Who we are

Patvocates is a consultancy, think tank and social enterprise in the areas of patient advocacy and patient involvement. Our goal is to design, establish, develop and implement effective engagement frameworks, policies, processes and projects. Based on decades of experience in patient advocacy and patient involvement, our team supports patient organisations, healthcare institutions and the private sector e.g. in strategic consultancy, developing and holding trainings and capacity building events, moderation and facilitation of interactive meetings, as well as project planning and implementation.

Patvocates is run by an experienced team of leading pan-European patient advocates with in-depth knowledge on  healthcare systems, institutions, stakeholders, cultures and the global patient community across different disease areas.

The partners:

Jan Geissler

Jan Geissler

Jan Geissler is founder and CEO of Patvocates, acting as advisor and consultant on patient advocacy, health policy and patient engagement medical research & development. For the past 18 years, Jan has been a patient advocate on the European and international level, based on his experience as a cancer advocate and patient expert. He has co-founded LeukaNET, the CML Advocates Network, the Leukemia Patient Advocates Foundation, the Acute Leukemia Advocates Network, WECAN as well as the ECPC. Jan has been the Director of EUPATI for 6 years. He contributes to advisory boards, committees and expert groups of e.g. the European Commission, medical societies, journals, NGOs and industry. Read more about Jan here.

David Haerry

David U. Haerry

David Haerry has been a treatment writer and reporting to patients and lay people from scientific conferences since 1996. He has a long standing experience in collaborating with industry and academic researchers on drug development, planning pivotal and academic studies at global level and taking the patient voice to cohort studies and patient registries. He is collaborating intensively with the European Medicines Agency EMA since 2005 and with Swissmedic since 2014. From 2014 to 2016, he was a member of the working group revising the CIOMS International Ethical Guidelines for Health-related Research involving Humans. Read more about David here

Dr. Tamás Bereczky

Tamás Bereczky currently works as a partner, consultant and researcher with Patvocates. He also coordinates the patient cluster in the IMI big data project HARMONY. Previously, he coordinated courses and contents for the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI). Tamás has been working as a trainer, course coordinator, meetings facilitator and content developer for various organisations and universities. HIV positive since 2003, he served as a member of the board of directors of the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), as the co-chair of the European Commission’s Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS; and has been involved in numerous EU and global projects. Tamás has been a member of The BMJ Patient Panel since 2017. A linguist and psychologists, Tamás obtained a PhD based on research into the significance and perspectives of patient organizations in Europe in 2020. In addition to his work as a psychodrama practitioner, he also works as an advisor to several international and European institutions concerning HIV, HCV, men having sex with men, substance use, and health policy. Read more about Tamás here

Team members:

Alba Ubide

Alba works as Project Manager at Patvocates, planning, managing and delivering successful projects for Patvocates' clients.

Alba graduated in Biomedical Sciences with a Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona. Before joining Patvocates, she has worked as a clinical research professional with a track record of success in managing both clinical trial sites and clinical trial monitors across a different range of therapeutic areas. Previously, Alba worked as Laboratory Manager at the University of Edinburgh, setting up and managing a newly developed Synthetic Biology Lab. She obtained an additional certification in Central Monitoring by the International Academy of Clinical Research as well as a certification in Project Management.

Hamda Munawar

Hamda works as a Project Manager in Patvocates. Her expertise includes project management, communication and project implementation.

Her previous roles in the project management offices at Allianz and Bossert Associates included supporting Executives and Board Members on international projects and assisting international teams.

Hamda holds a Masters degree in Economics from Technical University of Munich. She speaks fluent English and Urdu and lives in Munich.

Mercè Cases Escuté

Mercè joins the team as Research Manager at Patvocates within the Patvocates Research business unit.

She holds a PhD in Biomedicine and a Masters in Neuroscience from the University of Barcelona and has been mostly focused on performing research in different laboratories within Europe, Switzerland, Spain and Germany. During her postdoctoral work she decided to focus her professional career on patient engagement in reseearch, and patient-led research, and is specifically interested in quality of life.

