As the summer comes to an end, we want to share information about an event which took place this summer and reinforced the importance of using new media tools in public health. In July, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) sponsored a webcast, “The Health Blogosphere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism”. Secretary Michael Leavitt from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the author of Secretary Mike Leavitt’s Blog, gave the keynote address.
The Secretary, who writes all of his own blog posts, says that blogging “crystallizes my thinking and helps me find my voice.” He sees blogging as a way to try out ideas and share information with the public. He also says that, when it comes to change, “we can fight it, accept it, or lead the way,” and he has decided to lead the way in blogging. He sees blogging as a “very powerful engine” for public policy.
Following the keynote, KFF’s Vicky Rideout moderated a panel discussion. Panelists included: Jacob Goldstein, Wall Street Journalâs Health Blog; Michael Cannon, Cato Institute; Ezra Klein, American Prospect; John McDonough, senior advisor for national health reform in the Office of Sen. Edward Kennedy and former executive director of Health Care for All; and Tom Rosenstiel, Project for Excellence in Journalism. If you missed the live webcast, we encourage you to check out the podcast or video. Let us know what you think!
Secretary Leavitt has now been joined in the health blogosphere by our colleague Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Dr. Fenton just launched a blog “to facilitate the exchange of ideas on HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention.” We are excited by this new blog and encourage you to check it out!
As we noted in one of our blog posts from the International AIDS Conference, many of our colleagues at the state and local levels are considering using blogs to reach their communities. Please let us know if you are aware of any examples--we look forward to learning from our colleagues’ experiences.
Are you interested in learning more about the health blogosphere? If so, we encourage you to check out the recently released Envision Solutions Insight Report: The Evolving Health Blogosphere . According to this report, there are approximately 13.6 million health bloggers!