Patient Advocate and Founder
Swapna Kakani is a professional keynote speaker and advocate in the area of healthcare delivery and the patient experience. She was born with Short Bowel Syndrome, has required IV nutrition through a central venous catheter for 29 years and counting, nutrition through a feeding tube for 20 years, and endured 65 surgeries including a small intestine transplant. Her story shows audiences her individual resilience and self-determination in the face of constant difficulties, as well as the impact of her healthcare advocacy across disciplines. Swapna through her platform, Swapna Speaks, has given several presentations across the U.S. to various healthcare companies and associations including Fortune 500 companies. Swapna also illustrated her inspirational medical journey in a TEDx talk in 2017. Swapna, in addition, does healthcare advocacy work both at the federal and state level for the Short Bowel Syndrome/Intestinal Failure and broader rare disease community through her patient advisory roles with the Oley Foundation and International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), and through the organization she created, Alabama Rare, a grassroots organization to unite the state around the rare disease population. She has been part of various projects to improve the care and maintenance of central venous access devices (CVAD) and part of policy and regulation changes to improve the patient experience of IV and enteral nutrition consumers. Swapna, originally from Huntsville, AL, received her bachelors in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2013 and is currently back at UAB working on her Masters in Public Health.