As patient leaders, it’s impossible to represent our communities without understanding and promoting health equity for all members. Ensuring that every patient has the chance to access and receive the care, support, and resources they need to navigate their health is an essential part of patient advocacy.
While Minority Health Month may have been in April, it’s critical we continue the conversation all year round. That’s why WEGO Health sat down with patient leaders Tina Aswani Omprakash, Daana Townsend, and Megan-Claire Chase to discuss what we can do as a community to create lasting support and most importantly, equity and equality for all patients.
In this webinar replay, we’ll explore the importance of raising awareness for health equity and talk through actionable ways patient leaders can ensure all patients have access to the treatment, education, and support they need to thrive.
Meet the Panelists
Tina Aswani Omprakash
Tina Aswani Omprakash is a Crohn’s Disease patient and advocate for the chronically ill and disabled. She is based out of New York City and consults for various non-profits, corporations and the government. Via her writing, social media advocacy and public speaking engagements, she spearheads public health causes, including those proposing research and creating awareness for inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and Colitis), life-saving ostomy surgery and initiatives supporting health concerns for women and racial, ethnic & sexual minorities. Tina is currently a student of Public Health at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine. She maintains a blog and social media advocacy platform called Own Your Crohn’s (http://ownyourcrohns.com) in which she shares her own experiences in addition to others’ stories to empower patients to live their best lives possible. Tina’s aim is to normalize the rhetoric around chronic illnesses and disabilities in order to help patients live fuller, happier lives.
Daana is 40 years old, living in Milwaukee, WI. She was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) in 2004. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Africology, a Master of Science in Cultural Foundations of Education, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Foundations of Education, with a specialization in Sociology. She is resigned to the fact that her Ph.D. candidate status will likely be in perpetuity, as finishing her dissertation presents a unique set of challenges in combination with health issues. Daana’s DMDs have ranged from Avonex to Tysabri to LEMTRADA (final infusion in 2016) — with IV steroids, plasmapheresis and botox injections in between over the years. She began Ocrevus in December 2018, after new lesions were found post-LEMTRADA. She currently teaches Sociology part-time and has been teaching for 14 years at various colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin. She also co-hosts the Myelin & Melanin podcast, focused on uplifting and educating Black MS patients, advocates and thought leaders.
As a thought-leader in all things related to the cancer experience as a young adult, Megan-Claire highlights quality of life issues post-cancer, dating and relationships, infertility, palliative care, the need for more supportive and financial resources, as well as research for better post-treatment options. She is the new Partnership Director for GRYT Health and in her spare time, is a Consumer Reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and a regular contributor for WebMD for their breast cancer section. Additionally, Megan-Claire has her own talk show on YouTube with Ancora.ai where she interview patients, physicians, researchers, and caregivers about their cancer experience and clinical trials. Connect with Megan-Claire.
At WEGO Health, we’re committed to continuing the conversation. Are you? Check out this recent webinar where patient leader Monique provides actionable items for how you can continue to advocate for health equity, increased representation, and culturally-competent resources within your health communities.