Janssen Pharmaceuticals paid for my travel and hotel. All opinions are my own. They did not ask me to write a blog post about my time at the conference.
For the second year in a row, I was able to attend the HealtheVoices conference a few weeks ago! This year, it was in Dallas. I had a wonderful time, and since this is my blog, I thought I would recap my time for those of you who are interested and/or who wanted to go but couldn’t make it. I’ve also included all of my livetweets of the conference, which are split into threads for each session.
Thursday (Day 0)
On Thursday, I woke up bright and early for my 7:47 flight from BOS to DFW. It was really nice that it was a direct flight, but it was also a long flight for me. 2 hours is about the most I can comfortably do a flight, but this flight was 4.5 hours.
I arrived at my hotel by 12:30, and was surprised to see how many HealtheVoices people were already there! I checked in, but they didn’t have a room ready for several hours, so I hung out with new friends in the lobby (and finished a blog post). I finally got a room around 3:30, and after that, I rested for a few hours.
That night, the RA and ankylosing spondylitis advocates went out to dinner with some people from Janssen who work in the rheumatological space. We went to Ida Claire, which is all about Southern food! It was a fun time, but it was so busy that it was kind of difficult to hear each other. But goodness gracious do they have AMAZING sweet potato chips! I ate far too many of them.
Friday (Day 1)
The conference fully got underway on Friday morning! Up first was the opening session featuring the patient advisory board, real patients who helped Janssen put together the conference. One thing that was fun was we were at assigned tables, which was good because a) we got to meet new people, people we may not have met otherwise and b) it helped prevent cliques from forming. After the advisory board spoke, we did ice breakers/getting-to-know-each-other activities. Check out my live tweets of that morning’s session here:
There was also a session about resiliency on the first day. The thing about living with chronic illness(es) is we have to be resilient – we don’t have a choice. But we can use our resiliency to our advantage. There were 4 patient advocates who spoke in this session, and they share their tips for being resilient. Check out what they had to say here:
I needed to go lie down in the afternoon, and thankfully HealtheVoices understands that that sometimes needs to happen! After resting, I was able to make the YouTube session, which I was glad about because I missed it last year. This was led by Leland Candler, head of strategy at YouTube. This is one of the reasons why I love HealtheVoices – they get people from these companies like YouTube to speak at the event. We looked at the brand side of things, which I found fascinating as someone who has worked with brands, albeit on this blog and not YouTube.
I learned a LOT about YouTube videos from that session. And, of course, I tweeted it all.
Saturday (Day 2)
On Saturday, we started off with a session on best video practices from a patient advocate who uses YouTube as his primary platform, Josh Robbins. It was pretty cool to hear from him about video because he spoke mostly about the creative side, while the session from YouTube featured the brand side.
Josh also spoke about live streaming, which was really great to hear because for the second year in a row, he was running the livestream for HealtheVoices. So he knows a thing or two about it! You can read more about what happened in the session here:
After that session, we started break-out sessions for the day! This means that for each 1-hour session, we had a few different options to choose from. I attending a session about turning your story into a memoir. Marisa Zeppieri led this session and shared her creative process for writing a memoir, as well as the publishing process. Part 1 of the memoir session:
Next, I attended a session about an introduction to podcasting. I’ve been a guest on a few podcasts now, and I really like them, but I haven’t reached a point where I feel the desire to make myself. But this session was really fascinating, and what I especially liked was it featured making an example podcast during the session.
The final session I attended on Saturday was about research and getting involved as a patient! As I said in my livetweets (which are below because of course), I’ve been called “highly complex” and “interesting” by doctors, so I’m really drawn to research. It was a really great session, and we got to hear from a patient who participates in research and a doctor who has worked in research from the researcher side. That combination made for a fascinating session!
That night was the annual HealtheVoices Open Mic Night! I didn’t attend due to not feeling great, but apparently it was awesome.
Sunday (Day 3)
On Sunday, we started the day with a session about Twitter from Twitter! Twitter is my favorite social media network, so I was looking forward to this session. A lot of it I already knew – I’m a Twitter expert, after all – but it was still a good session.
The last proper session we had was about self-preservation, and it all came full circle in that it was done by the HealtheVoices patient advisory panel. They spoke about their strategies for self-care as well as self-preservation (and yes, they’re different). It was a good session for thinking about what your strategies are.
We ended with a short closing session from Barby Ingle. She spoke about how, when she got sick, she felt that she wasn’t her any more, and how she got past that. It was a really moving session and a wonderful way to end the conference.
Have you been to a conference like HealtheVoices?
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