She is based in Regensburg, Germany and speaks English, Catalan, Spanish and is currently learning German.

Gina Ubide

Gina works as Project Officer at Patvocates, providing support to the team in administrative tasks, project management, logistics and communication work.

She is a translator by profession and holds a Master degree in Specialized Translation from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She has previously worked at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in the area of project support and coordination, and also in different aviation schools managing and coordinating different students’ departments.

Gina speaks Catalan, Spanish and English and she is based in Barcelona.

Ananda Plate

Ananda Plate is Executive Director of Patvocates Research, a Patvocates business unit dedicated to patient evidence and research. Her main area of work in Patvocates Research is the generation of patient evidence for the purpose of informing the decision-making process of relevant stakeholders in healthcare, such as, but not limited to, patient advocacy organisations, regulators, HTA bodies, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians. Ananda became involved in patient advocacy after being diagnosed with cancer in 2006. Since then, she has been deeply involved in the cancer patient community. Before joining Patvocates, Ananda was the CEO of Myeloma Patients Europe (MPE).

Read more about Ananda here.

Marleen Sorensen

Marleen works as Junior Project Manager at Patvocates. Marleen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in European Public Health and a Master of Science in Health and Social Psychology at the University of Maastricht. She conducted research in the area of recovery from alcohol use disorder. Before joining Patvocates, Marleen worked for the European Institute of Woman’s Health (EIWH) and represented the organisation in the EU Beating Cancer Stakeholder Engagement Group. As a young patient herself she also acts as a patient advocate in the Youth Group of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF).

Luba Mock

Luba works as a Financial Manager and Project Manager at Patvocates, being responsible for the financial management and delivery of our projects. Luba has been working for an NGO for more than 10 years, where she has had many different roles in an international network management, fundraising, financial reporting and coordination of project activities. Luba has a Master Degree in Company Management and Economics from the University of Technology Brno as well as a Bachelor in Managerial Informatics which she graduated with honour. She was involved in the financial management of various EU projects. Luba is based in Brno, Czech Republic.

Anne-Pierre Pickaert

Anne-Pierre Pickaert

Anne-Pierre joined the Patvocates team as expert on health technology assessment and patient access. Anne-Pierre brings 20+ years of experience with a wide range of healthcare stakeholders (charity, patient organisation, governmental agency, consultancy and pharmaceutical industry). Her skills and expertise in health communication, cancer prevention and market access, combined with her personal experience as a leukaemia survivor, give her a unique perspective on patient engagement, advocacy and equal access to adequate care.

Read more about Anne-Pierre here.

Zack Pemberton-Whiteley

Zack Pemberton-Whiteley is a non-practicing lawyer (BPTC LLM) specialising in developing and using evidence to drive advocacy change. He is working with Patvocates to help other patient groups to do the same.

He also works extensively on health policy campaigns and enabling access to treatment, particularly focusing on health technology appraisals (HTA) and improving patient involvement.

Outside of Patvocates, Zack works as Chief Executive Officer at Leukaemia Care, a UK based blood cancer charity where he heads up their advocacy, campaigns, policy, healthcare professional education and patient support services. Zack is also Chair of the global Acute Leukemia Advocates Network (ALAN), Vice Chair of the Blood Cancer Alliance in the UK and a member of the CML Advocates Network Community Advisory Board (CAB) representing Western Europe.


Samantha Nier

Samantha Nier is working as a project manager at Patvocates and the Acute Leukemia Advocates Network. Before, Samantha has been working in the area of patient advocacy for a number of years. She has a science background with almost 12 years of experience in the pharma industry, working in various fields including Medical Affairs, Pharmacovigilance and Drug Safety and Clinical Development. In her last role as Patient Advocacy Lead for a pharmaceutical company, she focused on incorporating the patient perspective into the company’s projects. As one of her key project, she led CML Life, a patient support programme in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia which was co-created together with the CML patient community.

