#BladdersMatter: Giving thanks and raising awareness

Jan 15, 2020
#BladdersMatter: Giving thanks and raising awareness

Social media saw a flow of gratitude on November 14, 2019, as the Bladder Health Alliance held its second annual ‘Day of Thanks’. The effort was part of the Bladder Health Month campaign, which ran throughout November.

The Bladder Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 30 patient, physician and research advocacy groups, work collaboratively to advance awareness and education about conditions impacting bladder health.

“The day was designed to thank doctors, researchers, lawmakers and anyone else who supports bladder health research or promotes bladder health awareness,” says Jessica Bateman, Senior Manager of Patient & Research Advocacy at the American Urological Association, who works with the Urology Care Foundation to lead the Alliance.

“The ‘Day of Thanks’ entails thanking individuals every hour on the hour from 7am to 7pm eastern standard time. Anyone can join the campaign by retweeting posts with the hashtag #bladdersmatter or by sending their own messages of thanks. It is critical to get people talking about bladder issues to improve patient quality of life,” says Jessica.

Addressing the stigma

“When problems occur, patients usually accept them as a normal part of aging. People tend to deal with bladder complications internally, either hoping the symptoms will go away on their own or they are too embarrassed to talk to their healthcare providers about what they are experiencing,” she says.

In addition to the ‘Day of Thanks’, the Alliance also promoted awareness about conditions impacting bladder health by splitting the month into weekly themes and providing information and resources on designated bladder-related conditions each week.

“During week one we promoted information on general bladder health, and then in week two, we focused on interstitial cystitis, neurogenic bladder, bladder infections and UTIs,” Jess explains. “Week three gets into bedwetting and nocturia; week four, bladder cancer, and week five focused on incontinence, overactive bladder and stress urinary incontinence.”

Throughout the month of November, Alliance members shared resources and signposted services under the hashtag #bladdersmatter.

Encouraging people to talk about bladder problems is a main goal of the campaign, Jess points out, which is why the overarching branding of the awareness month encouraged people to “drop anchor and go with the flow”.

“We hope this encourages patients and caregivers to take the time to explore resources that are available to them. We want to say, ‘If you are experiencing symptoms associated with bladder conditions, you are not alone – talk to your doctor,'” Jessica finishes.

 

#BladdersMatter: Giving thanks and raising awareness

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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