Mary E. Costello
Patient Advocate, Maryland
Mary E. Costello, aka “Cos,” is a social worker by education, systems-orientation, and spirit. She is a former senior-level human services administrator, mental health counselor and case manager, and high-profile State of Maryland disability advocate turned full-service non-profit consultant.
Diagnosed with de novo Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) in July 2020, Mary speaks publicly about her experiences since diagnosis, and she serves as a voice for those who are uncomfortable telling their own stories and for those who no longer can. As an advocate, Mary seeks to provide support and information—and hope—to newly-diagnosed folks, influence better policy and research outcomes, participate in identification and resolution of support service gaps (especially for historically marginalized communities), help healthcare providers increase cultural competency and person-first language, and make “patient-centered” more than a buzzword. She has several projects under development, including “CancerAside”—a regular sub-series of her soon-to-be-launched social justice podcast, “CosEffect.”
Mary is interested in systems change (as it relates to social justice quite broadly, but includes health care), politics and policy, public awareness and education, supporting newly-diagnosed MBC patients, MBC cancer research and patient-informed research study design, and seeing a cure to cancer during her lifetime (plus helping that along in any way she can).
Meaningful change, people getting their needs met, and unexpected humor bring Mary joy.
You have to develop ways so that you can take up for yourself, and then you take up for someone else. And so sooner or later, you have enough courage to really stand up for the human race and say, 'I'm a representative.'