Have you met Diabetes Health Activist and Paperboy Award winner Amy Tenderich? Amy is the editor and founder of Diabetes Mine, a website dedicated to sharing research, information, and everything you need to know about diabetes. Dedicated to writing, Amy is an awesome example of where Health Activism and journalism can come together. Her posts inspire so many and her work for the community is really admirable. Congrats on your Paperboy Award, Amy – we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2012 holds for you and your community! Let’s learn more about Amy in her own words…
How/why did you become a Health Activist? Tell us your Health Activist story!
My story is similar to that of many others hit with chronic illness – I felt so alone and blindsided after diagnosis! I couldn’t find the connections and real-life advice I was looking for at the time (it was 2003), so I set out to create it myself. I wanted DiabetesMine to be a site that would become a valuable networking place and information resource for people affected by diabetes.
It’s been quite the journey! You can read “the long version” of my health activist story in Newsweek. (Read here)
What are your goals for Health Activism in 2012?
At the ‘Mine, we hope to keep offering our community excellent information, enlightening and entertaining content that they care about in their lives with diabetes. We like to call it “a diabetes newspaper with a personal twist.”
Beyond social media, my goal has always been to “shake up the world” for people with diabetes in some way. The DiabetesMine Design Challenge international innovation competition has accomplished that in the design of medical devices. It’s very exciting! We continue our “DiabetesMine Innovation Project” this year with a new Patient Voices Contest (launching on May 1, 2012). It’s all about making “patient-centered design” more than just a buzzword.
We’ll be bringing a group of winning ePatients together with industry, regulatory, and design experts, to help these experts better LISTEN to patients, and INVOLVE them in the design process, from conceptualization to realization. We hope to help discover and establish best practices for identifying and designing solutions that meet patients’ real-world needs.
What awareness event or effort are you most excited about in your condition?
I have to be most passionate about the stuff I’m initiating, right? I’m thrilled about the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit! This is an invitation-only event that kicked off last year as an historic gathering of different stakeholders involved in creating tools for life with diabetes.
This year’s Summit will take place again at Stanford University — on Nov.16, 2012 — even bigger and better!
Other than that, I’m excited to see how World Diabetes Day on Nov.14 is really starting to gain traction in the United States. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) runs a global Monument Challenge in which landmarks are lit up in blue for diabetes awareness – everything from the Sydney Opera House to Brussels City Hall in Belgium to the Empire State Building in New York.
We’re working really hard to get all the various groups to “Unite for Diabetes” behind one universal symbol – the Blue Circle – like the pink ribbon for breast cancer.
If you could tell other Health Activists a few things about your condition and your community, what would you want them to know?
I guess my Top 5 messages to anyone living with diabetes would be:
1. You are not alone! There’s an incredible group of PWDs (people with diabetes) out there just waiting to connect and help you out.
2. Diabetes management is all about the balance of three things: the food you eat, the medications you take, and the physical activity you do. There are rules and guidelines, but it’s certainly not an exact science. You WILL make mistakes; forgive yourself and move on.
3. Get yourself informed about the workings of diabetes, and all the various tools available to treat it – it’s a flippin’ complicated disease, and the more you know, the better off you are.
4. Always be a squeaky wheel (otherwise known as an Empowered Patient). You don’t have to take what your doctor tells you at face value!
5. Diabetes Sucks, but You Can Do This! (check out the video awareness campaign by the same name)
Be sure to follow Amy if you don’t already at:
DiabetesMine – “the all things diabetes blog” – www.diabetesmine.com
DiabeticConnect community – www.diabeticconnect.com