This week’s guest on “BrooklineHub In-Depth” is Joyce Graff, a successful author, and tireless volunteer for Brookline Rotary. Graff also founded the VHL Alliance in 1993 to help people like her son and late husband, who were stricken with VHL disease. Joyce is now a driving force behind Powerful Patient.

Powerful Patient is made up of three veteran patient advocates; Graff, Mike Lawing, and Robin Martinez. Graff, Lawing, and Martinez work with people with many different conditions, including people who do not yet have a diagnosis. They are not doctors but patients themselves.

We listen, and we help people gather their own strength and find the help they need, preferably near their homes,” Graff said.  “When we work with people in other countries, we work to help them find the help they need in their own country, within their own healthcare system.  If there are no resources there, we coach them in how to create the support they need.

My favorite recent example is Athina in Greece,” Graff continued.  “She and her daughter have VHL.  She found me on the internet more than ten years ago.  There were no resources for VHL in Greece, so she set about creating them.  She took the book I wrote for patients about VHL and worked with a doctor to translate it into Greek for the patients and general doctors in Greece.  She set up seminars for doctors and invited experts from Europe and the U.S. to give a seminar in Greece when they were nearby for some other international meeting.  She convinced the government genetics lab to add genetic testing for VHL onto their service.  Little by little, she has created very good support for families with VHL in Greece within their healthcare system.

You can learn more about Powerful Patient at

Books by Joyce Graff are available online.

The interview with Joyce Graff of Powerful Patient premieres on BrooklineHub In-Depth” on Monday, December 6.

“BrooklineHub In-Depth” is produced by publisher R. Harvey Bravman and Danielle Myers, a producer from Bravman’s for-profit company, ADW Video Productions.

“BrooklineHub in-depth” can be seen on all Brookline Interactive Group cable channels and the BrooklineHub In-Depth” YouTube channel.