• By Dana Sparks

Patient Stories Highlight Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic

October 23, 2014

Social Media 5The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (MCCSM) provides training and resources to help accelerate effective adoption of social media in health care. Through its Social Media Health Network, #MCCSM offers opportunity for health-rSocial Media 1elated organizations to learn together and share best practices.

During this year's Social Media Week winners of the Patient-Caregiver Scholarship Contest shared how social media has contributed to their health. Their message was simple:

Social media is about more than likes and shares and getting messages out. It's about connection, engagement and much more.

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Following are themes from the conversation.

Social media:

  • Helps patients connect
  • Helps patients heal emotionally
  • Lets you know you're not alone
  • Helps you get educated
  • Allows you to become an advocate
  • Save lives

The scholarship winners share a few thoughts in the videos below. View their bios and videos, and then keep reading for a special announcement from the summit — the introduction of the Mayo Clinic Champions program.

Danielle Ripley-Burgess (@DanielleisB)

Danielle Ripley-Burgess is a two-time colon cancer survivor who works as the director of communications for Fight Colorectal Cancer. She was diagnosed with colon cancer a few weeks after her 17th birthday in 2001 and again at age 25 in 2009. During more than a decade of survivorship she’s gotten involved in the colorectal cancer community to inspire others. Through her advocacy work, Danielle has traveled coast-to-coast to host events and share stories of those touched by colon cancer.

In addition to working for Fight CRC, she was featured as Miss October in the 2009 Colondar, a calendar of young colon cancer survivors, and serves on the board of directors for The Colon Club. Her story has been told around the world through syndicated online and print newspaper articles, blogs and on numerous TV and radio shows, including The Today Show, BBC’s ‘World Have Your Say’, and Sirius Radio’s Doctor Radio, and she is a contributor to the Huffington Post blog.

Sarah Bramblette (@Born2bFat)

Sarah Bramblette is a lipedema and lymphedema patient who combines her experiences as a patient and health care administrative professional in her advocacy efforts. She writes about her life experiences on her blog, born2lbfat.com, and uses social media platforms to raise awareness and advocate for improved diagnosis, treatment and insurance coverage. She also crusades against weight bias and stigma, specifically in health care and the workplace.

Sarah is the community advocate for ObesityHelp.com, and is a member of the Obesity Action Coalition, theNational Lymphedema Network, and the American Health Lawyers Association. Her story has been shared on ObesityHelp.com and HealthCentral.com, and in Your Weight Matters magazine, Psychology Today, and the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics on Obesity. She also is working toward a master's degree in health law.

Cindy Chmielewski (@myelomateacher)

Cindy Chmielewski is a teacher who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. She began treatment immediately, and when induction therapy stopped working after only a few cycles, she opted for a stem cell transplant, retiring from education when the stem cell transplant failed to put her into remission. Now that consolidation therapy has resulted in a remission, she uses her skills as an educator to teach a new group of “students” — myeloma patients.

Cindy serves on the board of the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group, is a trained mentor, and participates in several online communities. She has attended the American Society of Hematology’s and the American Association for Cancer Research’s Annual Meetings as a Patient Advocate. She’s a member of the IMF ACTION TEAM (@IMFadvocacy) and has represented New Jersey at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Mission Day in Washington, D.C. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Patient Empowerment Network and was instrumental in starting the #MMSM monthly Twitter-based chats.


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Introducing the Mayo Clinic Social Media Champions program

The Mayo Clinic Social Media Champions program is a way you can help Mayo Clinic help others by sharing trustworthy information and inspiring stories with your social networking connections.

Social Media Champions share helpful health information and stories curated by Mayo Clinic with their friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking platforms.

Champions also participate in discussion groups on Mayo Clinic Connect, providing encouragement and perspective to others who have health issues or concerns, or who are considering coming to Mayo Clinic for care.

It's easy to join:

  • Just log in with your Mayo Clinic Social Networking Account (the one you use to log in to Mayo Clinic Connect or any of our other blogs or communities) or create your account now.
  • Then enroll in the Mayo Clinic Social Media Champions program and start sharing.

If you have a helpful or inspiring personal story about your experience as a patient or employee at Mayo Clinic, you can submit it for consideration here.





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