Robin Strongin

This year, the organizers of BlogHer’12 added a first ever full day of Health to their agenda, lovingly referred to as HealthMinder Day. I was very honored to have been invited to serve on one of those health panels:  How Online Community Can Improve Offline Health.  Now, over a week later, I’m still kvelling.

The experience exceeded my expectations.  Not only did I get to visit my hometown of NY (always a plus to be back in the Big Apple), I also had the opportunity to do what I love – talk about Disruptive Women in Health Care, meet other amazing women and share ideas.

For those of you who did not make it to NYC, allow me to introduce you to my co-panelists:

Mailet Lopez is a vivacious, gracious, and charming young lady.  Who happened to be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33.  This courageous survivor founded IHadCancer.com – a social support network for cancer fighters, survivors and supporters focused on creating connections that help people deal with cancer peer to peer.  A Cuban exile and digital pioneer, Mailet is leveraging her expertise as a technologist, and as someone who knows first hand what a cancer diagnosis is all about, to craft what she believes will be a game changer in battling cancer – empowering patients to become their own health advocates.

Katherine Stone is the author of Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Katherine is not only an award winning blogger extraordinaire, but she went on to found, and serve as the executive director of Postpartum Progress Inc., a non-profit dedicated to vastly improving the support and services available to women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Jen Reeves was not only our moderator, but she is the coolest mom I know.  Seriously.  When she’s not teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism or managing an NBC affiliate newsroom, she’s blogging about her two fabulous kids, one of whom, her absolutely perfect little daughter Jordan, was born limb different – that is she was born without her left hand.  Or, as Jen likes to say, Born Just Right (get it?!).  Jen and her husband are powerful advocates, sharing valuable tips online and connecting and inspiring people offline.  If you want to learn more about prosthetics, camps, or are looking for support, Jen is the best.

BlogHer has posted a live blog of our panel discussion for those of you who are interested.

Robin's BlogHer panel

Katherine Stone, Mailet Lopez, me and Jen Lee Reeves speaking on "How Online Community Can Improve Offline Health" (Photo courtesy of WebMD)

After the official panel ended and the last of the questions had been answered, I was fortunate to be able to meet some of the ladies in the audience.

There was Diana Lee, a blogger, attorney and patient advocate blogging on the experiences and coping skills for living well with migraines and chronic and mental illness (SomebodyHealMe.com) and P.K. Fields, who struck a chord with me when we started talking about her Rtime.com, a site for the sandwich generation complete with senior resources. Judith Ruskay Rabinor, PhD a psychologist who directs the American Eating Disorders Center of Long Island, told me about her fascinating new book, Befriending Your Ex After Divorce.  How very civilized.

I even had a chance to catch up with some special friends, Cassie Holm and RealWomenOnHealth blogger, Kelley Connors.

A good time was had by all.

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