Susan Dudley Gold is an editor, graphic designer, and author of more than 60 books, including many on health-related topics, for high school and middle school students. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1992, she founded the Chronic Pain Support Group of Southern Maine and acted as facilitator for 15 years. She has taught self-help classes for the Arthritis Foundation, served on the member advisory committee of the American Chronic Pain Association, and was a patient advocacy ambassador for both the Arthritis Foundation and the U.S. Pain Foundation. In 2001 she received a Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work with the pain support group, and the National Academies of Practice honored Susan with its Patient Advocacy Award in 2023. Her story was among those spotlighted at the University of New England’s Pain Symposium in 2013. Susan and her husband, John Gold, and son, Samuel, have participated in panel discussions of the effects of chronic pain on the family as part of UNE’s training for health professionals. She has also collaborated with UNE on a number of panels, videos, and presentations exploring the point of view of patients and families when dealing with pain and medical issues and discussing ways to improve communication between doctor and patient. She serves as guest lecturer for the UNE series, “On Doctoring—Chronic Pain in Real Life,” presented annually to students at UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2017 she served as a panel member on the webinar, “Including the Patient and Student Voice in Interprofessional Education and Practice: An Interactive Panel Presentation,” produced by the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative for healthcare professionals, students, and educators. She served as a patient adviser and has worked closely with Dr. Nananda Col on three projects focused on incorporating patient preferences into decisions about managing chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and aortic valve stenosis and was listed as coauthor/contributor of a paper on the chronic pain project. As a VISTA volunteer at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging in Scarborough, Maine, Susan developed the Vet to Vet project, which matches volunteer veteran peer companions to other veterans who need a friend. In 2018 she led a group effort to incorporate the program as Vet to Vet Maine and served full-time as volunteer executive director until her retirement in June 2023.
Author, Patient, Patient Advocate
From a Patient’s Perspective: Reflections, Ideas and Action Steps to Build Meaningful Patient Engagement
Each of us was drawn to health care for different reasons or motivations. Almost universally though, we share a common commitment to the desired end result: improving care and outcomes for the patients we serve. Whether you come to the conversation from a practice or education lens, patients are our North Star. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of the patient voice as a part of the care and learning team. The perspective of patients is critical so that systems of care and learning can be designed and evaluated to truly reflect patient goals.…