EVP, patient advocacy & engagement, national patient advocate foundation.
Gwen Darien is Executive Vice President for Patient Advocacy and Engagement, at the National Patient Advocate Foundation (https://www.npaf.org/), an organization with a mission of bringing patient voices to health system delivery reform, developing and driving initiatives promoting equitable access to affordable quality health care, and prioritizing the patient voice in health system delivery reform to achieve person-centered care. She is also Executive Vice President at their sister organization, Patient Advocate Foundation (https://www.patientadvocate.org/), a national non-profit organization which provides case management services and financial aid to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses.
Gwen is a longtime patient advocate who has played leadership roles in some of the country’s preeminent nonprofit organizations.
As a three-time cancer survivor herself, Gwen came into cancer advocacy expressly to change the experiences and outcomes for the patients who came after her and to change the public dialogue about cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
In 2,005 Gwen started the first stand-alone advocacy entity in a professional cancer research organization, at the American Association for Cancer Research, launching CR magazine – a magazine for people with cancer and those who care for them. Later, she served as the executive director of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation; director of The Pathways Project; and executive vice president of programs and services at the Cancer Support Community, where in each role, Gwen championed placing patients at the center of health system change, whether it was for research, public policy or direct services.
While serving as the chair or on the board of a wide range of program committees and workshop faculties, including the Community Engagement in Genomics Working Group of the National Human Genome Research Institute; a member of the US Pharmacopeia Board of Trustees; and as the past chair of PCORI’s Patient Engagement Advisory Panel, Gwen also continues to write about her experiences. Her most recent piece, Transformation: My Experience as a Patient and an Advocate in Three Chapters appeared in the National Academy of Medicine Perspectives (https://nam.edu/transformation-my-experience-as-a-patient-and-an-advocate-in-three-chapters/).