Speaker • Author • Health Educator • Medical Writer & Blogger • Ehlers-Danlos Advocate • Movement • Mindfulness • Nutrition
Kendra Neilsen Myles holds a BS in Public Health/Health Education from the University of Maryland. Her public health and health coaching experience include working in patient triage and serving as a liaison at the Women’s Health Clinic — part of the student medical facilities on the University of Maryland campus. Additionally, Kendra worked as a therapeutic exercise and movement rehabilitation intern at Fitness for Health (currently Bethesda PhysioFitness — a collaboration put together recently by the owner of Fitness for Health for the hypermobility/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) community). During her senior year at the University of Maryland, Kendra fulfilled her internship requirement through a paid internship working for Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC. During her six-month internship, Kendra developed and implemented health education programs for underserved populations, and helped plan and coordinate Columbia Hospital for Women’s Annual Breast Cancer Awards Banquet.
After college, Kendra worked for Johnson & Johnson as a territory manager for their Ortho-McNeil Women’s Healthcare Division. Kendra remained in her position for six years, earning numerous top sales awards during her tenure, until she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) after the birth of her first child. Using the time away from her career while striving to learn about her illness, she focused on regaining her strength and determination through ways that she knew were best to care for herself. Kendra’s desire to help the EDS community, coupled with her education in public health, experience working in medical device and pharmaceutical sales led her to speak about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and its related comorbidities from a patient’s perspective to several organizations, coordinated fundraisers to promote EDS awareness and support EDS non-profit organizations, and launched Strength/Flexibility/Health/EDS – a digital wellness magazine for those striving for “strength, flexibility, and health,” while living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and related chronic medical conditions.
For close to five years, Kendra served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation’s HelpLine (EDNF for short, and recently renamed The Ehlers-Danlos Society) — one of EDNF’s three main volunteers. Kendra worked diligently to help provide adequate information for the individuals who emailed the HelpLine looking for resources, including those searching for the best route to a proper diagnosis — often staying in touch passed a simple informational email exchange. Additionally, she collaborated with Coulter employees, a non-profit management company, on the overhaul of the HelpLine response process, to help EDNF adjust to the significant influx in the number of emails received per day, ensure proper response time, and be mindful of the growing visibility that Ehlers-Danlos syndrome was gaining across the world — especially as more and more patients received an EDS diagnosis each day. As the need for more HelpLine help grew, Kendra often managed 1-2 additional volunteers, who helped answer the growing number and complexity of the emails that EDNF received.
Through her volunteer work, Kendra was able to hone her public health/health education experience by broadening patient reach and raising awareness of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and related conditions via various social media platform. Similarly, patient reach and awareness on EDS only expanded as the result of providing personal health and wellness coaching services to a handful of patients of the last 5 years, guest speaking engagements, working with EDS specialists and other healthcare providers on various projects focused on patient and provider education, networking and supporting organizations who serve communities with comorbid conditions to EDS, and by holding the 1st active EDS fundraiser – The EDS Ride for a Cause, benefiting EDNF at Zengo Cycle in Bethesda, MD.
It was through Kendra’s life and professional experiences, that she first founded Mediterina Medical Solutions, LLC, and then EDS Wellness, Inc. — a registered non-profit organization focused on organizing integrative health & wellness events and conferences, and on disseminating health education resources and materials for those living with heritable disorders and diseases of the connective tissue, and related chronic illnesses. A few of EDS Wellness’ main projects are – Wellapalooza Integrative Health and Wellness Conferences (& retreats!), Moving Naturally with Hypermobility Seminars, “Just 5 Minutes,” and the EDS Ride for a Cause.
Kendra’s love for reading and writing stems from a childhood surrounded by books, spending much of her life in her mother’s bookstores. The granddaughter of a former House and Garden magazine publisher, she combined her passion for serving the EDS community, with her strength in medical writing and interest in publishing, to co-author the first Ehlers-Danlos syndrome anthology, Our Stories of Strength – Living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Subsequently, Kendra founded Sisters Media, LLC – a media company focused on photography and design projects, as well as the publishing of digital and print materials in fields of health, medical, and wellness, including non-fiction books, anthologies, and magazines.
