Your Board-Certified Patient Advocate, and I’ll be by your side through your healthcare journey. If you or a loved one are battling an illness and need support as you navigate our complex healthcare system, I am here to bring peace of mind through advocacy, education, support, and inspiration. We’re in this together, and you’re never alone.
Unfortunately, my own experiences with chronic illness have taught me how frustrating and challenging it can be to get the care you need. While my unpredictable healthcare needs ripped my dreams from underneath me of becoming a teacher, I became extremely passionate about education.
Through my experience with a traumatic pregnancy, birth, and a NICU stay with my daughter, I was empowered to help others like you with patient advocacy. It inspired me to become a birth doula and cofound a 501C3 childbirth advocacy organization over a decade ago.
Although I couldn’t teach as I originally planned, I am grateful to impact others on similar healthcare journeys. My experiences led me to start a local support group, Tri-State EDS, in 2015 that has accumulated nearly three hundred members to date.
Then, a few months after losing my father to a pulmonary embolism, I became a Board-Certified Patient Advocate in early 2018. My life had come full circle, and I felt confident that I was right where I needed to be.
After becoming trained as a trauma-informed professional, I developed a greater understanding of mental health conditions and neurodiversity. Seven years of near-daily research, the intersection of chronic illness and neurodiversity sparked my interest.
I am co-owner of Trifecta Health Connections, Inc., and enrolled in UC Berkeley’s graduate health advocacy program. My passion ignites a desire to learn constantly about how I can help others.
I specialize in complex chronic illness, including EDS, POTS, MCAS, and neurodiversity. I also help facilitate meaningful reform on behalf of the National Patient Advocate Foundation by addressing our healthcare system. I do this through legislative advocacy and advocate toward a more patient-centered model.
I have a unique story and have written parts of it over the years within three patient advocacy books. I’ve also had the honor of sharing it while raising awareness at numerous universities, medical conferences, support groups, NIH, and even The U.S. Capitol during Patient Congress in 2018 and 2019.
The mantra I live by today is that life is what you make it, and tomorrow is never promised. I nourish my mind, body, and soul daily to serve my community as a professional patient advocate. Living life to the fullest while advocating to ensure no one else has to experience the invalidation and medical error that I’ve endured over the years is my top priority.
Find parts of my story within these books.
My Health Story
My healthcare journey began at age thirteen when I developed Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome after an appendectomy. Despite the diagnosis, I lived as normal as possible until a knee injury I endured while running track in high school left me de-conditioned and homebound. I faced many challenges through high school and college, including a high-risk pregnancy and traumatic childbirth. It was the accommodations I received that enabled me to begin my career as a teacher. Unfortunately, that career was cut short due to my increasingly unpredictable and demanding healthcare needs.
Then another unfortunate situation occurred. Just as my grandmother passed away suddenly, my daughter began displaying un-settling symptoms of a mysterious illness. Our doctors became increasingly dismissive of our needs, leading me to conduct my own research for answers. On top of this, my mother and other family members had been experiencing their own health issues. It wasn’t until my mother connected with a doctor who had the resources we needed to connect the dots and lead me further into my tireless research.
I diligently began working to find answers, when we were finally able to get a diagnosis for the issues that had been plaguing the maternal side of my family. It was a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that myself, my daughter, my mother, and other family members were all finally diagnosed with. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a disorder that primarily affects the connective tissue in the body, and has an impact on almost every part of our bodies. Upon receiving our collective diagnosis, we looked back into my late grandmother’s symptoms and determined that she, too, was likely affected as well.
After a long, arduous journey for my entire family, we finally found the answers we needed. It is my mission that through my work, I can prevent other families from suffering the same experiences our family endured.
Power of Story
Change is made through stories not lectures.
Using my story to help bring awareness and change to our broken healthcare system.
When people hear parts of my story, they are often left speechless as they try to wrap their minds around such a broken healthcare system. It was enough for me to go through it personally with complex chronic illness, but then going through it as a mother to my daughter -- well, that was an entirely different story.
Healing starts with being heard.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Ashton has helped me in immeasurable ways. Her knowledge of rare diseases and chronic illness made it possible for me to get my life back together."