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Last year, we were honored to feature the art work of Max Schill, now 11, who remains an active patient advocate, and who helped pass the 21st Century Cure Act. We are excited to continue this tradition with this year’s original artwork by 19-year-old Casey Ford. To expand the patient gallery we tapped several patient artists who are part of the Walking Gallery. We thank them for generously sharing their creative interpretations of the healthcare journey.
The Walking Gallery of Healthcare
A frequent speaker at healthcare conferences focused on patient empowerment, Regina Holliday, PharmaVOICE 100 honoree, patient rights arts advocate, and founder of the Walking Gallery and the Medical Advocacy Mural Project, tells the story of how her husband died and how difficult it was during his diagnosis and treatment to obtain his medical records. After his death, a friend asked her to paint a healthcare scene on the back of a jacket so she could wear it to conferences to create more awareness of the patient plight — and the Walking Gallery was born.
“When you sit in an audience listening to a powerpoint presentation, and the faces on these jackets stare back at you, it changes things,” Ms. Holliday says. “They add an edgy sense of reality to the dry recitation of data. The jackets wake people up.”
The Gallery, now in its ninth year, features 466 members who wear 515 unique jackets. The Gallery has representatives on six continents, but the majority of Walkers reside in the United States. For more information about the Walking Gallery, visit http://reginaholliday.blogspot.com/2016/03/how-do-you-join-walking-gallery.html
Below is a sample of Gallery jackets, who they were painted for or by, and their meaning.
Soojin Jun, Pharm.D. — Artist
No Mud, No Lotus: Journey to Zero Harm
Lotus roots represent the people who we have lost due to medical errors. The stems have names of people directly affected by loss and who are now patient advocates. The flowers signify zero harm, what will come out of perseverance like, lotus roots have to go through in the mud. The sun’s face is that of Lewis Blackman, Helen Haskell’s son, who lost his life as a result of a system that had no care for its patients. (To read Lewis’ full story, please go to https://patientsafetymovement.org/advocacy/patients-and-families/patient-stories/lewis-blackman/)
Virginia Lorenzi — Artist
Virginia Lorenzi’s jacket tells the story of her high-risk triplet pregnancy and its purpose is to highlight the value of treating the patient as an individual or whole person. She wants to depict that a person is cared for by a web of people, including clinicians as well as many others, and that data is empowering and can save lives. The hands represent all the people who have helped her; the Internet is the web where these connections occurred; the laptop was her connection to the world. This jacket is her very first acrylic painting but certainly not her last. “I keep painting in my free time and hope to have a chance to do more jackets,” she says.
Melody Smith Jones — Artist
Trees As Far As The Eye Can See
Art allows us to process complicated life events in a multidimensional way. As an artist, being a part of the Walking Gallery of Healthcare has provided Melody Smith Jones with an opportunity to heal, and help others heal, from what can be traumatic life events, in a way that medicine alone cannot.
“The first jacket I painted was my own to tell the story of my grandmother who was living with and dying from terminal brain cancer in rural Pennsylvania,” she says. “Since my grandmother didn’t want to die so far away from loved ones, my family members took lessons from the hospice nurses on how to provide her with around-the-clock care.”
Ileana Balcu — Artist
Ileana Balcu lost her unborn baby to preeclampsia — hypertension in pregnancy — 17 years ago. “This experience made me see the healthcare system in a new light and I desperately wanted to help those who helped us,” she says. “I got emotional and informational support from an online patient support group. I went on and had a healthy baby three years after that. In the process I learned so much about the U.S. healthcare system, and met more and more e-patients. Among them, Regina. She painted my first jacket for me.
Vera Rulon — Artist
Strength in Numbers
“Regina Holliday painted my first Walking Gallery jacket based on my and my family’s experience during my mother’s home hospice,” says Vera Rulon, founder and president, Tir Health Advisors LLC, chief content officer, Proximity Health Solutions, and a PharmaVOICE 100 honoree.
Being a member of the Walking Gallery has been a wonderful revelation for Vera, who is an artist herself. “I did this drawing using a Sharpie on a cloth napkin in an airport,” she says. “Many Gallery members are depicted in the drawing looking at a personal connected health record.”
Regina Holliday — Artist
Girded for Battle
Lisa Simpson’s jacket Girded for Battle depicts her fight with cancer. She was diagnosed while expecting twins. She fought to stay alive and have her babies. Her two swords are the cancer treatments she used. Her robe says Xena, because her sister called her Xena, the warrior princess.