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November is American Diabetes Month, a time to rally individuals, families, and communities in the movement to raise awareness of this growing epidemic. The American Diabetes Association is asking individuals to take a pledge to do something to help. BBK Worldwide and PatientsLikeMe have responded by launching CallingAllTypes.com, an online social health initiative for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. CallingAllTypes.com is a vehicle for people to share their experiences with diabetes. Within seconds of individuals posting their thoughts, social media outlets including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will pick up their words, creating instantaneous viral awareness–a dynamic way to inform the public, including policy makers and health professionals, about the real toll diabetes takes on individuals and families.
CallingAllTypes.com will donate $1 to the Atlanta chapter of the American Diabetes Association for each of the first 10,000 visitors who help to create the needed awareness about this condition by posting a comment during the month of November.
“We have created a one-stop rallying point for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to tell their stories,” said Bonnie A. Brescia, founding principal of BBK Worldwide, a healthcare communications company, patient advocate organization, and sponsor of this initiative. “Awareness is the first step toward social change. And without public and private understanding of the devastating effect of this condition, we are in a weakened position to do anything about it. This makes social media the obvious choice to facilitate this type of change,” continues Brescia.
Calling All Types also encourages people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to become active members of online health communities so they can continue to share, learn, and benefit from peer-to-peer interaction. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, when health consumers participate in organized and well-established online communities, they are better armed with the information they need to enhance interactions with their doctor and other healthcare professionals. “We've seen first-hand, when patients become empowered through online peer interaction, they take control of their conditions and improve their outcomes,” comments Ben Heywood, co-founder of PatientsLikeMe, a free online health community for people with life-changing conditions and supporter of this initiative.
Recent estimates published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless measures are taken to address this public health problem. Calling All Types kicks off with a focused effort in Atlanta where the diabetes prevalence rate exceeds the national average by a full percentage point. “We are incorporating a ‘take a community by storm’ approach into this online effort to maximize visibility and assess the results of a multi-dimensional approach to motivating patients to get involved and stay engaged,” continues Brescia.
“If One Drop Can Tell So Much About Diabetes, Imagine What Thousands Might Say,” is the Calling All Types mantra and call to action for those who would like to have their voice heard. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should go to www.CallingAllTypes.com to learn more and to share their experiences.