Like my buddy Scotty J of Scott's Diabetes Journal, I've got some big changes for 2011 to share with you all, which I'm very excited about too. I am pleased to announce that DiabetesMine.com has joined the Alliance Health Networks family of social media websites serving our growing community of people living with a wide variety of chronic conditions.
Say what? Yes, you heard correctly: we're teaming up with Alliance Health to help bring you an even richer array of the D-news, interviews, product and book reviews, opinion pieces, etc. that brought you here in the first place. Obviously, I'm not going anywhere. I will act as editor-and-chief (and chief bottle-washer, etc.) and the 'Mine will continue to operate as an independent news source, aiming to embody "the voice of the informed and curious patient." The DiabetesMine Design Challenge innovation competition will also continue unchanged. I'll have an official fancy-sounding title of VP with Alliance.
And joining me as a full-time assistant editor will be my good friend, fellow D-blogger and advocate Allison Blass, who's been freelancing as a correspondent for this site for over a year now. You'll find her behind our Twitter feed and Facebook page activities as well.
What the Alliance acquisition brings to the table is added resources, so that we can grow and develop this site further into a valuable go-to spot for diabetes news and views. We're very excited, because: first, they have a kickin' IT team that's going to help us refresh the design and search capabilities here, so you can find what you're looking for faster and more easily. Secondly, we hope to gradually add other writers to the editorial team, to add more eyes and ears to our efforts as patient pundits.
Who exactly is Alliance Health, you may wonder. They're the folks who created the DiabeticConnect social network, where I've been acting as community manager since 2008. That site has been phenomenally successful, attracting over 160,000 people with diabetes looking to interact and learn about new products, recipes, books and more. I've learned a lot there myself about what PWDs around the country think and worry about on a daily basis.
Alliance itself is a small innovative company headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT. Its CEO Stead Burwell is on a mission to "empower patients by connecting them to valuable content and to each other through online health communities." (Stead himself suffers from chronic back pain and a sleep disorder, and is grateful to the community for many tips, he tells me). In other words, Alliance is a health social media company — and a rare one at that, because they actually have a successful business model. They make money by connecting consumers to pharma and health product offers that they actually want, i.e. all of their advertising is completely "opt-in" to assure that offers only go where they are welcome.
Meanwhile, on the content side, Alliance has hired dozens of patient advocates to act as community managers for its various sites. They've contracted with Healthwise to add more educational resources to their communities. And they've brought in CDEs and other experts to answer patient questions, too. It is their strong commitment to valuable content that got them interested in acquiring this site. While they'll be supporting us, they will remain "hands-off" the editorial operations of this blog.
The DiabetesMine Charter
Our charter remains to act as an unbiased, independent voice for the diabetes community, asking the tough questions and pointing out discrepancies wherever necessary. And having some fun along the way. We'll continue to say it like it is, and encourage input and questions from ALL parties — our colleagues in the online community, other patients and friends and family thereof, people in the diabetes industry, the Health 2.0 community, and healthcare at large, and so on.
Doing it bigger and better? Not without your help. See that News Tips link we added up there in the far right corner? We'd love to hear from you! Any time you have a question, idea, suggestion, gripe or request, we ask that you get in touch. If I've learned anything from reporting community-style on my illness for the last six years, it's that EVERYONE has something valuable to offer. Together we can change the world, right? Or at least keep changing the experience of living with chronic illness for the better.