[Seasoned Health Pro] Meet Colleen Young

people
introductions

(Colleen Young) #1

Do you currently manage a community?
I am the Community Director of Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community connecting people about any health condition. The community is open to anyone and not exclusive to Mayo Clinic patients.

What career path brought you to where you are now?
My background is in patient education. Before becoming an online community manager, I wrote patient education materials to help patients understand and manage their disease. Mostly I worked in oncology and mental health. While some of my work was for print, most of it was for digital delivery. Remember CD-ROMS? So now you know my age demographic too.

As the digital world turned social, I was fortunate to be a part of the “patient web2.0 revolution” – the e-patient movement. The natural evolution was to build community that enabled patients to connect with each other. Listening to patients talking about living with their conditions changed the way I approached patient education, and ultimately continues to shift the paradigm of paternalistic health care.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Since joining the Mayo Clinic team 2 years ago, many of the traditional challenges facing community managers have dissolved for me. I have the support of senior leadership, an enthusiastic multi-disciplinary team and great interest from the medical professionals and fellow employees.

Taking the Feverbee Strategic Community Management Course, helped relieve some of the time challenges by focussing efforts on the things that matter. Naturally, I yearn for more hours in the day, but who doesn’t? I want to get better at evaluation and measurement.

What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way
In my past life, I was a professional, classical musician in Germany. Playing horn in the opera pits around Europe was the best job ever. They say people who learn multiple languages and who are exposed to or live in different cultures makes one open to different perspectives, more diplomatic and an effective facilitator. That might apply or it may just be stretching the truth a wee bit. :slight_smile:


Transition away from Facebook Groups
(Todd Nilson) #2

Hello @colleenyoung, it’s great of you to join us here. Your team is working on the Carehubs community platform isn’t it?


(Colleen Young) #3

Hi @Todd_Nilson
Nice to meet you too. Yes, I’ve built a couple of communities on the Carehubs platform. Are you familiar with it?


(Nick Emmett) #4

Great introduction @colleenyoung - what stage was the Mayo Clinic Community at when you joined and what sort of challenges did face you?[quote=“colleenyoung, post:1, topic:5995”]
My background is in patient education. Before becoming an online community manager, I wrote patient education materials to help patients understand and manage their disease.
[/quote]

I approached Community Management via learning too - I think there’s a strong link with the way people often like to learn socially.[quote=“colleenyoung, post:1, topic:5995”]
In my past life, I was a professional, classical musician in Germany. Playing horn in the opera pits around Europe was the best job ever.
[/quote]

This is awesome!


(Colleen Young) #5

Hey @Nick_Emmett, good question. The community was 6 feet under when I took on its community management the later part of 2015. The initial success that it had enjoyed in 2011/12 had long since died off, there was no strategic community management in place and the usability of the site was challenging to say the least. Thus my approach was multi-pronged:

  1. Clarify the domain and purpose both internally and on the site. Who is it for and what do they want to do there?
  2. Sociability - reactivate the activity and ensure newcomers were welcomed, connected and kept in the community. Past practices had been to send people to resources off the site rather that to keep them talking
  3. Usability - improve the user experience and usability of the site with agile design methods. This is an ongoing process.

Luckily, the first prong was not difficult. Internal stakeholders were completely onboard with the vision of the space being patient-centric and patient led. Despite the poor (atrocious) usability, I was pleasantly surprised to see activity grow meaningfully and people not only returned, but also build circles of trust and form relationships. These are resulting in fantastic behaviour changes and support. The third prong has been the most challenging for me. Improvements always happen slower than I would like, although I’m thankful for the sustained support for ongoing QI and custom platform upgrades. But you know how it is. As soon as I see something that would improve the use and sociability of the members, I want the changes yesterday :wink:

I wonder what you might say to something I’ve observed re social learning. We have Video Q&A events on Connect where members can submit questions before and during a live video with a clinical expert. These are broadcast simultaneously on Connect and Facebook. Some people take the extra effort of registering for Connect to pose a question (they can watch the video without registering or ask through Facebook). However, they do not join in the community discussions. They are welcomed to the community, connected with like members, etc, - all the methods that otherwise work successfully. I’m a bit stumped. Do you think it’s simply a matter of different learning preferences?


(Todd Nilson) #6

Hi @colleenyoung, I evaluated Carehubs as a platform for a project I led and had the chance to speak with a reference for the vendor from Mayo. I know that they are pretty well regarded and the examples I saw of their communities looked pretty good.