Alliance’s united voice on bladder health

Feb 19, 2020
Alliance’s united voice on bladder health

Bathroom policies and bladder health education were among the hot topics discussed at the 2019 Bladder Health Alliance (BHA) roundtable meeting.

“The meeting hosted representatives from more than 25 advocacy organizations who represent all facets of the bladder health community, including patients, physicians and researchers,” notes Jessica Bateman, Senior Manager of Patient & Research Advocacy at the American Urological Association (AUA), who collaborates with the Urology Care Foundation to lead the Alliance.

A meeting highlight included a panel comprised of physicians, researchers and patient advocates who discussed bathroom policies in school and community settings and bladder health education campaigns, she told Change Together.

“We discussed the lack of overall bladder health education in school systems, which can negatively impact the health of school-aged children. The physical implications can lead to urinary tract infections and other bladder infections, whereas emotional implications lead to instilling a sense of stigma surrounding frequent usage of restrooms,” Jess explains, adding that the problem is just as pertinent for adults in the workplace.

Put bathroom policies in place

“People living with conditions impacting bladder health need to feel comfortable using the bathroom when they need to use it,” Jess adds. “We had a lively discussion surrounding ways to make bathroom usage more accessible in schools and the workplace, and we have a great deal of follow-up work, which includes exploring how best to partner with school nurses and administrators on new policies to promote healthy bathroom behavior.

Tamara Bavendam, MD of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), updated delegates on the Institute’s bladder health research efforts. “We also had a representative from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute discuss patient-centered research, what it is, and how our partners can get involved in the work they are doing,” Jessica finishes. “It’s great to have like-minded organizations together around the table because there is power in numbers. The more we can do as a unified group, the better.”

Alliance’s united voice on bladder health

Jessica Bateman is the patient and research advocacy manager for the American Urological Association (AUA). In this role, she has responsibility for ensuring the patient voice is incorporated into legislative initiatives and policy agenda.  Jessica provides outreach and resources to patient, physician, and veteran organizations that complement the AUA’s advocacy efforts. Additionally, she leads and participates in patient-focused coalitions that increase awareness about health disparities and enhance patient access to care. She joined the AUA after more than 10 years serving in the non-profit sector as President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America –DC/MD/VA Chapter and directing the public policy team at the Immune Deficiency Foundation.  She was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Maryland Arthritis Council from 2011-2015 and has authored several print publications. Jessica has a Master’s degree in Community Health education from Towson University and is a certified patient navigator.

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