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Who is everyone's favorite ghost? If you're my age, you'll probably say Casper. But, if you're one of the younger generation, you may think of Ghostface Chillah, the smiling Snapchat mascot. And, unlike Casper, Ghostface Chillah can be a tremendous asset to your advocacy efforts.

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The upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions mean a lot of things to advocacy professionals. Election years never fail to excite us, while still managing to bring about a bit of stress - especially when we're making communications plans.

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Petition Power

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Petitions can be a powerful force for change. Advocacy organizations have used petitions for decades. And, to no ones' surprise, the advent of digital advocacy spurred the creation of many online petition platforms.

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In December 2013, Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer took over Twitter and #TheSoundOfMusicLive became the most interesting thing online since "Charlie bit my finger!". Everyone from brands and celebrities to everyday people were live-tweeting each scene in such detail that you didn't even need to watch to know everything that happened.

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Today is summer solstice, and we're joining the Alzheimer's Association in recognizing the Longest Day. It's a day to raise awareness that people living with Alzheimer's, along with their caregivers, are still looking for answers. So are we.

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Father's Day gives us a chance to spend time with the men closest to us; sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles and friends. They've given us a lot, and today we get to give back to them. Haven't thought of the perfect gift yet? Instead of scouring the card aisle, perhaps a simple reminder on how to stay healthy will do.

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More than ever, patients have the opportunity to become a part of the puzzle to discovering and bringing new medicines to market; for example, by being encouraged to meet with the Food and Drug Administration to share their personal perspective on how they live with their diagnoses.

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Treating illness and disease is no easy task. It takes a combination of dedicated medical and healthcare professionals, hardworking scientists and researchers and a strong support system of family and friends to make a patient's course of treatment as effective and comfortable as it can be. The best way to make that happen? Involving patients in the process.

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Here at the BIO International Convention, we've heard calls from advocates, industry, and the government to further incorporate patient feedback and perspectives into both the regulatory process, in which medicines are reviewed, and the medicine development process. An integrated approach has the potential to benefit everyone. For scientists and developers, further insight into the lives of patients can guide research and help finetune new treatments. For regulators, hearing firsthand patient experiences helps them assess whether the benefits of a potential medicine outweigh the risks for those suffering from disease. Most importantly, for patients, sharing their stories and perspectives can lead to more effective treatments.

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It's that time of year! The Campaign for Modern Medicines has arrived in San Francisco for the 2016 BIO International Convention. There's a lot happening this week, so here's a quick look at some of the events and forums we're focusing on during the convention:

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