THE Social Health Award is the only patient- and industry-judged rewards program that recognizes healthcare leaders for their hard work and dedication to creating meaningful connections and conversations across social health – in almost all condition areas and social platforms. Thousands of nominations are submitted each year in 10 award categories, and for the second year in a row, winners will be recognized on stage at the Fierce Pharma Marketing Awards at the Digital Pharma East conference in Philadelphia.
Led by health leaders, Social Health creates space for people living with chronic, complex and rare health conditions to find the information, connection and validation they seek, resulting in a mutually beneficial impact for patients and the healthcare industry. Without the contributions of patient leaders in online health communities, on social media and beyond, social health would not be possible.
As we approach the 2023 awards season, we spoke with the Winners of the 2022 Social Health Awards to find out how this achievement has impacted their health leadership. Their sentiments demonstrate how valuable this awards program is to patients, caregivers and the industry.
We asked our 2022 Social Health Awards winners to fill in the blank – winning a Social Health Award allowed me to ____________.
- Jill King2022 Rookie of the Year Award Winner: broaden my horizons. Since I’m so new to patient advocacy, the Social Health Awards season has given me plenty of opportunities to learn about different avenues of advocacy. I felt that my experience with the Social Health Awards gave me a better idea of how my work was evolving.
- Erica Carrasco2022 Creative Contributor Award Winner: eexpand my audience beyond migraine and mental health.
- Elle Cole2022 Champion of Caregiving Award Winner: be convinced that my contribution to the sickle cell and type 1 diabetes communities deserves to be shared.
- Aaron Blocker2022 Breakthrough Researcher Award Winner: having confidence in the work I do knowing that at least one person has been affected or benefited from it, which helps me to continue.
- Nathalie Hayden2022 Community Grower Award Winner:re-ignite my passion for patient advocacy.
- Rachel Hill2022 Master in Social Media Award Winner: join the Patient Leadership Council (health unions), where I can make important contributions to the journeys of other health leaders, meet others, and learn about their health experiences and work advocacy!
- Ella Balasa2022 Healthcare Collaborator Award Winner: Building on my reputation as a patient engagement consultant and has allowed me to bring my patient voice to the development of treatments and solutions that optimize healthcare for people living with various conditions.
- Melissa Talwar2022 Advocacy Pioneer Award Winner:rBring fibromyalgia advocacy work to a bigger stage. Hopefully this reminds other fibromyalgia patients that people care and that efforts are being made to create change.
- Kristal Kent2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: reach more people, both nationally and internationally, increasing my network of support, advocacy and collaboration!
From expanded networks to speaking engagements, new partnerships and more, their status as Social Health Award winners has presented new opportunities:
- Jill King: My network has definitely grown. I am now on the Health Union Patient Leadership Council and feel like I have a better sense of my job and how relationships can be used.
- Erica Carrasco: During the awards ceremony, I tracked down a pharmaceutical company I’ve worked with in the past. The meeting allowed us to reconnect in person and paved the way for a new partnership moving forward. This company is important to me because they produce a treatment that I have been using for some time.
- Elle Cole: 2022 has been a fantastic year for me as a caregiver and activist. Speaking at Digital Pharma East with Natalie Hayden was one of my best moments. My network has definitely grown because I know I can reach out and collaborate with other rare disease and chronic disease communities. I have also been able to refer friends and family members to other organizations that concern them.
- Aaron Blocker: Winning the award definitely expanded my network as I connected with other patients and communities as well as new industry connections which was really cool.
- Nathalie Hayden: From the excitement of learning that I was selected as the winner of the Community Cultivator Award for presentation of a keynote speech at Digital Pharma East to attend the awards ceremony, it was such an incredible experience. I was able to build many relationships during ECD and by meeting face to face and sharing my story, this opportunity has allowed me to expand my patient advocacy clientele and have ongoing conversations about future collaborations.
- Rachel Hill: Winning this award has added further credibility to what I do, which has opened doors for me to work with new companies and brands that partner with me to improve the quality of life for thyroid patients. It also gave me a personal boost and reminded me that my work is valued and impactful. It gave me the confidence to pursue new projects this year.
- Ella Balasa: Winning the Collaborator in Healthcare award has not only broadened my network to connect with other established patient advocates, but also companies that are increasingly interested in the patient perspective and learn the value of involving patients in the development of drugs and products that will best meet patient needs.
- Melissa Talwar: The biggest benefit is connecting with other patient leaders. I learn so much from them and am inspired by how they advocate in their communities. We attend events together and hold talks with each other to expand knowledge to all of our patient communities.
- Kristal Kent: Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award has opened many doors for me to be interviewed and share my story in the media, radio stations, national magazines, newspapers and podcasts. These opportunities have provided greater space to share my story with the general public, which actually helps promote awareness and understanding of my medical diagnosis and health journey among the general public.
When patients and caregivers who work tirelessly to improve the healthcare system are recognized and celebrated, it creates opportunities for empowerment, connection and partnership with the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare. Our winners represent just a fraction of the wide range of patient leaders Health Union can connect you with through our extensive Health social network.
Stay tuned for more information from Health Union on 2023 Social Health Awardfrom nominations to revealing finalists, winners and more.