The Social Health Awards is the only awards program judged by patients and industry alike that recognizes health leaders for their hard work and dedication to drive meaningful connections and conversations through social health – across almost all condition areas and social platforms. Thousands of nominations are submitted annually across 10 award categories and, for the second year in a row, winners will be recognized on stage at the Fierce Pharma Marketing Awards during the Digital Pharma East conference in Philadelphia.
Spearheaded by health leaders, social health creates space for people living with chronic, complex and rare health conditions to find the information, connection and validation they seek, resulting in a mutually beneficial impact for both patients and the healthcare industry. Without the contributions of patient leaders in online health communities, on social media and beyond, social health would not be possible.
With the 2023 awards season just around the corner, we spoke with the 2022 Social Health Awards winners to find out how this achievement has impacted their health leadership. Their sentiments demonstrate just how valuable this awards program is for patients, caregivers and industry.
We asked our 2022 Social Health Awards winners to fill in the blank – winning a Social Health Award has allowed me to ____________.
- Jill King, 2022 Rookie of the Year Award Winner: expand my horizons. With being so new to patient advocacy, the Social Health Awards season gave me a lot of opportunity to learn about different avenues of advocacy. I felt my experience with the Social Health Awards gave me more of an idea of where my work was moving forward.
- Erica Carrasco, 2022 Creative Contributor Award Winner: expand my audience beyond migraine and mental health.
- Elle Cole, 2022 Caregiving Champion Award Winner: be comfortable that my contribution to the sickle cell disease and type one diabetes communities is worthy to be shared.
- Aaron Blocker, 2022 Revolutionary Researcher Award Winner: be confident in the work I do knowing that at least one person has been touched or benefited, which helps keep me going.
- Natalie Hayden, 2022 Community Cultivator Award Winner: re-ignite my passion for patient advocacy.
- Rachel Hill, 2022 Social Media Master Award Winner: join the [Health Union] Patient Leadership Council, where I can make impactful contributions to other health leaders’ journeys as well as meeting others and learn about their health experiences and advocacy work!
- Ella Balasa, 2022 Healthcare Collaborator Award Winner: Build upon my reputation as a patient engagement consultant and has brought opportunities to bring my patient voice into the development of treatments and solutions that optimize healthcare for people living with various conditions.
- Melissa Talwar, 2022 Advocacy Trailblazer Award Winner: represent fibromyalgia advocacy work on a larger stage. It hopefully reminds other fibromyalgia patients that people care about them and work is being done to create change.
- Kristal Kent, 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: reach more people, both nationally and internationally, thus increasing my network of support, advocacy and collaboration!
From expanded networks to speaking engagements to new partnerships and more, their status as Social Health Awards winners has presented new opportunities:
- Jill King: My network has certainly expanded. I am now on Health Union’s Patient Leadership Council and feel I have more insight into my work and how connections can be utilized.
- Erica Carrasco: During the awards ceremony I was reunited with a pharmaceutical company that I’ve worked with in the past. The reunion allowed us to reconnect in person and led the way to a new partnership moving forward. This company is important to me because they produce a treatment I’ve been using for quite some time.
- Elle Cole: 2022 was a fantastic year for me as a caregiver and advocate. Speaking at Digital Pharma East with Natalie Hayden was one of my top highlights. My network has definitely expanded because I know that I can reach out to and collaborate with other rare disease and chronic disease communities. I have also been able to refer friends and family members to other organizations that are relevant to them.
- Aaron Blocker: Winning the award has definitely expanded my network as I’ve connected with other patients and communities as well as new connections in industry which has been really cool.
- Natalie Hayden: From the excitement of finding out I was selected as the Community Cultivator Award winner to providing a keynote at Digital Pharma East to attending the Awards ceremony, it was such an incredible experience. I was able to make a lot of connections during DPE and by meeting face-to-face and sharing my story, the opportunity has enabled me to expand my patient advocacy client base and have ongoing conversations about collaborations moving forward.
- Rachel Hill: Winning the award has further added credibility to what I do, which has opened up doors to working with new companies and brands who collaborate with me to improve thyroid patients’ quality of lives. It has also given me a personal boost and reminder that my work is appreciated and impactful. This has given me the confidence to pursue new projects this year.
- Ella Balasa: Winning the healthcare collaborator award has not just expanded my network to connect with other established patient advocates, but also companies that increasingly are interested in the patient perspective and are learning the value in incorporating patients into drug development and products that will best serve patients needs.
- Melissa Talwar: The biggest benefit is connecting with other patient leaders. I learn so much from them and get inspired by how they are advocating in their communities. We attend events together, and host interviews with each other to broaden knowledge to all our patient communities.
- Kristal Kent: Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award has opened many doors of opportunity to be interviewed and share my story on news media outlets, radio stations, national magazines, newspapers and podcasts. These opportunities provided a bigger space to share my story with general audiences, which in effect helps promote awareness and understanding of my medical diagnosis and health journey to the general public.
The Mutual Value
When the patients and caregivers who work tirelessly to improve the healthcare system are recognized and celebrated, it creates opportunities for empowerment, connection and partnership with pharma and healthcare. Our winners represent just a fraction of the wide range of patient leaders Health Union can connect you with through our extensive Social Health Network.
Stay tuned for more information from Health Union on the 2023 Social Health Awards, from nominations to the reveal of finalists, winners and more.