Kidney Patients Train to Flex Social Media Muscle

Over 200 Patients Prepped for Action in Past Six Months

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Washington, DC – The American Association of Kidney Patients hosted a special Social Media Training Heathline Webinar in honor of World Kidney Day and National Kidney Month, featuring James Myers, a dialysis patient from Crown Point, Indiana. Mr. Myers is a nationally-known social media activist and was the inaugural individual winner of the AAKP Social Media and Advocacy Award in 2015 (click here to see his 2015 award acceptance speech).  The special Social Media Training Healthline Webinar was recorded and is available along with the full AAKP Healthline archives on the AAKP website www.aakp.org/media-files/aakp-healthline.html.
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More than 30 patients were trained in the recent special Media Training Heathline Webinar, joining more than 170 other kidney patients who were similarly trained by AAKP last year at the AAKP National Patient Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. For the past two years, AAKP has prioritized social media as a key part of its national strategy to elevate the patient voice to the front end of national public policy, legislative and healthcare discussions. AAKP has been highly aggressive at inserting the patient voice throughout the development and full lifecycle of medical devices, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals related to the battle against kidney disease.
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Mr. Myers discussed how to use social media to effectively tell the patient story and experience and how best to educate and advocate for better care for kidney patients. He uses social media to engage elected leaders, healthcare professionals and the personal and professional networks of patients
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“I’ve done everything from kidney walks, to knocking on doors to ask for contributions, to manning tables at events, but there is nothing quite like the reach of social media for honest raising of awareness for kidney issues.  It gives every kidney patient the ability to get involved and to make real changes in public policy, unlike any other method on earth” stated James Myers.  “If you want to change public policy and make yourself heard, social media offers an inexpensive and effective medium that is unsurpassed.  Normal kidney patients with no voice now have the means to make their concerns heard!”
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Mr. Myers has also been actively involved with petition drives through multiple national social media platforms aimed at increasing national awareness of kidney disease, including Change.org
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Paul T. Conway, President of AAKP and an architect of multiple national grassroots and social media campaigns said, “James Myers is an incredible asset to kidney patient community and we are pleased to count such a talented activist among our cadre. His self-less service on behalf of those in need is highly honorable and he is an expert at blending personal narratives with cutting edge technology to increase the impact of everyone who cares about the devastating impacts of kidney disease.”
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The AAKP Social Media and Advocacy Award was launched in 2015 to recognize individuals and organizations successfully deploying social media to increase patient engagement and patient advocacy within public policy and healthcare policy.  The award is an initiative under the AAKP Center for Patient Engagement and Advocacy, a newly formed center dedicated to providing online advocacy tools, social media training, certification for patient advocates and links to federal agency patient engagement opportunities. The National Kidney Foundation won the first organizational award for its video entitled “Everyone Pees (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y165Gv_SBd4) which garnered over 1 million social media views.
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Information, applications and nomination information for the 2016 AAKP Social Media and Advocacy Award can be found by visiting the AAKP website at www.aakp.org and click on Programs and Events.
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AAKP engages in a number of multi-supported programs and activities that educate, advocate for and empower patients to understand their condition, take control of their illness, and make informed choices on the best course of treatment for them. AAKP firmly believes that an informed patient is a healthy patient. Research shows that an informed patient, provided with the tools and resources to: understand their condition, determine the best treatment option for them and be empowered to be the leader of their healthcare team, is an overall healthier patient – physically, emotionally and socially.
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For more information about AAKP and its programs, visit www.aakp.org or call 1-800-749-2257.
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AAKP is a voluntary non-profit organization founded by kidney patients, which for more than 45 years, has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of kidney patients through education, advocacy and the fostering of patient communities. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.
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