Announcing The 6th Annual WEGO Health Awards Finalists

Each year we’re blown away by the inspiration, motivation, and talent of the WEGO Health Awards nominees. And we have to say, this year is no different. Just ask our judges! This year’s nominees are so tremendous, selecting just 16 winners has proven to be a challenge.

A HUGE thank you to the 150+ WEGO Health Patient Leader judges who helped judge the 2 semi-final rounds which selected the final 2 nominees for each category.

During the WEGO Health Award Virtual Ceremony October 11th – 13th, 2017, we will be announcing WEGO Health Award winners everyday at 11am and 4pm live on our Facebook page. Please review the schedule below for details and plan to tune in and engage with us as we announce the winners.


  Wednesday Thursday Friday
11am Best in Show: Blog

Best in Show: Community

Best in Show: Facebook

Best in Show: Podcast

Best in Show: YouTube

Best Team Performance

Advocating For Another

Rookie of The Year

Patient Leader Hero

4pm Best In Show: Instagram

Best in Show: Twitter

Best Kept Secret

Hilarious Patient Leader

Healthcare Collaborator: Company

Healthcare Collaborator: Patient

Lifetime Achievement

Want more information on the daily activities? Check out our schedule of events.

This year we’re excited to announce that each of our WEGO Health Award winners will be invited to the 5th Annual Patient Advocacy Summit to acknowledge their achievements.

Our 16 lucky winners will receive:

  • Attendance to 5th Annual Patient Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC – Value $990
  • $500 Travel stipend to attend the 5th Annual Patient Advocacy Summit
  • Fee Waiver of first (or next) Experts engagement
  • Personalized Award given out at WEGO Health Awards Dinner during the 5th Annual Patient Advocacy Summit

We can’t wait to see who will win this year! Without further ado, we present to you the 2017 WEGO Health Awards Nominees: 

Advocating for Another

Ann Fonfa

Holly Rose /

Kristal Kent

Marla Murasko

Milena Azevedo

WEGO Health Award Description: Of the many reasons Patient Leaders get involved in advocacy, this group of advocates possess a special inspiration; they are caregivers of children, siblings, parents, significant others, or friends. Though these advocates may not personally experience a chronic health condition, they tirelessly raise awareness and have an up-close-and-personal perspective that is invaluable. Not only do they care for someone in-person, but they also support others in the online health community through various blogs, sites, and social media presences. They prove that caregivers and parents need to be at the table to change healthcare for the better. Who should be recognized for above and beyond advocacy for another?

Best in Show: Blog

Eric Polsinelli / VeganOstomy

Ronny Allan

Tiffany Early

Uzma Yunus

Vernon Laine / Crohns – Leaving The Seat Down

WEGO Health Award Description: Whose blog do you absolutely love? Who has the best information, raises awareness, and goes the extra mile for patients and/or caregivers? Which blog do you believe truly raises the bar? This Patient Leader may be active on numerous social platforms, but their blog is the bread and butter of how they advocate. The winner of this category embodies the essence of what a great blogger should aspire to be.

Best in Show: Community/Forum

Buddy Project

Katie Brown

Natalie Dawson

Sabrina Cannella

The #BCSM Community

WEGO Health Award Description: Who has created an amazing online community or threaded forum facilitating important conversations? Through active community management, engagement, and moderation, they’ve created a place that has it all. They’ve mastered the art of creating an inviting space for newcomers while keeping a safe space that people respect, rely on, and recommend to friends and family. Moderating and managing health-related conversations can be draining, so let’s reward them for all of their hard work.

Best in Show: Facebook

Gustavo San Martin

Kristal Kent

Krystal Miller / Bag Lady Mama

Provencial Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign

Sharon Coyle-Saeed

WEGO Health Award Description: Over the past few years, Facebook has transformed from a place for a personal profile to a hub for discourse, conversation, and community. Who has the best Facebook group or page out there? Who utilizes Facebook Live to amplify their patient advocacy? The winner of this category has balanced the ever-changing Facebook interface and turned it into an opportunity to reach more people. This Patient Leader fosters an environment where people want to “Like” and interact. They may be on other social media platforms, but he/she skillfully utilizes all the tools Facebook has to offer.

