Ilana Jacqueline was named as one of Reuters Pharma Awards Patient Champion Awards 2021 finalists. The winner of this award will be a person or small group which identifies as a patient (or patient group), and who has provided other patients or people with a stronger voice, through advocacy work. This voice will have been influential enough to have created communities, changed policy, raised awareness, helped launch a product or driven a new movement.
When asked what were some of the main factors in her success, she said, “For patients to become key partners in the industry they need unrelenting audacity. In order to feel confident about using their voice, these patients need training, education and the support of their fellow patients. That’s something we’ve always found ways to provide at WEGO Health—either through the courses on our platform, community calls and webinars with patients who teach skills like public speaking and using new social media for spreading awareness and sharing their story. My book talks about how to find your voice in the exam room—a major feat for people just starting out on their diagnostic odysseys or treatment paths. So often we can feel shut down by the fact that we are hardly ever asked for our opinion in our own care. In reality, many patients, particularly those in the rare disease communities, are the experts on their condition—having lived with these illnesses for decades. More often than not, we know what will and won’t work for us—we know how much we’re willing to surrender for better health and how much we’re willing to sacrifice for a higher quality of life. It’s not just about finding the will to speak up in a doctor’s office or in a boardroom full of pharmaceutical executives—it’s about demanding the change you want to see and having the passion and confidence to do so.”