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HealtheVoices 2017: Together We Thrive

The third annual HealtheVoices Conference took place this past weekend in Chicago, IL. It was an exciting time with so many health activists traveling great distances to participate.

As a chronic pain patient myself, I know that it can be quite difficult for health activists and advocates to travel, but I am so glad we all spent our energy pennies to be a part of the conference.

I was joined by more than 100 attendees from 30 different states in the U.S., as well as Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. The event was sponsored by Janssen and Tonic LC and had multiple co-sponsors including Everyday Health, WEGO Health, Wisdo, and Healthline.


The advisory and planning committee thought of everything for this event including keeping us moving healthy with yoga and feeling recharged and invigorated with inspiration and a quiet room.

There is so much work to be done by advocates. We must find creative ways to inspire and motivate others in our communities. We spend many hours serving others and finding resources, research, and proper guidance. This year’s agenda was inclusive of these needs with a great mix of educational tools as well as motivational sessions.

Above all for me was meeting so many other advocates and sharing how we do what we do and why. I have created many new lifetime friends and learned new tools to share with my community.

This year’s theme for the conference was “Together We Thrive”. And boy did we thrive all weekend, preparing for the conference and at the conference. It will be great to see those I met putting into action what we have learned in our respective communities.

This year there was great emphasis on making sure the sessions has patient advocate involvement. With sessions like:

The Facebook Family of Apps & the Patient Journey” presented by Facebook’s George Alafoginis,

How To Be An Effective Policy Advocate” with Nick DeSarno of the Public Affairs Council and  Christel Marchand Aprigliano,

Media 101: Approaching And Building Relationships With The Media” with Healthline’s Ingrid Eberly, Dave Bexfield and Brandon Staglin,

How To Get Video Done” presented by Josh Robbins,

Showing Your Expertise While Financially Supporting Your Online Advocacy” with WEGO Health’s Laurel Netolicky, Julie Cerrone, Brooke Abbott and Todd Seals

to the “Fundamentals of YouTube” with YouTube partner managers, Ann Nguyen and Daniella Cruz.

#HealtheVoices17 was a total success.

Make sure to watch a replay of WEGO Health’s Showing Your Expertise While Financially Supporting Your Online Advocacy here!

We were given great opportunities to learn from one another and from great experts in their fields. Many of the panelists were advocates just like me and you brought perspective and guidance. This guidance can be used to reshape and mold the communities we serve in our own health activism activities for improved outcomes.

The HealtheVoices Advisory Board strived to give us inspiration, connections, and empowerment during this conference. They accomplished this and have inspired me and so many others in attendance or watching on live stream to go forth and make a difference that will empower even more to do the same.

At the end of the conference, Janssen made a huge announcement! This year they’re kicking off the HealtheVoices Impact Fund. Established at the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ), the HealtheVoices™ Impact Fund will award projects that align with the Janssen charitable giving mission to advance healing for patients. In its inaugural year, the Fund will distribute a total of $30,000 in grants to online health advocates. To learn more, click here.

Finally, thank you to Janssen for covering all of my expenses for the trip and for WEGO Health for choosing me to be the social media correspondent. I got to show you all what I was doing and learning from my own point of view!

Want to learn more about Healthevoices? In just three years, HealtheVoices has had a big impact on the online health advocate and patient blogger community. Click here to read how it came to be—and where it’s headed.

Barby was selected from an engagement listed on WEGO Health Experts to cover the HealtheVoices conference on social media. To learn more, and to apply for your own engagements, make sure to create a WEGO Health Experts profile today!

About Barby: chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and President of the International Pain Foundation, as well as a motivational speaker and bestselling author on pain topics. She has been a pain patient since developing endometriosis in 1997, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy in 2002. She began mentoring other patients in 2006.  Barby also serves on the board of advisers for CureClick, WEGOHealth, is a member of SPPAN, and a founding member of CPATF.  Follow her on Twitter.



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