Patient Empowerment

Congratulations to Danny van Leeuwen, Podcaster and More

“Empowering people as they travel together toward best health” is how Danny van Leeuwen describes his mission, which he pursues through many channels: representing the patient/caregiver voice on task forces for various groups, including the federal government; speaking to audiences across the healthcare landscape; as well as blogging and, most recently, podcasting about managing healthcare as an integral and sometimes challenging part of daily life.

Danny celebrated the 1-year anniversary of his weekly podcast a few days after Thanksgiving with a brief reflection titled “Gratitude, Podcasting, Best Health.” Fifty-two episodes and 3,000 downloads represent quite an accomplishment!

The breadth of material available on Danny’s website, “Health Hats,” confirms his self-identification as a “content machine.” With experience as a nurse, family caregiver, and patient, Danny writes and speaks about a wide range of issues in health, always from a personal perspective, often in conversation with others engaged similarly in health journeys. For anyone interested in engagement and empowerment, Health Hats is a deep source of stimulating ideas, realistic encouragement, and good company.

Listening recently to a podcast episode about caring for elderly parents felt very much like sitting at the kitchen table with Danny and two of his life-long friends. The episode is long (48 minutes) but is available on Health Hats with features that make it easy to come and go or select the sections that interest you most. There is also a transcript for those who would rather read than listen.

Facing similar issues with an elder parent myself, I found it comforting as well as informative to listen in while cooking a family meal on a recent evening. I’m drawn to podcasts in part because they can offer, perhaps through the personal signature of the human voice, a disarmingly intimate experience—tailor-made for Danny’s conversational style.

“Engaged in My Health Journey—An Experiment of One,” a post Danny wrote for Engaging Patients in 2017, is a great introduction to Danny’s approach and mindset and always worth another look. Danny begins his post by saying, “When I travel on my health journey, I like it best when I have a destination, companions, and a map.” Through his writing and podcast conversations, Danny’s a great companion and so helpful in guiding thoughts about maps and destinations. Thank you and congratulations, Danny!


Susan Carr Susan Carr is a medical editor and writer specializing in patient safety and engagement. In addition to curating the EngagingPatients blog, she produces publications for the Betsy Lehman Center in Boston and the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Susan lives and works in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

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