Unexpected partnerships are powerful partnerships

“One voice - together we will make a difference” was the theme of this year’s Patient Advocacy Summit held on 27-28 June in Copenhagen. The Summit was taking place for the 3rd time and gathered 57 people representing 30 patient advocacy groups from 16 different countries and 7 international organizations from across the world.

The summit was a truly collaborative event based on interaction and active involvement from all participants. It included plenary and parallel workshops, and enabled interactive debate, reflections and networking opportunities. 

One common agenda
Collaboration between PAGs, physicians, societies and the pharma industry is pivotal. With this shared interest, pulling expertise and resources allow us to together tackle mental health and neurological disorders more effectively.

  
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It was highlighted during the event that we all share one common agenda of improving the lives of people with psychiatric and neurological disorders – one voice helps us put power behind the words – everyone has something they want to fight for, and this becomes much stronger if coordinated and in coalition. 

A multitude of voices is louder than a single voice
Much can be gained by advocacy groups being representative of a more influential constituency. Partnerships are powerful because they give access to more resources, knowledge, expertise and contacts. A multitude of voices is louder than a single voice and others may reach different stakeholders. They provide different perspectives and different ideas, more minds as well as more hands. Effective partnerships involve stakeholders with a shared point of view on a given issue, cause or problem. Unexpected partnerships are powerful partnerships.

Subjects of presentations were diversified and linked in to various themes on how to strengthen an organization, the importance of collaboration and creating alliances to change policy agendas and create disease awareness as well as social and traditional media engagement. 

 
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Commitment, conversation and networking
Inspirational speakers included Jeff Moat, President, Partners for Mental Health Canada who talked about the importance of collaboration, co-ownership and speaking with one voice and Robert Egge, Chief Policy Officer, US Alzheimer’s Association who provided valuable insights on empowerment and collaborations with other groups. 

Other speakers included Gabriel Ivbijaoro, President World Federation for Mental Health who talked about parity of care and the Dignity campaign and Johanne Bratbo, Project Manager, talking about being part of a global alliance and the “One of us” anti-stigma campaign. 

The advocacy summit also looked into the power of advocacy and influencing policy agendas, the need to overcome fragmentation and cooperation based on commitment, conversation and networking. 

  
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