The UOAA National Conference is a community focused event that is designed to provide support, education, and social networking opportunities for ostomy patients across America.

This was my second time attending the UOAA National Conference and it was even better than the first! This time, I attended as a Patient Coach. It is wonderful to see the things that are being done across the country to strengthen this community of people. The environment was laid back and fun, but the organization and presentations were very professional and there was LOTS of fantastic information being shared!

I went to a few general classes and then stayed with the Young Adults track for most of the week. Two of my favorite general sessions were "Ostomy Buzz"( all things new in the ostomy world) with nurse Joy Hooper, and "Psychosocial/Psychological Issues for Ostomates"(talking about all things mental health) with Dr. Janice M. Beitz. There was also an active lifestyle panel/discussion that lead to some wonderful breakthroughs for a few ostomates! It was really fun to see that some of the most well-received talks were given by my friends on the 11 Health team!

The exhibit hall was a blast! It's rewarding to see how much people need the services we are providing at 11 Health. This was the first year for the "Young Adult Track" and it was a huge hit. It was fun and helpful to get to go to many classes with the same people and truly learn from, build relationships with, and support each other.

There were those that who were young and those young-at-heart who came to the conference struggling and feeling hopeless, who left with new friends and feeling confident and happy with their future.

There are so many classes that I'm not mentioning, but there was truly something for everyone. Speaking of which, the social aspect was phenomenal! There was always a class to go to, a group to hang out with(literally almost 24 hours a day), or an event to attend! I met so many people that I'm excited to stay in touch with! Everyone seemed to make new friends and have an amazing time being around others who would never judge them or make them feel uncomfortable for having an ostomy(or two)! I sincerely can't wait for the next national conference in Houston, Texas in 2021!