Diabetes Forecast

People to Know 2016: Richard Klein

By Stefany Shaheen ,

Richard Klein
Photograph by Michael Ermarth

Richard Klein’s inspiration for bringing patients front and center at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was born during the AIDS epidemic of the late ’80s and early ’90s. As people were being diagnosed with HIV at alarming rates and struggling to get access to information, medication, and medical research, the FDA was inundated with urgent pleas for help. In response, it began working directly with patients. Over the course of two decades, the FDA’s Patient Liaison Program has grown to more than 200 patients, representing some 300 different diseases. The program serves as a communication hub for patients, and aims to “make sure patients have a voice at the table,” says Richard, the program’s director.

This approach is having a meaningful impact on the regulatory work that the FDA does every day by getting patients involved in the process earlier. Expanding access to drugs during studies, helping to accelerate drug approvals, and providing patient education are just a few ways the Patient Liaison Program is making a positive impact at the FDA.

People living with diabetes and those who care for and love them are benefitting from the foundation that was built by advocates for those living with AIDS. Today, the Patient Liaison Diabetes Program is helping educate and inform through numerous communication channels, including a website, e-mail listserv, webinars, and public workshops.

As a mother whose child lives with type 1, I applaud Richard for understanding the power of patients—and their ability to provide regulators with insight into the 24-7 life of a person with diabetes.

Stefany Shaheen is the New York Times bestselling author of Elle & Coach: Diabetes, the Fight for My Daughter’s Life, and the Dog Who Changed Everything. A Harvard graduate, she launched the company Good Measures to help people with chronic conditions achieve behavior change through technology-enabled clinical care. Good Measures is also a provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Stefany serves on the Board of Trustees at the Joslin Diabetes Center. She lives with her husband and four children in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.



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