Archive for ‘Awareness Month’

January 25th, 2012

#HAchat Recap: Health Activists Define “Awareness”

by Caitlin

For those of you who didn’t tune in to yesterday’s fabulous #HAChat, the topic was “awareness.”  What does awareness mean to you and your community?  For many of Health Activists, spreading awareness is what made them open up about their disease. KatharineS84 said, ”I’m excited for this topic because it’s the main reason I started opening up about living with #cysticfibrosis.”  However, in …Read More

January 24th, 2012

Today’s #HAchat: Let’s talk about “awareness”

by Amanda

A new year means a bunch of new opportunities to raise awareness for health conditions and communities. There are numerous health observances and “awareness months/weeks/days” or events that seek to do a bunch of different things (raise consciousness, funding, share research, and reduce stigma – among others.) But let’s …Read More

June 28th, 2011

June is Dystonia & Migraine Awareness Month

by Marie

Earlier this month we wrote about 4 Health Awareness Events to Share in June, and we hope you joined us in sharing information about Men’s Health, Cancer, HIV and Sickle Cell Disease with your communities this month.

What you may not have known, however, is that June is also the month devoted to raising awareness about Migraine and Dystonia.  While you won’t find …Read More

June 2nd, 2011

4 Health Awareness Events to Share in June

by Amanda

June is here and with it comes a collection of health observances that you can learn about and share with your community. Even if your community’s awareness month, week, or day falls on another part of the year – we hope you’ll join the WEGO Health Community in highlighting these health communities and the Health Activists that lead them!

First …Read More

March 24th, 2011

You Draw the Line: Slacktivism Vs. Awareness Efforts

by Amanda

photo credit: rahego on flickr

Slacktivism (slacker + activism) is a topic we’ve discussed before in our community. Wikipedia tells us, “The word [Slacktivist] is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.” Another version of it is called “clicktivism.” But, hey now, we are real activists and we click things! (And that word doesn’t even work because it doesn’t rhyme!)

___Alright, take out your pencils, we’ve got a thin line to draw. What’s the difference between slacktivism and effective awareness efforts? Is there one? Isn’t awareness, in any form, a step forward? Poise your pencil, we’ve got some analyzing to do.

___Firstly, awareness efforts encompass a whole range of actual activities. “Awareness,” itself, is vague:

a·ware [uh-wair] 1) having knowledge; conscious; cognizant. 2) informed; alert knowledgeable; sophisticated.

___I think we’d all agree the second definition is more what we’re talking about here. But awareness-needs vary from condition to condition. Some health communities would be hard-pressed to find one person who doesn’t know what said condition is (*cough* pink *cough*) while other conditions are scarcely mentioned and others, still, extremely rare. Of course, no matter where a particular condition falls on the Awareness Spectrum – the personal experiences, the pain, the financial burden, the cumbersome treatment, the heartbreak, and the mourning of life before and reestablished of life after (or during) – are rarely the parts being broadcast. Because, no matter if you’ve disclosed to everyone in the world about what you live with – your health experiences are so personal they are practically rendered unknowable to those outside your community. But being aware doesn’t mean being an expert – to me, it means being moved to compassion through gained insight and facts.

___Maybe you’ve re-adjusted the awareness bar – happy to educate just one more person about your condition. Maybe you’ve re-adjusted to think BIG – hey, if football players can wear pink – maybe they can wear other colors too. Maybe the line we’re about to draw is a personal one – not a universal one. What do YOU consider an awesome awareness effort and what do you consider Slacktivism?

(Read on for a bird-mention, an 80s television reference, and my 6 things to remember about awareness efforts)

…Read More

March 15th, 2011

Brain Awareness Week: Thank You Neuroscience!

by Amanda

In honor of Brain Awareness Week (a week that aptly contains the birthday of famous brain Albert Einstein – whose own brain, apparently weighed roughly 500g less than the average adult brain.) I wanted to share with you the noble mission behind this week and take a few minutes to reflect upon how important neuroscience is. In the past few decades alone, significant advances in the field of neuroscience have been made. It’s no secret that our brains are the epicenters of our bodies and, really, our person-hood and lives – but we have a lot more to learn about them. The mission of Brain Awareness Week is to recognize and encourage the behind-the-scenes efforts of the scientific community to learn, research, discover, map, and further understand these grayish three-pound fat-masses we so greatly rely upon.

According to the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) (the awesome resource I am using to write this post), Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is “is an inspirational global campaign that unites those who share an interest in elevating public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain and nervous system research.” The goals of this week are to:

  • Inspire the next generation of scientists
  • Contribute to general understanding of basic brain functions
  • Improve public health by expanding awareness of neurological disorders
  • Make the connection between increased support for biomedical research and benefits to public health
  • All of which are awesome pursuits!

    The work of a neuroscientist is, as you’d expect, complicated. Our brains, complete with 100 billion nerves cells (think of all the stars in our galaxy – that’s the number of nerves you have in your brain), controls us in every way. Not only do they influence our actions like walking, talking, and using our senses – they help us function as emotional, rational, and social animals. The latter adds a level of complexity to neuroscientists’ work that is both fascinating and infinitely challenging. According to SFN, the motivation of these scientists are: 1) to understand human behavior better and 2) to discover ways to prevent or cure many devastating brain disorders. I decided to read through the SFN’s Brain Fact PDF to see just how neuroscience has influenced our different health communities. Just as our brains are central to our bodies, advances in brain science is central to the research of all of our individual health conditions. Read on to see what I mean. But, since, I get pretty wordy, you’re going to have to jump! (Think of it as an excited hop for your brain.) read more » …Read More

    January 14th, 2011

    Interviewing Health Activists: Katie Schwartz, Founder of Dear Thyroid™ Part 2

    by Amanda

    Here is Part Two of my interview with Katie Schwartz, founder of Dear Thyroid. (Click here to read Part One)

    Amanda: Dear Thyroid is a different kind of health community and it says so right in the first line of the About page. What made you decide to bring your crusade online?
    Katie Schwartz: Being a writer, I have an ongoing love affair with words. I believe that each person (when they are ready) must …Read More

    January 14th, 2011

    Interviewing Health Activists: Katie Schwartz, Founder of Dear Thyroid™ Part 1

    by Amanda

    In honor of January’s Thyroid Awareness Month, I had the awesome opportunity to interview Katie Schwartz, Health Activist mastermind behind the community Dear Thyroid™. Like her community, Katie is fiercely dedicated to being honest and real about life and thyroid conditions. Her responses to my questions are saturated with rich, fun language, likely due to her background as a comedy writer …Read More