For the past year, Ampact, with support from CoGenerate’s Generations Serving Together program, placed cogenerational pairs of AmeriCorps members in elementary schools. The older and younger adults worked side by side to improve students’ reading and math skills. A...
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CoGenerate is proud to be part of More Perfect, a coalition of national service and bridge-building groups that launched a bold plan today calling for cogenerational national service and volunteering, including a dramatic expansion of opportunities to engage 1 million...
We at CoGenerate (formerly Encore.org) are mourning the loss of Chuck Feeney this week. Without Chuck's vision and generosity we likely would not exist as an organization. Twenty-five years ago Atlantic Philanthropies took a chance on our start-up, playing a...
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010
Mercereau, a nurse, advocates for and helps patients understand treatment options for better care, and she is educating a national network of nurses to do the same.
During her decades-long career as a clinical registered nurse, Karen Mercereau informally helped friends and family through the maze of modern health care. In 2002, she decided to turn her passion for helping others into a business – RN Patient Advocates PLLC.
As a patient advocate, Mercereau sought to improve care by working directly with patients and their families to get the biggest possible picture of the patients’ history, lifestyle and past care – a holistic view that can be lost in a health care system dominated by specialists, she explains.
After several years as an independent patient advocate helping patients better understand their treatment options, Mercereau decided she wanted to play a role, however small, in helping to fix the nation’s broken medical system. So she developed an educational program to help other nurses around the country become advocates.
“It was a choice of staying with my successful private advocacy practice or going for broke,” says Mercereau, who has personally served as a patient advocate to about 100 clients.
Mercereau’s weeklong course educates nurses to, among other things: directly advocate for patients; collect and summarize patient medical records; explain complex medical issues to patients; research treatment options; facilitate communication among all providers working with individual patients; and teach patients how to advocate for themselves. The 22 advocates Mercereau has educated work in 15 states.
Mercereau’s Tucson, Ariz.-based program is partnered with the University of Arizona College of Nursing, which is developing an advanced degree in independent RN Patient Advocacy, drawing from Mercereau’s methods.