This is another post in our series Reflections Careum Congress 2014. Here, guest author Diane Levin-Zamir shares her thoughts and experiences on peer education.
The Careum Congress 2014/2nd ENOPE Conference on patient empowerment was a very inspiring experience. I was happy to be invited to share in our practical work and research on Health Literacy and Patient Empowerment. Yet, I was even happier to have learned so much from the short time with colleagues and experts that I formerly had not had direct contact.
Peer education and empowerment
The Conference provided a unique opportunity to meet Kate Lorig from Stanford and to be able hear not only her insights but also from those who are using the Stanford Model in different parts of the world: US, Denmark, New Zealand and more. It was particularly interesting to learn how the model is being implemented outside of the healthcare system, using community facilities as meeting places, and advertising in the media to publicize and recruit participants with chronic diseases. I learned that countries like Denmark have allocated full time staff to support and promote the program. How exciting to learn of the grants offered by US Council on Aging to States that are implementing the model.
In Israel, we are looking to find ways of augmenting our peer empowerment work by adopting the Stanford model in a way that is appropriate for Israel. We are hoping even to find a way that Kate herself can come to help train leadership in this area in Israel, and discover ways that it can help meet the particular needs in this part of the world.
Patient involvement in advancing knowledge
The final panel of the conference included the editor of the BMJ – who shared her experience regarding involving patients in the editorial board of the journal. I was incredibly impressed with her vision, after which I reflected on whether or not there is similar involvement in health promotion journals. I certainly “took the message home” and am now encouraging journals that I am involved with to follow the lead of such a prestigious journal and to consider establishing policy that would require patients/member of civil society to also review. The challenge of course is how to choose the right person; who is “the” representative of civil society? I would love to learn of colleagues perspectives on this query, and of the experience that has accrued in different countries/organizations.
What are your thoughts on the event? I am looking forward to your comments!