Announcing the 2023 Social Health Awards Winners!
Last updated: November 2023
The Social Health Awards honor and recognize the efforts of patients and caregivers within their communities and at the industry level. Our Health Leaders constantly amaze us through their unique advocacy efforts. Supporting fellow patients and caregivers with the tools they need to be the best version of themselves is worth celebrating! Our judges had a challenging task narrowing down all of these tremendous nominees. To determine the finalists, online health community members volunteered their time to narrow down nominations to just 60 finalists. From there, our industry judges provided weighted scores to ultimately uncover the Social Health Awards winners.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for...
The 2023 Social Health Awards Winners...
Rookie of the Year
James was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2016. Three years later, he also received an ankylosing spondylitis (AS) diagnosis. His first AS flare-up led to him losing his job, and he had to return to the UK. It was a long 8-month road to recovery before he could finally walk again.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, James was forced to shield and self-isolate since his immunosuppressive medicines make him highly vulnerable to the virus. James decided to take this time to find ways to support other people in similar situations and raise awareness of young people living with chronic and arthritic conditions.
James has worked alongside the charity Versus Arthritis on a number of projects; has appeared in documentaries for the BBC, The Guardian, and National Voices; and is a contributor for AxialSpondyloarthritis.net.
Congratulations again to our Rookie of the Year, James!
Kristine and Theresa (RARE.) each faced challenging health journeys. Kristine suffers from the rare condition Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), and Theresa’s son Owen was born with the rare disease Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. Feeling confused and alone, they each turned to outlets that would help them process their emotions and connect with others.
In August 2019, Kristine and Theresa connected through Instagram and, over the course of a few months, realized that they were better together and decided to join forces. The mission of RARE. is to make the invisible visible. Each product is designed to create conversations and awareness surrounding rare diseases, chronic illnesses, and the people who battle them every day. Also, 15 percent of every purchase made at RARE. is donated to a nonprofit of your choosing.
Congratulations again to our Creative Contributor, RARE.
Parvathy’s journey with patient advocacy began after both of her children were born with Lynch Syndrome, and therefore, constitutional mismatch repair deficiency (CMMRD), a rare disease that has had devastating effects on their family. As part of this journey, Parvathy has mastered navigating care at various specialty medical centers while advocating for complex pediatric palliative and hospice care to meet the needs of her children. Parvathy is committed to helping others and giving back by participating on local, national, and international boards and industry and community groups while serving on several working groups specializing in DEI-focused patient advocacy and ultra/nano rare diseases.
The Krishnan Family Foundation was established to help other families facing similar struggles: “Parenting a child with a rare disease is like planning a mission to outer space with zero funding or support. We as a family have made it our life’s goal to gather whatever resources we can to help every family on this mission.”
Congratulations again to our Caregiving Champion, Parvathy!
Tina Aswani-Omprakash is a multi-award-winning Crohn’s disease and ostomy advocate. She maintains a blog and advocacy platform called Own Your Crohn’s and co-founded the South Asian IBD Alliance to form a patient/clinician-led nonprofit organization to minimize stigma and disparities while improving education and awareness in the growing South Asian IBD population.
She also runs a Facebook support group called IBDesis (South Asian IBD) Community. Tina graduated with a master’s degree in public health from Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in June 2023. She aims to help design more patient-friendly clinical research and to ensure the recognition of disparities and unmet needs in communities of color.
Congratulations again to our Revolutionary Researcher, Tina!
Passionate. Unique. Loyal. Resilient, Sharon has dedicated her life to influencing the world as a kidney disease, dialysis, and transplant survivor. Sharron actively shares her story to bring hope and healing to anyone facing difficult circumstances in life. To expand the scope of her reach, Sharron founded Kindness for Kidneys International, a nonprofit organization committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering kidney warriors and their families. Kindness for Kidneys has gained national attention for monthly support groups, kidney education programs, and annual holiday drives.
Sharron has been a guest speaker for several national and international educational and business-related conferences, and she also serves on the board of several Advisory Councils and boards, and panel discussions. Sharron’s hard work and devotion to serving the community have granted her numerous awards, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2020 and 2022, and Who's Who In American Education.
Congratulations again to our Community Cultivator, Sharron!
