National Forum Names Local Patient Advocates

Kathyrn and Londia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— Two transplant coordinators in the Blood and Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Malignancy Program at West Virginia University’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center will serve as patient advocates on a national forum.

Kathryn Webster and Londia Goff were selected by the National Marrow Donor Program as new members for the Office of Patient Advocacy’s Patient Advocacy Forum. The group consists of coordinators, patient advocates and financial representatives chosen from transplant centers nationwide that are part of the national program.

The donor program received numerous applications for membership, but only about a dozen individuals were named to the prestigious forum. Selections are based on transplant center location, experience and populations served.

“Both of us were surprised,” Goff said.

“We feel that Kathryn and Londia’s membership can offer us a regional perspective on patient issues and barriers to transplant as well as offer contributions on implementation of best practice strategies,” said Maureen Duffey, supervisor of Advocacy Services of the Office of Patient Advocacy.”

“Kathy and Londia have been working as major champions for our patients and now their experience and insights can be shared on a national level,” said Solveig Ericson, M.D., Ph.D., director of WVU’s BMT/HM Program.

“Kathryn and Londia represent WVU very, very well,” said Eddie Reed, M.D., director of WVU’s Cancer Center.

“We’re not sure we would call ourselves champions,” Goff said. “We do strive to make the road to transplantation smoother for our patients. It is a very stressful time for patients and their families. It is our goal to alleviate as much of that stress as possible.”

The two hope to help patients overcome financial barriers to treatment, such as inadequate insurance coverage for donor searches, caregiver needs, housing, food and medications. “With information gathered through this forum, the NMDP will be better able to educate insurance executives and case managers of the needs of transplant patients and their families,” Goff said.

Goff and Webster will represent WVU Hospitals. Other facilities represented on the forum include the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Baylor University Medical Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

- WVU -

For more information:
Sherry Stoneking, Cancer Center (304) 293-4599
sls: 1-27-05

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