Patients as Partners

Patients as Partners Program

Be the voice for patients like you

Vascular Cures is inviting vascular patients and advocates to become our partner in fighting vascular disease. Our “Patients as Partners” program is designed to ensure the patient voice is included everywhere decisions about improving healthcare are being made. Your personal experience can make a difference for others like you.

We know your time is valuable. Participating in this program will be based on your schedule and personal interests. Some ways that Patient Partners share their opinions and experiences to improve vascular healthcare include:

  • Taking surveys and providing their opinions
  • Reviewing educational materials
  • Advising researchers on how to design projects to meet patient needs
  • Participating in projects with other nonprofits and healthcare organizations
  • See our patient engagement opportunities page to learn how you can get involved

If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to contact us. You can choose to do this a few different ways:

We look forward to working with you as a partner to improve the lives of vascular patients everywhere! If you would like to speak to one of our team members directly, contact Linell Catalan, RN (Director of Programs) at

Meet Some of Our Patient Partners

Steve is the Chief Marketing Officer for a Commercial Credit Education company. He is a dedicated Oregon Ducks football fan, tennis player and proud new grandfather. Steve is passionate about spreading the word about the importance of walking for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

He was diagnosed with the disease ten years ago when he started having pain in his lower calf that hindered his walking ability. When he was diagnosed with a totally blocked main artery in his right leg and partially blocked artery in his left leg his doctor recommended bypass surgery. Steve went for a second opinion and the vascular surgeon said ‘I really can’t improve your quality of life with surgery. What you need to do is start walking.’ Steve started walking regularly and the blood flow in his legs improved enough that he was able to avoid surgery. He continues to walk daily, sticks to a regular workout routine and gets in a game of doubles tennis a few times a week. In addition to serving as a Patient Partner, he is a member of the VC Advisory Board.


Julie Thomson is an active mother of three grown children who hikes or bikes almost every day. She is dedicated to encouraging patients to educate themselves about their vascular health condition so they are better equipped to be their own advocate. Not a typical PAD patient, Julie’s battle with PAD started in her teenage years and her claudication symptoms (pain while walking) were ignored by doctors until her mid-forties when she underwent several leg bypass surgeries. She was finally diagnosed with a newly identified rare genetic condition ACDC (Arterial Calcification due to Deficiency in CD73) by the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the NIH. Julie is also a member of the Vascular Cures Advisory Board.


Elizabeth has worked for a major health insurance company for over 19 years and is a married mother of four with one grandchild. She and her husband are avid Texas Ranger baseball fans, love to fish and take road trips across America. Smoking cessation advocacy is one of her main health passions. Elizabeth smoked for 35 years and knows that her tobacco habit, along with her family history of cardiovascular disease, was a leading cause of her vascular health challenges. In her early 40s she suffered a cryptogenic stroke followed by TIAs over the next 10 years. She eventually quit smoking and started to walk regularly but began to experience pain in her calves when walking. Her primary care doctor told her that she had Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and she was ultimately diagnosed with Severe Aortoiliac Occlusive Disease (Abdominal Aorta and Iliac arteries were 98% blocked) and told she needed immediate bi-femoral aorta bypass surgery to save her legs. After working through a difficult recovery, Elizabeth turned her focus to being active in some way each day and taking small, manageable steps to change her diet. As a result, she now advocates for self-education when it comes to personal health in order to begin lifestyle and behavior changes. Elizabeth volunteers for the American Heart Association (AHA) as both a patient advocate and National Spokeswomen for Go Red.

Patients as Partners Interest Form

Create your own user feedback survey

Health-related information on this website including text, graphics, images, and other material is for educational purposes only and therefore not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.