Introducing the COVID Advocacy Exchange
By Julie Upton
Cathy Traz, Executive Director & Head of Global Advocacy at Bristol Myers Squibb, talks about her central involvement in the creation of the COVID Advocacy Exchange (CAE), an innovative, virtual platform that convenes advocacy groups, patients, and industry to synchronize efforts, facilitate resource sharing and provide an opportunity for increased connection and collaboration—both now and over the long-term.
PharmExec: Can you outline the purpose and the work of the COVID Advocacy Exchange?
Cathy Traz: As part of our continued commitment to patients worldwide, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) regularly engages in communication with the global patient advocacy community across disease areas. This commitment was especially important in 2020 as we worked to better understand how patient advocates and those they serve were impacted by the pandemic. Through our conversations with advocates, we learned that their biggest concerns related to the pandemic were — and continue to be — time and capacity constraints, infrastructure needs, and the lasting financial impact of the current crisis. In response to these urgent needs, BMS and GRYT Health collaborated to launch the COVID Advocacy Exchange (CAE) in May 2020, an entirely virtual platform. With the CAE, our mission is to unite advocacy organizations, patients, and industry leaders to facilitate resource sharing and collaboration during the pandemic and beyond.