Dr. Best is a retired pediatrician with expertise in public and environmental health, clinical decision making, and epidemiology. After graduating from Yale with a degree in chemistry, Dr. Best went to medical school at the University of Virginia. She did her residency in pediatrics at the University of Vermont, then was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. During her career as a pediatrician, Dr. Best worked on children’s health issues ranging from preventing addiction and secondhand smoke exposure, to advocating for the health of children and families living in Washington, DC during the lead-in- water crisis in 2001-2004. In her role as a public health advocate, Dr. Best testified before the U.S. Congress three times. 

Dr. Best became a patient advocate when her father was misdiagnosed with carcinoma of unknown primary (“CUP”), a terrible diagnosis for which there is no effective treatment. Despite the lack of evidence supporting chemotherapy and radiation treatment, her father received both, suffering the side effects associated with the treatments. Fortunately, a colleague of Dr. Best’s offered to take a look at her father’s case, and that encounter led to a new diagnosis of chordoma, a more treatable cancer with a much longer life expectancy. Unfortunately, the side effects of the treatment her father had received prior to being correctly diagnosed contributed to an infection, which ultimately led to her father’s death in 2006. Her father died at home under hospice care. Through this experience, as well as through the experiences of her patients, Dr. Best learned first-hand the frustrations and challenges of caring for a family member trapped in the medical system. 

Dr. Best is a member of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, a patient advocacy and care management professional organization in the United States, Canada, and worldwide, and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants, which is dedicated to empowering advocates and consumers to navigate the healthcare system. 

Principles of Best Patient Advocacy

Dr. Best adheres to the Code of Ethics for the Healthcare Advocacy profession and maintains the following principles:

Autonomy. Best Patient Advocacy will support the independence, freedom of will, and actions of each client.

Respect. Best Patient Advocacy will respect the values and perspectives of the client, his or her family, and all members of the client’s care team.

Responsible stewardship. Best Patient Advocacy will responsibly manage time, money, and resources.

Clear Communication. Best Patient Advocacy will clearly communicate with the client, the client’s family and the care team, always as directed by the client.

Confidentiality. Best Patient Advocacy will protect all personal and health information, maintain secured files, and share information only when directed by the client. 

What is Patient Advocacy?

What is Patient Advocacy?

What is Patient Advocacy?

What is Patient Advocacy?

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, an advocate is a “supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer, or spokesperson.” The professional patient advocate is someone who can objectively assist patients and their families in understanding and making sense of healthcare, diagnoses, treatment decisions, and other issues related to health and disease. An effective advocate is someone you trust who is willing to act on your behalf as well as someone who can work well with other members of your healthcare team such as your doctors and nurses. These characteristics are important considerations when selecting an advocate.


Patients and families dealing with many different kinds of medical issues may benefit from the services of an independent patient advocate. Some examples include the patient or family who:

  • Wants more information about a diagnosis or treatment
  • Is overwhelmed with the volume of information found on the internet, needs help understanding the information, or needs help differentiating good quality information from “junk science”
  • Has a complex medical issue and needs help coordinating treatment
  • Has been shuttled between specialists who communicate poorly, either with your physician or other members of the care team
  • Has difficulty managing or feels overwhelmed by a medical situation
  • Is unfamiliar with the medical system
  • Is a senior
  • Lives far away from family; Best Patient Advocacy can provide monitoring of care for a family member who can’t be present because of distance, travel, or other obligations
  • Is frustrated because progress is slow
  • Needs help deciding on a treatment plan
  • Wants support to carry out an advance directive or to discuss end-of-life care





I offer a complimentary 15-minute introductory phone consultation. During that phone call, we will briefly discuss your needs and our services. The primary goal of the phone call is to determine if Best Patient Advocacy can help you achieve your goals.

If we agree that I can help you, the next step is an intake evaluation, a meeting that typically last 1-2 hours. During that meeting you and I will discuss your needs in greater detail and I will outline the services I might provide to help you achieve your goals. If I will be working closely with family members, I would like to meet those people at this meeting, if possible. Following the meeting a written plan that addresses each of your goals and a plan to achieve those goals will be prepared.

