Melissa Thomason

Melissa Thomason

Ms. Thomason is a professional patient advocate, advisor and speaker who specializes in bringing authentic patient experiences and perspectives to healthcare professionals and conversations around the country.

Ms. Thomason’s long and complex medical journey began in 2008 when she suffered a Type I aortic dissection while pregnant with her first and only child. She delivered her son via an emergency caesarean section that morning and was airlifted for open-heart surgery soon thereafter. Ms. Thomason survived both surgeries that day and several more surgeries that same year. Genetic testing later confirmed that she has a rare, heritable connective tissue disorder, Loeys Dietz Syndrome, that can cause dissections, aneurysms and an extended list of other medical complications. Her son, Nathanael, is now 10 years old.

After a long recovery, Ms. Thomason joined the Patient and Family Advisory Council of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina in 2011. Once a passionate teacher and minister, her candid and compassionate style worked well with Vidant’s award-winning focus on patient-centered care. She connected with fellow advocates and leaders in patient engagement at Vidant and soon began speaking at conferences around the country. She routinely presents to large crowds at national and state-level conferences but also enjoys meeting with individual providers and doing “patient rounds.” In 2017 Ms. Thomason began presenting to international audiences and was a featured keynote speaker at the 2018 World Hospital Congress in Brisbane, Australia.

Ms. Thomason has served as Chair of East Carolina Heart Institute’s Patient Advisory Board and Co-Chair of National Quality Forum’s panel on Measuring Affordability from the Patient’s Perspective. She has also served on NCIOM’s Patient and Family Engagement Task Force, the North Carolina Quality Center’s Patient Advisory Council, Vidant Multispecialty Clinic’s Patient Advisory Council, Vidant Health’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, and as an expert patient consultant for numerous panels and task forces.

Ms. Thomason graduated with Honors from East Carolina University in Eastern, North Carolina with a BS in Biology and was a multi-scholarship award winner. She also minored in English to pursue her love of writing.

Ms. Thomason is a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction and continues to write about the world around her. Her work has been featured in white papers, newsletters and blogs, but her ultimate “writing dream” is to publish a young adult novel series for middle-schoolers. Ms. Thomason spends most of her free time with her husband, Will, and their son, “Nate.”

Ms. Thomason serves the ABFM on the Professionalism Committee and the Certification Committee.