August 26, 2013

Scholarship Recipients to Keynote #MayoRagan Social Media Summit

By Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network

Our annual patient/caregiver scholarship contest for Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic has concluded, and we're pleased that today we can announce the three scholarship recipients. We'll get to that in a bit, but first I'd like to share three goals we have the contest.

  1. First, by publishing essays from patients and caregivers and encouraging community voting and commenting, we help bring greater attention to many stories, not just those of the scholarship recipients. This year we had 37 inspiring entries, with compelling personal stories that deserved broader exposure. These essays were viewed more than 18,000 times and received nearly 3,000 likes and comments on this site while also being tweeted or liked on Facebook 4,500 times.
  2. Our second goal is to ensure that Social Media Week has a strong patient/caregiver voice, and so we have the scholarship recipients share their stories during the Wednesday noon keynote of the Social Media Summit, literally in the center of the week's activities. A panel of expert judges drawn from our Advisory Board selected the three recipients from among the 15 finalists chosen through the community voting. The judges said the task was extremely difficult, with so many strong candidates.
  3. Our third goal is to provide encouragement and training for patient/caregiver advocates, and to facilitate their involvement.  Those who earn their living in health care typically can have their costs of participating reimbursed by their employers, while costs for patients and caregivers attending events like these usually come out of their own pockets. We want to diminish those participation barriers as much as we can, so that's why the three scholarships cover travel and lodging costs as well as registration for all of the week's events, including the in-depth training of Social Media Residency.

It's also why we created a new prize for the contest, which we're calling the Participation Prize: The 34 essay contest entrants who did not receive scholarships will get one-year patient/caregiver memberships in the Social Media Health Network. This will give them complete access to the Network site, including all curriculum materials and training resources and the community forum.

In the next few weeks we plan to make this type of membership available more broadly and affordably to those who don't work for health-related organizations, but for now we're starting with those who participated in the scholarship contest. We hope it will encourage them to stay involved and contribute their ideas as we are working to harness social media tools to promote health, fight disease and improve health care.

You can read all of the essays from the contest here (and if you haven't yet, please do take time and be inspired.) Here are the three scholarship recipients who will be featured in the Wednesday keynote during Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic:

Annie MitchellAnnie Mitchell became convinced of the power of “Story” & patient “Voice” in health care social media when first sharing with family and friends her daughter’s battles with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare debilitating disease affecting the muscles and skin. Since 2008, she has volunteered as the Director of Social Media for Cure JM Foundation – to help educate others about juvenile myositis (JM), to raise JM research funds, and to empower JM patients/caregivers through community connections and helpful resources. Working together with Cure JM leadership & volunteers, Annie led international social media team efforts to help win grant contests based upon internet/social media voting – Pepsi Refresh Grant 1st Place Aug. 2010 - $250,000; Chase Community Giving Grant Sept 2012 - $50,000. Annie Mitchell has served on the Board of Directors for Cure JM Foundation since 2011. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband & three children.

Teri RobertFailed health care and debilitating chronic Migraines led Teri Robert to the Internet to search for help. What she found was conflicting information on different sites and confusion about which information was correct. Wanting to help others in similar situations, Teri started working part-time online for to provide content about Migraine and other headache disorders. As her health improved, what started out as a part-time writing gig turned into a full-time career and avocation. She now writes for Remedy Health Media,, the American Headache Society’s Committee for Headache Education, and other web sites. She is also a leading patient educator and advocate in her field and is the chair of the newly formed American Headache and Migraine Association. She is one of the founders for the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and a regular lobbyist for their cause on Capitol Hill.

Pamela tomPamela Tom is a veteran multimedia journalist. In 2012, she founded HPVANDME.ORG, a news and information website dedicated to building awareness about HPV infection and HPV oropharyngeal cancer, after her husband was diagnosed and treated for HPV-related throat cancer earlier that year. The site launched in June 2013. She is also an independent TV producer with Fred Productions. Previously, Pamela was an on-air reporter for ABC7News and CBS5 in San Francisco. She received her B.A. English from UC Berkeley and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thanks again to everyone who participated, whether by submitting an essay or voting and commenting on the entries.

Learn more about Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic, including the detailed agenda for the Social Media Summit.

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