Meg Gaines

Why partnership is at the core of effective healthcare

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About Meg Gaines

Attorney Martha “Meg” Gaines is the founder and director of the Center for Patient Partnerships at the University of Wisconsin, which works to strengthen the healthcare experience by developing partnerships among people seeking health care, people providing health care, and people making policies that guide the health care system. A cancer survivor herself, Meg specializes in consumer engagement and empowerment in health care reform, overseeing interprofessional teams that provide advocacy services to patients with life-threatening and serious chronic illnesses. Currently a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin, Meg collaborates with diverse nonprofits and has authored numerous publications on the importance of patient partnership. Meg teaches courses related to consumer issues in health care advocacy and reform to graduate students based in law, medicine, public health, nursing, and pharmacy among others.

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About This Talk

Upon being diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, attorney Meg Gaines made the decision to undergo a risky new surgery that ultimately saved her life. Afterward, Meg felt compelled to make sense of the harrowing experience and to find something of value from it. She soon found herself working as a patient advocate, drawing on her law experience to help empower other patients to make informed decisions about their health.

Instead of serving one patient at a time, Meg saw major potential impact in training the next generation of healthcare workers to become better partners and advocates for their patients. She formed the Center for Patient Partnerships, where students from across disciplines come together to advocate for people with serious illnesses. Watch Meg’s 2017 TEDMED Talk to learn why she believes that "effective healthcare begins when patients and clinicians design it together and fight together to make sure patient care comes first."

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