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.
Vanessa is an advising e-Patient to The South African Antibiotic Stewardship Program (SAASP), EyeforPharma, InfectionControl.Tips and Doctors 2.0 and You, Paris. She is also a civil partner at the Women Advancement Forum Africa which is associated with UN Women and an activist member in 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, community upliftment and promotion of women empowerment. In 2018, she was invited as a civil guest to present her story at the Africa CDC and African Union as well as to participate in advocacy workshops focusing on the implementation of the Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy for Africa.
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 member of The Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) and the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF).
Download the official e-Patient white paper by Dr. Tom Ferguson on the Society for Participatory Medicine’s website.