In The News: Michael Manganiello: “All patients — and therefore, all of us — are ‘authorities’ in healthcare”
Michael Manganiello: “All patients — and therefore, all of us — are ‘authorities’ in healthcare”
By Christina D. Warner
As a part of my interview series with leaders in healthcare, I had the pleasure to interview Michael Manganiello. Michael has lived with HIV for 30+ years, which has deeply impacted his lens for bringing patient advocacy into medical research over the years. Through the public policy firm he co-founded, HCM Strategists, he is on the frontlines of public health working with clients on precision medicine solutions, reducing stigma in the opioid crisis by advancing medication-assisted treatment, and protecting and expanding access to women’s health care. As co-founder and then the first senior vice president of government relations for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Michael has particular expertise creating nontraditional, trusted partnerships with groups like communities and provider groups to make sure those who most need care have a voice and can access services when they need them.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Listen, I wasn’t born with the drive that leads so many talented people into the healthcare field. I spent my early career in the theatre and the restaurant industry.
Two experiences transformed my life and fueled my life-long passion for patient advocacy. One, I was diagnosed with HIV at a time when this was a death sentence. At age 28, I was told I had 18 months, max, to live. The second was when my best friend, Dana Reeve, told me the unimaginable happened: her husband, Chris, suffered a horrific accident and became paralyzed.
I realized that no matter who you are — whether you are living on the margins of society as I was as a gay man coming of age in the eighties, or an internationally beloved Hollywood actor, quite literally Superman — there comes a point when each one of us becomes not just a person, but a patient. What we do, and how our health care providers, families,friends and community mobilize to support us, when we become a patient is up to us.