Empowering patients and caregivers by creating disease-specific communities to address information needs and social isolation through training, technology, and developing purpose-driven community leadership.
The PALTOWN Development Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation.
The PALTOWN Development Foundation Model
"disruptive in the best sense of the term..."
Our unique model creates communities that attract, retain, and engage patients and caregivers in an environment designed around three core values:
Disease and experience-specific “neighborhoods” enable patients and caregivers to “find their people.”
Each neighborhood is led by someone living the experience. All community members are patients and/or caregivers.
Community groups are secret; each member is vetted, ensuring that members can share experiences in a secure environment.
How it Works
All community members participate in the central “downtown” conversation. They can join smaller neighborhoods organized by disease, stage, type of treatment, and/or special interests; eg, specific clinical trials.
Deputy administrators lead each neighborhood, drawing on their own life experiences as patients and caregivers.
Community members become community leaders! New deputy admins from the community are trained and mentored by experienced partners. Community leaders share best practices and support each other in the neighborhoods they lead.
- Lively conversations and high rate of engagement
- Strong connections extending into the offline world
- Relevant, valuable content created by and for the community
COLONTOWN: The Inspiration
PALTOWN builds on the success of COLONTOWN, a community created by CEO Erika Hanson Brown in 2010. Brown founded this space for colorectal cancer survivors as a labor of love after her successful treatment for stage iiic colon cancer. She hoped to diminish the sense of isolation so common to patients afflicted with this disease. COLONTOWN began as one small secret group on Facebook and grew to a community of over 60 neighborhoods with thousands of members. Learn More
COO & Vice President, PALTOWN Development Foundation
Seybold began her career as the first Web editor for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and soon moved to the National Cancer Institute, where she built a web-based initiative to increase understanding of and participation in cancer clinical trials. While at NCI, Seybold participated in a number of high-level initiatives surrounding the push to develop a unified, branded web presence (now cancer.gov) for the Institute.
Seybold has spent the last 16 years consulting to clients in the health information, biomedical, and public health fields as an information architect and user experience practitioner. Clients include several institutes at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Johnson & Johnson.
Seybold co-founded the PALTOWN Development Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, in 2016. The Foundation develops and manages online support communities for patients and caregivers affected by serious disease.
Seybold holds a B.A. in Humanities and M.A. in Medieval Studies from Yale University.
CEO & President, PALTOWN Development Foundation
Ms. Brown, a Montana native, had a long and healthy career as a corporate executive search professional in the consumer packaged goods and telecommunications industries until – at age 58 – she was diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer. Once her treatment was completed, she refocused her professional energies on the undeveloped niche of disease-specific patient empowerment, founding COLONTOWN, the patient community. COLONTOWN features deeply engaged, experience-specific, secret support groups that are exclusively dedicated to colorectal cancer patients and family members.
In 2016, Brown co-founded the PALTOWN Development Foundation to create additional disease-focused communities for even more patients and families. COLONTOWN is the model for patient community building, providing the template and proof -of- concept for disease communities that will be developed.
Erika holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts (French) from the University of Montana.
Ms. Brown is grateful, empowered, and disease-free – 14 years later.