Massachusetts Advocate Lisa Palin Submits Lymphedema Abstract at Science and Technology Conference

Preface: It is my honor to share the following newsletter announcement excerpt praising the efforts of Lisa Palin, fierce lymphedema advocate from Massachusetts, my dear friend, and fellow LE&RN volunteer. Please join me in sending congratulations to Lisa on this outstanding achievement thus far and wishing her continued success in this endeavor. This is an example of how one person can make all the difference by sharing an idea to help others and creating awareness to drive improvements for the treatment of lymphedema.


How does a director of Federal Tax Compliance get an abstract accepted to Medtronic’s Science and Technology (S&T) Conference? She turns a challenge into an opportunity, pursues her passion, develops herself through coaching, works across functions, networks with professional societies, taps into her broad internal network and becomes an innovator and risktaker.

Lisa Palin, Director, Federal Tax Compliance and member of MWN-Mansfield, stepped down from her role as hub leader earlier this fiscal year to pursue an important project with both personal and patient community impact – Lisa is searching for a therapy home for lymphedema and thinks Medtronic would be a perfect fit.  For the past 20 years, Lisa has been living with lymphedema in her arm and hand. Lymphedema is a chronic lymphatic disease that results in severe abnormal swelling in one or more parts of the body.

Lisa’s journey began at 19 with a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that eventually resulted in disfiguring swelling in her arm and hand.  After years of misdiagnosis, she finally discovered it was lymphedema, a disease that causes a disruption of the flow and accumulation of the protein-rich body fluid lymph.   

Frustrated by the lack of awareness of this disease amongst physicians and the fact that there is no known cure, Lisa decided to take action.  During her off hours, Lisa helped to create the Massachusetts Chapter of the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (“LE&RN”) and now serves as the Massachusetts Chapter co-chair.  She has travelled to Washington, DC to lobby Congress for additional funding for research, is a patient advocate working with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and is an involved member of the Planning Committee for Harvard Medical School’s annual Lymphatic Symposium.

Meanwhile at work, Lisa further expanded her leadership skills through Medtronic’s Ignite Leadership Development Program and then transitioned into the Transformational Coaching program.  During that process, she mentioned to her coach that she wished Medtronic would look at the lymphatic system and develop a better treatment, or cure, for lymphedema.  Right then, they decided it should become one of her goals. 

Lisa presented her idea to a Technical Fellow in the Research & Development group and continued to meet with him over six months to expand upon this proposal.  Along with her coach’s support and assistance, Lisa submitted an abstract for Medtronic’s S&T Conference and it was accepted!

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