Tag: January 2012

Today we have a post by Sharifa that really gets to the heart of January goal-making: creating a Mission Statement for yourself and your community. In order to really get things done and stay on track with your Health Activist brand. Have you written a plan for what you want to accomplish? It’s worth a shot – especially when thinking of how you want to grow your community! –Amanda


Visualization: A Critical Step Toward Materialization

by Sharifa Simon-Roberts

As we are in the first month of the year still, I thought about how I could develop a post that would incorporate the resolutions of many Health Activists for 2012. Therefore, my mission here is to explore the very common term ‘mission statement’ not as it pertains to corporations but I wish to tailor this common concept to Health Activists. Whether it is for you personally, your blog, or for advancing your communities or others efforts directly related to raising awareness of your health community. I thought I’d share some suggestions with you to see what you thought – especially since this is a topic that we can continue to revisit all year as our Health Activism evolves.


First let’s breakdown what a mission statement is. After having studied Principles of Business and reading several mission statements, this is my interpretation: A mission statement is a declaration presented by an entity (it can be an organization or individual) explaining its purpose, goals and principles, and clearly identifying its target market.


I believe strongly, a mission statement can enhance the group, person, or venture it has been created for because it helps you to refine and focus on the intangible parts of your mission that are so important.


I expanded a bit and added some of the benefits of a mission statement. Now, I trust (OK, it’s more like hope) you are eagerly awaiting the revelation of… (Drum roll please) – How can you create a mission statement? Keep in mind that the tips here can be adapted to suit your needs and wants – individual, community, organization, blog, etc. So here goes:


  1. Determine your mission or goal – it is understandable if it seems vast and wide at first but take some time to narrow it down and pinpoint the people you intend to reach and connect with. Here, you are adding clarity to what you want to accomplish as a Health Activist. Often, it helps if you jot down notes or even draw pictures as ideas come to you.
  2. Reaffirm your mission and reasons why you focused on a specific facet – you are reminding yourself what you set out to do and why. Affirmations can provide the stimulation you need later.
  3. Don’t be afraid to look back and alter your vision as you make progress – if along the road to creating that mission statement, you realize you want to modify your initial purpose, you should be flexible enough to make adjustments. Don’t worry – these changes do not mean you are indecisive or your goals were ill-defined at the start. It just means you are learning and being more specific. Recognize that changes can be a result of enlightenment, recent encounters you have had, or newly-acquired knowledge.
  4. After the identification, reassertion and improvement of your objective – it’s time to dedicate yourself to writing this powerful statement. You want your mission to be high-quality and truly represent any revelations you may have had along the way and the journey/ process that you have been through. Given the importance you place on this statement, I suggest you unveil your mission statement in fine form. After all, it is a time to celebrate!


I would like to get your input. As a Health Activist, what is your mission statement or the mission statement of your community? If this is an aspect which is missing, why not create one? Remember to put thought into it, as it now becomes a representation of you and/or your community.

For 2012, I vow to create a mission statement for Sharifa Simon-Roberts; yes, that’s right my personal mission statement. Stay tuned.





Editor’s Note: I’m excited to share a post with you written by our Sponsor Programs Assistant Sharifa Simon-Roberts on Thyroid Awareness Month. To learn more about Thyroid Awareness and the online Thyroid community – check out our interviews with Katie Schwartz, founder of the wonderful Dear Thyroid, and Mary Shomon of About.com’s Thyroid community. Both are doing amazing things for their communities and, if you haven’t yet, you’ll learn a bit more about thyroid health! –Amanda

Educate Your Community: Thyroid Awareness Month

by Sharifa Simon-Roberts

Thyroid Plush

For many, January is the month where a number of bold declarations are made. Heading the list are promises to pay closer attention to one’s health – whether it’s in terms of diet, exercising or making physical check-ups a priority. With this in mind, I thought I would highlight a condition which affects millions of Americans – thyroid disease. What better time to take a look at a common ailment while paying tribute to that new year’s vow of making health a priority, than now and oh yes, of course during Thyroid Awareness month?

Like some of you, I had heard the term “thyroid” previously but if asked to define it and pinpoint its exact location during a biology exam, I would skip over that question quickly and hope no similar questions would haunt me as I completed the exam. I think now, perhaps I can avoid such a situation. The official name for the thyroid is ‘thyroid gland’ and it is an endocrine gland located in the lower part of the neck, in the vicinity of the Adam’s apple. It is butterfly-shaped, surrounds the trachea and some functions of this gland are to secrete hormones and monitor metabolism, heart rate, body temperature and the speed at which the body uses energy.

