Melissa Adams VanHouten

Patient Leader

After being diagnosed with gastroparesis in February of 2014, I became a passionate advocate for those in my community who feel voiceless and ignored. Currently, as the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD) Patient Education and Advocacy Specialist, co-author of the book, "Real Life Diaries: Living with Gastroparesis," and creator and administrator of several online patient support and advocacy groups, including "Gastroparesis: Fighting for Change," I spend my days advancing the cause of those who struggle with the sometimes devastating and life-altering effects of gastroparesis and other chronic illnesses. It is my fondest desire to empower others to advocate for awareness, better treatments, and, ultimately, cures.


Indianapolis, IN


Health Activist Hero Best in Show: Twitter Best in Show: Facebook Advocating for Another Patient Leader Hero


Best in Show: Community or Forum

Melissa is a powerful and compassionate voice for all those affected by gastroparesis, a chronic but poorly understood disorder. The impact of this condition is significant. Symptoms can be disabling and sometimes life-threatening. I commend her for her ability to use social media, including Twitter, to speak for the millions of Americans affected.  — Tegan

Melissa is a true leader & inspiring hero! Her magnificent heart cares & comforts fellow chronically ill patients, especially those with Gastroparesis. Her dedication helps the GP community among various social media sites with advocacy & support groups, tweet chats, research, writing, et. The positive difference she makes is admirable & limitless,  — Trisha

Melissa is a phenomenal gastroparesis and chronic illness patient advocate. Every day she purposefully provides accurate information and awareness across a multitude of social media sites. She's dedicated to providing emotional support to patients, as well as discovering & sharing new research articles/info, and corresponding with medical world.  — Trisha

Melissa's a compassionate, dedicated, & fierce patient hero. She does everything possible to improve QOL for those living with GP. She shares experiences, spreads awareness, offers support, educates & inspires change within patient & healthcare community by attending conferences, participating in advocacy events, hosting a GP rally in DC & more.  — Trisha

She brought us together in DC to advocate for research and, ultimately, a cure for gastroparesis.  — Denise

Melissa Adams VanHouten

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