For those who spend their days advocating on behalf of children's health, sometimes doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing. Budgets must be justified. Processes need validation. The list goes on and on.
According to Wendy Sue Swanson, the key is: never go it alone. "Find yourself a group of enthusiasts. Build yourself a community and keep in great touch," says Swanson, M.D., M.B.E., general pediatrician and chief of digital innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital. "When you're encouraging doing something differently that is inherently hard to prove or feels risky, you need people helping to guide your personal mission and support that you've got it in yourself to keep going."
Over the years, Swanson has established a prominent voice for pediatric medicine. She writes Seattle Mama Doc, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital. She's produced more than 100 episodes of the Seattle Mama Doc podcast and has tens of thousands of followers across multiple social media channels. She credits her own multi-disciplinary network for helping to bring power to her voice.
"I have a huge community of friends across the country to nurture and bolster my efforts," Swanson says. "They're entrepreneurs, they're patient advocates, they're professional speakers, they're startup company executives, they're physicians at other organizations. I have these people in my ear, and I'm bouncing ideas off them."
Words to live by
Swanson credits one member of her network in particular—Susannah Fox, former chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—for best summarizing the importance of building such a network, saying, "Community is your superpower."
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