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About Yvonne Bokhour, M.A. (Founder)
Yvonne Bokhour has been an active health advocate for many years, honing her extensive skills in both the non-profit and for-profit health care sectors. Her experience as a grass roots organizer, support group facilitator, non-profit fundraiser, and communications specialist enable her to offer exceptional expertise to patients and professionals alike. Yvonne’s research and writing are particularly noteworthy, covering not only health but climate change, and producing tangible, positive results for patients, organizations, communities, and policies.
Health Advocacy Education
Yvonne has a Master’s degree in Health Advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College—the nation’s premier academic program in the field. There she studied a wide variety of subjects including physiology, health law, health policy, medical ethics, illness narratives and the history of health care in America. Her analytical work was supplemented by significant hands-on, experiential fieldwork. For example, Yvonne interned at the World Lung Foundation, where she helped the non-profit promote lung health and reduce tobacco use worldwide using mass media and public relations tools.
Grass Roots Advocacy
Yvonne’s first foray into health advocacy occurred as a founding member of a grass roots organization focused on Lyme disease. She played a crucial role organizing and publicizing well-attended educational events. Her outreach to local officials on behalf of the organization led to the implementation of a school district Lyme disease policy that is still reaping benefits today.
Yvonne helped this small community organization transition to one with national reach. As a member of the Board of Directors, and as the primary communications contact, Yvonne was instrumental in raising nearly $1 million for Lyme disease research, all of which was later published by well-respected academic journals.
Hundreds of men, women and teenagers visited the support groups she co-facilitated together with two psychologists. For ten years, they offered not only support but also numerous educational resources and events.
Research, Publications and Presentations
Having spent years listening to patient experiences—experiences that often included financial fall-out—Yvonne decided to research Lyme’s economic impact. Her work, supervised during an internship at Montefiore Medical Center, led to testimony before the Connecticut legislature on two occasions, as well as a co-authored Op-Ed published by the New Haven Register.  In addition, she developed a wide-ranging survey, now in further development at Columbia University. 
Publications on Lyme also include a comprehensive article on controversies surrounding the disease; a poster presented to the Conference on Urban Health regarding risks to migrant workers; and multiple press releases and letters to the editor.
Yvonne became passionately concerned by the health crisis facing rescue and recovery workers of the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster. Her research led to a co-authored oral presentation at the Conference on Urban Health, and a consultancy to the nationally recognized advocacy organization VOICES of September 11th.
Additional expertise on Direct-to-Consumer advertising of pharmaceutical products led to testimony concerning its ethical implications, submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. 
Yvonne expanded her research and communications skills at Kovak-Likly Communications (KLC), a public relations and marketing firm focused on health care. Her published article, “Communicating for a Cause,” describes her experiences at KLC, where she began as an intern and still consults as Patient Advocacy Advisor. The article outlines communications techniques that are essential for promoting health in our rapidly changing world.
Most recently, Yvonne has written about climate change in the developing world, including its health implications, for the award-winning online outlet MediaGlobal News/UNEARTH News, based in the United Nations.
Health Care Public Relations and Communications
As a public relations professional, Yvonne has written website content, newsletters, articles, backgrounders, press releases, Requests For Proposals, and numerous other materials. Medical subjects run the gamut, from knee osteoarthritis to infertility to prostate cancer. Her meticulous research skills have been put to use not only to reference content, but also to analyze information about drugs in development and clinical trials. In addition, Yvonne has initiated key strategic and creative contributions to action plans facilitating partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and non-profit advocacy organizations.
Additional Experience
Yvonne’s career began in the legal field, where she worked as a paralegal in litigation and trusts & estates. She then served as a trust administrator on Wall Street. She went on to run a successful business in the health food industry.
In addition to her MA in Health Advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College, Yvonne has a Certificate in Editing from Fairfield University and a BA in Philosophical Anthropology from Connecticut College.