Best in Show: Instagram

 Amy Lee Fisher

Chanel White / TheTubeFedWife

Milena Azevedo

Paige Rawl

Shelby Goodrich

WEGO Health Award Description: A picture is worth a thousand words.” A cliché perhaps, but nowhere is this truer than Instagram. Curating an Instagram gallery is no small feat. This Best in Show winner is the Patient Leader who tells their story and the story of countless others through engaging, thought-provoking images and Insta-stories. Who do you believe is using IG for a higher purpose? Who is invoking a sense of community, raising awareness, and driving change?

Best in Show: Podcast

 Lisa Cypers Kamen

Leslie Krongold

Matt Pappas

Parijat Deshpande

The Psych Central Show with Host Gabe Howard

WEGO Health Award Description: Your earbuds are in and you’re ready to hit play. Which podcast will you listen to? Many Patient Leaders are taking to the virtual airwaves to tell their stories. Through these online audio shows, listeners can take these Leaders with them anywhere. These hosts leave us feeling inspired and get our wheels turning. Celebrate their hard work, and show them their audience is listening with the WEGO Health Best In Show: Podcast award.

Best in Show: Twitter

Alison Rothbaum

International Pain Foundation

Rick Banas

Randy Patrick

Tom Kindlon

WEGO Health Award Description: It’s not easy to do amazing things in 140 characters -but there are some Leaders who truly excel at it. Creating easily digestible thoughts can be difficult with health stories and research. Whose tweets do you always go looking for? Which accounts are your favorite to follow? Who hosts your “can’t miss” Twitter chat? Let’s celebrate those Leaders using Twitter for their advocacy with an award. Whether they’ve created their own Twitter chat, participate actively in others’ chats, push out words of encouragement or are there for support – they are the model of Twitter for #health.

Best in Show: YouTube

Amy Lee Fisher

Diabetic Danica

Kati Morton

Lois Mills / Gut Instinct

Wendy Lau

WEGO Health Award Description: Give the people what they want – VIDEO! Bloggers and social media mavens all know that if you’re not creating video, you’ll be left behind. We’re looking for the brave Patient Leaders who star in videos as a way to connect with fellow patients and caregivers. They’re creating how-to videos, describing their day- to-day lives, highlighting others and showcasing their advocacy works. You feel connected to them, and to their cause, because their videos are so engaging and well put together. Who is your favorite YouTube rock star? Who do you believe should be recognized for their contributions to the online video community?

Best Kept Secret

Colleen Lewis

Gail Trauco

Katherine Leon

Mitch Sturgeon

Roberta Carson

WEGO Health Award Description: The Internet is a vast place, making it nearly impossible to find all of the amazing content that exists. We find ourselves continuously turning to our Patient Leader Network to help give us recommendations of the who we should follow. Who do you believe is a hidden gem – an advocate, influencer or expert who creates great content and should have the spotlight shone on them? Who deserves double the readership because they are doing great things as an advocate? Help us uncover the best kept secret of the online health space.

Best Team Performance

Kimberly Burnette / Action for Adrenal Awareness

Diana Carthy / MS Ireland – MS & Me Community Blog

Endometriosis Perth Sisterhood of Support

IFAA – International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis

Kayla and Andrea Abramowitz / Kayla Cares 4 Kids

WEGO Health Award Description: Advocating doesn’t have to be a one man/woman show. This award is for those teams who work better together. Whether it be a group that runs an online chat, a non-profit organization, or a caregiver and patient duo – this award is for a team that takes their activism to new heights because of the assistance from one another. Nominate those teams for this award instead of having to choose whom to single out from a team effort.

