Michelle Dumay is the mother of a terminally ill child born with a rare brain abnormality that required nearly half of her brain to be removed when she was less than a day old. Among other medical conditions (cerebral palsy, blindness and quadriplegia) Fatima suffers from four types of seizures.
Michelle is no stranger to medical/hospital settings having taken Fatima to more than 1200 appointments. Her experience as a caregiver and medical advocate has allowed her to serve on patient advisory councils for one children’s hospital (Los Angeles) and two insurers (Mercy Care and United Health Care).
As a trained chemist, she first turned to conventional-pharma for the treatment of Fatima’s seizures. Then she learned of the medicinal value of cannabis and its efficacy in mitigating seizures. With great success, her daughter has been using cannabis for two years.
Along with advocacy, learning has been a huge part of this journey. Federal prohibition has hampered all things-cannabis, including medical use. Having experienced first-hand the benefits and efficacy of its use to mitigate her daughter’s seizures, Michelle wanted to petition her insurance companies to cover the cost of the cannabis medicine. Quickly she learned that this was a lofty aspiration for a huge unforeseen reason (besides Prohibition): medical cannabis dispensaries are not HIPAA-compliant and as such, cannot partner with insurance companies to serve cannabis patients. Working to solve her own problem and the looming problem of millions of cannabis-using patients, she entered into the world of cannabis governance, risk and compliance.