#HealtheVoices17 Recap

HealtheVoices 17 was a few weeks ago and I’m still processing it.
It was awesome.
My pal Kenzie and I drove down together. It made the drive even better to have such great company!
It also made it easier to drag all my meds along!
Right as we got to the hotel, I hustled upstairs to meet with my fellow panel members for our stigma panel prep session. From there, I ran up and changed for dinner with the Joint Decisions crew! It was a great night. 
My first major order of business the next day was obviously to snag my Do-Rite Donuts!
The first order of business was to meet up and spend time together for breakfast. We heard from Caroline Pavis and Rhonda Waters, two of my favorite people in the entire world. 
Rhonda reminded us of how we’re like redwood trees. Did you know these trees have very shallow roots, despite being incredibly tall? The secret to their long-lasting strength is that those shallow roots are all connected.
Just like us.
It’s some powerful stuff.
C/O Daniel Garza
In the afternoon, me and the other cuties up above got together for our panel on stigma. We talked about stigma in the media, from doctors, and even from our fellow patients. 
Next up, we heard from Dr. Tiffany Taft on some much-needed self-care stuff.
We talked a lot about how to change the way we talk to ourselves and ways to focus on ourselves – at least some of the time.
I wish we had a whole conference on stigma and self-care alone. It’s so needed.
That evening, we ate delicious food together and heard from Luke Escombe – one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met. He also started off our open mic night! This was the first year they’ve done this and it was a hit.
Unfortunately, my capstone was due the same weekend as the conference, so I spent a lot of the nights working on my paper instead of spending time with friends.
Saturday was full of multiple sessions. My two favorite were Josh Robbins‘ session on ‘Here’s How to Get Video Done’ and Heather Gabel‘s ‘Creating Credible, Strong Content – How to Interpret and Share Scientific Data with Your Audiences.’
I popped down to do a few interviews.
And then we all went out for dinner at Wildfire – which was delicious!
Sunday went by quickly but was full of coming together to say goodbye. 
The biggest news of the day was that Janssen started the HealtheVoices Impact Fund. The $30,000 fund is available for individual patients to accomplish their advocacy goals. Yes, before you ask, I already have some ideas in the works.
We talked about how to take care of each other and ourselves better. Josh even made us all sign cards saying we’d do that! 
This is part of why I love HealtheVoices – being able to focus on our self-care and the connections we make.
It’s so great to connect with other health activists and spend time with dear friends.
I’m so grateful to Janssen and Johnson & Johnson for hosting this conference as well as the various supporters such as Wisdo and Healthline.
My Top 5 Takeaways:
1. It’s okay to take some time for myself.
2. We’re not alone in our fight – ask for help.
3. It’s easier to do more when we can support each other and feel supported.
4. I need to learn how to create some boundaries cause I don’t have them.
5. When you do health activism, you’re bound to have people who disagree with or hate you… but you’re also bound to have people who admire you and consider you their hero. They’re the ones to listen to.
PS: Janssen is paying my travel expenses for this conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here or on social media are my own and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Janssen or Johnson and Johnson. 

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