Meeting new board members: Andrew Spiegel
We will be welcoming Andrew Spiegel, Executive Director of Global Colon Cancer Association, to our Governing Board in August 2016. Andrew answered a few questions about his work, what he brings to IAPO and why he is involved in patient advocacy work.
Why are you personally involved in the work you do?
I first became involved because of my frustration about the lack of awareness of a disease that was the second leading cause of cancer death. I was shocked to learn there were no patient groups for colon cancer in the US. After my mother's diagnosis, raising public awareness of the disease became my passion. I remain in the patient advocacy arena for one simple reason: I love the work I do.
What are some of the challenges facing patients in your region today?
I think in the US, and throughout the world, there are increased pressures on governments, health systems and payors to reduce healthcare costs. While everyone is interested in reducing costs, that cannot be at the expense of the patient's health. The patient must remain at the forefront of all healthcare policy decisions and the advocacy community is more important now than ever to ensure that occurs.
What’s the best thing about being an IAPO member?
Nowhere on earth do more patient advocates connect than through IAPO. With more than 250 of the world's leading patient organizations represented, IAPO is a unique and powerful voice to effectuate change and ensure the voice of the patient is heard around the globe.
Why did you apply to become a Governing Board member?
While I've spent nearly two decades in the patient advocacy arena, I've only truly been exposed to the global healthcare picture for the last five. During this time, I've witnessed the great global need for increased collaboration, information sharing and the need for governments to invest in its people. I'm hopeful my experiences can translate into meaningful measurable growth in furthering the important mission of IAPO.
What will you bring to IAPO?
I bring a diversified perspective, having worked at the grassroots level of an NGO through to executive leadership roles. I served eight years on the Board of Directors of a national patient organization in the US before becoming CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance. For the past few years, I've had the privilege of serving as Board Chair of the Digestive Disease National Coalition. This advocacy organization, comprised of over 50 leading US patient and physician organizations, has been a leader in Washington DC in representing the digestive disease community. I hope my many years of Board experience at the national level in the US will translate well to help further the important work of IAPO.
See Andrew's biography here.