By Sneha Dave, founder and executive director of Health Advocacy Summit
Health Advocacy Summit is a first-of-its-kind nonprofit initiative. It bridges the gap between pediatric and adult health care and provides psychosocial support for adolescent/young adult patients. HAS facilitates advocacy events as well as yearlong initiatives to empower young adults who have chronic and rare illnesses.
Within a couple of years of its creation, HAS now operates in six states and internationally. It also has programs, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network, that facilitate an international fellowship program for young adults from all across the U.S., the U.K. and India. This yearlong fellowship includes a paid trip to Digestive Disease Week in Chicago to represent the young adult patient community.
The future for HAS is ensuring that every adolescent/young adult patient has not only peer support, but also the tools and resources to make an effective transition to adulthood, including psychosocially. HAS will continue to develop relationships with more partners as well as expand its annual and yearlong events to more states and around the world.
A priority for me is to make sure that our transitioning patients have access to the medications they need, when they need them, as well as quality and timely health care. For this reason, in the future, HAS is interested in pursuing policy initiatives that will create meaningful change for our young adult patients.
HAS is a national nonprofit supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; and it works with a number of partners, including the American College Health Association. The HAS team has also spoken at events including at Stanford, Harvard and Baylor.