Rep's focus on patients pays off

March 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

In her two years as a sales rep for Mountain View, CA-based Alza Corp., Suzy Porter has discovered that seeing results in patients' lives is her job's most rewarding aspect. A year ago, Porter established a support group for patients with interstitial cystitis, a disease that often evades diagnosis, can be left untreated for years and can severely disrupt day-to-day life. Its symptoms resemble "a constant urinary tract infection that is excruciatingly painful."

In her two years as a sales rep for Mountain View, CA-based Alza Corp., Suzy Porter has discovered that seeing results in patients' lives is her job's most rewarding aspect. A year ago, Porter established a support group for patients with interstitial cystitis, a disease that often evades diagnosis, can be left untreated for years and can severely disrupt day-to-day life. Its symptoms resemble "a constant urinary tract infection that is excruciatingly painful."

Porter recognized the need to provide patients with a source of education about interstitial cystitis and an outlet for their frustrations. Porter distributed flyers in doctors' offices, arranged meeting places and found a president to run the group, who also had interstitial cystitis. Porter continues to arrange for speakers – nutritionists, physical therapists, psychiatrists – to address different aspects of disease management.

According to Porter, the support group has provided relief not only to patients, but also to busy doctors. "If [patients'] problems tend to flare during the week, they'll call [their doctors] constantly. Now, patients have options, they can call people in their support group. I think the doctors really appreciate this additional source of information for patients."

Porter enjoys helping to improve the quality of patients' lives and building relationships with doctors and the patients in her support group. Porter expressed, "[Patients] know that I'm there to represent them as well as my company. I want to make sure that people are educated on interstitial cystitis and their treatment options."

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