Dennis Heaphy is a policy analyst at the Disability Policy Consortium, and is also a health care consumer with complex health needs. Troy Johnson is a former Camden Coalition patient who now sits on the Coalition’s Community Advisory Council and is working to start a nonprofit to provide home repair services for people in the community with complex needs.

Dennis and Troy are both powerful consumer advocates in their own communities, and serve on the National Center Advisory Committee to help make a nationwide impact in how health care is delivered. “It’s really exciting to be part of something positive,” said Dennis.

Dennis attended the National Center’s inaugural conference, Putting Care at the Center 2016, as a consumer grantee. “I felt like a kid in a candy shop,” he said.

Troy was at the conference as well, in person and in the opening video. “Being part of the conference last year really inspired me to get up and do for my community and my surroundings, and to help out other people in their time of need,” he said.

For Putting Care at the Center 2017, we are tripling the number of consumer grants we are awarding. Thirty grants will be going to consumers and their support staff from organizations across the country, allowing them to attend the conference free of charge. Last year’s consumer grantees will be back as well, acting as ambassadors for the new cohort.

Consumer grant applications are open now, and are due by August 7.

“If you’re feeling like your voice is not being heard, and you’re feeling that you don’t matter, then you should come to the conference because it’s a place where you can make your voice heard, where it will be welcome,” said Dennis. “The more people we have who are consumers involved in the process, the more the process is going to reflect our priorities.”