how she came to America for college, eventually attaining a post on the bench of Ohio’s highest court. Central to her fascinating story, was the theme of how medical care impacts individuals and the families and friends surrounding them. Her family’s lives transitioned from an environment with minimal modern medical technology, to the U.S. and its array of treatments and advanced research programs. She encouraged the audience to continue its efforts to make new discoveries, enhance existing treatments, and create positive outcomes for patients. Evelyn is now the Project Director for Stepping Up Ohio, where she works to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

Without the support of our amazing sponsors PhRMASarepta Therapeutics, BIO, taylor strategy partners (TSP), AdvaMed, Pfizer, and Sunovion, the Patient Engagement Dinner would not have been possible. The engagement of our sponsors, partners, and members in coordinating participation of patients and promotion of the event as a whole was critical to the Dinner’s success.

Thank you to everyone that attended and made the event so memorable. BioOhio is excited to host the Patient Engagement Dinner again in 2020. Watch for more information regarding next year’s Dinner!