The Road Ahead: 2020 Lessons and 2021 Predictions

We entered 2020 with our predictions and plans, never imagining that a global pandemic would change everything within a few short months. It led us down a road on an unexpected journey, challenging the healthcare system, the pharmaceutical industry, and humanity beyond measure.

After what the world experienced this past year, it feels bullish to make predictions while still in the path of the storm. It does, however, feel appropriate and, dare I say, even necessary, to reflect and take inventory of the lessons we have learned and how these lessons can help us predict what’s to come in the new year.

The Lesson: A Walk in Their Shoes

If I asked you to complete the phrase, “2020 has been….”, I undoubtedly would get mostly negative statements—some of them likely pretty crass. But despite all the negative, 2020 has been the year that the world took a humbling walk in the shoes of the chronic care patient. A year that deepened empathy and understanding toward the most vulnerable of us.

As an industry and individually, we navigated health uncertainty, feelings of isolation, and many common frustrations that chronic care patients regularly faced long before COVID-19 was a staple in our daily vocabulary.

Chronic care patients often share that there are two phases to their healthcare journey: “the before” and “the after” diagnosis. The frustration of longing for the before and the living in the after is a push and pull we all now recognize and empathize with having experienced a pandemic.

We now recognize the many things we took for granted in “the before” and understand how different those things may look in “the after.” We understand this experience will fundamentally change the way life looks moving forward.

We can also empathize with isolation. While many of us have lived our lives free from isolation, many chronic care patients have not been so fortunate and were quarantining and self-isolating out of necessity before it was “cool”.

And of course, living our lives with our mind constantly running risk analysis around our health is something we can draw parallels to. “Is going to the store really worth risking my health?” or “should I call the doctor or are these just symptoms of a common cold?” These once lightly made decisions take on a new meaning today.

The Prediction:

What this means for marketers is that we have a newfound sense of empathy and understanding of the patients we all serve. In 2021, we predict that empathetic messaging in healthcare marketing will accelerate and trend.

The Lesson: The Telehealth Tidal Wave

The telehealth train was coming long before the onset of COVID-19 and, as with many other facets of digital adoption, we saw the pandemic as the great accelerator.

In 2018, we surveyed the WEGO Health Patient Leader Network and about 1 in 5 (22%) of Patient Leaders had tried telehealth. Fast forward to 2020 and WEGO Health’s recent research in partnership with the Digital Health Coalition showed that 4 in 10 Patient Leaders utilized telehealth before the pandemic, and 9 in 10 have increased their telehealth utilization since the onset of COVID-19.

We are seeing pharma brands begin to leverage telehealth in a number of ways, from digitally providing educational information and patient-provider telehealth visits to full-on brand launches like that of Imvexxy with telehealth as the main prescription driver.

Digital technologies such as wearables have also increased exponentially, but patient desires in this area are still very practical in nature—the strongest for medication management and self-monitoring tools.

The Prediction:

The rapid adoption and development acceleration of digital technologies is just the beginning. We predict that 2021 will see an increase in strategic partnerships incorporating telehealth and digital technologies into the “patient experience,” with many more brands like Imvexxy partnering with Patient Influencers to spread the word. These partnerships and technologies provide the additional value patients are seeking and also help to strengthen adherence.

The Lesson: A New Day for the PSA

No, we’re not talking about prostate-specific-antigen levels (those are important too), but the good old fashioned public service announcement. While some conditions like HIV have been leveraging PSA’s for consumers for years, we haven’t seen them adopted by the industry in masse.

But 2020 brought a new style of PSA: the “Don’t Neglect Your Health” PSA. We saw television, digital, and social media marketing geared toward encouraging patients to continue to go to their doctors’ appointments and stay on their therapies.

From AstraZeneca “New Normal Same Cancer”

We have even seen industry thought leaders and scientists embracing hot new channels like TikTok as an opportunity to reach people to dispel misinformation and spread public safety awareness around the COVID-19 vaccine and science.

In my [humble] opinion, there has always been a lack of messaging as it relates to adherence coming from pharmaceutical manufacturers. With a staggering 50% of Americans not taking their medications as prescribed, “medication non-adherence” leads to preventable deaths and increased costs to the system.

In the patient community, we see a much higher emphasis on adherence messaging as Patient Influencers understand their power to drive patient behavior. Studies show that patients who receive peer-to-peer support services are more empowered and educated, and as a result, are able to make better healthcare choices and access resources that reduce the barriers to care.

The Prediction:

There is an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to partner with patients and HCP’s to continue to spread awareness and reinforce the value of keeping doctors’ appointments, staying on therapy, and managing mental health long after COVID-19 is in the rearview. This is a “hopeful” prediction of ours because, in this digital era, health ownership has never been more important.

The Lesson: A Brave New Virtual World

And we thought we were virtual before 2020! We have to look back and chuckle at our naive selves. HCP marketing, consumer marketing, product launches, and conferences and events all experienced rapid digital transformation.

Within a few short months, we’ve seen brands embracing new technology and partnerships that were years in the making, and the traditional rep-model has been flipped on its head.

Of course, many of these changes were a long time coming with COVID-19 again functioning as the great accelerator. But the question remains, “what ‘normal’ will we return to when this pandemic ends?”

