The other day, I found out that I was nominated for the Wego Health Lifetime Achievement Health Activist Award. Even though I’m not familiar with this process and how the winners are chosen, it’s an honor to be nominated. Below are a few links to the nominee profile that I was asked to set up, how you can show your support, or nominate someone else. There are several categories for the Health Activist Awards by Wego Health and people can be nominated for more than one category.
My nominee profile page – https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/12868
Link to Wego Health Awards – https://awards.wegohealth.com/
Who are some of the outstanding Health Activists who enrich the lives of others by sharing their experience, knowledge, and strength? Nominate them for a WEGO Health.
Link to submit a new Nomination –https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominate/7HDjHg6Ubs2EqpZNzHMAHsGplLz5eCEPGx1ok-TkdzA
Kendra Neilsen Myles holds a B.S. in Public Health/Health Education from the University of Maryland. Kendra’s public health, health education, and wellness coaching experience includes program development and implementation, as well as working in patient triage and serving as a liaison at the Women’s Health Clinic — part of the medical facility on campus at the University of Maryland. Additionally, she interned as a therapeutic exercise and movement rehabilitation program assistant at Fitness for Health (currently Bethesda PhysioFitness — a collaborative program developed by the owner of Fitness for Health for the hypermobility/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) community).
During Kendra’s senior year at the University of Maryland, Kendra worked full-time to fulfill her internship requirement through a paid marketing assistant and health education specialist position with the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC. During her, six-month internship, Kendra developed and implemented health education programs for underserved populations, participated in healthcare lobbying efforts, and assisted in the planning and coordination of Columbia Hospital for Women’s Annual Breast Cancer Awards Gala.
After college, Kendra worked for Johnson & Johnson as a territory manager for their Ortho-McNeil Women’s Healthcare Division. Kendra remained in her position for six years, earning numerous top sales awards during her tenure, until she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) after the birth of her first child. Kendra’s desire to help the EDS community, coupled with her education in public health, her professional experience, and extensive knowledge of the complexities of life with a chronic medical condition and lifestyle management, served as a unique platform of interest and need. Kendra has been asked to guest speak during events and for several organizations. She’s also coordinated fundraisers to promote EDS awareness and support other EDS non-profit organizations. Recently, Kendra launched Strength/Flexibility/Health/EDS – a digital wellness magazine for those striving for “strength, flexibility, and health,” while living with hypermobility syndromes, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and their comorbid medical conditions.
For close to five years, Kendra served as Volunteer Coordinator for the HelpLine — one of the three core volunteers for the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation HelpLine (EDNF for short, and recently renamed The Ehlers-Danlos Society). Kendra worked diligently to help provide adequate information for the individuals who emailed the HelpLine looking for resources, including those searching for the best route to a proper diagnosis — often staying in touch passed a simple informational email exchange.
Through her volunteer work, Kendra was able to hone her public health/health education experience by broadening patient reach and raising awareness of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and related conditions via various social media platforms. Similarly, patient outreach on EDS only expanded as the result of providing personal health and wellness coaching services to a handful of patients of the last five years, working with EDS specialists and other healthcare providers on various projects focused on patient and provider education, and numerous networking opportunities. Networking has allowed for the expansion of EDS Wellness’ efforts and provided opportunities to support other organizations who’s focus is on serving communities with comorbid conditions to EDS.
It was through Kendra’s life and professional experiences, that she first founded Mediterina Medical Solutions, LLC, and then EDS Wellness, Inc. — a registered non-profit organization focused on organizing integrative health & wellness events and conferences, and on disseminating health education resources and materials for those living with heritable disorders and diseases of the connective tissue, and related chronic illnesses. A few of EDS Wellness’ main projects are – Wellapalooza Integrative Health and Wellness Conferences (& retreats!), Moving Naturally with Hypermobility Seminars, “Just 5 Minutes,” and the EDS Ride for a Cause — the 1st active EDS fundraiser. She also recently completed an Integrative healing for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) brochure — a collaboration with EDS specialists.
