Today, people realize they need to stand up for what they want in healthcare. The challenge is that healthcare is complex, fragmented, political, and expensive. To assist consumers, national, state and local professional organizations are developing events to educate consumers on what it means to be your own advocate.

These groups welcome people from all walks of life to participate in educational events and access their member portals to locate professional advocates who can assist them when advocating for yourself is not possible.

In the next few weeks, I will highlight patient advocacy organizations that you can check out and learn what they are doing to help people learn how to be their own best advocate. As you learn about these organizations, bookmark their websites so you can check in on them often. Many offer educational events, webinars, articles on topics that touch you, your family, and friends and offer innovative ideas and resources to meet your individual needs.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Have An Advocate On Your Side? 3The first organization I would like to highlight is the Washington State Health Advocacy Association. I asked Robin Shapiro, Board Chair, to share information on WASHA. Robin Shapiro is nationally recognized as a pioneer in the Health Advocacy Movement. After two decades in the health communications and biotechnology fields, she founded several companies designed to elevate patients’ voices and experience.  She applied her unique communications experience to innovate in the area of independent health advocacy. In October 2019, Robin put her passion into words and wrote, The Secret Language of Healthcare: How to Ask for the are You Deserve. This book’s inspiration was the many people she met who had compelling, life-changing experiences as they navigated or helped others navigate health care the complex healthcare system.

 

 

Let’s hear from Robin

For the past eight years, the Washington Health Advocacy Association   (WASHAA) has been experimenting with programs, content, workshops, and resources to help individuals and caregivers, advocates, allied professionals, and communities learn more and do more to engage people in building health advocacy literacy and skills.  Our efforts grew out of doing health advocacy work in the late 2000s when the field of health advocacy was just starting.  Today WASHAA is a community of 1,500 people, and we have learned a lot.

One of the top goals for WASHAA has been to collaborate and figure out how to support scaling the health advocacy movement.  We believe that through the many health and patient organizations that exist, working together, we can all rally behind helping patients get better and more appropriate care.

In thinking about how we meet that goal, we have decided to rebrand to a national non-profit organization called HealthAdvocateX this Fall, in conjunction with our Annual Conference.

This year our conference is entitled:  Whole Person Advocacy: Integrating Mental Health. The conference will be held virtually November 5-6, 2020.  Participants include employers, community leaders, professional advocates, and other members of the healthcare team.

This unique opportunity to interact and learn from one another has made our past conferences educational, inspiring, and fun!

Early Bird Registration is now open. Click here to learn more and register.

While we will be unveiling our new logo and branding for HealthAdvocateX on November 5 at our conference, there is no mystery to what we will continue to do; we will continue to:

  • Raise Awareness About Health Advocacy:
    • Through our social media and events (such as Community Conversationshttp://www.washaa.org/community-calls-covid-19.html ), we help people increase their knowledge and understanding of health advocacy is all about.  Since the beginning of the year, we have hosted approximately 30 events.
  • Host and Support Health Advocacy Skill-Building:
  • Connect People to Health Advocacy Resources:
    • We serve as a hub for health advocacy resources and annually respond to hundreds of inquiries; we also develop and produce resources, including guides on specific areas of interest related to health advocacy.   We also host a Professional Advocate directory (a benefit of professional membership – we would love to you to join for just $65 – http://www.washaa.org/membership.html and help us continue to provide valuable support for the health advocacy movement).

Our new website, which we hope to launch before the end of the year, will hopefully make it easier to find information, share experience, and get involved.  We will continue to do our work on a national level, with the opportunity for state-wide connections.  We hope that you visit our website and take advantage of or upcoming events.

Thanks for reading. Have a good week.

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