If you run a diabetes blog, web site, or small organization doing some kind of diabetes advocacy work, you will want to know about this: a new 'Diabetes Advocates Program' that can help you and your work get noticed.
Basically, TuDiabetes founder Manny Hernandez and David Edelman of DiabetesDaily put on their thinking caps after last summer's Diabetes Social Media Summit hosted by Roche. Everyone in attendance was in the same boat: working hard on a daily basis to inform/advocate/unite in the diabetes community, but struggling to "gain traction." How frustrating that the Healthcare Establishment — certified diabetes educators, physicians, and other professionals — barely know we exist, let alone referring their diabetes patients to all these great groups and websites. What could be done?
After many months of conversation, Manny and David's concept is starting to take shape. The Diabetes Advocates Program invites "patient-serving diabetes organizations and bloggers" to band together, to "create a stronger presence in the online and offline world," and accomplish "things that are not possible acting alone."
In practice, the program will execute public relations campaigns and purchase booths at Diabetes/Health Trade Shows where members' work can be showcased. The group has already had enough interest to secure a 10'x10' booth at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) annual conference in August.
"This program is the perfect mechanism for pooling our resources," says David. "Purchasing a trade show booth or doing aggressive media relations campaigns would stretch any of our budgets. Together, we can assemble a much bigger megaphone and broadly promote our diverse set of causes."
The program is hosted by Manny's non-profit org, the Diabetes Hands Foundation, but will be entirely devoted to promotion of member's work, rather than promoting the DHF itself, Manny says.
There will be different levels of membership: $50 for 'standard,' $500 for 501(c)3 nonprofit orgs, and $900 for for-profit 'professional membership' — the main difference being that Professional Members will get "designated tables and signage" at trade show booths and have a say in how the program is run.
Manny and David are in email conversations with potential members now to work out many details, like precise membership criteria, who will be on the Steering Committee, and how group decisions will be made. An annual meeting is planned as well, most likely via Webinar software.
There's no group logo yet, or naturally I would have posted it here (the button pictured is designed by a site called Zazzle).
"We really want to focus on the on the members, not on the program, so we don't want to spend too much time or energy developing a separate 'brand,'" Manny says.
"This program will still have a tiny budget," David adds. "But combine it with a healthy dose of creativity, and we can bring our message to a broad audience. I'll go out on a limb and bet that we'll look back at this launch as a significant step forward for the 'mainstreaming' of the online diabetes communities."
Congrats to Manny and David for a great initiative. Count me in! This is just SO Health 2.0 of you guys — taking 'patient empowerment' to new places all the time.