Healthcare Collaborator: Company


Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Personal Connected Health Alliance

Cambridge BioMarketing

Tonic Life Communications

WEGO Health Award Description: Healthcare companies are looking to collaborate with Patient Leaders who can bring the “real-world” experience of navigating the complexities and challenges of their condition, as well as the healthcare system. Many don’t know where to start, but a few stand out as making a real difference. These agencies, pharmaceutical companies, health plans and healthcare innovators deserve to be praised for their dedication to listening and incorporating Patient Leaders. They truly understand that patients are so much more than their insights. As a Patient Leader, tell us what agency, pharmaceutical company, health plan or healthcare innovator you see as standing out amongst the crowd. Who do you wish others would model after? Let’s celebrate these leaders who truly utilize Patient Leaders to help transform healthcare.

Healthcare Collaborator: Patient

Bill Syndor

Julie Flygare

Jack Whelan

Lilly Stairs

Simon Stones

WEGO Health Award Description: Speaking at conferences, consulting with healthcare companies, using their education to help make change in the healthcare industry – this Patient Leader is bridging the gap between industry stakeholders and healthcare consumers. These patient experts are passionate about healthcare and bring their skills and expertise to bear on a range of industry challenges. They understand healthcare from the patient perspective, but they are also professionals with the skills and ability to help companies advance their most critical patient-facing initiatives. Who is someone you know out there working within the industry to make change? Who is making an impact, not only among patients, but on the healthcare landscape as a whole?

Hilarious Patient Leader

Danielle Gulden

Kelli Dunham

Krystal Miller

Luke Escombe

Nichole Klute Rushton

WEGO Health Award Description: Advocacy doesn’t have to be all business, and raising awareness doesn’t have to be all work. The truly funny Patient Leaders among us bring a lightness to the online health community. They address serious subjects with humor – and we love them for it. They may be witty, sharp, dry, or just have a way to tell a story that is truly funny. Is there someone you go to for chuckles on a bad day? Whose blogs or tweets always make you laugh? Let’s celebrate their style and thank them for cracking us up when we need it most.

Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Nowsheen Sharmin Purabi

Kathy Kelley

Ronny Allan

Sharon Coyle-Saeed

The #BCSM Community

WEGO Health Award Description: Year in and year out we come across Patient Leaders who continue to change the health world. Which leader do you believe needs to be recognized for their overall achievement over the years? These Patient leaders are true stars who continue to shine and don’t fit into just one category. Let’s face it, they’ve done it ALL. Perhaps they even started their advocacy before Twitter… gasp! Think of this category just like the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Academy Awards. Let’s recognize those giants of patient leadership that have stood the test of time.

Patient Leader Hero

Alisha Bridges

Illana Jacqueline

Katie Dama Jaskolski

Ronny Allan

Terry Arnold

WEGO Health Award Description: Sometimes the connections we make in online communities go above and beyond, truly changing our lives for the better. Which Patient Leader has content that has opened your eyes to seeing things differently? Whose dedication has ignited the advocate within you to make a change? Which advocate’s or influencer’s work has effected change for their community members? This Patient Leader’s influence truly has the impact to make a difference. They’re nothing short of a hero. Nominate the Leader you truly believe embodies the spirit of a healthcare influencer.

Rookie of the Year

Dave Head

Eileen Davidson

Erin Goodwin

Kristal Kent

Mildred Velez

WEGO Health Award Description: Every year, more and more health bloggers are excited by empowerment, raising awareness, and helping others. This particular advocate just started their blog, site, or community work this year and is already making a huge impact. Though they’re new to the scene, they show a ton of promise and are, without a doubt, going to do amazing things in the future. They’re well on their way to becoming a top influencer within the online health world. Who is your favorite new Advocate? Who is someone you can see rising above and making an impact in the online health space? Let’s give them the encouragement they need to keep putting in the hard work.

Note: If you are a finalist and did NOT receive your WEGO Health Awards Finalist kit in your email, please email ASAP.

As you can see, the competition is fierce this year! We’d be remiss not to ackowledge all of the phenomenal nominees in this year’s WEGO Health Awards. Take a moment and scroll through all of the deserving nominees when you get a chance. You’ll see that our judges had NO easy task!

We’re looking forward to October 11th – 13th, 2017! We hope you’ll join in our celebration.

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