Welcome new MCSMN External Advisory Board Members

When we created what has become the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network in 2010, one of our first priorities was to create an External Advisory Board (EAB) with diverse representation from various roles within health care, along with patients and members from other industries. This group has helped to guide our growth and development of programs to meet the needs of health professionals interested in applying social media their work.

We're delighted to announce five new EAB members, even as we thank several others who have completed their terms. The new members include:

Vicki Bencken, Digital Communications Director at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, California, where she has overseen digital strategy, governance, branding, standards and training for Web and social media, for the University of California, Davis’ health-care umbrella organizations for the past twelve years. During her career, Vicki has been part of a team that developed a health-care information portal for academic physicians and medical student in the mid-90s, co-led an effort to establish a Web presence for the hospital in the early days of the Web and worked with a team that established the first medical informatics graduate program at UC Davis.

Kimberly Dorris, the Executive Director and CEO of the Graves' Disease and Thyroid Foundation (GADTF), a small nonprofit organization based in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. Kimberly began working with the GDATF as a volunteer in 2010, and took over day-to-day management of the Foundation in 2011.   Her responsibilities include organizing patient education events in various locations throughout the U.S.A., managing the Foundation's social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+), producing print and electronic newsletters , seeking grant funding, and providing support for patients via phone, e-mail, and an online support forum.   She also leads a monthly patient support group meeting in Phoenix, AZ.

Marie Ennis-O’Connor, a digital communications strategist and an internationally recognized speaker and writer on emerging trends in digital health and participatory medicine. Marie works with clients to create patient engagement strategies, co-design research, and increase clinical trial recruitment. She has recently been appointed to a panel of multi-sectoral experts in Path to Zero, the Economist Intelligence Unit's research, policy, and advocacy initiative that aims to surface innovative strategies to support the elimination of the Hepatitis C virus. Marie has worked with medical teaching faculties in Ireland, the USA, and Australia on programs to integrate narrative medicine practice in medical education, and sits on the board of trustees for the Patient Empowerment Foundation, a network of people, foundations, organizations and medical institutions dedicated to empowering patients worldwide.

Janet Kennedy, a 25-year marketing and social media professional and the Host of the Get Social Health podcast sharing best practice stories and interviews about social media in healthcare. She is the founder of the Get Social Health Academy, a coaching, and eLearning consultancy producing online courses and social media content for Healthcare. Janet recently launched the Healthcare Writers Network with partner Carol Bush, to connect healthcare writers with healthcare practices.

Kathy Winter, the Social Media Project Manager for Shriners Hospitals for Children, a pediatric specialty health care system with 22 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and Shriners International, an international fraternity with nearly 200 chapters world-wide and the founders of Shriners Hospitals for Children. 

Kathy was instrumental in obtaining leadership buy-in to add social media to the communications program in 2007, making Shriners Hospitals for Children one of the early health care adopters of social media.  In addition to managing corporate social media, she provides system-wide guidance on social media strategy and best practices, evaluation of new platforms, and educates organizational leadership about social media development, communications and management.

As we welcome these new members, we also recognize and thank several emeritus members:

  • Jeff Benabio, M.D.
  • Dan Hinmon*
  • Claire Johnston
  • Christian Sinclair, M.D.
  • Bob West
  • Colleen Young*

Dan and Colleen are no longer on the EAB because they have moved into new roles as Community Directors for MCSMN and Mayo Clinic Connect, respectively. They've gotten more involved.

We're grateful to have colleagues outside of Mayo Clinic who believe in the mission of MCSMN and see the value in bringing together a community to learn and grow together in our application of social and digital tools for health purposes.

Bob West was among the earliest EAB members and participated in our first Member Meeting in 2011. In a February post, Bob West reflected on his six years as an MCSMN advisor. Along with those reflections, he also shared several photos from his participation in our events. So in closing we're posting some of those photos below (click to enlarge), along with his descriptions and commentary.

Social Media Summit and Member Meeting, March 14-16, 2011 in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Coming from academic medicine, this was my first exposure to a conference where all of the participants stared at their laptops instead of the speaker throughout the meeting. Many if not all tweeps were tweeting the bottom lines of the various speakers to their Twitter followers, and perhaps sharing on Facebook groups as well. Coming from an academic environment, in 2011 this was novel, and something I was wholly unprepared for. Today, looking back to 2011, it is mind-boggling to attempt to grasp the pace of change in social media that has occurred in the intervening period."

"Unconference gang following Day 2 of the meeting (yours truly between Meredith Gould and Chris Boyer). Great group and great friends! How many others might you know?"

3rd Annual Healthcare Social Media Summit - Oct. 17-20, 2011 in Rochester, Minn.

"Dave (ePatient-Dave) DeBronkart, Kelly Young, and yours truly, below, at cocktail reception, end of Day 1. This pic has been my Facebook cover photo since the Fall of 2011."

"Group pic at Member Meeting, Fall 2011 (yours truly standing next to Lee Aase, aka ‘Michael Jordan’.) How many people do you recognize?"

4th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit, Oct. 16-18, 2012

The room is packed and everyone in attendance is intensely in tweet-mode. From left: Aldon Hynes, Dan Dunlop, Amanda Changuris (EAB) and Chris Boyer (EAB, Platinum Fellow)

Natasha Burgert, M.D. giving her Closing Keynote: “With social media, patient education doesn’t stop in the doctor’s office.”

5th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit, Oct. 22-24, 2013, Rochester, MN

"Patient scholarship awardees: Teri Robert (Migraine) and Ellen Schnakenberg (Migraine), along with yours truly."

"Fish eye view of patient panel presentation in Heritage Hall conference room of Kahler Grand Hotel (main meeting room)."

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Welcome new MCSMN External Advisory Board Members | Mayo Clinic Social Media Network
Meet the group that helps health professionals at Mayo Clinic interested in applying social media their work:

LOVE this place, group, and Director (Lee)!!


Thanks again for all your contributions, @westr – and for hanging on to these great photos.

Liked by Lee Aase, Bob West


They’re like FAMILY PHOTOS to me, Dan! 😀


@westr The photos, descriptions, and commentary are great!


@westr The photos, descriptions, and commentary are great!

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Thank you! As I look over these old photos I realize just how priviliged I was to be able to participate in this organization. So greatful to Lee Aase and the others for accepting my application to join MCSMN. Such GREAT TIMES, GREAT FOLKS!!

Liked by Lee Aase


Great to hear from you again, Bob…and we were blessed to have you be part of it!


Thank you! As I look over these old photos I realize just how priviliged I was to be able to participate in this organization. So greatful to Lee Aase and the others for accepting my application to join MCSMN. Such GREAT TIMES, GREAT FOLKS!!

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Alternatively, it was our privilege to have you on our team, @westr. You not only brought your wisdom as a health care professional but as a patient. Very valuable insights!

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