So what happens if this gland malfunctions or stops working? This is where my limited knowledge on the thyroid did reside. I remember in 2007 Oprah Winfrey attributed her 20 pound weight gain to problems with her thyroid. Her problems started off with hyperthyroidism where her thyroid gland was producing too many hormones, followed by, hypothyroidism, as her thyroid gland was not producing enough hormones. According to Winfrey, this was stress-induced. After devoting time to rest and some TLC (tender loving care, or in this case thyroid loving care) which we could all use, she was on the road to recovery and regaining her health.

Other disorders that I learned can result from thyroid dysfunction include: Goiters (an enlargement of the thyroid gland), thyroiditis (condition in which the thyroid becomes inflamed), and thyroid cancer.

In an attempt to avoid such ailments, researchers say we should ensure we consume foods with certain properties, for example: anti-oxidants, whole grains and iron. Fear not, these foods are not hard to find and benefits extend beyond that of thyroid health. By adding blueberries, tomatoes, spinach, tuna, chicken, turkey, broccoli, raisins, and dried peas and beans you are on your way to supporting a healthy thyroid. You do not have to alter your regimen radically. Rather seek to incorporate these foods into your diet.

In honor of the thyroid, the gland which does so much but receives, let’s just say, less than the praise it deserves, I hope you take to time to share with us specific experiences have you had with your thyroid. Are you active in the online thyroid community? What do you wish more people knew about thyroid and thyroid conditions? How can Health Activists in other conditions help raise awareness this month?

To learn how you can help raise thyroid awareness, click:  http://www.thyroidawarenessmonth.com/

Best wishes on your quest for improved wellbeing this year!





For today’s Health Activist Tweetchat let’s continue with our big picture thinking and play a little “What if” game. Health Activist Wishlist-creation. In true brainstorm fashion – there are no wrong answers!


Join us at 3pm ET for a fun brainstorm chat  about the following topics:


  • What if you could create a school for Health Activists? What classes would you offer? Who would teach?
  • If you had a Health Activist mentor – what would you ask them?
  • If you had unlimited time (or unlimited spoons) – what would you do?
  • If you could tell one person, company, org, or group about Health Activism and online patient community – who would it be & what would you say?


    Can’t wait to hear your responses!




    Now that the Health Activist Award nomination period has concluded and judging has begun, we are pleased to share all of the nominations with you! As they say, it’s just an honor to be nominated – and, looking at what the nominators had to say about all the Health Activists they nominated – it’s true.

    People are truly moved by the work you are doing for your health community and you’re in great company. We received hundreds upon hundreds of nominations telling us why you’re so inspiring to your members, readers, and friends. In fact, we received so many nominations that we couldn’t share them all! But we did want to provide a list of who was nominated (and for which award they were put up for).

    To check out the list of all 2011 Health Activist Award nominees click here.


    Note: We will be sharing a whole bunch more with you as our finalists for each award are chosen and the winners are selected – so stay tuned. This is just the very tip of the iceberg of Award info we’ll share.

    Remember we’ll be announcing the official winners of the Health Activist Awards live in our Health Activist Tweetchat on Tuesday, January 31st at 3pm ET – you won’t want to miss it! Click here to RSVP to our Facebook Event for the chat.



    Each month, in our community newsletter we feature Health Activists who amazing things for their health communities that we think you should get to know. We love meeting new people and know how important it is for Health Activists to connect across health conditions and interests so we can work together and support better healthcare overall.

    So let’s look at this month’s Health Activists!



    Selena is a wonderful Health Activist who is active in numerous different health condition communities. She blogs, vlogs, writes articles, and you can find her all around the web inspiring others as a brave leukemia cancer survivor and living with Hepatitis C, diabetes, fibro, and other chronic illnesses. SelenaMKI’s dedication to her community is clear and we can’t wait to see all her great accomplishments in 2012.

    Follow SelenaMKI:



    Niki is a Health Activist role model dedicated to the Rheumatoid Arthritis community. She leads the community “RA Chicks” and helps others navigate living with Autoimmune Arthritis. Her community’s motto is “RA Chicks Never Give Up” and it’s clear that Niki is doing amazing things for fellow RA patients and community members. She’s dedicated to providing a variety of great resources and support. We’re so glad to have seen her work and gotten to know her through Health Activist Award nominations and look forward to more awesome things this year!

