Social Media Health Network

Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care

External Advisory Board

advisory board badgeThe External Advisory Board (EAB) for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (MCCSM) and its Social Media Health Network (SMHN) includes individuals from throughout the health care industry and beyond. Members include patients actively using social media, as well as representatives from other industries whose insights help support our mission.

Follow the MCCSM_EAB List on Twitter.

Patricia F. Anderson (@Patricia F. Anderson) is Emerging Technologies Librarian at Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan. Her work has focused on health and the Internet since 1995 when she became the design chair and webmaster for the HealthWeb collaboration. Currently, she specializes in emerging technologies, especially with respect to facilitating outreach and support to health care consumers and educators. Her additional professional interests include education, science 2.0, consumer health, health literacy, and community building.

Patricia is active in Second Life and virtual worlds with particular emphasis on its use for individuals with disabilities. In Second Life, she is a co-founder of the Healthcare Education group, as well as the SLHealthy guide to health locations, communities and activities in Second Life. She is committed to accessibility issues and is a member of several instructional and Internet organizations.  Among her publications is the Medical Library Association Encyclopedic Guide to Searching and Finding Health Information on the Web. She is equally active in social media, providing training and advising many units within the UM campus community, providing support to autism community events on Twitter, and actively participating in the #hcsm weekly Twitter chats. She blogs regularly at ETechLib and Cool Toys.

David W. Ballard, PsyD is Assistant Executive Director for Marketing and Business Development at the American Psychological Association and the APA Practice Organization. In this capacity, he designs and directs efforts related to health and well-being in the workplace, monitors the evolving health-care landscape to keep psychology viable in the marketplace, and helps psychologists build, manage, market, and diversify their practices in ways that meet emerging community needs. Dr. Ballard spearheads APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, designed to help employers create a workplace culture that promotes employee well-being and organizational performance. Dr. Ballard has provided research and consultation services to government agencies, medical schools, and universities in the areas of public health, prevention, and health care finance and has experience in management, marketing, and consumer research. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Health Enhancement Research Organization and The Health Project/C. Everett Koop National Health Awards and serves on the National Business Group on Health's Workplace Emotional Wellness Advisory Board. Dr. Ballard received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology and his MBA in Health and Medical Services Administration from Widener University, where he completed concentrations in organizational and forensic psychology. You can follow him on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or contact him by email.

Phil BaumannPhil Baumann helps physician, nurse, other Healthcare leaders design better relationships with patients. A registered nurse with a background in Enterprise operations across multiple verticals, from Pharmaceuticals to Public Utilities, Phil brings a synergistic perspective to Healthcare.

He started the first clinical Twitter chats, #RNchat and #MDchat, and continues to push the boundaries of Healthcare uses of social media. He is a “Top 150 Thought Leader” on LinkedIn.


Dr. Jeffrey Benabio is Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA, where he helped create and sustain one of the country’s largest telemedicine programs. He’s a board certified dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He has been engaging with patients on his blog, The Digital Doctor, for over five years and recently started SuperDocs, a site dedicated to doctors, digital health, and social media. He has been an example and advocate for using social networks to educate and empower patients and has become a sought after speaker, lecturing on health innovation, telemedicine, the changing doctor-patient relationship, and social networking for health systems and physician groups. He serves on several boards, including The American Telemedicine Association and writes a monthly column about technology and healthcare for Skin & Allergy News. He has authored social networking papers in academic journals, and, more importantly, Glamour magazine named him “Rock Star of Dermatology,” making him his niece’s coolest uncle. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or by email.

Ed Bennett is the Director of Web Strategy for the University of Maryland Medical Center, and is responsible for the public Web sites, intranets and social media activities of the hospital. Ed also blogs at Found In Cache, where he founded an industry reference,  the Hospital Social Networking List, which tracked the social media activities of U.S. Hospitals. In October 2012 Ed transferred responsibility for maintaining the list to the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, where it has become the Health Care Social Media List, an international resource. Ed has spoken at numerous conferences on social media and health care, including SXSW and the Mayo Clinic/Ragan Communications Social Media Summit. Ed is an actively engaged member of the Health Care Social Media Community on Twitter.

Andre Blackman is an influential, connected agent of change within the health care and social innovation community. He is very passionate about the intersection of media, technology and design concepts as it relates to the improvement of population health impact and social change. Through his company Pulse + Signal, Andre provides navigation around the healthcare innovation space through research/insights, digital PR & communications for organizations & digital branding for professionals.

