Expert Consultants

Margie Hicke- global patient advocacy & patient engagement expert

Margie Hickey, RN, MS Nursing, MS Human Resource Administration

MMH Communications, LLC
Global patient advocacy and patient engagement

Margie’s academic and oncology nursing experience is extensive and crosses all clinical settings. As director, Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane University Hospital and Clinic, Margie was responsible for program planning, development and staff management for several cost centers.  She also maintained responsibility for a multi-disciplinary oncology clinic, radiation therapy center, tumor registry and chemotherapy infusion center. Prior to this she was clinical director at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, where she held similar responsibilities and roles. These positions followed many years as a staff nurse where she was directly responsible for patient care.

Over the years, Margie also has shared her experiences in several ways to advance oncology nursing – as adjunct faculty in Medical Surgical Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh to being an Oncology Nurse Educator addressing multiple oncology disease states, treatment and symptom management.

She also is an author and editor on several  publications in oncology. A member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), and the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (SOHN).

Having an RN, MS in Nursing and MS in Human Resource Administration, Margie combines her vast experience in oncology and understanding of organizational challenges to help embed patient engagement in clinical settings.

Veronique Imperial, Masters in Business and International Law

Independent Consultant
US, global and multi-national experience in oncology product communications, issues and project management, and patient relations

With more than 20 years’ experience in supporting oncology programs, Veronique is well suited to drive the strategy and implementation of projects for the cancer community.

Most recently, she has been supporting European efforts for a leading oncology organization – driving external communications strategy and execution in a variety of cancer settings; connecting cross-functional activities among patient advocacy, digital and communications teams; and supporting agency management. She also has supported internal communications activities for the company’s U.S. and Latin America regions.

Prior to this, Veronique worked at leading New York City based public relations agencies, including Ruder Finn and Noonan/Russo. At Ruder Finn, she was the lead on all the agency’s Novartis Oncology product communications activities. At Noonan/Russo, she supported the agency’s market positioning and communications activities for Genta Corporation’s emerging cancer technology.

Having worked so intimately in the cancer setting and seeing the challenges faced by people living with cancer, Veronique recently launched the C4C Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to bring comfort to the home of cancer patients and their families. As a start, the Foundation will provide families with a simple but key unmet need for cancer patients returning home from a hospital stay following treatment – a clean home, free of charge.

Veronique received her Masters in Business and International Law at the Assas Paris II in Paris, France. She and her husband have one daughter.

Susanna Leto di Priolo, PharmD

Independent Consultant
Experienced in patient engagement in R&D, patient relations, expert in European patient organizations and policies 

With a PharmD in Clinical Pharmacology, Susanna has worked in multinational pharmaceutical companies in various roles for more than 35 years. During that time, her roles have spanned clinical research, communications and external relations, and – most recently – patient organization advocacy and collaboration at the European level. She has worked extensively with oncology, hematology and rare disease patient organizations.

Recently, Susanna co-authored an article on patient engagement in R&D along with three others, Improving Patient Involvement in Medicines Research and Development: A Practical Roadmap. Jan Geissler, Dipl.-Kfm., Bettina Ryll, PhD, Susanna Leto di Priolo, PharmD, Mary Uhlenhopp, RN, MS, MPH; First Published May 8, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1177/2168479017706405).

Based in Italy, Susanna was active in the IMI project EUPATI (European Patient Academy on Therapeutic Innovation), and coordinates WECAN, a network of 23 pan-European and international oncology and onco-hematology patient organizations active at the scientific and policy level in Europe https://wecanadvocate.eu/.

Sheila Noonan

Consultant
Internal Communications and Copy Writer/Editor

Sheila understands the patient’s experience from a variety of perspectives: as a health writer, a nurse’s daughter and a former home health aide. She also brings the journalistic skills she developed as a daily newspaper reporter to corporate internal communications.

For the past 13 years, Sheila has managed internal news content and led employee communication initiatives in the pharmaceutical industry – first at Schering-Plough and then at Sanofi US. With each internal news article, executive message, blog post or employee campaign, Sheila’s goal is to provide information in a way that employees will gain deeper understanding of the organization or become engaged to take the desired action.

Prior to working in the pharma industry, Sheila wrote patient-centered articles for University Hospital (Newark, NJ) and health industry news stories for New Jersey Medicine.

Sheila is a proud alumna of Rutgers University, where she double majored in journalism and political science. She and her husband have three children.

Joy Schmitt

Consultant
US and global patient advocacy and patient engagement, communications

Joy’s 20 years of client-side experience at big pharma and biotech companies informs the consultative services she provides in patient advocacy, patient engagement, and communications.

Having started her career in pharmaceutical and hospital sales at Roche, Joy understands challenges faced in the field and incorporates this perspective in her council. Eventually, she found her niche in communications where she managed HIV product and advocacy communications at a time when advocacy was coming into its own. She worked closely with AIDS activists to navigate through FDA Advisory Committee meetings, expanded access programs, and the launch of Invirase, the first HIV protease inhibitor.

The positive relationship she had developed with patient advocates prompted them to refer her to Agouron for a position leading patient advocacy and product communications for its oncology pipeline and for Viracept, the first HIV protease inhibitor indicated for both children and adults. After Agouron was acquired by Pfizer, Joy was tasked with working with company leadership and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to executive a give-away program for Pfizer’s anti-fungal treatment, Diflucan, in sub-Saharan Africa.

At Genta, a small NJ-based biopharmaceutical company focused on cancer development, Joy managed corporate, product and advocacy communications. She fulfilled a similar role at Schering-Plough, where she led global oncology, antiviral product and advocacy communications.

Joy has spent the past ten years helping clients build and sustain strategic engagement and advocacy plans in therapeutic areas including oncology/hematology, diabetes, cardiology and ophthalmology.

Joy attended The College of William and Mary, where she majored in English. She and her husband have three daughters.

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