Patient Advocate Michele Mitchell wins ASCP Patient Champion Award

By Lynn McCain | August 24 2020

 Patient advocacy and engagement are essential to provide high-quality care. Your dedication to empower other patients through education and awareness has made big contributions to the life-changing impact of patient-pathology interactions.”  So begins the award letter to Michele Mitchell from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), who is awarding Michele the ASCP Patient Champion Award for 2020.  The award will be presented virtually at the ASCP Annual Meeting at 2:00 pm on September 10, 2020. Following the award presentation, Michele will be available for a Question and Answer session in the Patient Symposium, on Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 2:30 pm.  Congratulations, Michele!

Michele has a long history of advocating for patients with breast cancer, beginning in December 2016, when she was the first patient ever assigned to the National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR) Data Accuracy Task Force Subcommittee.  In 2017, she was the first patient to serve on the NPQR Steering Committee.  She represented the NPQR at the ASCP Annual Meeting in 2018.  She again made history in 2019 as the first patient to ever serve on the ASCP MACRA Grant’s Technical Expert Subcommittee.  She joined the Patient Champion Program in June 2019 and spoke about her experience of seeing her pathology slides for the first time at the ASCP Annual Meeting in September 2019. She has, again, been invited back to speak at this year’s 2020 ASCP Annual Meeting.  Due to the pandemic, the ASCP Annual Meeting in 2020 will be held virtually.

Dr. Jeffrey Myers was responsible for showing me my pathology slides and for my 1st role with the American Society for Clinical Pathologists back in 2016,” Michele recalls. “He lobbied for a patient voice to be put on a project that the ASCP had undertaken - the National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR). He was on the Data Accuracy Taskforce. He thought this would be a perfect opportunity for one of Michigan Medicine’s Department of Pathology PFAC (Patient and Family Advisory Council) Patient Advisors to be heard. He offered the opportunity to all PAs (Patient Advisors) and I volunteered.  Since then, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of rewarding work with the ASCP. I find the work very rewarding and am grateful to Dr. Myers for providing me the opportunity to serve patients in a meaningful way.”

Myers was instrumental in establishing the Patient and Family Advisory Council within the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan.  Myers, together with Dr. Lotte Mulder, Director of the ASCP’s Leadership Institute and Patient Champions program, and Dr. Constantine Kanakis, a pathology trainee recently named to The Pathologist magazine’s 2020 Path Power list for his work and lectures during the peak of the COVID pandemic in New York City, will be presenting at this year’s ASCP meeting.  The session will include sharing lessons learned through the Department of Pathology’s Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) program.  Their presentation, “Building a Dialogue Between Patients and Their Families” will be available virtually on Friday, September 11, 2020, at 1:00 pm.

“I can’t think of another person who has done more for our institution than Michele, and now her influence and opportunity has a nationwide reach.  I am so very proud of the work she has done and continues to do on behalf of our patients and families, our students, our staff, and our faculty,” said Myers.  “THANK YOU for keeping patient and family-centered care at the center of what we do.”