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Maximizing Patient Engagement and Advocacy

Episode 345

Recommended Book:

Our Bodies, Our Data by Adam Tanner

Best Way to Contact Jodie:

LinkedIn

Maximizing Patient engagement and advocacy with Jodie Gillon, Life Sciences Leader | Convert audio-to-text with the best AI technology by Sonix.ai

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket. Appreciate you tuning in again. I have a special guest for you. Her name is Jodie Sherman Gillon. She’s a Global Medical Lead, Patient Engagement and Rare Diseases at Pfizer. Jodie Gillon started her career in advocacy, hospitals, and government, both here and abroad. She has two decades of industry experience both in large and emerging pharmaceutical companies across virtually every therapeutic area. She excels at creating diverse and broad functions that companies developing products might not even realize they need. For instance at Killian pharma Jodie joined at the POC stage and built out a basic policies such as interacting with HCP’s and contributions as well as all medical affairs functions including field medical, MI, publications, meetings, advocacy, alliances, grants, compassionate use, and transparency. Her background is an epidemiology and her passion is leveraging big data to tackle industry wide challenges such as diagnosis. She often speaks externally and holds several board and committee memberships. She’s currently an advisor to the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute wherein she advises the Institute as well as startup pharma digital and A.I. companies they support. Her current role as head of patient affairs for Pfizer rare diseases will be eliminated in January and Jodie is seeking to return for a smaller innovative nimble organization where she can leverage her skills and make meaningful impacts on patients. So true true privilege to have her on the podcast here today and Jodie just want to open it up to you to welcome you and also to add any other details in the intro that maybe I may have missed out.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Well thank you so much for that is very comprehensive and…

Saul Marquez:
Thank you.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Just an update, I’ll actually be at Pfizer to educate first but I’m currently pursuing my next career opportunity. And regardless I must share that my disclaimer that the views expressed today are my own and my cumulative experience not necessarily those my current or any previous employers.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Now I appreciate the clarification there Jodie. Why did you decide to get into the medical sector?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yeah so I’ve actually been working with patients since high school. I was volunteering at what was Beth Israel Hospital in the East Village in New York City. And for me it wasn’t a question about entering the medical sector or working directly with patients. It was whether or not I wanted to be a medical doctor or go into health policy. And I actually made that decision when I was in college. I was simultaneously a White House intern with Monica Lewinsky actually at the Office of AIDS policy and then working at Georgetown Hospital in an HIV study and actress disease clinic and I was seeing these patients and entering trials and they were already deck and really limited options and they’re working on AIDS policy I was really focused on HIV prevention, education, changes in policy, and I just felt like I could have more of an impact on a larger number of patients by focusing on health policy. So I actually went on to study public health and then work in advocacy and government.

Saul Marquez:
Very nice. So it’s been a part of your DNA it’s been your really your life and you just kind of turned to the policy side rather than the practitioner side and so today you know you’ve had quite a bit of experience with different companies. What do you think is a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda and how are you approaching it?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yes I see that everyone currently should be thinking about artificial intelligence and data and really thinking through and trying to understand all that the leverage from it and how their organizations whatever their organizations are whether they’re a patient group, Pharmaceutical Industry, payer, or society, how they can find answers to tap challenges or tools that are at their fingertips. And I think industry wide or really at the precipice of major advancements, we have these brilliant data scientists and I think now we need to really direct and pose the right questions and pull together stakeholders to solve problems that we haven’t yet to date such as around the challenges around diagnosis and you know we probably have the answers that patients can all be quickly or immediately properly diagnosed rather than have a journey to diagnosis. And I think that we just need to know how to use these tools and come together to solve these challenges.

Saul Marquez:
Jodie I think it’s a great call out and I think we’re getting better overall and more and more data scientists are getting farmed out and of the universities today to have career and I definitely think that if I agree you know organizations not considering these techniques and and ways of solving problems need to consider it. Give us an example of how you’ve created results by doing things differently.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Sure. Well I’ve been meeting patient engagement both large and small companies and both my philosophy has always been everything can be done better when you partner with patients or patient groups and I literally mean everything. So it could even be deciding on a new indication and really understanding unmet needs, benefit risks, doing that, that journey worked, the insight worked. Even looking at how to revamp a protocol or even building out value propositions for payers and doing things really early on not when you’re just ready to go for reimbursement. I’m also a huge fan of multi stakeholder engagement so often and I think this is across industries we’ll go out we’ll seek feedback from different groups of stakeholders so an industry might go to a group of patients we might go to a group of payers maybe even nurses then patients. But I’m a huge fan of bringing everyone together, posing a question or a challenge, and then trying to solve it together from all different viewpoints. And I think you’ll have a much richer output.

