The principal of the Active Patient Coach & Health Care Navigator is CJ Hunter. CJ has served as a patient coach for many years, helping clients with a wide array of medical needs. While she has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of various cancers, she also helps clients with management of chronic illness, rare disorders, knee and hip replacements, cardiovascular disease, and design of wellness plans. In women’s health, she is especially knowledgeable in helping clients with bleeding and collagen disorders, and with breast and gynecologic cancers.
CJ began working in health care navigation and advocacy when friends, diagnosed with various cancers, asked for her help. Over time, she developed toolkits to help people navigate their cancer journeys more effectively, with consideration for all of their needs and quality of life. Soon, friends of friends were asking for help.
Ultimately, however, it was observing “medical justice” abrogations that compelled CJ to become a professional advocate. Medical justice includes having access to all the information that is relevant to one’s health to make critical care decisions; it includes having a doctor who when faced with a patient with a complex diagnosis is able to think creatively, to research options and refer a patient to resources that may be more appropriate; it includes having a medical team that is proactive in patient safety; it includes having insurance that pays for the most appropriate care; and it includes having access to the most relevant, up-to-date clinical care available. As patients wend their way through a medical journey, too many suffer needlessly, experience grossly diminished quality of life and become lost in a fragmented system of care. There are many opportunities to improve the system, patient-by-patient–and that is what CJ is dedicated to achieving.
CJ brings a unique blend of skills and experience to the field of patient advocacy. While earning a degree in Human Biology at Stanford University, she was trained as a field research scientist and studied both captive and wild chimpanzees. In graduate school at MIT, she studied science and technology as capacity building tools in the developing world, leading to an M.S.M. from the Sloan School of Management and an M.S. in Political Science. From her years in working in science and technology policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and in Congress at the Office of Technology Assessment, she has a clear understanding of the ways in which policy and insurance systems drive medical decisions.
With a broad network of resources in science, medicine and complementary care, CJ is able to stand up a team of experts to help her clients. Importantly, she is able to translate medical diagnoses and treatment options for her clients so they understand what they are dealing with, along with the implications of their various treatment options. Her goal is that each client becomes a knowledgeable partner in their own health care and achieves the best possible outcomes, with the best possible quality of life. CJ works especially hard to make sure that her clients have the latest relevant, clinically valid science incorporated into their considerations, along with their personal preferences, values and needs. In these ways, her clients are able to navigate complicate journeys with confidence in their decisions.