“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.”
– Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
At Avita, our ability to compassionately care for individuals facing health inequities relies upon multiple factors. An organizational mindset based on respect, resourcefulness, and collaboration is paramount. Not surprisingly, clinical expertise and cultural competency are also at the top of the list. And proficiency in the 340B drug discount program—including having what it takes to help our covered entity partners strategically navigate its shifting tides—is essential as well.
Walk into any of our pharmacy locations, team huddles, or partner meetings and you’ll witness the above taking place daily. What might not be as obvious is the work going on behind the scenes, where Avita’s long-standing commitment to advocacy pulls some serious weight. That’s why we’re thrilled to name award-winning pharmacy leader, passionate 340B program advocate, and internationally respected HIV and LGBTQ+ activist Glen Pietrandoni as Avita’s new chief advocacy officer.
“Glen has been fighting the good fight for more than 30 years,” says Avita CEO Michael Yount. “When it comes to advocating that health care is a human right, that patients deserve compassionate care no matter whom they love or how they identify, and that the future of our nation’s wellness depends on the proper support of covered entities, there is no one else you’d rather have on your side.”
A lifelong dedication to compassion & advocacy
But let’s back up a bit, because Glen’s lifelong dedication to advocacy has taken a fascinating path. Glen grew up hanging out at the corner drugstore. By the time he was 14, he was helping the pharmacy owner make deliveries and organize shelves. By the time Glen finished pharmacy school, he had purchased a pharmacy with his mentor. Ten years later, the two had bought a total of five pharmacies, and Glen’s impact on compassionate care, patients, and the community was just getting under way.
It was the early ‘90s when Glen began filling a large number of Bactrim prescriptions at the Chicago-based pharmacy he managed. New lifesaving protease inhibitors weren’t available yet to those living with HIV, and AIDS soon became the leading cause of death for men aged 25 to 44. At the beginning, “I had friends that were sick, and as a pharmacist there was nothing I could do for them,” Glen says. As treatments for those living with HIV and AIDS advanced, “I was convinced that pharmacists needed to focus on the disease state and become ingrained in communities.”
As a result, Glen was instrumental in innovating the concept of pharmacy patient advocacy and a personalized care approach for people living with HIV. “Instead of an HIV patient just being one of thousands of patients,” Glen explains, “we wanted to create a customized experience.” It was, he says, just the right thing to do.
"Working together, we are more effective."
Flash forward to today. Glen will soon complete a 10-year term on the board of AIDS United, most recently as chairman. He’s also on the board of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Advocacy Association and an inductee of the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. But it’s his personal connections with former patients that are engraved into his professional memory. “Some of them are still friends to this day,” Glen says. He chalks up the connection to treating each patient “like a person, not a customer.”
Over the course of his career, Glen—who sits on the State of Illinois Board of Pharmacy and is an American Academy of HIV Medicine credentialed pharmacist—has hit the ground running to advocate for those living with HIV and the organizations that serve them. Glen joined the Avita team in 2020 and was soon deeply engaged in Avita’s mission to advocate for health equity, the LGBTQ+ community, and the 340B Drug Pricing program, which helps safety-net providers care for the nation’s most underserved communities.
Glen is well-known in both the LGBTQ+ and health care communities for successfully bringing together stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry and patient advocacy arena. His end game? To advance care programs that inform, educate, and improve health care outcomes. In addition to his other volunteer advocacy work, Glen also sits on the board of Community Voices for 340B (CV340B), is an annual fundraising co-chair for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and has been involved in the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. “My job is to help educate people,” he says. “My goal is to keep a balance, an open dialogue so patients can get the care they need.”
Whether it’s on a national level–he’s worked with the White House National Office of AIDS Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services–or hyper-local level leading Avita PRIDE, the organization’s employee resource group promoting a safe and diverse culture, you’ll always find Glen pushing for professionals to learn, listen, and include others just a little bit more. “Working together, we are more effective,” Glen says. “By sharing resources and knowledge, we can ensure that the reason we’re all here marches on, and we make a difference in people’s lives and the profession.”
To learn how your covered entity can benefit from joining national advocacy movements, reach out to Glen Pietrandoni today.