Top 10 | Healthcare Collaborator



Top 10 | Healthcare Collaborator 1

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Healthcare Collaborator Award

These Patient Leaders understand healthcare from the patient perspective, but they are also professionals with the skills and ability to help companies advance their most critical patient-facing initiatives. Speaking at conferences, consulting with healthcare companies, using their education to help make a change in the healthcare industry – these Patient Leaders are bridging the gap between industry stakeholders and healthcare consumers.


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Melissa Talwar | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Winner

Melissa’s advocacy work started in the early 2000’s, and she was part of the first Fibromyalgia group in Sacramento for the first Fibromyalgia Proclamation. That day ignited a passion to pursue advocacy work and find better answers for the Fibromyalgia community. She continues to bring Fibromyalgia education to patients across the country and to legislators at Capitol Hill. Be sure to connect and she’ll see you on the road!

Follow the WEGO Health Award winner on social.

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AutonomicRN | Dysautonomia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“RN turned full time patient. After Dysautonomia turned my life upside down, I was forced to figure out the new normal. While each day constantly brings change and unpredictability, I’ve been able to use my experiences to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Through blogging, online advocacy, and serving on a National Leadership Team for a nonprofit as Medical, Clinical Liaison and also on their Advocacy Team, my voice now reaches individuals globally. While I loved bedside nursing, I never thought about the reach that I possibly could have on a global level. Connecting with so many patient leaders, advocates, and members of health care teams has been invaluable and has allowed me to forge new relationships that I never thought was possible.”

It’s with a heavy heart we share Kim has since passed, but please learn more about her journey and become inspired by her work.

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Stacy Hurt | Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I am a passionate, outspoken health care strategist and activist. Having been a healthcare executive for 20+ years and advocating for both my disabled/special needs son and myself as a stage IV colorectal cancer survivor, I understand the need for connection and collaboration between health care professionals and patients. Empathy and communication are greatly lacking, and I am the authentic voice to bridge that gap. I am particularly interested in survivorship, invisible disabilities, patient centricity, and #doingawareness (as opposed to just “raising” awareness).”

Add Stacy to your feeds to stay updated on her advocacy.

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Brianna Cardenas | Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“As a Physician Assistant with EDS and a CSF leak, my goal is to raise awareness about these conditions both online and amongst my colleagues in the medical field. I now work as a professor in a PA program and teach my students about EDS, CSF leaks, and other chronic illnesses and how they impact patients. I am grateful for my perspective from both sides of the stethoscope and will continue to advocate for better healthcare for all of us!”

Learn more about the important work Brianna is doing and follow her on social.

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Liz Kennerley | Rare Disease Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I’m a mitochondrial disease patient and volunteer federal health policy lobbyist. My primary focus will always be rare disease legislation. However, in order to completely advocate for the 1 in 10 Americans with a rare condition other areas of health policy had to become a priority. While the legislative priorities are to help patients like all of us, the angle, legislation, and discussion are different each time. On the Hill, I have advocated alongside pharmaceutical CEOs, scientists, doctors, and patients.”

Check out Liz’s advocacy on Capitol Hil and beyond.

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Amanda Greene | Lupus Patient Leader

“As a Patient Leader, Amanda encourages other people to become your own best advocate and start by sharing their story to impact and inspire healthcare organizations to collaborate with patient communities. Amanda is known for sharing her personal healthcare experience wherever she is – whether on stage (as a keynote speaker or panelist), writing a guest post for a national healthcare organization or online.”

Follow Amanda on social.

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Paolo Maccallini | ME/CFS Patient Leader

“A lot of patients have asked me why I use my little energies to study my disease, instead of just waiting for science to conquer it.There are many reasons, the first one being that I am desperate because of the cognitive disability that is worse than death. I am not concerned about the physical limitations, at all, even though I have been mostly housebound for the last 20 years. Another reason is that I like computational biology, and I started studying engineering before getting sick with the idea of switching to bioengineering after graduating. So, this is my job.”

Stay updated about Paolo’s advocacy work.

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Barby Ingle | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

Cheerleader of HOPE – Barby Ingle, BSc, is an Amazon bestselling author, reality television personality, and president of International Pain Foundation (iPain) sharing her powerful story about life-changing events that forced life reflection, purpose, and her journey from wheels to heals. Barby has a degree in Social Psychology from George Mason University and more than 20 years of living with chronic pain and 30 years of motivational speaking experience.

Want to learn more about Barby? Click here to follow her on social.

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Tom Kindlon | ME Patient Leader

“After being diagnosed for over a year, I realised there was a good chance I was going to be stuck being quite ill & disabled for a long period, possibly indefinitely, a prospect that wasn’t appealing. Moreover, I realised that there wasn’t a huge effort to research the illness well; it wasn’t on the radar the way many other conditions were. I have been busy for the last 23 years working away as a (voluntary) ME activist. Much of what I concentrated on in the early years was raising awareness & understanding in Ireland with the Irish ME/CFS Association. I have done around 50 media interviews & have been featured in most of the national newspapers in Ireland. I have written dozens of press releases & have helped arrange for around 130 Irish families affected with ME to tell their story over the years in over 400 interviews. A lot more people are diagnosed here now & attitudes have improved.”

Follow Tom to be educated and inspired.

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Brooke Schnittman | ADHD Patient Leader

Brooke Schnittman, MA, ACC, BCC, has been nominated for multiple awards including “Best In Show Community” and”Advocating For Another.” She is the creator of What’s Next and ADHDEdCamp. When working with clients, it is Brooke’s mission to empower them to achieve their personal goals and break through the obstacles that seem to be holding them back in life.

Add some inspiration to your feeds by following Brooke.


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