Monday, October 17, 2016

Being a Rare Disease ePatient at MedX

Last month I attended the Stanford Medicine X conference, on scholarship, as an ePatient delegate. I've since had the chance to speak with Daniel Levine, on RARECast, about my experience, and conference topics of interest to the rare disease community.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Challenge of Blogging While Sick

Writing while sick isn't a cup of tea in bed

Find the latest edition of the Running on Stories series at the RAREDaily by Global Genes. Join the discussion on Twitter with the #RunningOnStories hashtag.

What tips can you share for overcoming your barriers to blogging with chronic health? 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Essay Contest Pays Tribute to Genetic Counselors

Announcement: Genome magazine is excited to partner with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) in the inaugural Code Talker Award — an essay contest for patients and their families to honor a genetic counselor who has left a lasting impact on them. Three essay finalists and the genetic counselors they nominated will win a trip to NSGC’s annual education conference, held September 28 through October 1, 2016, in Seattle, Washington, where the award will be presented.

This is your chance to help celebrate the compassion, expertise, and helpfulness a genetic counselor has given to you, your family, or a close relative.

Find-out more and submit your story at the Code Talker website.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Essay Contest for Medical Students

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Announcement: Global Genes™ is proud to partner with Students Advocates for Neglected Diseases (STAND) to present the third David R. Cox Prize for Rare Compassion, an essay program that connects medical students with the rare patient community. Visit Global Genes to find out how to get involved.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Where to Promote Your Patient Story

We have a tendency to think bigger is always better. So we end up putting our attention on getting the most views possible rather than directly targeting the people who could benefit from our story or using our story to effect change. At the end of the day, a large number of ‘likes’ on social media may not produce the results we are hoping for when we miss reaching key decision makers or those we set out to support.

Read the latest edition of the Running on Stories series, at the RAREDaily by Global Genes, for "3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Storytelling Wisdom."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Precision Love

A LOVE LETTER TO MY DRUG | What I neglected to say for 19 years on enzyme replacement therapy (ERT)

Recording prepared for my Stanford Medicine X ePatient storyteller track application.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Role Playing to Improve Access to Therapies

Simulation activities bring multi-stakeholders together at #RareEU2016  

Rare Disease Day, which was started in 2008 by EURORDIS (the European Organization for Rare Diseases), has grown to include participation from around the world. This year’s activities included a symposium in Brussels on improving access to rare disease therapies. While there are over 7,000 unique rare diseases identified, the vast majority of rare disease patients face limited to no treatment options and significant inequities in accessing care. In order to address these life threatening challenges, symposium organizers intentionally brought together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, including patient leaders. The event focused on the European landscape but attracted a large number of representatives from outside the European Union. It has always been to the benefit of the rare disease community to collaborate globally and EURORDIS continues to lead the way, with events like the symposium and the recent launch of the Rare Diseases International (RDI) global alliance.

The Multi-stakeholder Symposium on Improving Patient Access to Rare Disease Therapies offered an inspiring lineup of speakers and panelists who eloquently highlighted best practices and broadened the understanding of what health technology assessment (HTA) means in action. Throughout the conference there were repeated calls to ensure that patients remain at the centre of developments and recognition that patient stories are critical to making good decisions in advancing therapies. The role of the Internet and new data management technologies were also promoted as key for gathering input from patients and increasing collaboration potential.
Right words aside, the inclusion of simulation exercises is what brought the themes of the conference to life. Role playing sessions involved all attendees and gave everyone the chance to practice working together on a challenge. Simulations also let participants take on roles different from the ones they are typically responsible for playing. I played the part of decision maker and got to evaluate pricing and reimbursement of health technologies on behalf of the public plan. It was a real thrill to be given a voting button and a level of power I’m unaccustomed to as a patient. At the same time, I also felt frustrated by the limited information I received to make important decisions and the time restraints placed on getting to a final decision.
Of course these scenarios were just games, but playing left me with greater awareness of the quality of input needed from patients, to ensure decision makers can take this perspective properly into account. I also thought a lot about how difficult it must be for decision makers, to open themselves, to listen to stories from patients, while knowing that they aren’t in a position to always vote in favour of what patients want and need. My takeaway from the symposium was greater empathy, for ALL the different players, working to make access to rare disease therapies viable. Patients should be at the centre but there are many voices that need to be heard, if we want to move forward together, to improve the lives of rare disease patients.
If you missed the #RareEU2016 symposium, you can now watch the recording on YouTube. You can also access the one hour webinar that was offered pre-symposium as a practical introduction to health technology assessment (HTA).  

