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Cinderblocks4 – Medical Advocacy at its Best

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Pound for pound, the best health conference! A rare combination of small, local, action-oriented, inspiring networking, and relaxing. 40-50 attendees met in Grantsville, Garrett County, MD, population 766, for three days. Regina Holliday of Walking Gallery fame organizes and breathes life into Cinderblocks. The older I get, the more I seek people who collaborate to solve local problems that matter to them.   50% of the 30 presentations were literally local – from Garrett County and immediate vicinity. The rest came from as far as France and LA, Oklahoma, Texas, Boston, and DC to learn what works for each other. A sample:

  • Mountain Laurel Medical Center: Charles Wilt bragged about the recent addition of seven hours of psychiatric telehealth service provided in this primary care center. The Center also serves as the food pantry for the region. Meeting remote primary care challenges!
  • Garrett County Health Department: Shelley Argabrite and John Corbin described their platform for promoting the collaboration of almost 40 groups of local residents working to solve the problems afflicting all communities, most  with larger populations and resources – drug misuse, partnering teens and seniors, immunization, decreasing hospital readmissions, food insecurity, oral health, medication management, maternal/fetal health, chronic disease management, transportation, homelessness … Leveraging resources!
  • Patient Priorities Care: Mary Anne Sterling described the project to put patient priorities and health goals at the center of care. Be still my beating heart!
  • Failed Implant Alliance: Joleen Chambers, a trained FDA Patient Representative, shared her story of advocacy to improve the protection of patients with flawed medical devices. Tragedy fueling empowerment.
  • High Country Creamery: Industry, employment, quality food – Brandon Kling took us on a tour. The stomach of community health!
  • Medstartr: Alex Fair shared his journey supporting care innovations with expertise and funding. Great ideas need business sense.
  • CMS Blue Button: A federal initiative to promote patient access to their health records in a usable form described by Mark Scrimshire and Carly Medosh. Give Me My Damn Data!
  • One Pulse for America: Ladd Everitt presented on the financial costs of treating victims of gun violence.
  • Patient, Stories, Patient Partners, Patient Solutions: Matt Listiak, LA filmmaker, told us about a storytelling video content engine to promote actionable, measurable solutions. Another medium for disseminating what works!
  • L’Effet Papillion: Melanie Peron traveled from France. Many of us viewed her Virtual Reality application, BLISS, to reduce stress and anxiety. Non-chemical solutions rule!
  • Learning Health Community: Josh Rubin loves learning and sharing what works in healthcare decision-making. Check out the journal.
  • Colontown Care: Erika Brown and Abby Bott. Patients and caregivers, young and older, supporting each other to find clinical studies, solutions, and a network to manage colo-rectal cancer. Lived experience works!

In need of something positive? Check out these people and communities learning what works.

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