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 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 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

Team members:

Ananda Plate

Ananda Plate is Executive Director of Patvocates. She leads on industry services and research. Her main area of work in Patvocates is to enable effective and meaningful patient engagement for pharmaceutical companies and other actors within the healthcare industry. She also leads on any initiatives related to the generation of patient evidence for the purpose of informing 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.

Alba Ubide

Alba is the Head of NGO Services at Patvocates, managing and overseeing all the projects and collaborations with Patient Organisations at global or European level.

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 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. She obtained an additional certification in Central Monitoring by the International Academy of Clinical Research as well as a certification in Project Management.

Maria Perez

Maria is Senior Finance Officer at Patvocates and works on financial strategy, operations, and HR-related issues.

Maria has over 16 years of work experience in financial departments in Spain, UK and Australia. Her expertise includes reporting, auditing, systems implementation and process improvement. Before joining Patvocates she has worked at Variety the Children’s Charity NSW and Save the Children Spain.

Maria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese.


Mercè Cases Escuté

Mercè works as Senior Research Manager at Patvocates, carrying out evidence generating projects for the community, led by NGOs or by industry.

She holds a PhD on Biomedicine and a Master on Neuroscience from the University of Barcelona and has been mostly focused on performing basic 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 research, and patient-led research, and is specifically interested in quality of life.

She is based in Barcelona and speaks English, Catalan and Spanish.

Gina Ubide

Gina works as Junior Project Manager 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.

Nina Kozar-Gillan

Nina is a Senior Project Manager at NGO Services, ensuring successful project planning and delivery for our clients. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Immunology from the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh where she also carried out her postdoctoral research. Driven by the impact on patients' wellbeing, Nina undertook an internship at WHO in Geneva where her work focused on regulation of clinical trials.

Nina lives in Berlin, she is fluent in English and Polish, and is currently learning German.



Khullat Munir

Khullat Munir is a Patient Engagement Manager at Patvocates.

Khullat has a BA in bioethics and an MSc in international health. After working for approximately 10 years in global health within the German Development Cooperation, she shifted her focus towards improving patient outcomes. She is an American and has been living in Germany since 2009. In addition to English and German, she also speaks Urdu. She lives in Frankfurt with her family.

Danika Sharek

Danika Sharek is as Senior Project Manager within the industry services team.

All of her work to date has been person-centred, aimed at enabling and enhancing the participation of people in the services, programmes, and policies that affect their lives. She is passionate about systems change and bringing the voice of people who uses services closer to the heart of the system. Her previous work experiences includes leading on research programmes within the national health and social care system in Ireland, specifically aimed to enhance the person-centred approach of these systems.

Danika holds a PhD and Master’s in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. Her research and programme management experience include a number of social arenas and cross-cutting thematic areas, such as mental health, disability, homelessness, capacity building, gender and sexuality, and family education and support. Danika speaks English and German and lives in Germany not far from Nürnberg.

Linda Silva

Linda is Project Manager within the industry services team.

She is a curious mind graduated in journalism and international cultural studies, and has developed her professional career as a project manager and events producer, creating experiences for industries such as F&B, Technology, Music Culture and Pharmacy.

Linda has also specialised in digital marketing and digital culture analysis, and writes and lectures on these topics at CETT University in Barcelona. She is a Hospitality enthusiast, client-oriented and actively interested in mental health activities and talks. She is always searching to provide the best services to help creating amazing projects and memorable experiences.

Ines Canada

Inés Cañada works at NGO Services Team as Senior Project Manager. Before joining Patvocates, Inés worked as an International Project Manager in healthcare, liaising with CROs and patients to deliver successful projects. She holds a bachelor's dual degree in Sociology and International Relations, as well as training in development and sustainability. She has lived and studied in Madrid and Brussels and speaks Spanish and English.

Eugenia Covernton

Eugenia Covernton is a Senior Project Manager within the industry services team at Patvocates.

Eugenia studied Biotechnology in Argentina and Science Management in South Korea, before moving to France in 2014 for a PhD in Virology. After her PhD, she worked for 5 years in science communication and outreach, leading different initiatives related to public engagement in science. Since 2022, she has participated in community engagement initiatives across Europe, primarily related to urban development and health.
She is fluent in English, Spanish and French and is learning German.

Rebeca Castineiro

Rebeca Castineiro is as Project Manager within the NGO services team.

She has a degree in Journalism and a master's in teaching. Rebeca jumped into the pharma industry a few years ago by helping patients have their voice heard and it’s been a challenging but very rewarding path so far. She couldn’t choose between the sea and mountains, that’s why she lives in Asturias, in the north of Spain. She is a mother of two vibrant boys that keep her active most day. Her passions include traveling, reading, and embracing the outdoors.

Ana Amariutei

Ana is a cancer survivor and after finishing her treatment, she decided to study biomedical science. She undertook her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees at the University of Sheffield, and alongside her studies she acted as a patient advocate at Youth Cancer Europe for 9 years. After completing her PhD in July 2023 she joined us at the European Patient Advocacy Institute (EPAI), where she worked as a Research Manager until February 2024 and has been the engine of the Evidence-Based Advocacy and CancerSurvey programmes. She is now a Patient Engagement & Research Manager in Industry Services.

Mirna Tomasevic

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.

Anastasia Mityagina

Anastasia has taken the role of Executive Assistant to the CEO at Patvocates.

She has a background in education, communications, project and event management.

Before joining Patvocates, she worked for non-profit educational project “Lecturers without Borders” spreading science amongst children.

She lives in Munich, speaks English, Russian and German.

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.

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 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.

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.



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