The conference I wrote about in this post here went extremely well. I felt so incredibly honored, privileged and grateful to be in attendance.
I not only love everything about the topics presented at ePatient conferences, but the one I went to on Tuesday had a couple little additional things that made it so great.
The first being that I was not there as a participant but rather, to watch and support another advocate in the community. This advocate happens to be my boyfriend which made it extra special. I not only wanted to be there so that I could support someone influential (and who I happen to love) in the inflammatory bowel disease community, but I also wanted to hear the conversation. Or really, be in the conversation. I must have raised my hand about five times before I realized I should just let the other panelists speak.
It is hard being a spectator at something you are so passionate about!
Which made this next part even better.
There was a meet-up scheduled for right after the conference where everyone in attendence could stay, converse with each other, and discuss real issues in an organized way. Bob Brooks of WEGO Health ran this part of the conference and it was something so unique.
I got to sit down with not only fellow patients and caregivers, but people in the insurance world, in the pharmaceutical business, people who were very involved with marketing, a physician, a medical supplies technician, etc. All of these people bring such different perspectives so to be able to sit with them at what looked like a dinner table and have various exercises that forced us to all communicate and share ideas with one another was so spectacular to me.
It was all so humanistic.
It is nice to watch someone present or answer questions on a panel but it is so different when you are speaking with a person directly, or even in a small group. Listening to the things they have to say as well as the responses they give to certain ideas can really help you tell a lot about a person. That, in turn, allows you to understand that person’s perspective thus gaining more knowledge and insight into things you probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
We broke up into two groups to discuss three things related to the healthcare industry and patients/caregivers and then we all got together and one person from each group presented the collective ideas to everyone else in the room.
I was the one who spoke on behalf of my group which made me happy.
It was incredibly interesting listening to what the other group had to say. We took two completely different, yet equally valuable, approaches to this topic. That, in and of itself, made me think a bit.
And of course, Frank represented the Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis community incredibly well and with pride. He even wore a purple shirt! ; )
We should all be very proud of him.