Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jessie Gruman: A True Champion for Patient Engagement

Jessie Gruman has been a outspoken and articulate advocate for people's engagement in health care for several decades. Actually, Jessie is more than an advocate. She is a visionary, a beacon, a once in a lifetime voice for millions of patients and caregivers who struggle with serious health care conditions.
Jessie is the founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health which, since 1992, has has focused people’s engagement in their health care from the patient perspective. Prior to founding CFAH, Jessie addressed health engagement, as well as the effects of behavior on health for the public sector (National Institutes of Health),  the voluntary health sector (American Cancer Society) and the private sector (AT&T).
In April, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Jessie at the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. During this year's meeting, the SBM Board acknowledged and celebrated Jessie's lifetime contributions to health engagement by awarding her the inaugural Jessie Gruman Health Engagement Award.
In a moving brief ceremony, Jessie was acknowledged for her passionate and highly effective advocacy as well as for her wisdom, guidance  and contributions to the fields of both behavioral medicine and health engagement.
The Center for Advancing Health website is a great place to find research reviews, policy briefs, news, blogs and fabulous resources on patient and caregiver engagement, as well as other topical health care issues. If you visit, you will have a hard time leaving and you won't be able to avoid bookmarking at least 1 of the resources you will find there.
Be sure to sample Jessie's Prepared Patient Blog. Jessie makes frequent entries, often sharing stories about her own experiences coping with 5 life-threatening conditions. The Prepared Patient Blog also features guest bloggers, including leaders in the fields of health engagement, health policy, patient advocacy and health behavior change.
I also recommend Jessie's books, written from the patient perspective, chronically her journey as a patient and her insights as a researcher, advocate, consultant and policy expert. Her books include: