The Clara team is proud to announce the winners of the Patients Have Power Writing Contest. Our judges were extremely impressed with the entries we received making the final decision a difficult one.

Without further ado, we announce the winners!

First Place: Rick Phillips

Entry Title: The legacy of the breakthrough – Type 1 diabetes and the insulin pump


Every day I look at my insulin pump no less than 100 times.  But no matter how many times I look at it, I still think of my mother. I think about the life-changing clinical trial she participated in some fifty years ago.  The  story of how my mother contributed to the lives of myself and countless others reminds me that patients have power.

Read the full entry

Second Place: Michele Tschirhart

Entry Title: Clinical Trials: Where Would We Be Without Them?

Second place is also recognized as the Kimberly Hartmann Award. Last year, one of our Breakthrough Crew Ambassadors affectionately known as “AutonomicRN”, healthcare hero, and fierce patient advocate Kim Hartmann passed away after a difficult journey living with multiple chronic illnesses.

Kim came in second place in our first ever Patients Have Power writing contest and it is why we have decided to declare the second place award in our Patients Have Power contest, “The Kim Hartmann Award.” The judges were seeking an entry which brought the same fire, passion, and heart that Kim brought to her advocacy work...and Michele's entry did just that.


When you hear the phrase, "Clinical Trial" where does your mind go? Does it immediately dismiss the thought, or do those words pique your curiosity? Do you think "Lab Rat"? Or do you think "Hero"?
Prior to being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, in February 2011, my mind went straight to, "I wonder how much it pays?" So, opportunistic, I suppose.
Today, I take those two small words much more seriously, as I would not be alive today if it were not for clinical trials. Funny how your perspective can change depending upon your circumstance. I now have great admiration for those in clinical trials; I consider them "Heroes".

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Third Place: Jim Sliney Jr.

Entry Title: Finding Focused Care: Clinical Trials


I was a clinical research coordinator. My job was to find and recruit patients for clinical trials, then escort them through visits, testing and protocols from start to finish. I was a guide, a teacher and a reporter. I taught people how to perform study drug injections, to record adverse health events, keep track of medicine changes, and manage our communication and interaction. The irony was that I learned far more from them than they did from me.
A person with a rare or under-served disease feels disenfranchised from healthcare. How else is one meant to feel after spending years being doubted and disbelieved? Patients who are told their experiences can’t be possible, eventually develop a defensiveness around providers. The relationship between doctor and patient, normally built on communication and trust, became dysfunctional. Bitterness, impatience, and distrust on both sides became common.
That was the attitude I encountered regularly when seeking out patients. But that attitude changed by the end of their participation in the clinical trial. Here is why.

Read the full entry

A big thank you to our amazing judges Chris Anselmo, Diane Talbert, John Novak, and Rie Lopez. You can meet the judges and learn more about the writing contest here.