John HobenGuest post by John Hoben, who joined our Society in 2014 and has been a major contributor to discussions on our member listserv. He recently joined our board of directors. He has a particularly great story – he actually met Doc Tom long ago! – and I asked him to capture it here for our occasional Why I Joined SPM series.

In July 1995, Faulkner & Gray Publishing (now Thomson Reuters) asked me to edit and co-author a new annual series on health care resources and the Internet.  This invitation led me to attend The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands where I met “Doc Tom” Ferguson, whose followers, after his untimely death in 2006, founded our Society for Participatory Medicine (S4PM or SPM).

Fast forward nearly two decades to the NYeC annual session (New York eHealth Collaborative) in Manhattan.  Good fortune led me to attend a presentation by Tom’s friend Alan Greene MD, of DrGreene.com (the first physician website recognized by the AMA), then with Scanadu, where the last 30 seconds was a public service announcement for S4PM, of which he’s one of the co-founders. This led me to re-engage with the participatory movement through this excellent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

What I’ve found within S4PM are hundreds of bright, talented, passionate people practicing  patient advocacy and real participatory medicine.  It’s an honor, privilege and blessing to be part of this effort to realize improved quality of life and improved clinical outcomes at lower costs, particularly in the USA.  While the governing board and membership majority hail from the States, members are actively volunteering from all continents (except Antarctica, for now).  Energetic volunteers have stepped forward from India, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia to name a few.  The Society’s journal http://www.jopm.org is growing in content and stature.  Medical academies and other respected public policy organizations are seeking out partnerships with the Society.

Membership is open to anyone and everyone with a passionate desire to see true participatory medicine practiced worldwide.  Dues are structured at 8 cents per day ($30 annually) with a lifetime membership option equivalent to 10 years of dues.  Numerous corporate transparent sponsorship opportunities are also available.  S4PM even has a scholarship fund for those interested in applying to have the $30 annual fee waived.  Will you please consider joining us to make this vision a reality?

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