Sisters Media, LLC recently announced the release of Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and The Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity – written by Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D. Dr. Afrin’s introductory book to mast cell activation disease has over 105 five-star reviews and has remained in the top 100 books in medical diseases category on Amazon.com. Never Bet Against Occam is a must read for all healthcare providers and patients living with a chronic illness – the underlying link between countless chronic medical conditions is often caused by the simplest explanation, versus various seemingly unrelated conditions that one person has been diagnosed with. The future of medicine is in this book!
Sisters Media is currently working on new publishing and digital and print media projects, including a natural healing for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) brochure, an EDS Kids ebook, and patient education videos in collaboration with community specialists and EDS Wellness, Inc. You can learn more about Dr. Afrin’s new book by following the Mast Cell Research page on Facebook (www.mastcellresearch.com) & @MastCellHelp on Twitter. Questions can be sent to [email protected].
Kendra, EDS Wellness, and moving forward – Current plans to ensure that EDS Wellness’ services and programs are based on a comprehensive education, solid foundation, and up-to-date information, over and above previous work experience and educational background:
- EDS Wellness is a registered member of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants and other professional and public health organizations. To view all of EDS Wellness’ professional affiliations, please visit Affiliations and Memberships. Link to EDS Wellness’ National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants – http://nahac.memberlodge.com/Sys/PublicProfile/32838272/375211.
- Sat for C.H.E.S Exam (Certified Health Education Specialist) on October 15th, 2016 — certification was granted based on receiving a passing score on the exam. Individuals who are qualified to site for the C.H.E.S. exam must have graduated with a degree in public health/health education from an accredited public health university, must provide proof of transcripts, and meet other requirements required by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
- Currently enrolled in 200hr Yoga Instructor Training through The Mindfulness Center based on requirements set by Yoga Alliance — coursework began in January 2016 and expected graduation/certification is January 2017.
- Enrolled in the Nutritious Movement Restorative Exercise Specialist Program — a two-year certification program developed by Katy Bowman – a pioneer in the field of natural movement, corrective exercise, and biomechanics. Expected completion and certification date of December 2017, based on receiving a passing grade on the certification competency exam and week-long in-person certification assessment.
- Will register and sit for the Patient Advocate Board Certification test — a 4-5 year project put together by the Patient Advocacy Certification Board. Expected date of the first exam is 2017.
- Will register and sit for the National Health and Wellness Coaching Certification Exam (expected date of fall 2017 for the first exam) — a long-term project of National Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches based on the need to regulate and standardize the education, experience and professional requirements for all Health and Wellness Coaches. Ability to sit for the board certification exam is based on meeting education, and professional health and wellness coaching requirements established by NCCHWC — “For the past 6 years, we have worked diligently as volunteers to attain our vision of creating a National Certification for health and wellness coaches, built upon best practices. The vision is now a reality: eligible individuals can apply for the National Certification in early 2017.” EDS Wellness is happy to have donated to help support this important healthcare initiative.
- Will continue to work in close collaboration with EDS Specialists and the specialists for related comorbid conditions to ensure that accurate information is disseminated and meets current guidelines.
- Will continue to network with other EDS organizations, Public Health agencies, like-minded nonprofits, and related companies and organizations whose mission and patient populations overlap with those of EDS Wellness. One central aspect of EDS Wellness’ mission is to help facilitate supportive relationships between other community organizations and foster an atmosphere of collaboration. Together, our collective purpose provides updated education and programs for both patients and healthcare providers, helps increase proper diagnosis, and improve patient outcomes through integrative health and lifestyle-focused solutions that help encourage patient empowerment in their health, medical care, and overall well-being.
Link to Kendra Neilsen Myles’ professional certifications – Professional Certifications
Kendra is active on several social media platforms and can be found at Kendra N Myles on Facebook, @KNMyles on Twitter, @kendranmyles & @hypermobileyogi on Instagram, @EDSWellness on Pinterest, and @TheHypermobileYogi on Tumblr.
You can contact Kendra by sending an email to [email protected], or send a message through the contact form below.