COVID-19 Advocacy: Responding to The Hot Spots


GreyZone is excited to have hosted a free webinar for professional patient / health advocates that has already been watched by more than 250 people! This is as an opportunity for colleagues to learn from experienced advocates in the field, across the United States:

  • What is happening in patient advocacy practices across the United States during the time of the coronavirus?
  • How are seasoned advocates responding to the needs in their communities?
  • How do they adapt and serve their clients best?

From Seattle, WA where everything started, to the current national hotspot of New York/New Jersey, to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston, Texas.

Who: Independent professional patient advocates, care managers, anyone that takes care of patients in a professional capacity.
Cost: Free, registration is required.
Note: This is a recorded webinar with Q&A section as part of the slides. You will receive the slides after registering for the webinar.

Please select “General Registration” to watch the webinar only (no CEUs through this link).

General Registration


Lisa Berry Blackstock

Soul Sherpa | (Los Angeles, CA)

Lisa Berry Blackstock is an independent patient advocate and mentor in national practice since 2008. Prior to entering the advocacy field, Lisa’s background covered the fields of writing and estate administration.

Soul Sherpa® Healthcare Advocacy and Life Care Planning Services is Lisa’s current business, established in 2008 after she endured multiple misdiagnoses for what turned out to be a rare and painful nerve disorder, trigeminal neuralgia. She required corrective brain surgery to separate an artery compressing her left trigeminal nerve which caused intermittent electrical shocks to the left side of her face.

Lisa is a certified palliative care and hospice care specialist. Her training and expertise navigating the American healthcare system is the result of hands-on experience gained in the trenches. Accompanying her clients in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, and in their homes, Lisa’s interaction with hospital administrative and medical staffs, as well as health insurance companies, has rendered her with a skill set that protects her clients physically, emotionally, and financially.

Lisa entered pre-med at Stanford University and later graduated in 1982 with a liberal arts major. She has worked in her own various businesses since 1990 where she enjoys engaging with people on a personal service basis.

Lorie Gardner

Healthlink Advocates | (Chatham, NJ)

Lorie Gardner RN BSN NBC-HWC is the CEO and Founder of Healthlink Advocates.  She started her company ten years ago to bridge the gap between patients and the healthcare system.  As a Registered Nurse of 35 years and a nationally board-certified health and wellness coach, she witnessed many cases where poor healthcare decisions were made or inadequate care was provided.  Lorie and her team are proud to say they have helped hundreds of clients navigate our very complex and fragmented healthcare system so good decisions are made and optimal healthcare is provided to each client.

As nurse patient advocates and health coaches, we combine our unique skills to assist clients not only navigate the healthcare system but learn new ways to manage their health and wellbeing. We have been considered by the physicians and nurses we interact with as an integral part of the whole healthcare team.

Lee Mulert

HealthACR | (Chicago, IL)

Lee Mulert is the CEO & Founder of HealthACR, LLC, a private professional Health Advocacy firm near Chicago, IL with clients nationwide.

With close to 40 years of knowledge and experience in the healthcare industry from business, reimbursement, research, clinical and psychosocial perspectives, Lee brings her intuitive personality and problem-solving skills help patients and families to work through crises and identify options that meet their needs. In addition to her MBA, she earned her MS in Counseling and is a Certified Senior Advisor. Her years of experience conducting negotiations help her to facilitate communications and mediate difficult situations for her clients.

Her clients’ range from pediatric to older adults and incorporate a range of medical, psychosocial, mental health and addiction issues that affect them, their families and loved ones. Lee strives to ensure that her clients understand and feel that they are empowered participants in every aspect of their own health care.

Lee is an Officer of the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB), the first national organization to develop and implement a standard exam to certify professional Health or Patient Advocates as one way to validate their skills and experience.

Lucille Plantemoli

Healthlink Advocates | (Chatham, NJ)

Lucille Plantemoli, RN, MPH, CIC, NBC-HWC is the Vice-President  of Healthlink Advocates, Inc.   She has been with Healthlink Advoctes, Inc. as both a Patient Care Advocate and a Health and Wellness Coach.  As a Registered Nurse of 40 years and a nationally board-certified health and wellness coach, she has experience in Critical Care Nursing, Infection Prevention and Public Health.   Lucille is proud to say that her extensive background in various areas of nursing have enabled her to help navigate clients and their families during care transitions and during critical times affecting their health and well-being.

Lucille also prides herself on working collaboratively with members of the healthcare team to help clients have the best possible outcomes  with their care.

It has been an amazing experience to combine the skill set of a nurse with those of a patient advocate and health and wellness coach to help her clients get the best care outcomes.

Dianne Savastano

Healthassist | (Boston, MA)

Dianne Savastano is Founder and Principal of Healthassist, a Massachusetts-based company founded in 2004 that specializes in helping clients navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.

Beginning as a registered nurse providing direct patient care, Dianne’s 30-year career includes roles as a hospital, insurance and employee benefits executive and as a management consultant. Her experience has taught her to ensure that the healthcare consumer is at the center of the healthcare equation.

Dianne is a founding member of National Association of Healthcare Advocates (NAHAC), serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for 5 years. Currently, she serves as a member of NAHAC’s Advisory Board.  She is a founding member of Massachusetts Healthcare Advocates (MAHCA), the first regional group of NAHAC. She is a Board-Certified Patient Advocate.

Dianne received her BS in Nursing from Rhode Island College and her MBA from Simmons University in Boston.

Bonnie Sheeren

Houston Health Advocacy | (Houston, TX)

Bonnie Sheeren founded Houston Health Advocacy, LLC in 2014, as a patient advocacy company to help her clients navigate the confusing world of health care. Whether it is communicating with doctors, hospitals, medical billing groups or health insurance companies, Bonnie eases the stress that frustrates people as they try to get the health care they need at a reasonable cost.

Using her previous experience as a medical video writer/producer at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the UT Health Science Center-Houston, her skills benefit every client who contacts her. She is an active member of three national patient advocacy groups: Alliance for Professional Healthcare Advocates (APHA), the National Associate of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) and the Greater National Advocates (GNA). She also keeps up with the larger picture of improving health care for everyone through her membership in the Right Care Alliance. In addition, she keeps up with the latest developments on #medTwitter and participates in #hcldr (health care leader) Tweetchats once a week.

Bonnie has been featured in interviews on the radio program “Houston Matters” on KUHF and cited as a patient advocacy expert for national publications. She has participated in congressional panel discussions in Houston as well as a discussion for Village MD about access to health care.

Io close up 3

Io Dolka – Host / Moderator

GreyZone | (Seattle, WA)

Io Dolka, MS is Founder and Chief Care Advocate of GreyZone LLC, a medical advocacy company helping people with undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and complex medical conditions find answers and improve their quality of life. Io formed GreyZone after experiencing as a patient how complicated it was for those with chronic and complex medical conditions to obtain an accurate
diagnosis of their symptoms.

Io welcomes challenges and pioneering efforts and devotes a significant part of her life working towards greater causes. She is currently an active member of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) serving on the Patient Engagement and Practice Improvement Committees for several years.

Io co‐founded and served as Executive Director and founding Board Member of the first state‐level, patient advocacy nonprofit in the US, the Washington State Health Advocacy Association (WASHAA). She also served from its inception and for several years on the now-Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB), the leading effort to create a professional credential for patient advocates. She has been an invited speaker at the University of Washington, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC), among others. She has also been quoted in various local and national publications.