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Social Media Summit Scholarship Essay - Jill Plevinsky

Posted by @LeeAase, Aug 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: This post is an essay from one of the entrants in the patient/caregiver scholarship contest for our Health Care Social Media Summit in October. See this post for more details on the contest:

This is Jill Plevinsky’s essay:

I was a senior in high school when I first created my Facebook page. I remember waiting impatiently until my undergraduate institution sent me my .edu e-mail address so I could be a part of The George Washington University’s network allowing me to scroll through profiles of my future co-eds.

Ten years prior at age seven, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s disease. I was lucky to have parents who thrust me into the world of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America by organizing bowl-a-thons and walking for the cause. As I progressed through early adolescence, my illness became more active as did I. I served as my chapter’s first youth ambassador at age twelve, which involved media outreach about IBD and essentially serving as a figure for young patients like myself to let them know that they’re not alone. I attended Camp Oasis and support groups, and also spoke at regional events about leading a normal life in spite of my illness.

When it came time to choose a course of study eight years later, I found I was still passionate about helping adolescents with IBD cope and find social support, and thus began studying psychology and health sciences both leading to a graduate degree in child development at Tufts University to be completed this May. My own avid use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter sparked my interest in an avenue that’s rarely explored in pediatric psychology: how the Internet and social networking have affected adolescent self-care and health literacy. I plan on refuting the skeptics who still today question the quality of online relationships and information sharing between minors with respect to a chronic illness.

In exploring this interest, I’ve been lucky enough to team up with the C3N Project ( and ImproveCareNow ( to further explore how the connections that develop between patients should also exist between patients, families, researchers, and physicians. The coming together of these four parties on a social networking platform will not only positively affect health outcomes, but it will spur innovation in IBD and hopefully create a model that can be used across all chronic illnesses to improve patient quality of life and clinical success. My most recent charge as a part of this collaborative is to lead a Patient Advisory Council made up of adolescent patients across the nation.

Attending the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit would allow me to meet others interested in reaching out to patient populations via social networking platforms and share ideas on how to focus on specific patient populations. This in turn would not only benefit the initiatives my research, but also has the potential to extend beyond the project’s Patient Advisory Council to touch a larger patient population. While a rather experienced patient, I am a young researcher on the cusp of one of the most powerful trends in healthcare technology and at age twenty-three, I’m still utilizing my online network of “Crohnies” for information on side effects of new treatments. I appreciate this exciting opportunity to provide insight and reap the benefits of being fully immersed in #HCSM.

Thanks so much for your consideration. Please follow me @jillplev on Twitter.

Jill M. Plevinsky



Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posted by @brandonimp, Aug 5, 2011

Jill, I am so happy to have you in my life, as is the rest of the health community. You were born to create positive change in the world. Never let anyone tell you differently.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posted by @franplev, Aug 5, 2011

Jill, I am so proud that you have the passion and the drive to help chronically ill adolescents through social networking.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 06, 2011
Posted by @cindymorgan, Aug 6, 2011

Jill, I am so very proud of your drive and passion to make a difference in the world. Love you lots.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 06, 2011
Posted by @dplev, Aug 6, 2011

Jill… congratulations on all you’ve accomplished and all you still have to contribute. I know that your insights into the use of Social Media will touch and help so many others.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 06, 2011
Posted by @floradora, Aug 6, 2011

Congratulations on all that you have accomplished in your young life so far, and good luck in all of your future endeavors. I hope that the judges on the scholarship committee recognize your worthiness and how much you have to both contribute to the conference and learn from it. I wish that I had had a social media network when I was first diagnosed with UC 28 years ago. Roni


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 08, 2011
Posted by @ajp, Aug 8, 2011

Jill- As you know we are very proud of you for all you have done to bring knowledge and hope to young IBD patients and their families. We are inspired by your devotion and thrilled that you are using social media to “reach out” to adolescents who might otherwise feel alone. Keep making a difference and we will keep supporting your efforts. AJP & HP

Mrs. B

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 09, 2011
Posted by @mrsb, Aug 9, 2011

Jill, You are an amazing young lady and I always knew YOU WILL make a difference!!!!


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 10, 2011
Posted by @dmanning55, Aug 10, 2011

Hello Jill: What a special young lady you are and I never cease to be amazed at the exploits you undertake and successfully tackle! This latest effort with the essay is tremendous and another feather in your cap. Everyone is exceptionally proud of you, stay focused, do things on your own terms and BE HAPPY!! You are a winner!!


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 10, 2011
Posted by @burooj, Aug 10, 2011

Jill, After reading your brief essay I want to learn more. It’s obvious your parents opened the door…but you’re the one who ran thru it….and continue to run!! I think you would be a great representative at the Social Media Summit. I wish you nothing but success in what I believe will be a bright future.

Mary Spaeth

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posted by @maryspaeth, Aug 11, 2011

I hope you are awarded this scholarship because you deserve it.
The hard work and dedication will pay off.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 12, 2011
Posted by @bambikuhl, Aug 12, 2011

Online support via social media is an excellent means of accessing information and assistance that otherwise is not readily accessible. The need for this valuable means of support will only continue to grow – Jill’s keen interest, excellent sense of direction, and personal experience will greatly help in this forward move.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posted by @shelbielynn, Aug 14, 2011

Jill, I hope you get a chance to participate in such a great program. You are truly a wonderful person who deserves it the most!!


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posted by @myersk, Aug 15, 2011

Jill – Thanks for sharing your story! As a member of the Twitter/Facebook generation you definitely deserve to be at the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit!

Joe McCaff

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
Posted by @joemccaff, Aug 15, 2011

This is a very admiable project for you Jill and I hope it pans out for you. Your talents and background are uniquely qualified for this and I’m sure the program will benefit from your participation as much as you will benefit from the program. Best of luck.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
Posted by @tovahb, Aug 15, 2011

Jill- you’re an inspiration! So proud of you!

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