Care Planning, Caregiving, COVID, Needs Navigation, Palliative Care
January Volunteer Spotlight: Brittany Sullivan
For our January Volunteer Spotlight, we are recognizing Brittany Sullivan, a passionate patient and healthcare advocate from Tallahassee, FL.
Brittany Sullivan began volunteering for NPAF in 2021 after seeing the hardships patients and families experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about how she channels her energy to make a difference in the lives of people in her Florida community.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start?
I, like many others, was very frustrated with the circumstances that arose from COVID-19. Prior to being employed at my current job, I was working as a Legislative Aide and when COVID broke out, it made me realize how broken our healthcare system was. I helped to assist constituents with finding access to food and care, coordinated food drop offs to nursing homes etc., but I never felt like I was doing enough.
Four months after the pandemic started, I began working for a non-profit in town and needed to find my own health insurance and I was shocked at how difficult it was to navigate the Healthcare Marketplace. Additionally at that time, my boss’ wife became a caregiver for her mom. I saw how complicated it was for her to rearrange her life and finances to be able to care for her mother. I felt a fire from within to make a change and knew that it needed to be in grassroots advocacy. After much research, I stumbled on the NPAF website and was so excited to begin volunteering for an organization that prioritizes patient and caregiver needs.
I currently reside in Tallahassee and have access to our state Capitol. I can connect with legislators and staff as well as utilize my network that I had built while working for the legislature to highlight key issues and policies that need to be addressed to improve our healthcare system. With my degree in politics and policy, I hope that my advocacy efforts along with my own lived experience will one day provide me with an opportunity to lobby for necessary change full-time.
What advice would you give to volunteers who would like to do something similar?
I say go for it! Volunteering for something bigger than yourself–like the wellbeing of people–is so empowering. I have made so many friends with the other volunteers and look forward to reconnecting with them on our monthly meetings. With each campaign I learn something new whether it be from a story shared by a volunteer, patient, or advocate or just information given to us in our campaign toolkits.
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are three things you are most proud of?
I am definitely proud of meeting with one of my favorite legislators and providing him with information about his county and NPAF’s Health Needs Navigation Campaign.
I’m proud of myself for having the courage to post and share about NPAF campaigns regardless of what anyone else may think or the feedback that I receive.
Most of all I am extremely proud of our regional team and all the efforts made by our volunteers.