Melissa Adams VanHouten is a former university political science instructor and corporate trainer who holds a B.S. in Political Science from St. Joseph’s College and an M.A. in Political Science from Indiana State University. After being diagnosed with gastroparesis in February of 2014, she became a passionate advocate for those in her community who feel voiceless and ignored. Currently, as the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD) Patient Education and Advocacy Specialist, co-author of the book, “Real Life Diaries: Living with Gastroparesis,” author of the Lancet Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology’s inaugural “Patient Perspective” article, and creator and administrator of several online patient support and advocacy groups, she spends her days advancing the cause of those who struggle with the sometimes devastating and life-altering effects of gastroparesis and other chronic illnesses. It is her fondest desire to empower others to advocate for awareness, better treatments, and, ultimately, cures.