Care Planning, Health Literacy, Needs Navigation, Palliative Care
April Volunteer Spotlight: Mo Stuart
For our April Volunteer Spotlight, we are recognizing Maurine “Mo” Stuart of Snowshoe, West Virginia.
Mo has been a NPAF volunteer since 2013 and is also a part of NPAF’s volunteer Advisory Group. In addition to being a volunteer with NPAF, Mo also serves on the Board of Directors for the Epilepsy Foundation of West Virginia, is a member of the National Quality Forum’s EHR Care Coordination Committee and was a featured speaker in the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) serious illness roundtable public workshop “Advance Care Planning: Challenges and Opportunities.” Read on to learn more about Mo’s passion for patient advocacy.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start.
I am currently working on a few different projects nationally and in my local area, but the majority of my advocacy time goes toward projects in the breast cancer and epilepsy patient communities. Both of those areas are of particular importance to me because they are diagnoses my family faces every day. And because I live in a rural community, I do what I can to help my fellow neighbors better understand health care, whether it’s educating them on the importance of preventive cancer screenings or hosting community workshops to help them start a care plan.
What advice would you give to other volunteers who would like to do something similar?
There’s a great quote by the amazing leadership innovator, Robin Sharma, that sums up advocacy for me:
“Dream big. Start small. Act now!”
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
I’m so glad this question was asked. I’m proud of so many things that the people I am connected with have achieved. Even small advocacy wins are incredibly exciting and fulfilling, and we’ve had several in our Seizure Safe School legislation campaign here in West Virginia. I will say, however, working with NPAF in particular has made me positively swell with pride. It takes an absolutely amazing group of people to work on such personal and challenging healthcare hurdles in such an impactful way in “typical” environments. The way NPAF staff and volunteers have mitigated the challenges of in person meetings during Covid by using virtual platforms has been a necessary change for most of the world. I have found that with most aspects of my advocacy efforts, human connection is paramount in establishing trust with everyone from patient communities to legislators. Virtual platforms have created somewhat of a barrier for advocacy projects in that regard. The fact that despite our distance, I STILL can literally FEEL human connection and compassion from everyone at NPAF makes me know, without a doubt, I’m aligned with some very special folks. Finding your tribe is always something to be proud of!
Mo Stuart is a NPAF volunteer and resident of West Virginia.