Saul Marquez:
So Jodie when you bring people together, do you feel like there’s power in a larger or smaller groups or how do you typically do it?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yes I don’t think the group needs to be any larger per say so an advisory board might typically have about 10 stakeholders. And previously I might do two of each stakeholder and I’ve even had ethicists help guide my policies, principles for a company. What I like to do is get really diverse opinions. So if I have two ethicists I might have one for America another from Europe. If I have two patients, I might have one that’s a patient thought leaders. Super savvy, really technologically inclined, and another patient who’s maybe never been on a computer and really unaware of how to access information on clinical trials so it’s all about getting really diverse perspectives which then at the end if you can solve a challenge together from all these different perspectives you just instead of going back and trying to pull it together later in the office I think it’s a much richer product.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. I love the detail there. It’s important for us to consider different approaches when coming together for solutions. You know it’s cool I did a workshop with IDEO so it’s a firm that designed the first mouse for the Macintosh and they had this firm philosophy about small groups like six no more than six. But everybody has their own way of doing things. The key I thing Jodie that I love about your ways is getting different stakeholders need within a stakeholder type to get the opposite ends of the spectrum. I think that’s super valuable tips there for the leaders listening. Tell me about a time that you’ve created results by doing things differently.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yeah results by doing things differently. I’m really a huge fan of thinking out of the box and thinking innovatively and something that I even like to do is build up my stakeholders. So instead of one and done I’m able to build up their infrastructure and capabilities so we can keep coming back to them and growing together. Still an example was actually a bone marrow disorder group being able to support them so that they can create a group of patients to be able to provide impact on all type of industry questions. So not only help the company that I work for but it helped all companies and I really like to give either even internally or externally tools. So it’s not something where someone does something one but they have tools, infrastructure, to rely on and they’re able to grow and innovate.

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s really neat. And so from the perspective of stakeholders and building these groups focusing on advocacy and making sure they get their voices heard. Share time with us when you had a setback and what you learned from it.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
I mean it I guess right now I feel like I had a setback. I never thought I’d be in a position where I’d be looking for employment where I might have a period of unemployment. And it’s a bit shocking. It’s of course the anxiety provoking. I’ve been in industry now for 20 years I’ve gone through so much change so many organizational restructures, overhauls. You come in thinking you have one function and a few weeks later you’re leading you know for a different set of departments. And now I think it’s really important to grasp everything as an opportunity rather than to step back, to take everything as a learning and just really focus on the future not see things as early as stay. But what can I learn and what can I do now and move forward and make things even better overall.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah. I love the attitude, attitude is altitude. And one of my favorite sayings is it’s not the wind but how you set your sails that ultimately determines the end. And so I mean with the amazing things that you’ve done Jodie and the experience that you have I have no doubt you’re going to land on your feet.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Thank you, it’s a really exciting time so thank you.

Saul Marquez:
So what would you say is looking kind of in the rearview mirror, what would you say is one of your proudest medical leadership experiences?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yes so it actually goes way back to the very start of my career. I was working at the first ever HIV advocacy group in Israel so Israel in terms of you know HIV and policy was about 10 years behind the United States and virtually no one got tested as any result would go on a citizens permanent record. And to me that was the greatest impediment to progress. And in general I always try and you have root cause analysis you know what is the hurdle. What is the real issue. And I had the privilege to go before the Israeli parliament and lobby to change the laws through anonymous testing and I was able to accomplish it. And for me that that was my proudest moment because also I didn’t learn Hebrew till I was 21 years old. And just being elbowed if I see that that one change really had such an impact on the course of the epidemic in that country. And it just gave me that advocacy bug. From then on Andrew my career decisions and eventually moved into the private sector but really stayed focus on patient advocacy.

Saul Marquez:
Love that.So you really went in there and you’re in Parliament speaking in Hebrew and you’ve got this done.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yeah. I have to say the highlight of my entire career when I was that’s…

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
About 22 years old.

