- Dr. Bateman shares a retrospective look at the progress made by Bateman Horne Center in the last two years. She honors the contribution of Leigh Reynolds and looks ahead with excitement to the future for those impacted by ME/CFS.
Six or seven months into the 2015 launch of Bateman Horne Center — the major financial risk of re-branding the non-profit OFFER to become BHC, while simultaneously transitioning my small private practice to BHC — I came to the shocking realization that the perfect Executive Director we had recently hired, the one who had successfully created our nonprofit medical clinic and become adept at fundraising, the one we invested most of our modest OFFER bank account in, was suffering from a medical problem that had seriously sabotaged his job performance.
On top of that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, had surgery in July, and underwent radiation treatments in August. In August, the Board of OFFER/BHC retired our ailing Executive Director to seek medical care and one of my two physician assistants left for a better paying job. Looking back at this time, it seemed like the end of our dream to establish a non-profit center of excellence for people with ME/CFS and FM.
T hen three amazing individuals invested in our dream. In September 2015, my long-time friend and colleague, Suzanne Vernon, agreed to join BHC as research liaison, creating a scientific-clinical one-two punch! We put our frazzled heads together and brainstormed how to utilize and build upon the IOM report, new evidence-based clinical diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS.
But how could we possibly survive as a non-profit organization with no experienced leadership, a slim budget, and a medical/research clinic that operated on a shoestring?
Enter second amazing woman: Leigh Reynolds, the brilliant PR engineer behind the CFIDS/SolveCFS make-over, who joined us in October of that same year. We three — clinician, scientist, nonprofit consultant whiz — were the trio that could make it happen! A fourth amazing person, who has asked to remain anonymous, pumped $200,000 into BHC to support Suzanne and Leigh and recruit the first 100 research-ready patients into the Biomarker Discovery program. In January 2016, I cut off my hair and vowed to wear wild socks in support of biomarker discovery.
Now, two years later, BHC has a talented staff that includes an executive director, operations officer, in-house accountant, and two people who write grants, create educational materials, handle social media, and hope to raise money (unabashed hint—we need donations!). The clinic has added a seasoned nurse practitioner and a registered nurse, and the research department has three research coordinators. We are sharing the data and biological samples from over 300 subjects enrolled as our research-ready community with the scientists at Stanford, Jackson Labs, Columbia, and several other NIH-funded researchers.
We are putting the finishing touches on a pilot program to educate and empower patients from our clinic’s applicant pool and are now developing a 4-hour CME course for physicians to be accredited by the Utah Medical Association Foundation. And the NIH announcement of millions in grant money for ME/CFS collaborative research centers is imminent…
It will take three seasoned individuals to step into the very big footprint of one Leigh Reynolds, consultant extraordinaire. Leigh, thank you for your passion, service and expert leadership in the launch of BHC!