Event Details

January 14th, 2021

Advocacy for Advancements: Patient Insight Influencing Action
12:00-1:30pm (ET)


Neil Bertelsen, HTAi Patient and Citizen Involvement Group
Maria Dutarte, Coordinator, European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI)
Mellanie True Hills, CSP, Founder and CEO, StopAfib.org
Brian Lee, Director, Global Advocacy, CV, Fibrosis, MS and LCM, Bristol Myers Squibb


Let's take a step back. It's the New Year after a year unlike any we could have imagined! However, in the midst of the disruption and disaster wrought by COVID, the advocacy community has accomplished some great things. Join us on January 14th at the COVID Advocacy Exchange as we take stock of the year by discussing the accomplishments that did happen and consider what more we can do in 2021!

Speaker Bios

CAE Neil Bartelsen
Neil Bertelsen, HTAi Patient and Citizen Involvement Group

Neil has over 25 years’ experience in bringing the patient voice to life for healthcare decision makers. Neil has been a patient advocate, and is the past chair of HTAi’s patient & citizen involvement group where he continues to work with HTA bodies around the world on improvements to patient engagement in HTA. Neil is also a board member of Patient Focused Medicines Development, an international multi-stakeholder effort to bring patients into the heart of medicine research and development. Neil regularly works with patient groups, healthcare decision-makers and the industry to collectively develop approaches that benefit patients.

CAE Maria Dutarte
Maria Dutarte, Coordinator, European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI)

Maria joined EUPATI in 2020. She oversees the team’s activities and manages the European Patients’ Academy. She has previously worked as a Project Manager at the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) coordinating patient involvement in a number of training initiatives and scientific projects. Maria has also worked for different scientific and international organisations. Her educational background is in International Education and Communications.

CAE Mellanie True Hills
Mellanie True Hills, CSP, Founder and CEO, StopAfib.org

Mellanie True Hills brings an atrial fibrillation (afib) patient perspective (now 15+ years afib-free).
She is an internationally-known author and speaker and founder/CEO of StopAfib.org, a global
afib patient advocacy organization. Successes include creating Afib Awareness Month, co-
creating MyAFibExperience.org with AHA, co-chairing global advocacy task forces, convening
the National AF Health Policy Roundtable, and hosting the annual Get in Rhythm. Stay in
Rhythm. Atrial Fibrillation Patient Conference.

CAE Brian Lee
Brian Lee, Director, Global Advocacy, CV, Fibrosis, MS and LCM, Bristol Myers Squibb

Brian Lee is currently the director, global advocacy at Bristol Myers Squibb, based in Princeton, NJ, responsible for the cardiovascular, fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and life-cycle management therapeutic areas. Within Corporate Affairs, Brian is responsible for leading strategic engagement with advocacy groups across the entire product development and commercialization continuum, encompassing efforts in clinical trial awareness, early advocacy engagement, disease awareness, access and reimbursement, policy efforts and many more.

Brian’s previous experiences include stem cell research at UCSF, insurance reimbursement/patient support services, research and policy work at the Office of Health Information Integrity at the State Government of California, HealthNet Pharmaceutical Services, and policy and advocacy work at both Sanofi and BioMarin. Brian is a licensed and registered pharmacist in the state of NJ, with clinical and community pharmacy experience and Doctorate in Pharmacy from UCSF and post-doctoral fellowship from Rutgers University.