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About Dawn M Gibson

About Dawn M Gibson
An African American woman wearing glasses smiles for the camera. She's leaning against a tree.

Dawn is a former youth and young adult Lay Chaplain turned writer, health advocate, and family caregiver for dementia, skin cancer, and end of life. 

Diagnosed with Spondyloarthritis in 2002, Dawn entered health advocacy in 2011 and founded the acclaimed weekly Twitter chat group, Spoonie Chat, in 2013. Spoonie Chat is an inclusive support space for patients and a bridge between the traditional disability movement and folks with less visible disabilities like arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and mental illness.

Throughout its decade-plus run, Spoonie Chat has become a community touchstone uniting patients across diagnosis groups, raising awareness, and driving conversations with students, clinicians, researchers, and journalists.

Over the years, Dawn’s work has grown to encompass many diagnosis groups spanning the chronic illness, disability and neuro-diverse communities, and others experiencing life altering differences. In particular, Dawn has focused on the disparities in care and discrimination faced by people of color in the chronic illness community. She was featured in Eric Boodman's Murrow Award Winning STAT News piece, “How medicine erased Black women from a ‘white man’s disease’.”

A female Eastern  Black Swallowtail sits wings open on Dawn's left wrist.
A female Eastern Black Swallowtail sits wings open on Dawn's left wrist.

Dawn looks forward to growing patient centered advocacy, engaging the community to tell their stories on their own terms, to participate in narrative medicine, and leveraging cultural transformation to eliminate stigmas around chronic pain and all disabilities.Dawn is the Secretary of the National Pain Advocacy Center and the Chair of the Community Leadership Council. She lives in Michigan with her family and a cadre of hand raised butterflies.