Blue Ribbon Fellowship
ME/CFS Patient Advocate Directs, Produces and Stars in 'Forgotten Plague' Documentary and is Founder of the 'Blue Ribbon Fellowship' for Infectious Disease Medical Students
“The Blue Ribbon Fellowship” was founded by Ryan Prior to further practical ME/CFS healthcare education for students studying in infectious disease.
Ryan was excelling in high school when he was struck down with a devastating illness no doctor was able to explain. After more than a dozen doctors and many months he was finally given the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS. Although severely compromised, with the aid of a highly controlled viral drug available at cost to only a handful of US patients he was able to complete college with degrees in English and International Affairs. He entered the field of journalism and after contributing to several news outlets on various topics he wrote an article for USA Today College “The Real Story of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. The response to his article was overwhelming and heartbreaking. He felt he needed to give a voice to the millions of patients worldwide that were also suffering from this little understood disease and produced the documentary “Forgotten Plague”. This film outlines missteps by the government and healthcare system in the handling of the disease, interviews with several patients and discussions with doctors and researchers about the path forward; research.
Ryan established “The Blue Ribbon Foundation” which is an umbrella organization for the documentary and “The Blue Ribbon Fellowship” which annually awards medical students with a summer fellowship in one of several prestigious infectious disease institutes to receive education in the field of ME/CFS patient care and research.
He also serves on the board of #MEAction which is a platform for patient advocates and ME/CFS organizations to empower the social networking voice. He wrote and produced a story for CNN International “Disabled Protestors March for Reform” about disabled Bolivians fighting for their rights while embarking on a rigorous protest journey. Ryan spoke at the #MillionsMissing protest in DC on May 25th, 2016.