Position title: WINRS Co-Founder and Lead Stakeholder Engagement Consultant
Gay Thomas, MA is Director of Stakeholder Engagement with the Wisconsin Network for Research Support (WINRS), an innovative patient and community engagement resource based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. Gay is passionate about helping research teams create and sustain effective partnerships with patient/public stakeholders, especially those from under-represented populations. Over the past 8 years, it’s been her privilege to listen to community members and patients give researchers powerful advice on how to improve research materials and increase the diversity of study participants. Her background includes work on Capitol Hill, for Planned Parenthood and with several health insurance organizations. Gay believes that the most effective outcomes result from deep and respectful personal engagement. “One thing I love about my work is the chance to bring real, but under-represented, voices into the development of research and educational programs. So-called ‘lay people’ are the true experts on their own lives. Getting this perspective integrated into the research process feels like a huge step towards reducing health disparities”.