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Speaking Engagements and Educational Training
Vanessa is a Facial Difference and Antibiotic Resistance (MRSA) e-Patient Scholar. She is also the founder of #hcsmSA which is an acronym for Health Care Social Media South Africa. #hcsmSA is a Twitter chat which Vanessa moderates with a group of diverse stakeholders to discuss Sustainable Health Development (#SDG3). There are currently over 30 hcsm virtual communities registered globally on Symplur.
Vanessa was the creative director of Artext, an advertising company which she established in 1997. Due to a severe car accident during 2004 in Johannesburg, she spent ten years through the medical system reconstructing damage caused to her face with a multi-disciplinary team which resulted in MRSA. In 2013, she combined her patient experience and marketing skills to diversify her services by offering medical website design to HCP’s which included patient education resources like 3D animated videos because one of the greatest challenges she had was the lack of access to online specialists and accurate, decipherable information. In 2015, she closed her marketing business to pursue an e-Patient Scholarship and hcsmSA full-time.
Since 2013, Vanessa has been appointed as an advising e-Patient to The South African Antibiotic Stewardship Program (SAASP) and ASPIRES (Antibiotic use across Surgical Pathways – Investigating, Redesigning and Evaluating Systems), EyeforPharma, InfectionControl.Tips and Doctors 2.0 and You, Paris. She was also a civil partner at the Women Advancement Forum Africa which is associated with UN Women and is an activist member of The Walking Gallery of Healthcare. She has been nominated for various business achiever awards including the NSBC (National Small Business Chamber of Commerce – Entrepreneurs Section) and won the WOS – Woman of the Year Director’s Award in 2015 in recognition of her activism and community upliftment. In 2018, she received the Tropics Magazine Top 200 African Changemakers Award and she was invited as a civil guest to present her e-Patient story for a meeting at the Africa CDC / African Union in Ethiopia which focused on the implementation of the Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy for Africa. Vanessa has also appeared as an e-Patient guest for the NHS Digital Academy through the Edinburgh University MSc Global e-Health Programme.
She was an accredited Social Media Ambassador for the Health Information Management Systems Society in 2017 #HIMSS17, is currently an e-Patient Scholar at Stanford University Medicine X, a co-chair of The Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) Health IT SIG and a member of the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) which focuses on the principles of human-centered design. Vanessa is also a patient reviewer for the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
One of Vanessa’s major achievements has been her contribution towards the implementation of the Antibiotic Guardian Pledge Campaign in South Africa working together with Professor Adrian Brink (Clinical Microbiologist), the South African Antibiotic Stewardship Programme (SAASP), the National Department of Health, Antibiotic Guardian UK and the Federation of Infectious Diseases Society of South Africa (FIDSSA). She also implemented a successful Social Media Influencer Programme at the Public Health Association of South Africa in 2018, which demonstrated a 65% overall increase in online participation compared to the previous year (#PHASA2018 metrics report).
Download the official e-Patient white paper by Dr Tom Ferguson on the Society for Participatory Medicine’s website.