The heart and soul of the Amyloidosis Speakers Bureau are our patient educators. They share their authentic journey of battling amyloidosis, from symptoms to diagnosis, treatment, and life today. Their stories provide an impactful education to medical students and residents, raising awareness of this disease. As a result, these future physicians will be better prepared to suspect amyloidosis, leading to earlier diagnosis, treatment and ultimately improving patient lives.
The content of medical education is appropriately clinically centered. The delivery of this content remains relatively unchanged over the decades – typically taught by medical professionals through lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and patient case studies. We posit that there is an essential missing component: the patient voice. During the didactic years, medical students rarely hear from patients about their symptoms, diagnostic journey, emotional management, support and resources, and relationship with the medical community. These insights can offer impactful and durable education that complements traditional didactics in developing future medical practitioners.
Why is this important? Lack of awareness in the healthcare field is among the most critical and urgent challenges facing the amyloidosis community today. Raising awareness to accelerate diagnosis, coupled with available FDA-approved treatments, leads to a significant improvement in patient lives.
At the Amyloidosis Speakers Bureau, two years ago we set out to understand whether our patient educators were making an impact following a presentation to U.S. medical students. Would their narratives elevate the students’ understanding of this rare disease and influence their attitudes and behavioral intent regarding patients?
In short, our study findings indicated “yes.” Click HERE to read the peer reviewed published study.
The paper finds that, in a study where medical students were randomly assigned to either listen to an amyloidosis patient’s story or to a control group, those who heard the patient’s diagnostic and treatment journey differed in attitudes and intent from those in the control group. Those who heard the patient’s story were significantly more likely to intend to improve their communication with patients, learn more about amyloidosis, and agree that listening to patients is a vital part of diagnosis.
With great appreciation we thank Dr. Adebanke Adebayo, Dr. Katherine Rowan, and Dr. Vaishali Sanchorawala for their important contribution to this paper. We would also like to thank the many ASB patient educators who contributed to this study and continue to give their time to raise awareness to the medical community through sharing their personal journeys. We could not have done this study without any of these wonderful individuals!