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- I offer TeleAdvocacy Service
It was in 2012, during my own recovery from a second major surgery, when I founded the now largest private repository on Facebook of curated information about and relating to heart arrhythmias, heart disease, and all underlying and otherwise connected conditions. And with the encouragement and support of the loyal members of my group, I wrote and published a well-received and widely distributed medical autobiography of my experiences as a patient with these conditions.
In 2017, I completed my Patient Advocacy training through the Professional Patient Advocate Institute in preparation for taking the first patient advocate certification exam ever to be offered by the Patient Advocate Certification Board the following year, and I became one of the first 149 advocates worldwide to earn the BCPA credential. Later that year, I was nominated and selected to be part of the Alliance for Aging Research's "Senior Patient & Family Caregiver's Network" of 2018, to serve on their atrial fibrillation panel and participate in their Research Advocate Training Program, which ultimately led to my acceptance by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute as a stand-by Merit Reviewer, eligible to be called upon to participate in the various stages of evaluation and decision-making that appropriate government funding to medical research projects.
For any of this to have been possible, though, I would first earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Psychology from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania followed by the pursuit of a more "conventional" life in the corporate world - advancing through positions in electronic component-level and circuit-level design and manufacturing, database administration and programming, and finally, senior IT management. Corporate burn-out set in while also going through a few major life events, spawning a brief foray into the food service business, which marked what would be the beginning of my departure from the norm as I strove to somehow make my own mark on the world. Those health issues mentioned earlier soon detoured my plans, however, and I fell back on my known skill set, starting and operating a freelance technology consulting business for the next 10+ years.
Little did I know at the time that these unexpected health problems that thwarted my efforts to strike out on my own and seemingly derailed my dreams actually would be relaunching me on a trajectory that I perhaps should have been on all along. During my years-long medical ordeal, I worked as much as I was able to at growing my business but spent nearly all of my free time on my new "hobby" -- helping people to understand, cope with, and get the help they needed for their medical problems. It didn't take long to realize that whenever I was not helping these people, I wanted to be. This was truly my passion and my calling, and I knew then that this was how I was to make my mark -- not on the world as a whole, but on one person at a time. And my plans to pursue Patient Advocacy as my full-time profession quickly ensued.