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Huge group hugs to the fibromyalgia community, caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and all of our Support Fibro friends! As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the promise of a new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible work that the Support Fibromyalgia Network and our friends have done over the past year to support those living with fibromyalgia. It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of review, commending the dedication and impact of the organization.

Our team and friends have continued to be a beacon of hope for individuals affected by fibromyalgia. We have unwavering commitment and we continue to push ourselves even into the tail end of the year! We continue to increase support, education, and advocacy, and we are thrilled with the advancements in our connections with researchers at Universities and at the NIH. This year, we focused on expanding provider partnerships and education to highlight the need for collaborative care. 

Thank you again to everyone that supported and participated in the Fibromyalgia Community Conference. Our mix of presenters make this event very special and we are glad the community can connect with each other. Please find the playlist of videos readily available for free on our YouTube channel

Here are some key highlights and accomplishments from 2023:

Collaborative Care for Fibromyalgia: This year marks the launch of the collaborative care model for fibromyalgia. Inspired by our work in group medical visits, and our training with the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine and the Integrative Center for Group Medical Visits. We’re building new models of multidisciplinary care with healthcare providers and allied professionals around the country. New website here: https://www.fibromyalgia.ngo/

Advocacy and Research: Our organization has been relentless in our advocacy efforts, pushing for increased funding and research into fibromyalgia. We have teamed up with advocates around the country for proclamations and a second year of our formal National Fibromyalgia Delegates Training Program. This was also our fourth year taking meetings with our Congressional Representatives and receiving a line item with four different Senator’s championing support for fibromyalgia.

By May we received a Congressional Record for fibromyalgia from Representative Cartwright’s office, and in June continued to meet with the offices of Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and California with in-person meetings on Capitol Hill and in-district. It was also a pleasure to support the Patients Rising Fly-In advocating for healthcare policy programs will a full team of national advocates. Our Support Fibro team members were happy to support such activities and we feel Patients Rising is doing a tremendous job advocating for all of us. 

We’ll continue this rally in March 2024 in-person and virtually again in May 2024. A new platform is in the works to advance advocacy education in 2024.

We have also been steadily working with program directors from the NINDS and NIAMS to find “the home” for fibromyalgia. We spent time at the NINDS Nonprofit Forum in Bethesda meeting with various researchers and have been able to connect recently with researchers from NIAMs at the ACR conference. 

Community Support with Inspire Health: We have partnered with Inspire Health to manage the Inspire Fibromyalgia Community. The community is compromised of over 18,000+ members and growing. We’ll be providing education, online support, and Ask The Expert series. 

Group Medical Visits and Group Health Coaching: Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine is leading the effort in transforming fibromyalgia care with the launch of their fibromyalgia group visit program. This program is virtual and run by Dr. Cheng Ruan. It’s covered by many insurance providers. They have additional group visits available for other chronic illness conditions. Review their full schedule at the following page: HERE

Since we are team lead by Board Certified and Certified Health and Wellness Coaches we spent time researching and developing a full group coaching program for fibromyalgia based on our knowledge of functional medicine principles. We will continue this launch in 2024 with additional groups as we can bring on more coaches. Please keep following our Group Health Coaching Page for updates. 

Demystifying Fibromyalgia Conference with Physicians Transformation Institute: This conference was designed for healthcare professionals and other allied professionals seeking to deepen their expertise in fibromyalgia and TMJ disorders. The event brought together leading experts in an innovative setting, and engaged in over three days of immersive workshops, live demonstrations, and in-depth sessions to discover collaborative approaches for managing fibromyalgia. Recordings are available for purchase HERE

ACR Conference: (Write-up coming soon) The team at the Support Fibromyalgia Network had the wonderful opportunity to have a booth and network with rheumatologists at the premiere, annual Convergence Conference from the American College of Rheumatology. We had an engaging response from rheumatologists. They were not running away from us! I also had the opportunity to deliver a lighting talk about Group Medical Visits. Thank you to the ACR team for allowing me such a tremendous opportunity! 

Fibromyalgia Community Conference: Don’t forget to catch up on all content presented this year! The best way to watch all the presentations is on our YouTube channel

Support Fibro Tour: Our year is never complete with some tour dates! We had a chance to connect with fibromyalgia friends and advocates in various cities. We love our meetups! Huge thank you Miles for Migraine for allowing us to be a part of some of their dates. We hope to see more! 

Supporting Friends: We do our best to support other community leaders and other allied organizations. We team up with support group leaders around the country to send over resources, create workshops, and support their work. Groups like Veteran Voices For Fibromyalgia, More Than Lupus, Lupus Spoons, My Several Worlds, and Freddy J’s Fibro Fighters really encompass our same values of building a community table and providing mentorship to to other leaders. We build people up, instead of building barriers. They have been fantastic to collaborate with in 2023 and we know there is plenty more to come! 

Awareness Campaigns: We have reached countless individuals, spreading knowledge and understanding about fibromyalgia. Through informative webinars, social media campaigns, and educational materials, we have helped debunk myths and reduce the stigma associated with fibromyalgia. 

I’ve probably forgotten some things as brain fog sets in. We are dedicated to our cause!

As we welcome in the holiday season, we say goodbye to 2023, and I want to thank the team and community leaders for their commitment to patients, our volunteers, our Board of Directors, and collaborative clinicians and researchers. Thank you to everyone that have dedicated their time to fibromyalgia, and our donors who are committed to helping us achieve all our goals. I am very much grateful for your support, and I am honored to lead this organization as we fight together to conquer the complexities of fibromyalgia. 

Wishing you a happy low pain holiday season!

Group hugs! 

Melissa Talwar

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