Andre is a featured speaker on a number of conversations around HIV/AIDS, mobile health, health disparities and new forms of health journalism. He has worked alongside organizations such as the Black AIDS Institute, CDC, & HHS to educate and promote innovation around important health initiatives and opportunities. In addition to the MCCSM Board, he serves on: IntraHealth International OPEN; SXSW Health Advisory Board; DC Health Innovation Week Committee; and is the cofounder of the FastForward Health Film Festival. He is on Twitter as @Andre Blackman.

Chris Boyer is an active participant in the rapidly evolving field of healthcare new-media marketing. He’s a speaker and educator and someone who puts talk into action by creating and testing new digital strategies.

As the AVP of Digital Strategy for Northshore/LIJ Health System in NY, Chris leads a team that is responsible for creating low-cost, high-return branding and growth using targeted online strategies to attract patients, family members and physicians.

Chris enjoys helping healthcare organizations see the value of social media – not only to communicate, but also to deliver relevant health information to patients online. He focuses on finding and measuring the ROI of online marketing (especially social media). In the past, Chris has lead a digital healthcare team that was awarded national recognition for their website, mobile strategy, social media and wellness programs.

With a background that includes more than 15 years of experience as a marketing and sales consultant, Chris has devoted the last seven years in the healthcare industry and has personally worked with more than 100 hospitals and physician practices throughout the United States. You can find Chris online  or on Twitter.

Nick Dawson is the Patient Experience Officer at Frontier Health based in Richmond Virginia. He is a former health system executive who cares deeply about how we do the work of delivering care and how patients experience health care services. After all, we are all patients. Before joining Frontier Health, Nick has served in several administrative roles within several integrated health systems. He has led strategy and innovation teams, operational departments and revenue cycle efforts.

Despite three major knee surgeries, Nick is still an avid extreme skiier. He enjoys throwing himself off cliffs, skiing backwards and, occassionally, racing. His preferred mode of transport is a 1973, UK-import Land Rover Series III. Connect with Nick on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Bunny Ellerin has spent the last two decades helping to build companies across the healthcare landscape. She has used her entrepreneurial, marketing and operational skills in a variety of sectors including pharma, medtech,  physician services, health technology, and online media.

Today, Bunny is Senior Vice President at Intouch Solutions, a privately held marketing agency headquartered in the Kansas City area with offices in Chicago and New York.

Bunny is the co-founder of NYC Health Business Leaders, launched in 2009 to increase the visibility of NYC as a thriving center of health, medical and life sciences innovation. The group’s events provide opportunities for healthcare leaders in NYC to share ideas, forge relationships, and succeed in building their businesses.

In 1999, Bunny founded and led Harvard Business School Health Industry Alumni Association, the first group of its kind at HBS. The group brings together HBS alumni involved in all sectors of the healthcare industry for professional development and networking. The organization is a major HBS alumni force with more than 650 active members, an industry-shaping annual conference, robust website and special events and programs throughout the year. She served as its President and Chairman for many years.

Lucien Engelen is founding Director of the REshape & Innovation Center of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands.  Here he also is the Head of the Regional Acute Healthcare Network and is advisory to the executive committee. He advises on how changes in healthcare can enhance the participation of the patients. Combining his previous business experience, he looks at health from both a patient and business perspective. Lucien sees participatory healthcare as  the most challenging aspect of future healthcare reform and used innovation to create a shift. He initiated numerous innovations like i.e. AYA4, a community for young cancer patients and families to meet and share experiences, as well as AED4, which worldwide collects the geo-position data of AEDs for iPhone, iPad and Android apps. He is also an author of three books, and the initiator & Curator of "the Future of Health" conferences (like TEDxMaastricht), which will address health care change. Learn more on his LinkedIn profile, send him a tweet (@lucienengelen) or visit his blog.

David Harlow (@healthblawg) is Principal of The Harlow Group LLC, a health care law and consulting firm based near Boston, Mass. His twenty years’ experience in the public and private sectors gives him perspective on legal, policy and business issues facing the health care community. David assists clients in developing new paradigms for their business organizations, relationships and processes, helping them reach organizational goals in a highly regulated environment, in realms ranging from facilities development to social media strategies to the avoidance of fraud and abuse. His blog, HealthBlawg, is highly regarded in both the legal and health policy blogging worlds.  He also speaks regularly before health care and legal industry groups on the uses of social media.


