Health Union Social Health Awards Meet the 2023 Finalists

Meet the 2023 Social Health Awards Finalists

We’re excited to announce our 2023 Social Health Awards finalists! It's been an incredible experience for our judges (and our team) to get to know our Health Leaders better through their advocacy. Living with (or caring for a loved one) with a chronic or terminal illness can feel overwhelming at times but coming together to honor each other reminds us how important this work is. Our Health Leaders constantly amaze us. Whether it's through their unique advocacy efforts or supporting fellow Health Leaders – it's all worth celebrating!


We couldn't be more excited to recognize these incredible Health Leaders over the years, but what’s even more special is to witness the growth that has taken place within the patient leader community over the past decade. The passion that the thousands of our Health Leaders, warriors, survivors, advocates, and influencers have is immeasurable.

Determining the finalists

The three most endorsed individuals in each award category automatically became finalists. Three additional finalists were selected through multiple rounds of judging by Social Health Network community members. Nominees were reviewed and scored based on their fit for the award category, their uses of social media, and their focus on sharing information and fostering engagement.

All finalists will be individually notified via email and sent next step communications.

Determining the winners

The 60 Social Health Awards finalists will be reviewed and scored by our finalist judging panel, comprised of industry professionals and experts, to ultimately uncover the ten inaugural Social Health Award winners!

Winners will be announced during our virtual conference, Connexion, on July 26 & invited to our in-person celebration at the Digital Pharma East Conference in Philadelphia, on September 13, 2023. [su_spacer]

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…

The 2023 Social Health Awards Finalists...

Lifetime Achievement

lifetime achievement award

David Lyons, MSFC


Shrenik Shah

Alisha M. Bridges

Michelle Hammer: Schizophrenic.NYC

Deborah Vick, Co-Founder/CEO of Vicktorious

Social Health Award Description: Some patient leaders are true stars who continue to shine and don't fit into just one category. The Lifetime Achievement Award is for the veteran patient leaders, who after years of advocacy achievements, stand as role models for the entire online health community. Let's recognize the advocacy leaders that inspire all of us year after year!

Healthcare Collaborator

Healthcare Collaborator

Shoshana Lipson

Elif Kaya

Kerry Wong

Melissa Talwar (Support Fibromyalgia)

Curtis Warfield

Torie Robinson

Social Health Award Description: The Healthcare Collaborator category is for the advocates bridging the gaps between industry stakeholders and healthcare consumers. Whether speaking at conferences, consulting with healthcare companies, or using their experience to help make change in the healthcare industry, these patient leaders are impacting the healthcare landscape at large.

Community Cultivator

Community Cultivator

Normalizing the Conversation (NTC)

Myisha Malone-King

Jennifer Schropp

Doug Kane

Sharron Rouse

Jed Finley

Social Health Award Description: A diagnosis can be life-changing, but fortunately so can the support from an online community. The Community Cultivator category celebrates the online communities or forums that create an inviting space for newcomers while maintaining a safe place that people have come to respect and rely on. Whether through online support groups, live events, or forum discussions – these leaders have mastered managing, moderating, and engaging their communities all for the purpose of supporting others.

Advocacy Trailblazer

Advocacy Trailblazer

Kristal Kent

Normalizing the Conversation (NTC)

Myisha Malone-King

Gerry Langan

Somaneh Bouba Diemé

Anna Samson

Social Health Award Description: There is no "right way" to advocate – and that's the best part of health leadership. This category seeks to recognize the countless ways leaders bring innovation. Although endless possibilities exist, we've seen leaders blaze a trail with new products, books, content, events, communities, and collaborations. Pushing the limits and paving a new path for others through education, raising awareness, or supporting their community, these individuals approach their advocacy by thinking out of the box.

Social Media Master

Social Media Master

Kristal Kent

Doug Kane

Cheryl Marker

Cynthia Covert, The Disabled Diva

Kody Green

Geri Rodriguez

Social Health Award Description: Whether posting to Instagram, hosting Facebook Lives, uploading YouTube videos, or stitching the latest TikTok trend, the Social Media Master category recognizes the patients and caregivers leveraging social platforms for advocacy. This individual is sharing their story and fostering community through one or many social channels. With so many in-app social features, we seek to celebrate all the creative ways health leaders use social media to impact their condition areas.

Creative Contributor

Creative Contributor

Effie Koliopoulos

Cheryl Marker


Kev G Mor

"A Hot MS" - Brittany Quiroz

Isabelle Fisher (aka POSY)

Social Health Award Description: There are so many avenues when it comes to patient advocacy. The Creative Contributor category recognizes the individuals taking a creative approach to raising awareness. Think about patient leaders transforming their advocacy into clothing, cards, jewelry shops, comic creation, and more! This category celebrates those bringing advocacy to the marketplace.

Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year

Elif Kaya

Samantha Salvaggio

Chronic Heather

Jess Garland

Iris Vasconcelos

James Hollens

Social Health Award Description: As anyone in advocacy knows, communities aren't built overnight! Sharing your story and impacting a community takes time and patience, so let's encourage those who are recently empowered as patient leaders. The Rookie of the Year category celebrates the advocates who may be new to the scene, but continue to show the utmost potential. This category is typically for patient leaders with 1 to 3 years of experience.

Best Team

Best Team

Chronic Migraine Warriors

IBD Warriors Support and Awareness



The Hearts for Healing Project

International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis (AiArthritis)

Social Health Award Description: The Best Team category recognizes a team or group that takes their activism to new heights because of the assistance from one another. Whether it be a group that runs an online chat, a non-profit organization, or a caregiver and patient duo – this award celebrates those bringing a team effort to their advocacy!

Revolutionary Researcher

Revolutionary Researcher

Tina Aswani Omprakash

Beth Morton, PhD

Melissa Talwar (Support Fibromyalgia)

MamaTieneMigraña / Fundacion VISIBLE

Jamie Nicole

Lana Buettner

Social Health Award Description: The category aims to celebrate the patients and caregivers who refuse to let medical jargon and data slow them down! The winner of this category stays up-to-date on the latest research, treatments, and clinical trials. This patient leader has a knack for transforming complex information into layman's terms for the greater community to act on.

Caregiving Champion

Caregiving Champion

Andrea M. Jensen, CHES(R), AE-C

Makenzie Cabrera

Erin Courteau

Parvathy Krishnan

Lorrie Forseth

Holly Williams

Social Health Award Description: Not all patient leaders are sharing their own patient journey. The Caregiving Champion category is for caregivers who tirelessly raise awareness to better the lives of loved ones. Though they themselves may not be sick, they are the caregivers of children, siblings, parents, significant others, or friends, who have an up-close-and-personal perspective that is invaluable.

Give yourself a round of applause!

Congratulations to all of our finalists and nominees! A nomination means you've made an impact in someone's life and that's the biggest win of all. With the help of 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 voice!

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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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