Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 163 | January 10, 2022

A Life With Purpose

Gunnar Esiason

Executive VP - The Boomer Esiason Foundation

Gunnar Esiason

Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Today, our guest host is Liz Poret-Christ, who is the Director of Programming at The Orsini Way. Liz has a very personal relationship with our special guest, Gunnar Esiason. Gunnar is the son of Boomer Esiason, and known for his life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. Boomer and Gunnar were featured on the cover of the October 1993 Sports Illustrated to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis, and he has spent his entire life in the public eye, first as a child of a famous athlete, and now as an advocate and resource for those living with CF. Gunnar is a rare disease patient advocate who is passionate about early- stage drug development, patient empowerment, and health policy. He has developed a patient engagement platform for a medical nutrition company, built a venture philanthropy practice at the Boomer Esiason Foundation, and was the head coach of his high school’s alma mater’s varsity hockey team. He has consulted on clinical trial development, a real-world evidence population health study, and a cystic fibrosis-specific mental health and wellness screening tool. Currently he hosts the podcast, The State of Health with Gunnar Esiason. Gunnar has been a household name in Liz’s family since her daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2003. Liz and her family have benefited from the generosity of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, learning about treatments, the importance of athletics, and insights into the latest medical research.

We start by Gunnar telling us about his personal journey and how cystic fibrosis has affected his family. We find out the story behind why Gunnar changed his mind about going to Law School after getting out of college, and he goes in depth about his own patient experience and why he’s so excited about patient advocacy. We hear a story about a conversation Gunnar had with his doctor when he was very sick and only 22 years and what happened when he got a spot in the TRIKAFTA clinical trial program. We end with Gunnar sharing a conversation he found to be most difficult. He tells us about the amazing things he is doing with the Boomer Esiason Foundation and talks about their program supporting athletes with cystic fibrosis.

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