Gwen Darien is a longtime patient advocate who has played leadership roles in some of the country’s preeminent nonprofit organizations. As executive vice president for patient advocacy and engagement at the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) and the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), Ms. Darien leads programs that link PAF’s patient service programs to NPAF initiatives, with the goal of improving access to equitable, affordable, quality health care.
As a three-time cancer survivor herself, Ms. Darien came into cancer advocacy expressly to change the experiences and outcomes for the patients who would come after her and to change the public dialogue about cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. She started the first stand-alone advocacy entity in a professional cancer research organization at the American Association for Cancer Research where she launched CR magazine. Later, she served as executive vice president of programs and services at the Cancer Support Community. In each role, Ms. Darien championed placing patients at the center of health system change, whether it is for research, public policy, or direct services.
Ms. Darien serves as chair or on the board of a wide range of program committees and workshop faculties, including the Community Engagement in Genomics Working Group of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Patient Engagement Advisory Panel for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Ms. Darien also blogs about her experiences for US News & World Report.
Ms. Darien is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she also served as an advisor for their Health Advocacy program.