Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Yankee Doodling

Lessons from a fallen hero

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 05 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4992
  1. Douglas Kamerow, senior scholar, Robert Graham Center for policy studies in primary care, and associate editor, The BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}

What I learned about patient engagement from Jessie Gruman

One definition of a hero is a person who displays courage in the face of danger. Another is one who is admired and seen as a role model. Jessie Gruman, a patient and patient advocate extraordinaire, who died on 14 July, fitted both these descriptions perfectly. While dealing with four serious cancers throughout her life she kept a laser focus on discovering and describing the process that she and many other patients with serious illnesses go through, so as to create useful tools and guidelines for all patients. She did it with admirable grace, humor, wit, and wisdom.

Gruman founded the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH) in Washington, DC, in 1992, with support from several foundations. During its early years CFAH focused on the importance of health related behaviors, raising the visibility of the role of behavior in health and advocating for the importance of health behavior research.1 One extraordinarily important achievement during that period was the creation of the Health Behavior News Service in 1995. The service prepares news accounts of research and systematic reviews on …

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