MHogan-CaseMelissa Hogan (@SavingCase) is a passionate "patient strategist" on all things rare disease. She is a lawyer and strategic consultant by profession who became a mom to a child with an ultra rare disease.   When her son Case was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome (or Mucopolysaccharidosis II) in 2009, she began advocating, writing, and speaking on behalf of rare disease families about issues that are mission critical to their lives such as medical research, pharma, clinical trials, therapies, social media and special education. Her blog SavingCase is now read in over 100 countries. She also writes and uses other social media to update about her son's participation in a groundbreaking Phase I/II clinical trial and provide helpful information about rare disease and special needs issues. She is the author of the e-book Calmer: Medical Events with Cognitively Impaired Children (2012) which seeks to share strategies for preventing medical trauma in children with chronic medical conditions.

Melissa is active on #raredisease, #socpharm, and #HunterSyndrome on Twitter. You can also follow Melissa on Pinterest, or YouTube, connect on LinkedIn, or contact her by e-mail. Melissa and her husband Chris live outside Nashville, Tennessee with their three sons.

As Principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, Shel Holtz consults with organizations on the application of online technology to their communication efforts. Hospitals and health care are focus points of his practice. Shel has been an author of six communication-related books. He is a regular conference speaker, mostly on social media-related topics. He is a blogger and co-host of the first communications-related podcast, "For Immediate Release." Shel is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and was named an IABC Fellow in 2005. He is a Founding Research Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR).


Matt Katz, MD (@subatomicdoc) is a community-based doctor and partner in Radiation Oncology Associates, P.A. An advocate for patient education and individualized cancer care, he created CaP Calculator, a web-based decision support tool for prostate cancer. He currently serves as Chief of Radiation Oncology at Lowell General Hospital.  Former Chair of Communications for the American Society of Radiation Oncology, he continues to serve on the committee and also for Communications for Massachusetts Medical Society. He is exploring how to use technology to improve cancer care, to advocate for health empowerment, and to contribute to society at large. Feel free to connect via Twitter, Facebook  orTumblr.
Ahava_Leibtag_headshotAhava Leibtag has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging and marketing. She is a well-recognized content expert and writes thought leadership about content strategy and social media. Ahava is the President and owner of Aha Media Group, LLC, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005.

Ahava's position as a Communications Strategist for a government agency gave her unique perspective in writing customer-centric prose. Previously, she worked in the Corporate Communications department of Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading international executive recruiting firm. Ahava has also worked for two major advertising agencies, a commercial production company and also served as the metro beat reporter for The Jerusalem Post.

Dana Lewis created and moderates the internationally-recognized #hcsm (health care communications and social media) conversation and community on Twitter. She is also the manager of digital marketing and internal communications for Swedish (in Seattle, Washington), where she implements social and digital health strategies across the organization both internally with employees and externally to connect with patients and improve the patient experience. Dana is passionate about using technology to facilitate conversations and collaboration to benefit our communities and improve health care. She frequently speaks, writes, and teaches on topics related to the implementation and utilization of social media across health care.

Dana serves on the City of Seattle’s Citizens’ Telecommunications & Technology Advisory Board and also volunteers with the American Diabetes Association as a member on the National Youth Strategies Committee; a board member of the local Community Leadership Board; and as a mentor to the Washington State Teen Leadership Council.

Howard Luks, MD (@Howard Luks) is an Orthopedic Surgeon who believes that humans are innately social... and as an extension, that health care by nature is social. He entered the intersection of health care and social media long before the pavement was dry. As an early adopter of Twitter, Dr. Luks also runs a blog, a Facebook Page, a YouTube channel and a personal site to educate, to interact and to engage with his patients. Howard serves as the Chief Medical Officer of iMedExchange and FairCareMD and he serves as a Strategic Advisor to many health care start-ups. He is actively trying to engage his colleagues to consider participating in the Health 2.0 movement. This passion finds him frequently speaking on various social media topics as they relate to health care access, quality, HIT and cost transparency --- all of which falls under his mantra --- "We Are All Patients."

