Posted by Bridget Gamble (@bridgetgamble) · Fri, Aug 8 at 8:15am CDT
Bridget Gamble - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014
Q: How would your participation serve the greater good during and after the conference?
A: The communities on the West and Southwest Sides of Chicago, where Sinai Health System is based, endure immense challenges to all aspects of health. Limited access to quality healthcare, safe neighborhoods and legitimate employment opportunities are just a few of the trials that my fellow caregivers help our community members to navigate, and to overcome.
As the sole communications specialist for a health system that includes three hospitals, a community institute, a medical group and a research institute, I have an abundance of important messages to relay. The socioeconomic disadvantages in our neighborhoods often limit our ability to communicate with individuals and their families. Frequent relocation, for example, can leave us with outdated addresses and disconnected landline numbers. Despite these challenges, Sinai has found that a majority of our community members have smartphones and are active on social media.
With that in mind, I spend a great deal of my time relaying information and building a community presence on social media. During the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, for example, I took to social media to inform users of upcoming deadlines and promote enrollment events at Sinai. Thanks to the determination of my fellow caregivers, Sinai was one of the top enrollment agencies in Illinois in 2013.
Working in healthcare is highly fulfilling. Still, one of my favorite parts about Sinai is the stories of resilience, community and compassion generated daily by two phenomenal groups of people: my fellow caregivers and the community members we serve.
Online, I do everything I can to give these stories life, while also informing our communities of the medical information they need to lead healthier lives. I live-tweet events from @SinaiChicago and host Q&A sessions with healthcare providers to spread the wealth of knowledge from within our institution; highlight the work and accomplishments of our community health workers, physicians, nurses and other caregivers; discuss national health observances on Sinai Health System’s Facebook and urge users to make appointments, etc.; create digital newsletters for the community to raise awareness about Sinai’s events and news; and craft custom, informative content for local newspapers, to name a few.
I am always aware that I can do more to make life better for the people we serve. I recognize Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic as a huge opportunity for me to make an even bigger impact in our communities. With the knowledge I gain, I would like to host my own social media health fair in partnership with local organizations; launch a blog that recognizes remarkable patients and caregivers; and expand our social media presence to include even more community outreach and customer service practices.
As an institution that has historically provided quality healthcare to the uninsured, often at no charge, Sinai is unfortunately not in the position to expend the tuition fee for this educational opportunity. However, I am positive that my attendance would equip me with new tools I can use to tell others’ stories and to teach my fellow caregivers how they can do so as well. With the solid intent of informing and empowering our communities, I promise to use every bit of information I absorb towards the better of the Chicago neighborhoods who need our support.
Questions about the contest or the voting process? Click here.