Building a Better Health Educator

healthinterweb

So I got the ball rolling on this idea about half a minute ago, since I just recently began teaching myself HTML&CSS for the purposes of basic web-design because that is becoming a rather sought-after skill in my field. See, the great gods of health promotion are finally realizing that we can use this wonderful thing, THE INTERNET, to our serious advantage when it comes to getting the word out about messages relating to health/healthcare or the like. This is why you, the health consumer/practitioner/bystander or what have you, have been seeing everything from the CDC tweeting (shoutout to @CDCEmergency!), doctor’s offices with facebook pages, and health-minded political/research organizations using social media to get the word out about their message! And it’s wonderful- this is the revolution, and it couldn’t come at a better time given the amount of available technology. The Internet is for everyone right? And so is accurate information for anyone who has the presence of mind to Google it (and of course, validate it properly, which I’ll talk about in a minute)!

This is for the benefit of health professionals or those interested in why this is interesting for the rest of us: Basic Health Literacy for the Interwebs!

Just as a note, when I mention looking for health information online, I don’t mean using sources from just anywhere, like any old blog or .com (wait.. I think I just told you to get your information elsewhere..) I mean it! Go forth from here and find yourself in the midst of information from truly reliable sources- by this, I mean your “.gov”s from federally funded organizations, “.org”s from hospital systems, most physicians’ offices, and patient advocacy groups or research foundations. And just in case this goes without saying, please trust what you read on the internet only about as far as you can throw it! Your physician is the best possible resource on your own health- don’t take cues from webMD about what to do with your headache-that-might-be-a-brain-tumor.

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Some websites with educational information for the everyman’s health questions and queries:

National Health Information Center education center for the public, straight from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services!

CDC- links to Vaccine Information – the CDC webpage has topics from A-Z and enables users to search for any topic they have an interest in. I may do a post about this later, vaccination is one of my favorite advocacy topics!

American Heart Association’s ‘Get Healthy’ Page because who can say they don’t like low cholesterol and happy blood pressure?

CDC’s page on the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak a timely reference to what I hope many people have already read, especially if you are one who travels to West Africa!

American Cancer Society homepage with links to education pages, and how you can be involved in some pretty awesome works of hope.

American Diabetes Association with links to education pages, how to assess your risk and talk to your doctor about it, living with diabetes, and other support resources

Autism Speaks homepage, for information about the prevalent Autism Spectrum Disorder

RAINN- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s Page concerning sexual assault prevention

American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Cancer.Net page discussing survivorship topics for those with a history of cancer, and links to other pages on research, coping, and navigating the care possibilities

These are just a few of many! If you have a question about something specific, whether it be related to a specific condition, illness, or support resource, ask your doctor about websites that may be able to answer questions about developing a toolkit for yourself beyond the questions you ask at the doctor’s office. The internet is a great space to gain perspective and insight into what it means to live with a condition, be a caregiver, and what it takes to be ‘healthy’ in this particular here and now– all with the added benefit of funny dog videos ⇓

Sincerely,
A Hopeful Specialist-in-Progress

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