Our Team

Terry Wilcox

Co-Founder & Executive Director

A passionate advocate for patients with cancer and other serious diseases, Terry Wilcox is Executive Director of Patients Rising, a non-profit patient education and advocacy organization that helps patients get access to essential diagnostics and the treatments they need. Inspired by Selma Schimmel, considered by many as the “original” young adult survivor advocate, Terry left a career in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry to join Vital Options International (VOI), a cancer communication, education and advocacy organization Selma launched in 1983 to facilitate a global dialogue on cancer. From 2008 to Selma’s death in May 2014, Terry worked alongside her mentor as creative director of VOI and the supervising producer of a video program called The Group Room that featured discussions with the world’s leading oncologists and cancer researchers. After Selma’s death, Terry continued to advance Selma’s legacy as VOI’s ExecutiveDirector until August 2015, when she moved to Washington, DC and co-founded Patients Rising with her husband. Now Terry and her team engage the patient community, along with physicians, health policy experts and allied healthcare professions, to develop realistic, solution-oriented discussions so those with life-threatening and chronic diseases will have a voice in shaping policies that will improve access to quality care.

Melanie Marconi

Chief Operating Officer

Melanie serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Patients Rising and oversees organizational operations, systems, and human resources. A seasoned nonprofit consultant, Melanie has worked on behalf of several national and local nonprofits to manage teams, direct growth and advise on partnering with the corporate sector. Melanie has long been an advocate for underserved voices throughout the county, and she is honored to work with an organization that is so committed to making patients voices heard.

Melanie grew up in a suburb of Las Vegas and is a proud graduate of the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon (Go, Ducks!).

James Landfield

Chief Financial Officer

Jim Landfield is the owner of Business Help, Inc. which he has run since 1995. Prior to starting his own firm, he worked for smaller companies as well as Fortune 500 companies. His experience in these companies has included positions in their treasury, accounting, financial analysis and investments departments. He has worked for National Coffee Service Association, Steptoe and Johnson, Texaco, American Express and the World Bank. Jim has an MBA from Columbia University and earlier degrees from the University of Chicago, Brandeis University and the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Joe Keenan

Director of  Digital Product Development & Marketing

Joe directs the digital strategy, operations and marketing for Patients Rising.  He is responsible for developing and enhancing the organization’s digital assets, applications, and online content across its web properties, mobile, and social channels.  Joe has been working in healthcare marketing, communications and content development for 20 years, specifically in the areas of cancer, substance abuse, chronic illness, and patient advocacy.

Jim Sliney Jr.

Director of Patient Content 

As Director of Patient Content at Patients Rising, Jim works very closely with the people who have healthcare war stories to tell. As a Columbia University trained writing consultant Jim has worked closely with writers of all levels of skill to help them find and refine their voices. Jim is a writer, editor, author and medical assistant with over 20 years of experience in healthcare. He’s spent over two decades in clinical care and research at some of New York’s biggest health institutions doing hands-on nursing, education and advocacy for rare disease patients. He has worked with several non-profit patient support organizations doing outreach, advocacy and creating educational content. He lives in New York City with his wife and their cats…sooo many cats.

Joelle Sokolic

Advocacy Manager

Joelle is an Executive Program Assistant with Patient Rising and a graduate of Stockton University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Growing up in Atlantic City, NJ Joelle always knew DC was supposed to be home. For as long as she can remember she has had a passion for the Public Policy Sector and advocating for better health resources for individuals. When she’s not trying to better the world we live in, she can be found spending time with friends and family or binge-watching Law and Order SVU with her oversized cat Misty.






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