The PharmaKon Enlists High Caliber Group of Leading Business, Diversity & Healthcare Experts for its Patient Advocacy Council

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The Pharmakon's "Empowered Eight" Advocacy Council are advancing the engagement of patient diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical trials

The PharmaKon CEO/founder Gail Trauco, R.N., BSN-OCN

Council members bring real life experience as doctors, lawyers, U.S. military Veterans, cancer survivors, LGBTQ, minorities, and residents of rural/marginalized communities.

The eight women chosen for The Pharmakon’s Advocacy Council represent patients from every community and walk of life. Each council member is an experienced voice for patients with a focus on helping those with specific medical conditions and healthcare needs.

After generations of status quo clinical trials in America, this team of allied professionals is leveling the clinical trials playing field. Its high tech, decentralized patient-centric approach aims to help millions of people break though roadblocks to the best possible health care.

"Our newly launched Patient Advocacy Council represents a group of individuals committed to engaging with one another, sharing ideas, and expanding the engagement of patient diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical trials,” says Gail Trauco, a 43+ year Oncology nurse, Pharmaceutical trials expert and CEO/founder of The PharmaKon.” Council members bring real life experience as doctors, lawyers, U.S. military Veterans, cancer survivors, LGBTQ, minorities, and residents of rural/marginalized communities. Our Patient Advocacy Council gives patients throughout the U.S., especially those from under served communities, a seat at the table."

According to Trauco, these advocacy experts collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to design clinical trial protocols with broadened inclusion criteria to allow a much broader spectrum of all genders and races to be considered for enrollment. And decentralized clinical trials represent the future by bringing investigational studies to each and every patient even those in smaller towns and rural areas.

Three nursing specialties are being used by The PharmaKon to staff its clinical trials: virtual nurses, remote mobile nurses, and patient concierges. Virtual nurses work remotely through telemedicine portals and EDC systems with clinical trial data. Remote mobile nurses visit patient homes. Patient concierge nurses oversee daily patient calls and perform compliance checks via remote monitoring and/or phone calls. Sponsors are encouraged to design new study protocols for procedures such as labs, vector samples (stool, semen, saliva, urine), vital sign monitoring, EKGs, and health assessments to be completed remotely.

The Empowered Eight Patient Advocacy Council of The PharmaKon

As a respected leader in her community, decorated Marine Corps veteran Leasha West serves as a tireless volunteer and founded the Veteran Aid Task Force™. Her enthusiastic dedication to serve others led her to become a two-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award from both Presidents Obama and Trump, and she was recently named AARP Volunteer of the Year.

While seeking employment at a major financial institution, Ashley T Brundage self-identified during the interview process as a male to female transgender woman and subsequently was hired. Starting as a part time teller she rose to V.P, Diversity and Inclusion in less than 5 years. Since beginning transitioning in 2008, she has worked tirelessly to promote awareness and acceptance of gender identity and expression. Brundage works to accomplish this goal by volunteering in the community and holding education sessions for corporations.

Christina Nelson has been involved in patient advocacy for over 18 years. She is known as a voice for Veterans, of Elder Abuse, and Nursing Home Abuse. Christina has developed heartfelt relationships with people throughout the U.S. Her advocacy voice engages her southern upbringing. She is a social media influencer with nightly live feeds on TikTok and Facebook.

Mary Nelson is a healthcare industry professional with over 35 years working in patient care. She serves daily on the COVID frontlines as an essential healthcare provider. Mary is board certified in radiological imaging and considered an expert in radiological consulting. For the last 5 years Mary has worked tirelessly with Veterans and their families impacted by nursing home abuse. She is a powerful voice for those less fortunate, especially Veterans, seniors, minorities, and LGBTQ.

A true Survivor whom raised two boys while fighting Breast Cancer, MJ Jenkins knows the struggle of paying her own way through college, graduating from the University of Texas and building 30 years of sales experience with Fortune 500 Information Technology companies, IBM, NEC, and Internet Commerce. A 10 year Breast Cancer Survivor, Board Member of the American Cancer Society Desert Coastal Area, National Spokesperson, HPV Ambassador, and a voice of Hope speaking globally on Cancer Awareness. Jenkins is doing her part to save lives, from South Africa to Spain and across the U.S.

Marta Xicay-Gomez is a Community Health Advocate and Development Consultant with over ten years of experience working in Latin America. Starting her career as a Comadrona, a traditional Mayan midwife, she has learned first-hand the struggles and needs for healthcare for Indigenous women in rural communities. Today, she proudly carries the values of her Mayan-Kaqchiquel heritage, which guide her in the fight for health care as a human right.. She is eager to empower women and youth and expand their right to access education and healthcare services vital to breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala.

Dr. Elizabeth Romero is a Board-Certified Family Medicine physician with over 30 years of clinical experience. After her clinical training, she worked with the National Health Service Corps serving in several federally qualified community health centers. In 2006, she returned to California where she began a career with the State of California serving as a Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Corrections, Medical Consultant for Department of Justice and Department of Health Care Services, and as an Expert Reviewer for the Medical Board of California. Dr. Romero also worked for Executive Health Resources and United Health Group as a Physician Advisor assisting hospital clients with Medicare regulatory compliance. Dr. Romero also holds a Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with specialized training in health care compliance.

A U.S. Army veteran, Registered Medical Assistant, and fearless voice for community members, Yolanda Davis-Smith has worked tirelessly in COVID units since March 2020. Yolanda has always had a passion for helping others and giving back, which is what prompted her to pursue a career in healthcare. She is also the owner and founder of Mirico Apparel, a motivational clothing line for cancer warriors, inspired by her mother, Miriam Davis, who battled breast cancer.

The PharmaKon’s Patient Advocacy Council is on its way to pioneering a new era in healthcare. Clinical trials are now available to patients who otherwise would not be able to participate in studies. Rural and marginalized communities, LGBTQ, people of color and low-income patients now have an equal opportunity to take part in innovative clinical trials. For more information about The PharmaKon and its industry leading, decentralized clinical trials go to:

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About The PharmaKon LLC
For nearly 30 years, The PharmaKon’s dedicated government and public health services group has successfully delivered clinical research services to various agencies, contractors, and nonprofits in both prime contractor and subcontractor capacities within full compliance of all federal contracting requirements. Its services have supported the organizations in conducting therapeutic, vaccine and medical device studies throughout North America across all trial phases and therapeutic areas. The PharmaKon has a unique understanding and connection to rural healthcare and underserved communities by way of its CEO/Founder Gail Trauco’s personal experiences growing up on a family farm in her native North Carolina.

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John Stellar