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Here's a little background on the founder of GR Thomas Advisors LLC

Gay Thomas is a stakeholder engagement entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in public policy, the private sector and health sciences research. She worked as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill, as Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC and co-founded a unique stakeholder engagement consulting service based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gay works with researchers, businesses and other organizations to develop meaningful partnerships with key constituents, clients and stakeholders.

  • Gay is a leader in developing effective strategies and models to engage diverse perspectives and advance health equity and translational science.

  • She spent over 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a founder of the Wisconsin Network for Research Support (WINRS).

  • Gay co-created an innovative engagement model, the Community Advisors on Research Design and Strategies (CARDS)®. The CARDS are still going strong in Madison, WI and Gay has consulted with over 40 other stakeholder groups around the country to help them adapt the model to meet their needs.

  • She is an experienced focus group facilitator and group trainer. Gay has planned and facilitated over 300 meetings between diverse stakeholder groups and health science research teams/other clients.

  • She has consulted on more than a dozen projects funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and with 100-plus other health science research teams in academia, the VA, state/local government and the private sector.


Gay brings that critical “10,000 hours of practice” in engagement work to offer services that are relevant throughout a project timeline – from the initial planning stages through dissemination/implementation. She is passionate about building meaningful partnerships to improve health research and health outcomes for all.


Please see the “Publications & Presentations” tab for links to journal articles, engagement toolkits and videos.

Experienced group facilitation
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