Depending on your situation, some of the subjects that will be covered in the plan include detailed reviews of your: 

  • Medical and medication records
  • Recent diagnoses and proposed treatment plans
  • Existing support system
  • Any physical or cognitive limitations, either short- or long-term
  • Any unmet medical, social, or housing needs

This plan will serve as the guideline for services and achievement of goals. The plan may be revised and extended if your needs and goals change. Throughout our relationship, I will be in close contact with you, and my highest priority will be clear communication with you, your family (as directed by you), and your health care team.





Areas Served

Maryland, Northern Virginia, District of Columbia, and nationwide

Review of Clients Needs and Establishment of Goals

  • Review of every client’s medical, social, and functional needs
  • Ongoing assessments and reassessments of the client’s needs as needed
  • Helping the client clarify personal goals and values so that health and medical care choices align with those goals and values

Research and Translation of Medical Language

  • Research on the client’s health history and the most current treatments available, either locally or nationwide
  • “Translation” of medical information to help the client and the client’s family understand their disease and make the most informed decisions possible

Health Care Liaison

  • Serve as a liaison between the client, the client’s family, and the client’s medical team, as directed by the client
  • Serve as an information resource for the client and the client’s family
  • Provide coordination of home health care providers, rehabilitation care, hospice care, transitions to assisted living, and others
  • Provide services that ease the transition from hospital or rehabilitation care to home, with a focus on avoidance of readmission
  • Help organize services for persons with changes in functional abilities
  • Help with selecting and scheduling appointments with specialists, tests, and consultations, locally or worldwide
  • Accompany the client to medical visits, hospitalizations, treatments, and studies such as X-rays
  • Monitor medication, including consultation with a pharmacist for research on alternative medications, side-effects of medications, and interactions between medications
  • Provide peace of mind for patients and their families

Mental Health or Substance Abuse

  • Selection of inpatient care facility
  • Transition to outpatient care
  • Coordination of family support services

Family Support

  • Research on support groups
  • Coordination of respite care (temporary care to relieve family members who are caregivers)





About Patient Advocates and the Role of Patient Advocates

Why It’s Wise to Use a Health Advocate, by Carolyn Clancy, MD
http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient- involvement/health-advocate.html

What is a Patient Advocate? The Assertive Patient

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)

Patient Advocacy in Patient Safety: Have Things Changed? By Helen Haskell, MA
https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspectives/perspective/160/patient-advocacy- in-patient-safety-have- things-changed

Parents Often Catch Hospital Errors Doctors Missed. By Lisa Rapaport

Help with Medications

Needy Meds – help with discounted prescriptions

Patient Assistance – Helps patients get their medications

TogetherRxAccess – help for patients without prescription drug coverage

Medication Discount Card – prescription discount cards for specific medications purchased at major pharmacies

Help for Seniors

Maryland Department of Aging – Information on how to obtain services and benefits for persons age 60 and older

Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program – Offers one-on- one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare

District of Columbia Office on Aging – for all senior service inquiries

Virginia Department for the Aging - Information, counseling, and referral on aging and long-term care issues for older Virginians

Eldercare Locator – A nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services

Help for Families of Children with Chronic Illness or Disability

HealthyChildren.Org – Resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics

KidsHealth – Information about diseases and disabilities

Other Resources

The Empowered Patient Coalition http://empoweredpatientcoalition.org/ and its sister org, Engaged Patients http://engagedpatients.org/ - I highly recommend this site for patients and families facing surgery, treatments for cancer, chronic diseases, and other serious illnesses.

Health Care Rights Initiative http://hcri.org/about/



Phone: 301-351-6429
Email: Dana@BestPatientAdvocacy.com

Name *




The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates: http://www.aphadvocates.org/

Code of Conduct & Professional Standards: http://HealthAdvocateCode.org