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On October 17th, the Society enjoyed their 2nd conference in Boston. Filling a larger room than last year, attendees – in person and virtual – enjoyed an impressive lineup of speakers. The passion in the room was palpable. Much more to come on that.

A momentous occasion was presenting the inaugural Doc Tom Awards. I had the privilege of announcing the awards.

“Doc Tom” Ferguson (1943 – 2006) was a Family Medicine physician, a visionary and pioneer who sought to empower patients to use online resources, embraced patient contribution, and aimed for professionals to be equal partners with patients. Doc Tom was Medical Editor for Millennium Whole Earth Catalog and Health Online: How To Find Health Information, Support Groups, And Self Help Communities In Cyberspace.

His spirit and work led to the creation of the Society, through his peers & followers, whom he called his “e-Patient Scholars Working Group.”

The e-Patient Principles award focused on principles espoused by Tom: Advocacy for Patient Self-Care and Clinician-Patient Partnership. 

The e-Patient Principles prize was awarded to Liz Salmi, an exemplar of participatory medicine principles. Liz, known on social media as @TheLizArmy, turned her brain cancer diagnosis in 2008 at age 29 into “an open source chronicle of the patient experience.” Her blog TheLizArmy is her personal journal and health care soap box, receiving over 30,000 visits each year. Liz cares about patient-driven research, open source health data, palliative care, and neuroscience. Last year, the lucky OpenNotes team named Liz Senior Strategist for Outreach & Communications, She is an advisor for The BMJ and PCORI, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Technologies to Enhance Person, Family, and Community Activation.  Liz was unable to be at SPM2018, and sent us a brief video to share her views and thanks.

The Doc Tom Contribution to SPM award was given for contribution to the Society, to advance the impact of Tom’s ideas today. Many impressive names were nominated for both awards by SPM members. The first award for contribution to SPM was a shared award – to “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart and Dr. Danny Sands. Both leaders have served as tireless advocates, individually and together, for participatory medicine and the Society. Dave, a cancer survivor, is an international speaker including the highly popular TEDx Talk “Let Patients Help and author of Laugh, Sing and Eat Like a Pig, and Facing Death with Hope. His blog ePatient Dave: Toward a new science of patient engagement is an ecosystem on its own.

Danny Sands, MD, MPH, is an SPM Founder and Board Chairman. Danny is an internist, completed a fellowship in clinical computing at Beth Israel Hospital and a Master of Public Health at Harvard. He developed, implemented, and evaluated a variety of systems designed to improve clinical care and bridge the gap between patient and physician, including electronic medical records, clinical decision support systems, and a patient portal. Danny and Dave authored the book, Let Patients Help, frequently co-present at conferences and meetings, and continue to hone their performance skills as they dance and sing about participatory healthcare. I look forward to being able to post the full rendition presented at SPM2018.

Congratulations to our first Doc Tom Awardees! Doc Tom would really have enjoyed seeing everyone, especially the song. :-)


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