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Janssen Global Services, LLC, paid for my travel expenses for the conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

As you may know, last year I attended the HealtheVoices Conference for the first time. I was excited to attend and meet people I’ve seen online for so many years, finally in person! HealtheVoices 2017 was a cool experience. I truly enjoyed it. HealtheVoices 2018 was nothing short of AMAZING!

HealtheVoices Patient Advocate Conference

To read my article on the Benefits of Including Patients in Healthcare Conferences, click here.

When I found out I was invited back to HeV this year I was ecstatic! HealtheVoices 2018 was jam-packed full of new and cool things to do. The IBD crew arrived a bit early as we had a Facebook live led by Amber Tresca and Natalie Hayden on Work and Higher Education with IBD. Incase you missed the discussion, I will add it below.

Because we actually arrived in Chicago that Wednesday, April 25th, we had a day to settle in, meet up, explore the city and really just enjoy each-other’s company. I missed these people so much!

Crohn's and Colitis Patient Advocates

Once Friday rolled around we were excited and conference was in full swing! It’s truly a conference like no other. With sessions like by Facebook, Twitter, Healthline and many others, we learned about things like how to grow our influence, creating credible content, defining our voice and more.

HealtheVoices 18

This is a conference for online advocates and influencers to come together and learn, collaborate, be inspired and just embrace being in the presence of people who understand. – People who not only understand what it’s like to live with your own (and other) chronic condition/s, but also understand what it’s like to share your story and be so public about your life and health online.

HealtheVoices Conference

In addition to the group sessions, there were breakout sessions led by advocates as well like How Personal Stories Empower People, led by Kerri Sparling, author and diabetes advocate. There were also panel discussions like Bravely Advocating in Our Diverse World, led by HIV advocate, Khafre Abif and my own panel Striking Balance While Advocating Across Multiple Conditions which was led by IBD advocate, Brooke Abbott.

Speaker, IBD Advocate Shawntel Bethea

Incase you didn’t notice, our panel was actually on my 26th birthday! I was excited being asked to speak and even more excited to spend my birthday with such an amazing group of people. Overall I think the session went really well. I was accompanied by Barby Ingle, Molly Schreiber and Rick Phillips. I will include a video of our panel below.


In the midst of everything, the Janssen team still managed to find ways to surprise (and embarrass) me all day!

Overall it was an amazing birthday and an absolutely over the top conference. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the week than with these amazing people! A few other things worth mentioning would be my interview with Wisdo, which is always nice. I will probably do another post on them a bit later. – Also the amazing headshots by Tara Polcaro! Check out her page (linked in her name). She’s an amazing photographer and very sweet person! She will not disappoint. I could honestly go on and on about how awesome this conference was or how much we did, but I digress. Instead I’ll include a photo gallery for you to enjoy!

Sorry I didn’t get more content! It’s hard to think to take pictures, video, ect when you’re having so much fun and just enjoying being in the moment. As always, thank you so much for reading and supporting my blogging journey. It really means a lot to me.


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