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Simon and Garfunkel – an Anthem to Advocacy
OK, yes, I’m dating myself… One of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs is Bridge Over Troubled Water. I’ve been humming it repeatedly over the last few weeks, and last week, we let the advocacy world know why. When you’re down and out When you’re on the street When evening falls so hard I will comfort you (ooo) I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes And pain is all around Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down The lyrics – are like an anthem about advocacy, aren’t they? The idea that one person can help another person by creating a bridge over the problems, to make the path to the other side smoother. It’s the work advocates do every day, proudly, passionately, and most often with incredibly positive results. Beyond the lyrics, the metaphorical bridge goes even further, which is what has prompted the song to run through my head most recently. So – what happened last week? Last week we announced the first ever ICOPA… the International Conference on Patient Advocacy – supporting that bridge through collaboration: International Conference on Patient Advocacy October 3 – 5 • Chicago Notice those words used to describe the conference: “Navigation, Collaboration, and Solutions” followed by “The Rising Tide Floats All Boats”… once again making me think of a bridge… I want to focus for a moment on that word collaboration. What will make this conference unique is the fact that it’s a recognition that ALL flavors and niches of advocates will come together to discuss improving their service to clients and patients. “All flavors and niches” means not just independent advocates, but hospital advocates, insurance advocates, non-profit disease focused advocates – anyone who calls him or herself an advocate according to the PACBoard definition: “A patient advocate is a professional who provides services to patients and those supporting them who are navigating the complex healthcare continuum.” Collaboration, in this case, describes building advocacy bridges. It is the recognition that there are so many roles for advocates…