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The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is offering an opportunity for patient advocates to attend its Social Media Summit and related events Oct. 15-19, 2012, in Rochester, Minn. through its second annual scholarship contest for patients and caregivers.

“Making sure voices of patients and caregivers are included in our events is very important to us,” says Farris Timimi, M.D., the center’s medical director. “Medical professionals typically have training and travel budgets to cover the costs of conference participation, while patients don’t. Our goal through the scholarship contest is to remove the expense barrier and make it practical for highly motivated patient advocates to join us.”
Scholarships are available to individuals who have been engaged with the patient experience, either as a patient or caregiver, and:

  • have already demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing health and healthcare delivery via patient empowerment; and
  • have not, because of financial constraints, been able to attend this type of conference.

The Center for Social Media is now taking applications for three full scholarships to its social media week events, including Social Media Residency, Social Media Summit and the annual member meeting of its Social Media Health Network.

The scholarships will cover registration fees and tuition for the recipients to attend all three events and also will pay airfare and lodging costs. Each recipient may bring one companion to participate in the events at no charge, but travel costs for the companion are not included in the prize.

To apply, complete and return a brief application and email a 400-700 word essay telling your patient/caregiver story to Describe how your participation would serve the greater good of the health community during and after the conference. How would you hope to contribute to the conference discussion as a participant? What do you hope to learn?

Please also describe your experience using social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs. Patients and caregivers interested in the strategic use of social media to enhance health and healthcare but who have not yet become active are also encouraged to apply.
Recipients will be chosen though a combination of a Facebook “Likes” and comments on essays as well as evaluation of applications by a panel drawn from the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board.

Applicants’ essays will be posted on the Mayo Clinic website starting on July 16. Essays submitted after this date will be posted when received. The top 15 essays as voted by site visitors from July 16-August 3 will become finalists, from which the judging panel will select three recipients. Submit your essay before July 16 to maximize your opportunity to receive votes.

To enter:

1. Download and complete the Official Application.
2. Submit your signed application along with your essay. Essays should be sent via email to Application forms may be scanned and emailed or sent via fax. See the Official Contest Rules for further details.

Note: If you are or have been a patient at any Mayo Clinic or Mayo Clinic Health System facility, you also will need to complete the Authorization To Release Protected Health Information in order for us to publish your essay.

We’re excited to be able to offer these scholarships, and look forward both to the contest and to having the recipients participate on a discussion panel at a general session during the Social Media Summit on Oct. 17.

If you have questions about the process for the contest or anything related to the Summit, please ask them in the comments below or send them via email.
Please help spread the word about this contest to help involve patients and caregivers in the Social Media Summit. If you know someone who would be a good candidate, please encourage submission of an essay and application. We see social media tools having power to help patients and to make healthcare more patient-centered, and we hope this event will contribute toward that goal.


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