National Consumers League

Health Advisory Council Newsletter | Fall 2015 | Member Q and A

Fall 2015 Newsletter | Q & A with Health Advisory Council Members

OshmanHeadshotJune2015.jpgMichele M. Oshman

Director, Federal Alliance Development, Corporate Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company

Q. How would you describe your role at Lilly?

A. As I have said many times to colleagues, mentors and friends, I truly believe that I have the best job in the entire company! My responsibilities are fairly narrow in scope in that I serve as the liaison for policy and government affairs staff within national patient, caregiver and consumer advocacy organizations. That said, I personally work with upwards of 75 organizations, so while the subject area may be fairly niche, the opportunities for engagement are never-ending–which is one thing I love about my job! My (amazing) teammates lead major therapeutic or disease focused partnerships and initiatives with patient organizations and my job is to ensure that Lilly understands the policy priorities that advocacy organizations such as the NCL care most about.

Q. Why did you choose to work in the pharmaceutical industry?

A. I chose to come to Lilly because of our reputation as an ethical company committed to excellence and respect for people. Lilly discovers and develops innovative medicines for patients in need, and medicines play an important role in making life better for people. When used appropriately, medicines can help us live longer and more healthfully by improving the management of chronic conditions, slowing the progression of disease, preventing or minimizing the complications of an illness, and simply helping us feel better. But medicines’ role in making life better extends well beyond the people who use them directly—to families, caregivers, the broader health care system, and society—by reducing health care costs, enhancing the productivity of our workforce, improving public health, and helping people return to doing the things they love.

Q. Are there currently any initiatives at Lilly you would like to share with Council members?

A. Yes–and this is one we are especially proud of! Lilly just unveiled an eLearning course and plans to launch its pilot program with academic partners beginning in 2016.

The course is called “Making Medicines: The Process of Drug Development" and provides an interactive platform for students to explore the fundamental principles of drug development, learn about the regulatory environment that govern the biopharmaceutical industry, and identify the roles of key stakeholders, including physicians, who develop, investigate, and regulate biopharmaceutical products. The course includes seven chapters that contain various elements, such as expert videos from the perspective of the FDA and NIH, knowledge checks, case studies and competency tests. The course is for the med students and trainees, and other students seeking degrees in health related programs.

The course provides flexibility to fit within existing academic programs. Our goal is reach more students with an interest in medical research and help provide a balanced perspective on the process and rigor behind drug development

To learn more visit:

Q. What do you/Lilly hope to take away from your participation in NCL’s Health Advisory Council?

A. First of all, it is really exciting to be part of the HAC. As partners in the Script You Future initiative, we have had a longstanding relationship with NCL and have seen NCL’s unique ability to convene parties that might not ordinarily have the opportunity to engage one another at this level. I see the HAC as a “brain trust” of representatives from a diverse group of healthcare stakeholders, and NCL as the unifying force that brings us all together. My hope is that deeper relationships and unique partnerships can be forged with NCL and fellow stakeholders as a result of NCL’s collaborative approach.

FullSizeRender_(4).jpgRay Bullman

Executive Vice President, National Council on Patient Information and Education

Q. What first drew you to work at NCPIE?

A. Prior to joining NCPIE, I worked with the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHPBEP) in the area of community program development and advocacy. I was fortunate to work at the community and state levels, organizing and convening regional high blood pressure prevention and control programs. This required continuous engagement and collaboration with diverse public, private and nonprofit sector stakeholder groups – a process not unlike how NCPIE engages with its members and other external constituencies to address our mission. Additionally, at the time, high blood pressure control centered around medication therapy and adherence improvement was a key aspect of the work of the NHBPEP. This made for a smooth transition to NCPIE, whose mission is to promote the wise use of medicines through trusted communication.

Q. How would you describe NCPIE’s role in advancing the safe and appropriate use of medication?

A. Since 1985, when I joined NCPIE, NCPIE has operated under a 3C’s philosophy – serving as a catalyst, convener and collaborator to advance our mission. This enables us to identify opportunities, bring together diverse stakeholders to gain a broad perspective to address shared issues – and opportunities – like adherence improvement, patient – healthcare provider engagement and effective communication, medication abuse awareness and prevention and informed self-care. Our membership, board and leadership structure, as well as our operating philosophy, provides a seat at the table for perspectives, input and engagement from and among consumer and patient groups, voluntary health organizations, government agencies, healthcare professionals, businesses and the pharmaceutical industry.           

Q. What are the biggest challenges (or opportunities) NCPIE is facing today?

A. An interesting question, and one about which I spend a good deal of time thinking. Challenges include sustaining capacity, momentum, focus and resource support to take on and stay with big issues in an impactful manner rather than moving to next programs to sustain currency and visibility. Conversely, this also equates to opportunity when looking at it through a different lens. There is, from my perspective, more interest and attention being given right now to promoting safe and appropriate medicine use than I can recall over my 30 years tenure at NCPIE. That said, the challenge – and opportunity - is to identify and engage in areas that are uniquely designed and that have potential to have a profound impact on better medicine communication, better (more informed) medicine use and better health outcomes. These opportunities are there – but addressing them requires longer-term commitment and sustained effort to address systems and behavioral change… somewhat akin to planting seeds, which need to nurtured and sustained, sometimes for years, before they bear fruit.

Q. Are there any initiatives that you are currently working on that you would like share with the Council?

A. NCPIE is thrilled to announce a collaboration with Boy Scouts of America - the SCOUTStrong Be MedWise Award, providing the opportunity for Scouts to earn a patch for learning about the safe and appropriate use of OTC medicines and bolster their commitment to healthy living. The goal of the award and patch program is to teach Scouts about the importance of using medicines responsibly and the potential risks of misusing medicines by not following the directions on the label. We also continue to implement the Talk Before You Take educational program to stimulate an informed patient-healthcare provider dialogue about the benefits and potential risks of any medications prescribed or recommended as part of the treatment plan.     

Q. What do you believe will be the most valuable aspect of the NCPIE’s participation in NCL’s Health Advisory Council?

A. NCL and NCPIE are long-time collaborators. In fact, NCL has participated on NCPIE’s board of directors for well over a decade and we work closely on many educational offerings, including the NCL Script Your Future campaign and NCPIE’s Talk Before You Take campaign. There are multiple benefits of participation in the NCL Health Advisory Council. First, the Council works collaboratively to identify important, under-addressed areas of need, thus helping to drive/sustain engagement with its broad membership. Second, the Council’s outreach and sharing keeps me informed of what’s being done, who’s doing it and what is planned in these areas. Third, the Council provides an all-too-rare opportunity to consider and discuss health policy, practice and programmatic needs and opportunities in collaboration with thought leaders representing a very broad and diverse base of stakeholders.