By Laura Genoves
The Patient Leadership Council (PLC) was formed by the Arthritis Foundation in 2017. I have been fortunate to serve as a member of this diverse group of individuals from across the country since its inception.
In the days before COVID-19 (remember those days?) I would volunteer in person at my local Arthritis Foundation Office in Seattle once or twice a month. A staff member mentioned the newly forming PLC to me and encouraged me to apply. At the time, I was just finishing up my Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) studies at the University of Washington School of Law and working toward my passion for affordable access to justice. LLLTs offer affordable family law services to those living in Washington State. Being licensed as an LLLT has provided the opportunity for me to give voice and meaning to the stories of those who traditionally could not afford the full services of an attorney. Now I provide licensed and professional assistance to those not able to represent themselves.
Being a member of the PLC has also afforded me the chance to be a voice for others. As a mom of two young adults (and two rescue golden retrievers), I share my own personal experiences living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and now osteoarthritis (OA), but I also advocate for the millions of others living with arthritis and related diseases. As a group, the PLC has discussed such timely topics as access to health care, prescription drug copays, out-of-pocket costs and CBD, and we have reviewed proposals under development by the Arthritis Foundation. We share with each other in a safe, confidential environment and exchange tips, tricks and tears.
The feedback we, as the PLC, provide to the Arthritis Foundation often illuminates, and it always enriches the Foundation’s offerings. The Foundation listens to the diversity of our voices and includes our feedback in its materials and programs. It’s fulfilling to see that we are making a difference. I have learned so much from the other council members and have made friends I can reach out to across the country.
If you have a passion for ensuring diverse voices are heard and are willing to be vulnerable and share your experience, consider being part of the PLC. All are welcome to the table and your lived experience is valued.
Interested in applying to join the Patient Leadership Council (PLC)? Applications are currently open! You can apply HERE. Deadline for application submissions is 11:59 p.m. Oct. 15, 2021. If you are selected for next steps, we will notify you by early to mid-November. Thank you for your interest! And spread the word!