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About

People with Empathy is a platform to connect key stakeholders in health care in order to improve the quality of life of patients and care partners.

People with Empathy draws on its network of impactful health care professionals, delivery companies, patient organizations and advocates that deliver real services to patients living with any of a range of diseases.

People with Empathy begins our work with the vision of connecting health care, health research, health technology, patient and caregiver communities. We are situated in the greater San Jose-San Francisco bay area, taking advantage of the deep well of biotech, medical-academic research communities in the region.

The Team: The team at People with Empathy brings decades of collective success in industry-patient partnerships, patient advocacy, and clinical research.

Christine Von Raesfeld, Co-Founder

Christine Von Raesfeld is a leader in bringing a critically needed patient perspective to cutting edge medical innovations. Committed to providing patients with chronic and rare diseases with the support they need, Christine works with patient advocacy organizations, industry representatives, and individual patients and their loved ones. Living with many rare and chronic diseases, she believes that in order to foster understanding and empowerment, patients must be treated as people first. As a patient involved in Stanford's Humanwide program, she speaks on the benefits and advantages of precision medicine, with a special interest in pharmacogenomics.

Christine’s drive to make lives better for patients has been nationally recognized. In 2019, she spoke on stage at the Startup Health Festival as an invited guest of Sanguine Biosciences. In 2018, Christine served on the Team of Patient Advisors for PatientsLikeMe. She was also recognized as a Wego Health 2018 Top 10 Healthcare Collaborators Patient Leader as well as named one of Silicon Valley Business Journal's 100 Women of Influence for 2019.

Christine’s conference speaking engagements, consulting efforts, and ability to share her personal experiences have allowed her to bring a much needed change to the healthcare industry while bridging the gap between biopharmaceutical and patient stakeholders.

Connect with Christine on LinkedIn.

Spandan Chakrabarti, Co-Founder

Spandan Chakrabarti has spanned a dynamic career in patient advocacy, strategic partnerships, public policy, and organizational leadership focused on creating symbiosis between patient voices, industry, and policy for over a decade. Within the autoimmune and lupus communities, Spandan has worked to build personal relationships with patients and their care partners, and spearheaded major partnership initiatives with industry centered on the value proposition of the industry-advocate-public policy relationship. In his diverse roles, Spandan has represented local and national patient organizations, and worked with research scientists and pharmaceutical companies, as well as policymakers at local, state, and national levels.

For his dedication to and impact in building bridges in health care and advocacy,Spandan was awarded a Special Congressional Recognition on Health Advocacy in June of 2019.


Vij Senthilnathan, Board of Directors

Vij Senthilnathan is a clinical research scientist with a focus in rare and orphan disease. She is currently the clinical trial lead at PTC Therapeutics, a US pharmaceutical company focused on the development of small molecule drugs in orphan disease. Starting her career in stem cell biology, Vij has quickly risen through the ranks of clinical research. Vij has led global clinical trials for Leigh Syndrome, Pearson Syndrome, Friedreich Ataxia, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson Disease and Rett Syndrome, just since 2014.
Vij is a strong advocate for patient voices and believes that patient advocates are an integral part of the drug development process. She works closely with patient advocacy groups to incorporate patient input directly into clinical research.
Vij holds a master’s degree in Molecular Medicine from University of Sheffield, UK and Bachelor’s of Technology Degree in Biotechnology from India. She grew up in India and currently lives in San Francisco Bay Area, California.