Saul Marquez:
That is awesome. Nice work.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
That is fantastic. Well I can’t say that to anybody on the podcast today has done that. So kudos to you for that. And it’s made a difference for the country as far as I could imagine in a big way. You know anonymizing this test probably led to a huge surge of people testing themselves.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yeah I mean it’s also what made me really interested in epidemiology and just understanding what is actually the issue and the impediment to improving outcomes.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. This is really great. And so what would you say today is an exciting project you’re working on.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yes. So for me now it’s what I’m looking to take on as I move forward and you mentioned no I just accepted a role as an adviser with the Texas Medical Center their innovation institute. So I’m going to be helping startups to spin off and I really enjoy these really broad goals where you help enable companies across so many different functions and I’m also moving more into the Artificial Intelligence space doing more talks and more recently. I just got invited to Dubai and then Israel to give talks and conferences that their governments are beating because they want to be more active in this space. So for me it’s kind of refocusing where I spend my time and that type of meetings I’m now presenting that.

Saul Marquez:
Love it and there’s no doubt you continue to follow your passion. You’re continuing to make impact on patients’ lives. Let’s pretend you and I are putting together a course on the ABC’s of patient engagement. So this is gonna be a lightning round. I’ve got four questions for you. Followed by a favorite book. You ready?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
I’m ready.

Saul Marquez:
All right. What’s the best way to improve health outcomes?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Yes. So it goes back and I think there’s a common theme throughout my interview. But you really need to get the insights and truly understand the challenges and obstacles. So an example could be in your challenges around diagnosis and under diagnosis and we especially see that in rare diseases could be a lack of awareness a lack of education. It could be guidelines aren’t ending the crack task or could even be that you have the right guidelines and they’re permitting the right tests. They maybe don’t have the right trained physicians administering those tests in a hospital so to really make improvements you have to fully understand the issue.

Saul Marquez:
What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
So one that I see often and get complaints about from patient groups is going to external stakeholders specifically when you need something and only when you need something. So my analogy is you treat all external relationships like a marriage so or at least an ideal marriage should be ideally built on trust transparency and open and constant communication where you’re meeting each other’s mutual need.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. How do you stay relevant despite constant change?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
So I think understanding gaps and making commitments to overall disease area and then communicating and making sure that your communications are targeted to each audience so you know if it’s patients leveraging social and digital media. And having the right campaigns, know if it’s physicians it could be CME or Congress says but making sure that you communicate everything you’re doing appropriately.

Saul Marquez:
This last one Jodie is a two part question. What is your number one health habit and what is your number one success habit?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
So I like to run but I also just started an anti inflammatory diet some testing that out but I have to say I’m cheating with dark chocolate. So there goes that.

Saul Marquez:
You got to have your pleasures. You got to have your pleasures.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
And my success have it. So I have to do list and what I have items at the top of my Outlook calendar each day that I plan to tackle each day and I actually won’t leave the office till I do them.

Saul Marquez:
Nice. Love your commitment. What book would you recommend to the listeners Jodie?

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
So actually a book I’m reading right now it’s called Our Bodies, Our Data. It’s by Adam Tanner. And it’s about the multi-billion dollar patient data industry. And for me it’s really illuminating. It was actually recommended to me at a New York City Health Care artificial intelligence meetup. It’s my first such meetup and I was in the room with data scientists half my age and the topic was re identifying patient data which was a bit startling to me cause I couldn’t conceive why anyone would want to do that. And it really got me thinking about how patients are willing to share their data but they want to say things. And the first is to ensure privacy and that it’s protected. And the second is to understand the output. How is it used and what did anyone find based on their data.

Saul Marquez:
What a great recommendation and truly kind of relevant topic in today’s age today’s economy. Jodie this has been a ton of fun. I definitely think that whatever’s next for you is going to be exciting and impactful so definitely looking forward to staying in touch. I would love to hear a closing thought from you. And then the best place where people could reach up.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Sure so I guess my closing thought is there’s so much that we can be doing to benefit patients and make improvements in their outcomes. But I think like Hillary Clinton says it takes a village and we could do a lot more joining together across industry so I’m a huge fan of pre competitive spaces and multi sponsored construction to come solve these problems together. And I welcome everyone to stay in touch. You can find me on LinkedIn Jodie Sherman Gillon and as you can tell I’m quite candid so feel free to be candid back and tell me if you loved or hated my interview.

Saul Marquez:
I love it Jodie. Well folks there you have it. Jodie Gillon. And by the way if you want to get the entire transcript of today’s interview, links to the book she recommended, as well as any of the other points we discussed just go to outcomesrocket.health in the search bar type and Jodie and up that episode will come you’ll have access to all of that. So Jodie just want to say thank you again. And really looking forward to hearing your progress and staying in touch.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Oh thank you so much for having me. It’s my first podcast.

Saul Marquez:
Oh nice. I’m glad it was with us.

Jodie Sherman Gillon :
Me too. Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Thanks Jodie.

thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

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