Kendra’s love for reading and writing stems from a childhood surrounded by books, spending much of her life in her mother’s bookstores. The granddaughter of a former House and Garden magazine publisher, she combined her passion for serving the EDS community, with her strength in medical writing and interest in publishing, to co-author the first Ehlers-Danlos syndrome anthology, Our Stories of Strength – Living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Subsequently, Kendra founded Sisters Media, LLC – a media company focused on photography and design projects, as well as the publishing of digital and print materials in fields of health, medical, and wellness, including non-fiction books, anthologies, and magazines.
Sisters Media, LLC recently announced the release of ‘Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and The Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity’ – written by Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D. Dr. Afrin’s introductory book to mast cell activation disease has over 86 five-star reviews and is still #1 in medical diseases. Never Bet Against Occam is a must read for all healthcare providers and patients living with a chronic illness – the underlying link between many chronic medical conditions is often caused by the simplest explanation, versus various seemingly unrelated conditions that one person has been diagnosed with. The future of medicine is in this book!
Sisters Media is currently working on new publishing and digital and print media projects, including an EDS Kids e-book, and patient education videos in collaboration with community specialists and EDS Wellness, Inc. You can learn more about Dr. Afrin’s new book by following the Mast Cell Research page on Facebook (www.mastcellresearch.com) & @MastCellHelp on Twitter. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDS Wellness, and moving forward:
– Current plans – ensure that EDS Wellness’ services and programs are based on a comprehensive education, a solid foundation, and up-to-date information, over and above previous work experience and educational background.
– 501(c)(3) status received
EDS Wellness’ Professional Affiliations and Memberships:
National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants. Link to EDS Wellness’ profile – http://nahac.memberlodge.com/Sys/PublicProfile/32838272/375211
Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) – Link to bio http://www.dhpe.org/members/default.asp?user=kendranmyles
To view EDS Wellness’ full list of Professional Affiliations and Memberships, go to http://edswellness.org/index.php/affiliations-and-memberships/
EDS Wellness’ Upcoming Events & Programs:
EDS Ride for a Cause (December 4th, 2016)
Implementing a Mind-Body program for Hypermobility Program with Dr. Francomano and the Mindfulness Center (Scheduled Winter 2016)
Integrative Wellness conference in the spring 2017 (Weekend of April 29th, 2017)
Physicians conference the 2nd weekend in June 2017
Publishing of the EDS Kids e-book (will be any day)
Announce the “Take 2” of the original Our Stories of Strength – Living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome anthology under a new name and trademark
Apply for grants
Begin receiving donations
Public health campaign & video
Will continue to work in close collaboration with EDS Specialists and the specialists for related comorbid conditions to ensure that accurate information is disseminated and meets current guidelines.
Personal plans/goals to help continue the work I do:
Scheduled to take the C.H.E.S Exam (Certified Health Education Specialist) on October 15th, 2016 — certification based on the assessment score of each eligible to take the exam. Qualified individuals must have graduated with a degree in public health/health education from an accredited public health university, must provide proof of transcripts, and meet other requirements required by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
Currently enrolled in 200hr Yoga Instructor Training through The Mindfulness Center based on requirements set by Yoga Alliance — coursework began in January 2016 and expected graduation/certification is November/December 2017.
Enrolled in the Nutritious Movement Restorative Exercise Specialist Program — a two-year certification program developed by Katy Bowman – a pioneer in the field of natural movement and corrective exercise. https://nutritiousmovement.com/certification/
Will register and sit for the Patient Advocate Board Certification Exam — a 4-5 year project put together by the Patient Advocacy Certification Board. Expected date of the first exam is 2017.
Will register and sit for the Health Coaching Certification Exam in 2017 — guidelines currently being outlined and defined by http://www.ncchwc.org (Health “coaching” is not currently regulated, which has been a big issue in the medical community. There is clearly a need, but anyone can be a “health coach” at this point, without concern for the level of education, certification(s) by the proper organization or professional experience. Proper education and certification(s) are important when working with populations in need and those who have chronic medical conditions).