Announcing the 2019 WEGO Health Awards Finalists

Within advocacy, there are a variety of avenues you can take, and we’re honored to celebrate Patient Leaders across all condition areas, all platforms, all countries, and all continents with the WEGO Health Awards.

As we celebrate the 8th annual WEGO Health Awards, we are once again, blown away by the tremendous work of the nominees. We’d like to congratulate all of the nominees this year and thank them for the energy and effort they put into their advocacy.

Each Patient Leader and Patient Leader team brings a new experience and a unique perspective to the online health community and it’s been quite an adventure learning more about each nominees’ journey.

After we calculated the top 3 endorsed nominees, our network judging panel reviewed over 6,000 nominations to select 2 additional finalists, rounding out the 5 finalists of each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories.

These finalists now move on to our final judging phase, which ultimately uncovers the 15 winners!  To view this year’s distinguished judging panel, click here.

When will the winners be announced?

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards Winners will be announced during our virtual ceremony September 18-20th, 2019.

We will be celebrating on all of the WEGO Health social channels and each WEGO Health Awards category winner will be announced on Facebook Live. Stay tuned for the finalized agenda.

What do the winners receive?

Winners will be honored live at the HLTH conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, October 27-30, 2019.

HLTH is the leading event for innovation in the health industry. Winners will:

  • Gain access to 300+ speakers, including senior executives  from Pfizer, Google, Walgreens, Talk Space, 23andMe
  • Network with leaders from pharma, startups, government, health associations, academia, media, investors and more
  • Gain opportunities to participate in patient panels, roundtables and Table Talks with other industry leaders
  • Participate as social media ambassadors in the lead up to the conference and live during the event

In addition, winners will receive a customized award plaque and meet and connect with fellow winners. They will also have the opportunity to serve as a compensated WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory board member in 2020. This prize pack is valued at $7,000.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…

WEGO Health presents the 2019 WEGO Health Awards Finalists!

Advocating for Another


Priscilla Maass

Pascazia Mazeze

LeAnna Headley

Tory Aquino

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

Sharon Krischer

So Bad Ass

Barbara Jacoby

Veronique Mead

Kelly Cervantes

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

Styna Lane

IBD Warriors Support and Awareness 

Fight Like A Warrior

Kristal Kent

Stephen Estrada

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

Asa Maass

Dr. Shashank Akerkar

Ssebandeke Ashiraf

Isabella Amazing Grace

The Unbreakable Princess

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

Carissa Barzee

The Cancer Patient


Dr. Christina Iglesia


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


Emily Garnett

Lee Silverstein

Uninvisible Pod

Brianne Benness | No End In Sight

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

Tom Kindlon

LALupusLady -Amanda Greene

Barby Ingle

Jed Finley

The Bipolar Battle – John Poehler

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

Asa Maass

Violin MD

Priscilla Maass

The Aspie World

Christa Holmans – Neurodivergent Rebel

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

Rebranding Autism 

Double Baggin’ It

LeAnna Headley

Natasha Tracy

Jeniece Stewart 

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

Fibromyalgia Care Society of America, Inc.


Burning Nights CRPS Support

Lupus LA

Triage Cancer

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: Patient


Stacy Hurt

Brianna Cardenas, PA-C, ATC

Melissa Talwar, Supporting Fibromyalgia


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

Double Baggin’ It

Myisha Malone King

Kimberly Elayyne

Naunie Harris

Psoriatic Pstandup

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

Kristal Kent

Tom Kindlon

Sharon Coyle-Saeed

Cathy Chester

Jenni Grover

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

Asa Maass

Priscilla Maass

Kristal Kent

Cassidy Megan PD

Lara Bloom

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


The Living Tree

Emily Garnett

Mia Gaudenzi 

Fab Fertility with Blair Nelson 

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.

Congratulations to all finalists and nominees. Your story and advocacy efforts have the power to change healthcare!

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