HealthWatched is the blog of Joana Ramos of Seattle, an independent consultant on health policy issues, domestic, international and their intersection. Her work focuses on ending health inequalities by improving access to care for underserved populations, including access to appropriate, affordable medicines, and eliminating language barriers in health care. In the past decade, a significant part of her work has been in the field of cancer care. After her own diagnosis with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that did not respond to treatment, she underwent a BMT (blood & marrow transplant), and later began to work on equity issues in this field. She was a reviewer of the Institute of Medicine’s 2005 report Cord Blood: Establishing a National Hematopoietic Stem Cell Bank Program, and served on the Consumer Advocacy Committee of Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research from 2005-2007. Her work as Program Manager for the MAVIN Foundation’s Healthcare Access Project from 2006-07, resulted in the creation of the BMT Basics website.
Joana is also a community organization specialist, assisting a number of nonprofit groups. She was an active member of Healthy Skepticism, an international NGO dedicated to improving health by countering misleading promotions of medicines, and served on its Management Group from 2006-09. Joana was the Director of the former Washington State Coalition for Prescribing Integrity, one of several state-based projects of Community Catalyst, which sought to promote access to appropriate and affordable prescription drugs. Drawing on her background also as a professional medical interpreter, Joana was a founding member of the Washington State Coalition for Language Access, an education and advocacy group which works at the policy level to eliminate language barriers to essential services statewide. She has served as Co-Chair of WASCLA since 2014, and continues as lead for WASCLA’s Healthcare Committee and in other health equity endeavors. She created this blog to share her observations and to inspire others to take action on a range of health and health care issues and topics.