Working together for better awareness of bladder health – an interview with Jessica Bateman of the Urology Care Foundation

Nov 9, 2017
Working together for better awareness of bladder health – an interview with Jessica Bateman of the Urology Care Foundation

The Bladder Health Alliance (BHA) is a coalition of more than 30 patient and physician advocacy organizations that collaborate to raise awareness about conditions impacting bladder health. The coalition, led by the Urology Care Foundation (UCF), was established in 2013.

Speaking to Change Together, Jessica Bateman, Patient and Research Advocacy Manager at the UCF, discusses such achievements as being recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the sponsor of Bladder Health Month (BHM) and activities the UCF has planned for this November.

Why was the Bladder Health Alliance established?

The BHA was established as a way for patient and physician advocacy organizations with an interest in bladder health issues to work together and improve patients’ lives. At over 30 members strong, the Alliance is comprised of a diverse group of organizations who share the objective of raising awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding conditions that impact bladder health.

What benefits does being part of the Bladder Health Alliance bring?

One benefit is the opportunity to have effective discussions with advocacy partners who share the same or similar objectives that otherwise may not work together. This year there were representatives from three multiple sclerosis advocacy groups at our October Roundtable meeting along with members of the geriatric, caregiver and bladder cancer advocacy communities. Each shared their unique perspectives on how bladder conditions impact their patient communities and what can be done to encourage conversations between patients and physicians.

Ultimately, the biggest advantage is having a unified voice to promote awareness for conditions that impact bladder health. The more voices we have, the more powerful the message!

What has been the Bladder Health Alliance’s greatest success to date?

During the 2015 BHA Roundtable, it was decided that advocacy efforts would focus on having November officially recognized nationally as Bladder Health Month. Through our federal advocacy efforts, we achieved our goal, obtaining a Senate measure and House resolution recognizing November as National BHM. This is reflected on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website:

2016 was the first year the BHA cohesively promoted BHM through social media platforms, press releases and individual promotions by member groups. We received a fantastic response and plan to continue the momentum throughout November 2017.

What does the UCF have planned for this year’s BHM?

Coordinated awareness efforts will be executed by Alliance members through social media channels, press releases, emails etc. and sharing links to the bladder health resource pages. A number of downloadable resources – including fact sheets, posters, social media messages and patient brochures – are available from members of the Alliance on the Urology Care Foundation and AUA websites. Bladder health patients, caregivers, educators, urologists, healthcare professionals and other interested parties are encouraged to check the websites frequently for new resources as they are made available. Additionally, the Foundation, AUA and organizations within the BHA will use the following weekly themes to connect, educate and inspire people across the country to get the facts, get diagnosed and take control of their bladder health:

Week 1:        November 1–4        Interstitial cystitis and neurogenic bladder

Week 2:        November 5–11       Bladder infection/urinary tract infection

Week 3:        November 12–18     Bladder cancer

Week 4:        November 19–25     Incontinence, overactive bladder and stress urinary incontinence

Week 5:        November 26–30     Bedwetting and nocturia

Something new this year was a Thunderclap that was activated on November 1 to signal the start of BHM. This served as an effective mechanism to drive traffic and conversation around the BHM hashtags on Twitter.

To see what else the Urology Care Foundation has in store for this year’s BHM, visit their website here.

Working together for better awareness of bladder health – an interview with Jessica Bateman of the Urology Care Foundation

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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