December 11, 2011


No, I'm not laughing:)  Well ok, I'm smirking that you probably laughed, but that's not what "HAA" stands for - it stands for the Health Activist Awards!

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.
You can read about the awards, rules, criteria, and the rest of the process at, but here's a summary for you: WEGO has determined 10 categories of activists for which they will present awards.  Activists are nominated during the month of December by, well, anyone, and winners will be selected by a panel of judges - who are fellow activists!  (So no, you cannot "vote", but you can nominate anyone you want for any award...and, well, I haven't been nominated yet:( ).  There are awards for everyone from "Rookie of the Year", someone who just came on the scene in 2011 (so not me lol), to "Best Kept Secret".  Some awards recognize different types of activists - like the "Paperboy Award" - or activism styles - like the "Hilarious Health Activist".  There is one award that I found particularly interesting (though it's hard to pick, they would all be such and honor and honestly I don't know how my communities feel I add value):

Described as: "This health activist did amazing things offline this year"!
I find it acutely uncomfortable to ask for accolades, but I guess there are times I have to give myself a nudge - so my request to you is to take a look at the award categories WEGO has designated and consider if you think I might deserve a nomination for anything.  As I said, the offline one caught my eye, so I guess I'll explain why.  BUT, first I want make sure you understand, I'm only asking you to look at the awards, and act ONLY IF you really think I might have earned something.  Nominations can be made anonymously so I'll never know if you don't nominate me...because I might not know who did if they chose to do so anonymously (if I get nominated at all).  Did I ramble awkwardly long enough yet?  Yes?  Ok fine, I'll move onto why I think the offline category is so interesting.

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 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)
Oh yes, and now also...
  • Sponsoring presentations for the betterment of all chronic patients!
With the aid of the internet, UII has made connections with at least tens of thousands of people around the world (at last count, I can confirm hits on this blog alone from 68 countries).  It would be impossible determine the full number - especially considering I've been translated into French at least once, reaching an audiene I otherwise might not (thanks, Jazzcat;).  UII has also made connections with thousands of people even more directly; with KPMG, UII gets to impact not only our 23,000 employees in the US, but also other companies such as the other honorees at the 2011 Disability Matters Conference (and by the way, there is also a Europe conference).  With Villanova, UII has connected with thousands of students, including those in nursing - our future caregivers.  UII can only do this with the cooperation of many organizations, and especially the help of several brave men and women "on the ground" with me (like my fellow panelists).

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:)

1 comment:

I'm excited you're here - and can't wait to read your comment!

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