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Story of Rare Disease Activists

Celebrate the patient voice for Rare Disease Day with perspectives from activists, including My Normal founder Emma Rooney, on what it means to live with a rare disease and advocate on behalf of the community.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Social Media RARE Toolkit Launch

The My Normal Project is pleased to announce the launch of the How to Promote Your Rare Disease Story Through Social Media RARE Toolkit. My Normal is a proud content provider for this Global Genes resource. 

The new Toolkit complements the Using Storytelling title but goes one step further by helping storytellers bring greater awareness to their personal journeys by taking advantage of social media. This Toolkit focuses on the value, use, and practical application of social media to promote our stories and can be viewed free online and downloaded

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Storify: Do stories change anything?

If you missed taking part in the February 3rd #hcsmca Twitter Chat on storytelling + preparing for Rare Disease Day, or you're looking for a recap of the lively session, visit the event storify. It offers a great capture of why patient stories are so important and some of the challenges we must overcome to guarantee we are making the most of what stories have to offer. You will also find links to a number of relevant resources shared by participants.

Chat contributors fully embraced the topics up for discussion:

  • T1. How do patient stories impact the rare disease community? 
  • T2. How can we better value patient stories and respond to the insights shared? 
  • T3. What benefits should patients look for from contributing their stories? 
  • T4. What stories are missing from the rare disease community and how can we encourage different voices?

Full chat transcriptions also available from #hcsmca
Do stories change anything? #hcsmca storify

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rare Disease Day Movie Pick

Less than 20 days to go, we're on countdown until Rare Disease Day 2016. The 2016 official video has now been released and it reminds us that while the goal of Rare Disease Day is to draw awareness to the plight of people living with rare diseases, it's also an important time to celebrate the voices of the rare disease community. Don't miss this year's production starring pianist Elisa, who lives with Williams Syndrome, and her family. If you're searching for a movie for Valentine's Day, also look out for the French Canadian romantic film GabrielleThe film's leading lady, Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, also lives with Williams and brings this rare story to the big screen with a charming performance.    

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#hcsmca Twitter Chat: Do Stories Change Anything?

Full story published on the blog for Health Care Social Media Canada (#hcsmca)

Join the #hcsmca weekly chat on Wednesday, February 3rd at 1pm ET (time zone converter) to discuss how stories can change things.
In the chat we will cover:
  • T1. How do patient stories impact the rare disease community?
  • T2. How can we better value patient stories and respond to the insights shared?
  • T3. What benefits should patients look for from contributing their stories?
  • T4. What stories are missing from the rare disease community and how can we encourage different voices?
Learn more about this #hcsmca twitter chat: Preparing for #RareDiseaseDay: Do stories change anything? by Emma Rooney (@blumencasey)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hearing Pictures: Narrative Medicine Rounds with Positive Exposure

Even without seeing any of Rick Guidotti's portraits, you'll be moved by hearing him talk about his photographic journey, from top fashion photographer to starting Positive Exposure, in order to move viewers to see beyond diagnosis. You can hear the lecture on iTunesU from Narrative Medicine Rounds. Follow up listening with a visit to the Positive Exposure gallery to see if you can spot any of the photo images so beautifully described through Guidotti's storytelling.

Guidotti also lent his support to #RareButReal2015 as a judge for the EURORDIS Photo Contest. Be sure to check out the recently announced winners! You can also share your own photo stories for Rare Disease Day 2016.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Find Tips for Sharing Your Rare Disease Day Story

Rare Disease Day is coming up, February 29th, 2016. This is a great time of year to join together with others from the rare disease community all over the world and contribute your rare disease story of what it means to live with a rare disease. Fittingly, the theme for this year's event is patient voice.

If you are looking for tips on how to share your story with impact, especially using social media to spread your message, watch these two recent webinars:

You can contribute your story to the official Rare Disease Day Website or visit the My Normal Resources Page for a full list of places to share your rare disease story online.