Cynthia ManleyCynthia Floyd Manley is a director of strategic marketing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she leads development of content marketing and social engagement strategies. She began her career as a newspaper journalist at The Tennessean and even after 20 years in health care, she still considers herself a journo at heart. The emergence of social media has allowed her to bring her news experience and sense of news judgment to her role in health care marketing and public relations. Prior to taking her current role in 2011, she spent 12 years as the senior media relations and communications officer for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. She also has served leadership roles in the National Cancer Institute Public Affairs & Marketing Network and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Manley is a member of the board of directors for Gilda’s Club Nashville, and she advises the non-profit cancer support organization on public relations and social media issues. A Tennessee native, Manley lives in Nashville.

Bertalan Mesko, MD, PhD (@Bertalan Mesko, MD) graduated from the University of Debrecen, Medical School and Health Science center with Weszprémy Award as a medical doctor in 2009 and finished PhD in the field of clinical genomics summa cum laude.

He is the managing director and founder of, the first service that curates the medical and health-related social media resources for patients and medical professionals. He has given presentations from the Yale, Stanford and Harvard University to the centre of the World Health Organization; and is a health 2.0 consultant for pharma and medical technology companies. included him in the Future Health Top 100 list.

He is the author of the award-winning medical blog,; and the founder and lecturer of the Social Media in Medicine online and offline university credit course which is the first of its kind worldwide. He is a member of Mensa International and the Kairos Society.

Dr. Egbe Osifo-Dawodu MRCP MSc MBA, partner at the Anadach Group was previously with the World Bank where she managed the Group responsible for capacity building programs in health, education and social protection.  She led and worked on both health policy dialogue/projects with Governments, and   on IFC private health sector projects. She also played a key role in starting the African University of Science and Technology.

Egbe has over 25 years experience in the healthcare policy, provision and health care financing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and the United States. Egbe, who currently lectures at the University at Albany, has authored several articles, contributed to books and was a lead author of “Establishing Private Health Care Facilities in Developing Countries: A Guide for Medical Entrepreneurs”.

Egbe is a member of the advisory boards of Sproxil and the Mayo Clinic Center for  Social Media, and a board member of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas. You can also contact
her by e-mail.

JodyJody Schoger is a writer and breast cancer advocate with more than 30 years of experience in public relations and communications in health care, science and the arts.  She is the author of the WomenWithCancer blog,  "Anchored Activism" columns in Oncology Times and is the co-founder of Breast Cancer Social Media #BCSM, a dynamic virtual community for breast cancer survivors.  Her mission is to help women diagnosed with cancer move through treatment through virtual support networks and evidence-based information.  She speaks about cancer survivorship frequently and has been a frequent guest on SIRIUS radio's "Doctor Radio," quoted in USA Today and featured on the NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.  In addition to her writing and advocacy she is a graduate of NBCC's Project Lead, a consumer reviewer for the DOD's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in breast cancer, a PCORI stakeholder reviewer, and a 2011 Stanford#Med2.0 epatient scholar.  Find her on Twitter.

Christian Sinclair, MD (@ctsinclair) is a board certified palliative medicine physician and an advocate for health care professionals to enter the social media space. Learning about the power of social media and networking from 5 years of writing and editing for Pallimed: A Hospice and Palliative Medicine Blog, Christian was one of the youngest board members elected to AAHPM and was a catalyst in leveraging the power of the social network to reverse an FDA decision to ban liquid morphine. With a particular focus (but not limited to) hospice and palliative organizations and medical specialty societies, he founded KLXmedia. He believes doctors, nurses and other professionals can use Web 2.0 to increase collaboration, raise academic standards and promote good health education to other professionals and the public. In addition to blogging, he continues to be active in his medical practice, and can be found hosting #hpm (Hospice and Palliative Medicine) Tweetchat, Palliative Care Grand Rounds (monthly review of best blog posts) and sharing presentations on Slideshare.

Reed Smith is a consulting strategist and thought leader focused on the integration of social computing into hospitals. Much of his work focuses on incorporating interactive elements into current online strategies within hospitals and healthcare organizations. Reed's hospital experience includes time as a hospital marketing director and overseeing product development for the Texas Hospital Association, where he assembled best practices and case studies from organizations across the country to create a social media guide for hospitals. Prior to healthcare, Reed spent time working in both telecommunications and professional sports. He has also presented at various healthcare and social media conferences around the nation. You can learn more about Reed by visiting i am reedsmith and his LinkedIn profile, or by connecting with him on Twitter.

