WEGO Health is at it again, shaking up the norm and giving activists new ways to build connections, credentials, and influence. For the first time EVER, they are handing out Health Activist Awards!
|Image, and award info, found here.|
|Described as: "This health activist did amazing things offline this year"!|
My last post, We are UII - in NYC, was about the latest UII event this past week. As you know, this wasn't my first panel. It actually wasn't even the first panel Jon, Bridget, and I have done together (that would have been the presentation at Villanova back in February). But it was the first panel presented entirely by UII! In the past, I've been a panelist at events like this one as part of a group presented by WEGO Health...in fact, that's how I made the connections that led to this opportunity (add that to the list of instances of WEGO awesomeness). At Villanova, an existing organization hosted us - usually SNAP, the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania. UII also sends teams to events, such as the Sjogren's Syndrome Walkabout (which, in Philly, will be on May 5, 2012 - SAVE THE DATE NOW!!). But December 7, 2011 marks the first time UII presented a panel or speaker entirely under our own name!
The UII portfolio of programming is steadily growing. With each event, we reach more and more people, as well as companies, industries, and institutions. A sample of what we've done so far includes (not a complete list):
- Events at Villanova including - campus-wide symposium, nursing program panel, and intimate learning community sessions
- WEGO Health events - panelist for industry presentations, webinar speaker, focus group participant, and so much more
- Condition-specific events - Sjogren's Syndrome Walkabouts (multiple years - walkers & committee), Sips for Sjogren's (innaugural year - donor and committee), Light the Night walks (mulitple years - walkers)
- Workplace efforts - KPMG's AIM (Abilities in Motion) network leader, locally and nationally (includes organizing programs such as national online session on ePatients and local office's first Disability Mentoring Day in 2011)
- Unique events - such as being part of the coalition which developed and promotes the Digital Patient Bill of Rights, and being a guest speaker on Optimal Health Seekers' Radio (hosted by fellow activist Trish Robichaud)
- Sponsoring presentations for the betterment of all chronic patients!
How much impact does this really have? KPMG's ePatient session, which was one of my projects, had more participants who were not members of the AIM network than any similar event to date; I have the ear and support of the Philadelphia office managing partner, who is a influencer at a national level; and one that may not sound so impressive but represents a huge personal bond, my performance manager, a partner at KPMG, traveled from Philadelphia to NYC during one of our busiest times of year to see our panel last week (she commented she learned a lot and had ideas she wanted to discuss with our office leadership). My friends, and their friends, contact me to ask if they can refer someone they know to me to be connected with resources for special challenges they are facing. UII is earning its reputation as a place to be supported and connected - and as more people come to this place, we have more to offer each other. The larger our portfolio grows, the more UII is capable of doing!
As you can see, it's very hard to separate online from offline activism. To me, activism is activism is activism - the goal is to reach a lot of people in a many ways, and sometimes in person has more impact than online (though not always). But I can tell you I work very, very hard on all these projects, especially the IRL (in real life) ones. To be successful to me, someone must have learned something knew, someone must have an idea they didn't think of before, and someone must be motivated to do or learn or share something more. And I feel all UII events, so far, have been successful:)