Salem Oaks Reaching High in 2019 

Photo Credit: Dillon Head

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Dare to imagine a world in which people are equipped to collaborate to successfully shape the health ecosystem of the future.  All parties involved are going to need to learn to work together in brand new ways to make this vision a reality.  Salem Oaks exists to help them learn. 

There is a major shift occurring in healthcare today.  Patients have access to more information than ever before and they are using this to become influential partners with the doctors, pharmacists, scientists, and other experts.  Unfortunately, after years of working in healthcare silos, healthcare professionals, industry, and patients, along with their caregivers, have forgotten how to talk to each other, let alone work together. Salem Oaks works to help people understand each other. 

Last Year We Planted Our Acorn   

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

We were established based on some core beliefs.  We believe that: 

  • Patients become experts in their own disease. 
  • The vast potential of that expertise is not being applied to the development of new medicines. 
  • Those patients deserve to be at the table throughout the R&D process. 
  • Companies really want those patients’ 
  • There is a gap between the two that must and can be filled by preparing both to work together 

And That Acorn Began to Sprout Roots 

Photo by Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash

We developed our Join-the-Team Case-Study and had a very successful pilot with a talented group of Ambassadors from the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA, @CureFA).   

We launched our first online learning module Decisions, Decisions.   This 45-minute module is the first of four in a series that was shaped by patients we polled through a Savvy Coop (@Savvy_coop) gig.  We asked and they told us that they wanted to go beyond the basics to the inside scoop on who makes decisions and why in biopharma R&D. 

We attended more than a dozen conferences to help us learn about the landscape around us and get in touch with the people active in the fight against disease and in shaping healthcare.  These conferences have provided the nutrients, sunshine, and water we need to grow.

In 2019 The Seedling Will Grow Quickly 

Photo by Bas van Anholt on Unsplash

We plan to build on the success of our Join-the-Team pilot to offer this highly interactive and very effective intense course to many more disease organizations activated patients, their caregivers, and advocates.  Our “students” have shown off their new knowledge, confidence, and skills at FA conferences, lobbying efforts, and as candidates for FDA committees.  Do you know a group of people who could benefit from this type of active learning? 

Decisions, Decisions was just the beginning of our plan for a full range of online modules.  In fact, our overall plan is to create 25.  In 2019 we plan to launch the remaining 3 modules specifically about decision-making in Research, Development, and Regulatory/Commercialization, respectively.   We also plan to offer a 4-module Advanced Basics series for a total of 7 new modules.  We believe that by creating a full catalog, we will be able to meet people where they are at.   What would you want to learn next about where medicines come from to become a more effective healthcare change agent? 

Salem Oaks Will Be Branching Out 

We are looking to create some new ways to help you learn about all the various roles and perspectives that make our healthcare system happen.   

We are just now starting the conceptual design of a monthly Podcast.  Our hope is to bring various players and perspectives together in creative ways to discuss challenges, solutions, and action in healthcare.  Which issues would you like to hear discussed from multiple points of view? 

We are going to redouble our efforts to publish articles and blogs that give our take on the future of healthcare.  We want to share our views, emotions, and hopes for aspects of the health ecosystem.  Our interest areas include mental health, biopharma R&D, technology, and policy issues.  What do you want us to tackle? 

An experiment we are considering is a Medical News-Review.  Have you ever been frustrated, confused, or felt mislead by the way healthcare issues, breakthroughs, or trends are treated in the general news and social media world?  We have.  We want to unpack those sound bites to reveal the underlying facts, reality, and humanity.   Where do you think we should start? 

And Casting Our Shadow 

Photo by Dillon Head

In addition to working on our own products and services, we are lending our experience and expertise to efforts to make fundamental changes in the healthcare environment.  Specifically,  

  • We are leading the effort to develop a Drug Development Education Plan for the Westchester Biotech Project (@westchesterbiotech).   
  • We are also in discussions about developing new ideas for improving health literacy in K-12 settings.   
  • And lastly, we are planning on working with the Society for Participatory Medicine (@S4PM) to develop a gold-standard lexicon that clarifies the terminology being used to describe the evolution of healthcare. 

Last year, we took a lot away from the conferences we attended.  In 2019 we are taking a more active role by sponsoring and leading a session at Patient as Partners in Philadelphia in March and sponsoring the Patient Experience Symposium in Boston in May.   Our stretch goal is to produce and deliver pre-conference workshops later in the year to educate people about Biopharma R&D.  Do you know any conference organizers who might be interested? 

A Forest? 

We aren’t a forest yet, but we know we need to grow into the first strong tree.   We want you to join us on this quest.  We want you to benefit from the peace and strength that being informed about the healthcare ecosystem can bring.  You can register with us a to keep up with our progress and other news.   Please contact us with any questions, comments, feedback or ideas.  We’d really like to get your responses to the questions in the article above.

Posted by Kevin Freiert


Posted in

Kevin Freiert

Kevin is the CEO of Salem Oaks Enterprises, LLC. Committed to working with patients, their advocates, biopharmaceutical companies, regulators and other stakeholders to develop educational tools that help patients bridge the gap between themselves and Biopharma R&D.

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