As we all know, the benefits of being a patient advocate are immense. PodcastDX, a weekly interview based podcast co-hosted by Lita Tomas, Jean Marie McNamara and Ron Rispoli, aims to amplify these benefits by providing a platform where people with different diagnoses can find support, guidance, and inspiration. They feature interviews with patient advocates, healthcare professionals, and people who have overcome their own health challenges, creating a community that uplifts, educates, and empowers.
In their 6th year, they have produced more than 275 shows and have an ever-growing listener base in dozens of countries! While health professionals remain the central source of information for most Americans, PodcastDX is working to continue to grow and provide opportunities for “peer-to-peer healthcare” as a significant supplement.
Congratulations again to the Best Team, PodcastDX!
Social Media Master
More than 20 years ago, Cynthia was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis within a 3-year time span. Along with pain and symptoms she had never heard of before, new and severe allergies to food and medication added a new level of difficulty to her already complicated life. Cynthia says, “Before becoming disabled, I ignorantly believed the world was accessible. I was wrong!” She is now fiercely aware that accessibility comes in many forms.
Through her blog; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts; YouTube channel, and freelance writing, Cynthia encourages others to accept and use the accessibility tools needed to make their lives less painful and help them function well despite their chronic conditions.
Cynthia, thank you for all you do to advocate for the community, and congratulations!
As the Executive Director of Migraine Meanderings and the President of Hope in Pain, Inc., Shoshana is passionate about making a difference in the lives of people struggling with the physical and emotional effects of migraine and other chronic pain conditions. Shoshana has lived with migraine disease since early childhood and other conditions.
After stopping full-time work in 2014, she started exploring how to use her nonprofit and public speaking experience to help with migraine advocacy and patient centricity. One of her greatest joys is exploring ways to impact the lives of people with migraine and other chronic pain conditions, including creatively helping bridge the gap between patients, pharma, and healthcare providers through events, polls, surveys, collaborations, and providing current, evidence-based resources.
Congratulations, and thanks for all you do, Shoshana!
In 2018, Gerry went to the emergency room because she was having difficulty breathing, was so tired she could barely stay awake, had no appetite, could barely stand because her legs were so swollen...and she was scared. She was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and was told that the severity of her IPAH was not just moderate – doctors found that she was severely sick and needed immediate treatment or she would die. From that moment on, Gerry’s life changed forever.
Since her diagnosis, Gerry has felt the draw to share her story so others can find hope and inspiration. Pulmonary hypertension and people with chronic illness fight battles daily, some in complete silence. Gerry wants to make sure that everyone’s story is heard.
Congratulations again to our Advocacy Trailblazer, Gerry!
David Lyons, co-founder of the MS Fitness Challenge, and his wife Kendra have dedicated their life to helping people with multiple sclerosis (MS) understand and be educated on the importance of fitness. He fiercely advocates for the benefits of exercise, nutrition, and mindset in winning the battle against MS.
David has received many accolades over the years, including winning the National MS Society Milestone Award. He is also the faith-based author of David’s Goliath, a book on his journey to a bodybuilding stage with MS. In addition, David is a writer for Everyday Health and the owner of the OPTIMALBODY fitness brand.
In 2013 David received the Health Advocate of the Year Award with Lou Ferrigno. And in 2015, at almost 57 years old, he was the only person with MS to receive the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award from Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many other impressive recognitions.
David is considered the face of MS and fitness worldwide, and his fitness book Everyday Health and Fitness With Multiple Sclerosis was a No. 1 new release on Amazon. Plus, his MS Fitness Training Specialist certification partnered with the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) to educate trainers around the world on how to work with people with MS.
Congratulations again to the winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award, David!
The Celebration Continues...
Our winners are invited to an in-person celebration during Digital Pharma East in conjunction with the 2023 Fierce Pharma Marketing Awards. We look forward to celebrating with you in Philadelphia on September 13, 2023!
Congratulations to all Social Health Awards nominees, finalists, and winners!
A nomination means you’ve impacted someone’s life, and that’s the biggest win. With the help from all of you, we’re closer to changing the patient journey than ever before. Thank you for sharing your story, using your voice, and uplifting your community members. Cheers to the patient's voice!
Thank you for sharing your story, supporting others, and building community. We are so grateful to be a part of your journey.
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