Regina Holliday is a Maryland-based patient advocate and artist known for painting a series of murals depicting the need for clarity and transparency in medical records. This advocacy mission was inspired by her husband Frederick Allen Holliday II and his struggle to get appropriate care. Afflicted with kidney cancer, Fred suffered poor care coordination, a lack of access to data and a series of medical errors and, as a result, lost his battle. During Fred’s 11 weeks of continuous hospitalization in five facilities, Holliday learned that she would have to wait 21 days and would be charged 73 cents per page for Fred’s medical records. In addition to already expensive care, the many necessary pages would have cost hundreds of dollars. These institutional flaws spurred Holliday to try to improve care for her husband as well as all patients who are abused in this way. As a result, Fred’s death inspired Holliday to use painting as a catalyst for change.
With her passion for advocating for patients to receive timely access to their health care data, her artwork became part of the national healthcare debate. Reported on in the mainstream press, as well as reviewed by such journals as BMJ and APA, Holliday has earned a platform to push for legislation that would provide electronic healthcare records to patients. Continuing her advocacy through art, she also started the Walking Gallery movement, where more than 350 volunteer members don business suits or blazers with either their story or their loved one’s story painted on their backs to attend public meetings. The jackets, which were painted by Holliday or one of 42 artists, depict the story of a medical patient or an element of medical advocacy. The members of Walking Gallery attend medical conferences with a powerful visual story painted on their back which makes the feel of the meeting more human and less distanced. The paintings help to convey the fact that the people wearing them are living, breathing examples of lapses in health care, as opposed to just a statistical number.
In addition, Holliday is published author. The Walking Wall: 73 Cents to the Walking Gallery, her first work, is devoted to the stories that comprise her Walking Gallery campaign. Her latest book The Writing on the Wall (2015), a memoir, takes readers on an odyssey of abuse and empowerment.
Recently, Holiday was honored at the H.I.T. Men and Women Awards reception for her trailblazing vision and perseverance in advancing the adoption of health IT, innovation, and best practices to improve healthcare. On July 13, 2010, she was honored to represent the patient voice during the Meaningful Use Stage One Announcement. She appeared on stage with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, Don Berwick from CMS, and David Blumenthal from the ONC, and Regina Benjamin Surgeon General. In addition, she appeared in the Safety Leaders/Discovery Chanel documentary Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami and is part of the creative team working on SpeakerLink.org.
Backed by her own patient and caregiving experiences, Regina Holliday travels the globe heralding her message of patient empowerment and inclusion in healthcare decision making and offering guidance on crowd funding in healthcare. She fearlessly stands before officials and practitioners demanding a thoughtful dialog on the role patients play in their own healthcare.