Hugh StephensHugh Stephens is a fourth year medical student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, currently performing research into Donation after Cardiac Death to earn his honors degree. Entering medicine with an IT background at a time when social media was first emerging, Hugh has a keen personal and professional interest in this area. In 2010 he co-authored the first Australian social media guidelines for medical professionals: the Australian Medical Association’s Guide to Social Media in the Medical Profession. He has been invited to speak to both healthcare professionals and students about online professionalism and the integration of social media into healthcare. Hugh has recently started Dialogue Consulting, a social media consultancy specialising in building communities through social media, and is a regular at the #hcsmanz tweetchat. Get in contact with him via Twitter, or through his personal website.

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, FAAP is a board certified, practicing pediatrician, blogger, and freelance writer. After completing her MD and MBE (Master's in Bioethics) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, she completed her residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Swanson maintains a busy pediatric practice and writes Seattle Mama Doc for Seattle Children’s Hospital, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital. Dr Swanson is an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and sits on the Board of Advisors for Parents Magazine. She is called on frequently by the news media for her expertise in pediatric heath and is active in sharing her perspectives on pediatric health issues via social media. Her objective is to illustrate how a growing community of health care providers can empower patients to make informed decisions founded in science. She believes in the power of social media and feels physicians have an ethical obligation to share opinions online. Follow her on Twitter.

Dr. VBryan Vartabedian, M.D., an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston and attending physician at Texas Children’s Hospital, America’s largest children’s hospital.

Dr Vartabedian is actively developing BCM’s curriculum surrounding digital professionalism and literacy. His Digital Smarts program due to launch in the summer of 2013 is one of thecountry’s first longitudinal medical school programs intended to prepare students for a digital future. In the spring of 2013 Dr. Vartabedian will be a Visiting Professor at Rice University coteaching Medicine in the Age of Networked Intelligence.

Beyond his clinical duties, Dr. Vartabedian has been present in the health blogosphere since 2006 and has been a witness to the social health revolution and its influence on doctors and patients. Dr. Vartabedian has served as a consultant to several health care start ups and has independently advised health care organizations and national physician groups in the area of social media policy and strategy. As an active keynote/panel speaker in the area of social media, technology and the future of medicine, he has addressed the American Medical Association, the American Telemedicine Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Gastroenterological Association on the issue of MDs in the social space. He has been quoted in the mainstream media by national outlets and has appeared as a guest on network TV programs.

Before the Internet Dr V cut his teeth on pulp doing freelance work for magazines such as Parenting and American Baby. He has authored or contributed to several books, and writes about the intersection of medicine, social media and technology on his blog, 33 charts. He also tweets about it.

Bob West, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at SUNY Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, NY). He is a molecular biologist and geneticist by training, and has taught medical students for the past 28 years. He currently serves as a Co-Director for a first-year medical student course in Molecular and Cellular Principles of Medicine, as an Advisory Dean to 40 first- and second-year medical students, and as a member of several campus-wide committees dedicated to medical student education. Most recently, his mission has involved educating medical students in the areas of genomic and personalized medicine. A medical elective devoted to this topic (BIOC1205: “Personalized Medicine 101: Digitizing Diagnosis for Doctors”), offered for the first time in the Fall of 2009, was among the first in the nation to offer training to budding physicians that incorporates genomic and personalized medicine into the existing curriculum. He advocates a 21st century healthcare that is predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory for patients. While a scientist and educator by training, Dr. West is also a staunch supporter of Patient Advocacy, and an ardent e-Patient.

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more refined and accurate awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower RA patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA. She was the first patient and blogger to attend the American College of Rheumatology Scientific Meeting as a member of the press. In addition to her daily blogs on Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, Kelly writes periodically on other websites, including Orthopedic Posterous, WEGO Health, and Health Care Professionals Live. There are more than 7,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can learn more about Kelly by following her on Twitter or YouTube, or connecting with her on LinkedIn. She created and moderates the weekly Twitter chat on rheumatology topics, which can be followed with the hashtag: #rheum.

Views expressed by members of the External Advisory Board are those of the individuals and do not represent the positions of Mayo Clinic or the Center for Social Media.