Dee Dee Ricks is an entrepreneur, public health advocate, and expert on patient navigation. She is the founder of RICKS Consulting Group, Inc., which serves and advises hedge funds on talent acquisition that maximizes portfolio optimization. Dee Dee began the company 20 years ago at the age of 24. She is now a sought after inspirational speaker on mending the gap in access to quality healthcare, patient navigation, and entrepreneurship. Since diagnosis with breast cancer and the debut of her HBO documentary, The Education of Dee Dee Ricks, Dee Dee has given over 100 keynote addresses to Fortune 50 companies, foundations, and non-profit organizations, both domestically and internationally.
The Education of Dee Dee Ricks documents Dee Dee’s journey from diagnosis to survivorship and the many challenges and hardships she endured along the way, including learning about low health literacy in underserved communities; becoming deeply passionate to end injustice in healthcare accessibility; and the drive to make Patient Navigation a household name. Dee Dee views health as a human right and has committed her life to making people aware of the healthcare resources to which they are entitled.
She often says that cancer is the worst and the best thing that ever happened to her. It was cancer that allowed her to develop a relationship with long-time advocacy partner, Dr. Harold P. Freeman. Together with Dr. Freeman, Dee Dee founded the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute (PNI). PNI supports patient navigation training and aims to provide information about chronic disease prevention and eliminate barriers to timely diagnosis, prevention and care. As Board Chair, Dee Dee has successfully lobbied Congress to reenact the Patient Navigation Act as part of sweeping health care reform policy. She is a champion, alongside Dr. Freeman, of Congressman Israel’s Patient Navigation Assistance Act of 2012. With Dee Dee’s help, Rep. Israel Co-Chair of the House Cancer Caucas has been working on legislation to address the problem of cancer navigation assistance for Medicaid recipients. The Education of Dee Dee Ricks was screened for House members the eve of the airing on HBO.
Dee Dee is also a philanthropist, supporting various organizations in their efforts to serve marginalized communities and to mend the gap in access to quality healthcare. Dee Dee is active with a number of charitable and service-providing organizations, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Livestrong, Robin Hood Foundation, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, and Harvard University’s Global Task force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care & Control in Developing Countries. Dee Dee is a Breast Reconstruction Awareness Ambassador for BRA Day USA, an initiative designed to promote education, awareness and access regarding post-mastectomy breast needs.
According to the United States Department of Labor, women make over 80% of health care decisions for their families and are more likely to be the caregivers when a family member falls ill. Dee Dee’s new campaign to empower Americans toward their right to quality healthcare and the need for Patient Navigation, America’s Navigator, urges all Americans to ask their insurance companies “Who is my Navigator?” in order to receive the best solutions for their families. Dee Dee believes, “You cannot win the battle for your life when you don’t have the ammunition required to beat it. Insurance companies must be held responsible for providing patient navigators. If people speak up, someone will listen.”
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Dr. Harold P. Freeman developed the first Patient Navigation program in 1990 as a way to make cancer diagnosis and treatments more readily accessible, especially among the poor and uninsured.
Today, the Institute supports patient navigation training throughout the U.S. and many other countries to individuals affiliated with a wide array of institutions. The aim of the Institute is to provide information about chronic disease prevention and eliminate barriers to timely diagnosis, prevention and care.
Help make a difference in patients’ lives by supporting training programs for patient navigators.