Samantha has a Master degree in Biology and Ecology and a medical diploma in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. In addition, she has obtained certifications in Management of Biotech, Medtech and Pharma ventures, Medical Affairs and Journalism. Samantha speaks fluent French and English and is currently refreshing her knowledge of Italian, Spanish and sign language. She lives in Switzerland and teaches yoga, baby swimming and scuba diving in her free time.


Julia Tolley

Julia has extensive experience working across health and social care, and has been particularly involved in strategic planning and development, programme management, service development and transformation and business development.

Julia engaged patient advocacy in 2019 and since then has focused on development and modelling of patient advocacy tools such as Community Advisory Boards, with specific focus on evidence generation and evidence based advocacy.

Read more about Julia here.

Nicole Schröter

Nicole works as Project Manager at Patvocates. She was raised in Argentina, Spain and Germany and holds a Master in International Cultural and Business Studies. Nicole has a pharma and business background and worked for a generics pharmaceutical company prior to providing project management and medical translation services to pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy organisations.

Recent projects in the area of patient advocacy include work for the European Patients' Academy (EUPATI), CML Advocates Network, LeukaNET, Myeloma Patients Europe, Patient Power, MDS Alliance, Hematology ePAG Project Management Office and the Hematology Community Advisory Board (Hem-CAB).

Read more about Nicole here.

Marie-Christine Hollerith

Marie-Christine is our specialist for the optimization of informed consent for clinical studies. She graduated in Communication Sciences at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Focusing on Health Communication, she wrote her Master Thesis about the Communication Behaviour of Cancer Patients.

After completing a traineeship at GSK and a correspondence course as Medical Representative at IHK, Marie-Christine started a scientific project on the improvement of informed consent in clinical trials, optimizing, patient-friendly informed consent documents based on internationally accepted guidelines. Her Informed Consent Forms are in use in different clinical studies today. She also graduated as Media Designer and is focusing on patient insights.

She implemented the German World CML Day campaign “Manchmal ein Kunststück”, worked as Communication Manager for EUPATI and supported several projects for CML Advocates Network and LeukaNET e.V.

Read more about Marie-Christine here.

Michi Geissler

Networking and bringing the right people together has always been Michi's key motivation, organizing meetings and coordinating projects is her passion.

Michi holds a diploma in business studies and has been working in cancer patient advocacy since 2005. Michi has a strong business background, specifically in the areas of communication and marketing, organizational development and IT. From 1999 to 2005, she worked for the e-business sector of Bertelsmann.

Michi got involved in patient advocacy in 2001 on a voluntary basis and focused her professional life on it in 2005. She provided project management services to the patient organisations LeukaNET, European Cancer Patient Coalition, Sarcoma Patients EuroNet, Leukemia Patient Advocates Foundation, CML Advocates Network, Das Lebenshaus, Myeloma Patients Europe and others. Main activities include the development and implementation of patient summits, conferences, Community Advisory Board meetings, Annual General Meetings, and steering committee meetings.

Mirna Tomašević

As Communications Manager, Mirna boosts the communication and visuals in Patvocates’ projects. She has a bachelor’s degree in information technology and design. Mirna is also working for the CLL Advocates Network. Originally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Mirna devoted her last 20 years volunteering for the Croatian Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is a co-founder of its regional branch in northern Croatia. Mirna designed, developed and launched online platforms, social media channels and educational material for patient organisations. Mirna is originally from Croatia but has been living in the UK for the past years.

Stefan Huber

Stefan works as a project manager and scientific writer for Patvocates.

Previously, Stefan worked as a journalist and editor with a background in education and literary studies. Stefan obtained his qualification to teach at grammar schools from the University of Passau in 2016, subsequently worked as an editor and project manager for several specialist print magazines until 2020 and shortly thereafter managed the launch of the real estate software ReZen. Stefan joined the German patient organisation LeukaNET as a freelance editor/project manager in autumn 2020 and has since then been involved in various projects of LeukaNET, Patvocates and other patient organizations.

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