Raising Narcolepsy Awareness at Nova Southeastern University

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Grand Rounds is the important educational tradition of doctors and healthcare professionals getting together to learn about evolving areas which may be outside of their core practice. However, patients are rarely invited to participate, so sharing my narcolepsy journey at Nova Southeastern University (NSU)’s Grand Rounds on May 8, 2015 was a HUGE honor.

This is why, just 24 hours after returning from Australia, I got back on a plane to head to Fort Lauderdale, FL. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to raise narcolepsy awareness at the 8th largest not-for-profit private university in the nation. In addition to Grand Rounds, the amazing NSU team organized a Continuing Education (CE) session to welcome a broader audience of students, faculty and community members to learn about narcolepsy.

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Arriving in Ft Lauderdale at 7:00 a.m., I was pretty exhausted. Luckily, my amazing host, Cheryl, arranged things so I could check in right away at my hotel to rest. She’d also decked out my hotel room with snacks, gifts and the softest teddy bear!

Screen shot 2015-05-20 at 9.18.44 PMAt 12 noon, I presented at NSU’s Grand Rounds in front of a packed room of doctors and healthcare professionals. The audience listened closely and asked fantastic questions. Afterward, I conducted a book signing and really enjoyed speaking with attendees one-on-one.  I was blown away by the NSU faculty’s engagement and thoughtfulness.

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As we left the room, a staff member began preparing the room for the next event. When she saw the information about narcolepsy, she approached and explained that her niece had narcolepsy. This was a special moment for me, reminding me that people with narcolepsy are everywhere!

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I was thrilled to be the keynote speaker at the CE session on narcolepsy. During my presentation, I noticed a few heads nodding stronger than the rest, and smiled knowing there were fellow PWNs from the community in the audience!

Also in the audience was the Dean of NSU’s Law School, Dean Garon. I spoke about my amazing law school Dean, so it was very cool that Dean Garon attended and shared a few words of encouragement afterward. Next, there were presentations by Dr. Purvis and Dr. Jose Rey, followed by a reception (with the most amazing cupcake cake) and book signing.

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Many thanks to the following individuals for making this event possible at Nova Southeastern University: Dr. Arif M. Rana (Director of Faculty Development and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education) and Dr. Marti Echols (Assistant Dean, Chair, and Associate Professor of Medical Education) from the College of Osteopathic Medicine; Dr. Sandra Dunbar( Assistant Dean of Professional Development and Education) from the College of Health Care Sciences; and last but certainly not least, my dear friend, Dr. Cheryl Purvis (Professor of Anatomy) from the College of Medical Sciences. This was a remarkable day I’ll never forget.

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