Connexion 2024 Highlights and Replays

On June 26, 2024, hundreds of Health Leaders, advocates, speakers, and award nominees gathered together for the 8th annual Connexion conference. It was inspiring to see so many faces from across the globe come together in support of social health and health advocacy!

Connexion 2024 registrants got the chance to:

  • Learn about health leadership, new techniques, and tools for online advocacy
  • Plan advocacy goals
  • Share experiences and engage with Health Leaders across nearly 50 condition communities and the Social Health Network

If you weren’t able to attend Connexion 2024, don't worry! Keep reading for a full recap of the sessions, speaker bios, and the Social Health Award winners.

Starting the day with Health Union's Leadership Team

After a warm welcome led by Health Union’s Leadership Team, attendees prepared for 2 specialized skill presentations. Watch the video of the opening session below.

This year’s focus was on expanding the tools and resources we provide to establish a career in health advocacy.

Session 1: Leveraging Social Media as a Health Leader for Beginner Advocates

This session (video below) featured Jed Finley, an ankylosing spondylitis health advocate touched on topics such as choosing a type of social media to get started on, and helpful tools for your posts.

Let's keep the conversation going! Check out our forum page here and share your questions, comments or feedback for levering social media as a health leader.

Session 2: Leveraging Social Media as a Health Leader for Advanced Advocates

This session (video below) featured professional patient advocates Ilana Jacqueline and Gerry Langan, and touched on how to increase and sustain an engaged social media audience.

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Let's keep this conversation going! Check out our forum page here and share your questions, comments or feedback for social media goal setting.

Session 3: Advocacy as a Career for Beginner Advocates

This session (video below) featured advocate Natasha Tracy, an advocate for bipolar and mental health conditions, and explained helpful ways to begin to get paid in your advocacy.

Let's keep this conversation going! Check out our forum page here and share your questions, comments or feedback for setting realistic limitations with advocacy as a career.

Session 4: Advocacy as a Career for Advanced Advocates

This session (video below) featured Ilana Jacqueline and Shoshana Lipson, and talked about how to get paid fairly for advocacy work and advance your career.

Let's keep this conversation going! Check out our forum page here and share your questions, comments or feedback on creating a successful career out of health advocacy.

This year’s speakers

This year, we had the honor of hearing and learning from the following Health Leaders:

Jed Finley

Jed was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) at the age of 12. This was during a time when children of that age were not prescribed medications and the amazing treatments we have today hadn't been invented yet.

In 2007, Jed founded the Facebook support group “Living With Ankylosing Spondylitis” as a way to connect with, learn from, and provide support to his fellow “Spondys.” The group has grown to almost 50,000 members.

Follow Jed on:

Facebook: Living With Ankylosing Spondylitis
X (Twitter): @JediMaster941

Gerry Langan

In 2018, Gerry was diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure and severe idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. Her passion is to help patients and their families navigate the often overwhelming world of diagnosis.

By facing her own medical challenges, she understands the importance of feeling heard and supported. Gerry’s goal is to provide a safe and welcoming community for patients to share their stories and receive the support they need.

Follow Gerry on:

Instagram: @itsgerrylangan
TikTok: @itsgerrylangan
YouTube: Gerry Langan | Pulmonary Hypertension

Natasha Tracy

Natasha is an award-winning writer, speaker, and mental health thought leader. She works to bring high-quality, insightful, and trusted information on bipolar disorder and related illnesses to the public while engaging with the mental health community.

Follow Natasha on:

Facebook: Bipolar Burble
Instagram: @natasha_tracy_writer
X: @natasha_tracy

Shoshana Lipson

Shoshana is the president of Hope in Pain, Inc. and the founder of Migraine Meanderings. After having to stop full-time work in 2014, she started exploring how to use her nonprofit and public speaking experience to help with migraine advocacy.

A patient advocate, speaker, and writer, Shoshana is passionate about encouraging, supporting, educating, and inspiring people with migraine to find purpose and value amid chronic illness.

Follow Shoshana on:

Facebook: Migraine Meanderings
Instagram: @migrainemeanderings

Ilana Jacqueline

Ilana is a patient, an advocate, and an author. She also went 19 years without a diagnosis. After she was finally diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, she spent the next 11 years battling medical gaslighting as she struggled to find a doctor who knew and understood her unique condition.

In 2018, Ilana published her first book, Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness. Her work as a patient advocate has helped patients with a variety of conditions and she continues to consult with pharmaceutical and healthcare companies on patient issues and education.

Follow Ilana on:

Facebook: Ilana Jacqueline
Instagram: @ilana_jacqueline
TikTok: @ilana_jacqueline

Social Health Award winners

Each year, the Social Health Awards brings together hundreds of Health Leaders from all over the world and from our 45+ online condition communities. Thank you to all who participated in the voting and selection process and for showing your support during the awards ceremony!

This year’s Social Health Awards, presented by rare disease specialist and caregiving champion Parvathy Krishnan, honored the tireless advocacy and incredible talent of this year’s finalists. The 10 Social Health Award categories celebrate the advocates, influencers, and experts leading the charge for patient-centered care. Watch the ceremony below.

Read the full list of the 2024 Social Health Awards winners.

Take the next step in social health

If you want to further your social health journey and explore all the ways you can grow as a Health Leader, take our Patient Leader Certification. It is the first online patient advocacy certification of its kind. Learn more here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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