Firstly, the opportunity to volunteer at the ACR conference was incredible from the standpoint that I was able to meet people face-to-face that I had been interacting with online for quite some time. I was able to meet some amazing patients—including the founder of the RPF—and the connection I feel with some of them goes beyond words. Additionally, there are several rheumatologists that I follow and have had some interaction with on Twitter who came to the conference from around the globe: from Germany, Ireland, Columbia, India…and I actually got to meet them in person. It was an amazing experience to meet and hear from these doctors who have such a strong passion for their field, for their patients, and for using technology as a tool for doctor-patient interaction and patient education. What a unique experience to have patients, doctors and other professionals together in one place, interacting, sharing ideas and together pursuing the same goals.
Because I was working in the exhibit hall, I wasn’t able to attend any of the scientific sessions where speakers will share information on the latest research and present new findings. Fortunately, others are sharing some of what they’ve learned at the conference, and I’ve been able to pick up some information that way. However, there was something very powerful about working the exhibit booth, too, and I felt like I belonged there with my marketing background and all. It was amazing the response we got when we started talking to the doctors and professionals who stopped by our booth to learn about the RPF. People were very supportive of the foundation, and I feel like we were able to come away with some great ideas for next steps and direction for the foundation. And…that was only day one! Unfortunately, I had to be back in town for work on Monday, so I was only able to work one day at the conference. It was enough to have a great impact on me, though. I see a bright future ahead of us as patients work together with doctors and researchers for awareness, education, advocacy and better treatments—and I want to be a part of it!
**If you're on Twitter, search for the #rheum hashtag to join the conversation on RA and rheumatology - and search for #ACR2011 for conversations surrounding this year's conference
Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!