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Merit Award,
National Health Information Awards
"Radiation Treatment for Cancers of the
Blood and Lymph"

Awarded for design, organization of book presentation, and adhering to health literacy

I submitted the abstract "Convincing Physicians
to Adhere to Health Literacy Guidelines"

to a Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN)
International Conference in 2014. 

The above booklet was a labor of love, especially
after working with a physician who, although
brilliant, didn't know how to communicate, and
connect with her patients. 

She submitted a collegiate-level and
hard-to-understand-and-read manuscript to be
published for patients going through radiation
treatment at MD Anderson. 

As a creative writer, editor, storyteller, and designer, reading through the manuscript was like reading another language. I didn't understand what was being conveyed or described. When I reached out to the physician,
I was met with bitterness, annoyance, defensiveness, and heated exchanges. "You don't have a medical degree" and "I just need you to make this booklet look pretty" were sentiments I heard. She didn't understand that I could have been the patient--I was standing from their viewpoint.

After being selected through a competitive abstract submission process, I designed the poster (above right) and presented the poster and my research/findings (experience) at the conference. 

I needed to convince the physician to let me rewrite some of the copy and adhere to health literacy guidelines. I surveyed MD Anderson's patients, allowing them to read parts of her manuscript, and then conducted a questionnaire to see what they understood. They didn't.

After multiple edits, revisions, and hoops jumped through, this booklet became a platform for educating clinical staff about health literacy guidelines and advocating for their use. 

I also learned how to quickly identify and manage multiple personalities to build relationships of trust and stewardship. I also learned that when speaking with analytical/scientific minds, present facts first. I realized that asking for help is okay. And I also learned to trust my gut and keep pushing when I know something is wrong. 

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