    Follow Niki:


    The Positive Pear

    The Positive Pear is dedicated to holistic health and healthy living.

    As someone who lives with AS, Fibromyalgia and CFIDS and advocates for invisible illness (and chronic happiness!), The Positive Pear has a integrated approach to sharing health living tips and raising awareness for alternative types of care. Another Health Activist we got the opportunity to meet through the Health Activist Awards, The Positive Pear lives up to their name and brings positivity along with facts and support. Thanks for being so inspirational! We are looking forward to learning more about what you do and your community in 2012!

    Follow The Positive Pear:


    Stay tuned for our Featured Health Activists every month and get to know more online health leaders with us!


    At WEGO Health, we really love (and benefit from having) our Editorial Calendar complete with monthly themes to focus on and center our efforts around. It keeps us on target as an company and helps integrate all of the many ideas we have in an organized way. Last year, we chose a theme for each and every month of 2011 and worked to highlight things every week that fit into the theme. We featured interviews, hosted great webinars, and shared resources to help you and your communities. And, well, we want to do even more of these great things in 2012!


    This is why we’ve set up a brand new 2012 Editorial Calendar complete with Health Activist themes to delve into every month. We’d love for you to join us by sharing what you’re working on and telling us how we can help you.

    Let’s take a peek at the monthly themes for 2012:

    January: Goal Setting, 2012 in Health Activism

    February: Health Activist Matchmaking Month (Connecting health leaders & new introductions!)

    March: Health Activism & Healthcare Professionals (What can we learn from each other?)

    April: Health Activist Writer’s Month (HAWMC) and Health Activist Storytelling

    May: Fact vs. Fiction Month (Addressing misconceptions and myths about your health condition and the conditions of tothers)

    June: Health Technology Month

    July: Health Activism IRL Month  (Bringing Online Activism Offline)

    August: Advocating for Another Month (Celebrating Caregiver and Parent Health Activists)

    September: Health Activist Inspiration & Affirmation Month

    October: Health Activist Challenges (Burnout, Struggles, and Obstacles)

    November: National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM)

    December: Health Activist Pride & Awards Month!

    There we have it – a whole year of plans. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover but can’t wait to dig in and start talking about these important topics with you.

    In fact, we’d love your thoughts on how we can make the most of each theme and highlight Health Activists all year long. What would you like to see? Any ideas to share with us for a certain month? We’d love to set up interviews, guest posts, features, and events with you! Since we’re starting early – there’s no idea too wacky or too huge. If you have an Editorial Calendar, what do you have planned for 2012? If you don’t, what is your strategy for keeping the content flowing?




    We hope your 2012 is off to a great start and that you’re looking forward to an even bigger and better year in Health Activism. Thanks for always inspiring us and doing such great work for your fellow patients and online health community members! We’re so happy to have met all of you and are excited to continue learning from you and promoting your efforts for others.

    It’s the first Tuesday of the year and the first Health Activist Tweetchat of the year! We want to hear from you.

    What do you want to accomplish in 2012 and how can we help?

    Join us for today’s Health Activist Tweetchat at 3pm ET to discuss and set some awesome goals for your community.

    We look forward to hearing from you and hope you’ll invite everyone you know to join us!

    Here’s a tweet for you to share:

    Join the Health Activist Tweetchat today at 3pm ET to discuss advocacy in 2012 with @wegohealth http://tweetchat.com/room/HAchat #HAchat

    I’m participating in today’s #HAchat to discuss goals for online health leadership in 2012. Join me at 3pm ET http://tweetchat.com/room/HAchat


    See you then!

    Congratulations on making it through 2011 – we hope the year was as successful for you as it was for Health Activism in general. Because it was truly the biggest year in online health advocacy ever! We’re proud to have met so many wonderful leaders this year and can’t wait to do even more with you in 2012.
    Imagine 2012 as a clean slate – what do you envision for yourself this year? What 5 goals do you have for your health advocacy and what are 5 dreams you have for your community this year? We want to help you plan your years and hear from you what you’d like WEGO Health’s help with from January to December, too.


    Thanks to everyone who helped promote the power of online health communities.