Registration Open for Regional Legislative Conferences and In-District Lobby Days

Rare Disease Legislative Advocates will host In-District Lobby Days to facilitate meetings for rare advocates across the country with their elected federal officials during the summer Congressional recess (July 18th through September 5th).

Registration is open through July 1st.

Federal elected officials need to hear regularly from constituents affected by rare disease.  Meeting with your Representative and Senators throughout the year is critical to building a relationship.  These meetings are an opportunity to invite them to join the Rare Disease Congressional Caucus and to highlight legislation that could be beneficial to the rare disease community.

To help advocates prepare, we are holding regional Legislative Conferences in Boston on June 28th and in both Chicago and Seattle on June 30th. These half-day conferences will feature remarks from federal elected officials, academics, patient advocates and other rare disease stakeholders.  Lunch will be provided. Registration will be available here through June 22nd. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn and network with other local advocates!

We will also hold two preparatory webinars.  The first, to be held on June 16th at 2pm ET/11am PT, will provide an overview of the regional Legislative Conferences and In-District Lobby Days. The second, to be held on July 13th at 2pm ET/11am PT, will cover In-District Lobby Days in more detail including legislative issues which advocates may want to raise in their meetings.

RARE Webinar! Learning More on Informed Consent

a doctor in his office showing an informed consent document and pointing with a pen where the patient must to sign

a doctor in his office showing an informed consent document and pointing with a pen where the patient must to sign


Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:00 am
Pacific Standard Time (San Francisco, GMT-08:00)


Informed consent is intended to provide patients, clinical trial participants, and others undergoing medical procedures with the information they need to make a decision about whether to undergo a specific procedure or participate in research. The process of informed consent can sometimes be very legal in nature leading to lack of clarity and misunderstanding. This webinar will explain the informed consent process, why patients should pay attention to it, and why rare disease advocates may want to get involved in the process.

Rare disease organizations play a critical role in connecting patients with researchers and the informed consent document is critically important. It outlines who will have access to research data that results from a study. Understanding the informed consent process and how to engage will help patients receive the greatest benefit.


Megan O'Boyle bio photoMegan O’Boyle

Megan’s 15-year-old daughter, Shannon has Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS), an ultra rare condition. This diagnosis includes autism, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, ADHD, lymphedema, and other medical conditions.

For the past 5 years Megan has volunteered for the PMS Foundation’s Research Support Committee. She is the Principal Investigator for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Data Network (PMS_DN, PCORnet) and the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome International Registry (PMSIR). She directed the biosample collection at the 2012 PMSF Family Conference, creating a biorepository of over 30 DNA and fibroblast samples.

Megan is passionate about the importance of the patient’s voice in: research, drug development, clinical trial design, development of related legislation, and quality of life decisions. She advocates for data sharing, collaborating with other advocacy groups, sharing resources, a genetics-first approach and streamlining IRB practices and policies.

Megan and her family live in Arlington, VA.


john-wilbanksJohn Wilbanks

John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first assistant director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was executive director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

Danny_LevineDaniel Levine, Founder & Principal, Levine Media Group

Daniel Levine is an award-winning business journalist who has reported on the life sciences, economic development, and business policy issues throughout his 25-year career. Since 2011, he has served as the lead editor and writer of Burrill Media’s acclaimed annual book on the biotech industry and hosts The Burrill Report’s weekly podcast. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Industry Standard,, and other national publications.


Register here:

RARE Patient Advocacy Summit


I’m on my way to California today.  I was nominated for an award in the 2015 Tribute to Champions of Hope so I’ll be flying to Huntington Beach  for the 2-day  Fourth Annual RARE Patient Advocacy Summit. Follow along with LiveStream.

Saturday night will be the Gala.

Find my name on the list of nominees here:

One of the very best parts of this trip, though, is that I’m staying with a good friend from the Cushing’s Community.



RARE Patient Advocacy Summit Details and Invitation

We would like to invite you and your community to join us for our fourth annual RARE Patient Advocacy Summit September 24 – 25, 2015 in Huntington Beach, California!  Join the community at this unique event for rare disease patients and advocates: Connect. Educate. Engage. Achieve. 

Registration is open!

This Summit is for every patient, patient advocacy leader, and anyone who cares about rare.  Please take a look at this year’s compelling agenda and consider participating in an event that you won’t want to miss!


Why attend? Here’s what you’ll gain:

  • Practical next steps for taking action in the areas of research, legislation, fundraising, and community support
  • Core fundamentals and skills to help you start, grow and strengthen your nonprofit organization
  • Strategies for building online communities and why they are essential for rare disease awareness
  • Understanding the power of genetic data and patient involvement for advancing research for your disease
  • Tools and insights into crafting successful collaborations with researchers, biotech, pharma and the FDA
  • Invaluable connections with advocacy leaders that will help you define and propel your rare disease priorities forward

Register for the Summit and learn more on travel scholarships

Register now and secure your spot at the leading conference for rare disease patient advocates today!  We have a limited number of travel scholarships available, which you may request here.  Scholarship applications will be accepted through July 27, 2015.


Want to learn more?  Sign up for our Information Session!

Sign up today for an information session on the Summit where we’ll walk you through the details, the agenda and opportunities to learn and connect, and more on how to share this with your community. Here’s how to register for the information session on July 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. PDT/5:00 p.m. EDT. Patients, advocates, advocacy group leaders – all are welcome to participate!


Can’t attend in person?

There is no reason you, your organizational leadership or community should miss out!  Sign up to join the conference via Livestream through your computer and learn more about how you can still be an active participant using Twitter.


We hope to see you at the Summit!



Kym, Carrie & Lisa


Kym H. Kilbourne                                          

VP, Patient Advocacy                             


Carrie Ostrea

Manager, Advocacy/Parent Advocate


Lisa Schill

Advocacy Ambassador/Parent Advocate 

2015 Tribute to Champions of Hope Community






It’s that time of year again, when the rare disease community looks amongst themselves to identify and nominate agents of change, agents of innovation, and individuals who are working tirelessly on behalf of those affected by one of the 7,000 rare diseases impacting over 350 million people worldwide. Rare disease activists come from many different disciplines and are usually not recognized for the good work that they are doing. This is our opportunity as a community to come together to celebrate and honor those who are setting higher standards, making significant changes and fearlessly attacking challenges differently. Join Global Genes in recognizing these incredible individuals…

RARE Champion in Advocacy

…individuals either in rare disease or within the general public who have been involved in a program, event, legislative effort, or something else extraordinary to advocate for rare disease patients and their families. Nominees could include patients, patient advocates, celebrity, legislators, professional/Olympic athletes, etc.

Read the list of nominees, including MaryO, at

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