A recent FiercePharma article stated (and we agree), there is no going back. When it comes to in-person promotion, an August 2020 Accenture survey found that 87% of HCP’s want either all virtual or a mix of virtual and in-person meetings after the pandemic ends. As a former pharma rep, I can say from experience in the field that this particular shift was a long time coming.

And the rep model was not the only major change. With nearly all in-person events (both industry and patient-facing) brought to a halt in 2020, the pharmaceutical industry has had to pivot like never before as it relates to both internal and external events.

While we miss in-person events, we also recognize that there is one person that virtual events work really well for—the chronically ill patient. In the past, to attend an in-person summit we would see patients have to move mountains to travel and exhaust themselves in a weekend with a nonstop, action-packed agenda. With many events becoming virtual in 2020, it provided the opportunity for patients who ordinarily could not travel to attend.

And to that point, we also saw a rise in patient webinars in the industry. In a WEGO Health survey conducted in April 2020, when asked what virtual solutions patients’ were seeking from pharma companies, 41% of patients shared that educational webinars were important to them.

We have seen more brands successfully executing webinars, “live” events, and forums utilizing social media and other digital platforms that allow patients to connect with one another and the community seems to be enjoying this new normal.

The Prediction:

While we know there is value in in-person events that is difficult to replicate virtually, we also predict this trend will continue to grow stronger far beyond 2021. The savviest of brands will tap into patients to design, execute, and help promote their virtual events to truly incorporate the patient voice in every digital moment that they are engaging with their audience.

The Lesson: The Year of the Patient Influencer

In 2020, life as we knew it was put on pause. The world turned to social media for information, as a form of escape, and to stay connected. Healthcare queries topped all other searches, and with studio content creation brought to a halt, patient influencers took center stage.

In a recent quarterly landscape survey, WEGO Health learned that 85% of patients are receptive to branded patient influencer marketing. Patients shared that the top considerations in branded campaigns were not the patient influencer’s reach, but their authenticity and transparency.

In the same survey, we found that patients had a greater trust in patient influencers over lifestyle influencers and that patient influencers have a greater influence in medication research over lifestyle influencers.

The Prediction:

While we don’t anticipate celebrity influencers or endorsers going away, we do anticipate more of a mix of influencers across the board in healthcare—including physicians!

With more receptive patients, we’re also seeing more pharma brands dip their toes into the influencer marketing waters. In a recent webinar produced by our team, over 50% of pharma marketers and agencies polled said they were either already testing influencer marketing or planning to do so in 2021. Of those same participants, 2 in 3 said they intended to partner with a mix of patient influencers (nano to mega) in 2021.

We predict this adoption will accelerate, and if done with an emphasis on authenticity, we also anticipate a rise in patient trust as a welcome secondary result.

The Lesson: All Eyes on Inequality & Health Disparities

Not that long ago, health inequality and disparities were the elephants in the room, taking an uncomfortable place under the rug in the healthcare conversation.

But with black and brown communities falling victim to COVID-19 at disproportionately higher rates coupled with horrific events of systemic racism like the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the industry began to open its eyes to the problems we face.

While telehealth adoption rates skyrocket, how will this impact an already daunting digital divide? In a world with “no child left behind,” what about the patient? Patients are being forced to become more accountable for their outcomes, and while some are swimming, others are sinking.

The good news is that, as an industry, we are starting to have these difficult conversations. We are seeing a rapid rise in senior-level Diversity & Inclusion roles within pharmaceutical companies and agencies. We are also seeing a rise in pharma and agency advertising and promotion of D&I to the public.

With movements like Insulin For All and organizations like BLKHLTH finally gaining momentum and a place in the spotlight after years of tireless work, 2020 saw the industry step up in bigger ways than ever before.

The Prediction:

While strides are being made, there is still much work to be done. and we predict that the industry will continue this important work in 2021 and beyond.

The Lesson: Spotlight on Science

Having spent the better part of my career in this industry, I have always known the amazing things that this industry is capable of. This year, the rest of the world got to see.

We watched as pharma companies developed, studied, and gained approval for two COVID-19 vaccines in an unprecedented timeframe with unprecedented efficacy. We watched as scientists and healthcare professionals worked around the clock, their faces scarred with bruising from the masks they wore all in an effort to save lives. We watched as our loved ones suffered, were isolated, and some were buried, as a result of a healthcare pandemic that we as a society never saw coming.

COVID-19 put a spotlight on science and the healthcare industry like never before, and the world got to see the vital work that pharmaceutical companies do.

There has been conflicting research in 2020 to assess how COVID-19 has affected patient trust with Harris Poll research looking optimistic and recent Takeda research skewing more negative. While research is never apples to apples, it does help us to identify trends that are important for the industry.

While WEGO Health research showed that patient trust was relatively split, we did learn one important factor: patients who partner with pharma companies have a greater tendency to hold higher opinions and more trust in the companies with which they work. Gaining a glimpse behind industry walls helps patients to see that we’re all patients and people, with common goals and emotions.

The Prediction:

We predict that we will continue to see a rise in patient trust in the pharma industry in 2021 and beyond. Starting with influencers as an early barometer, trickling down to the patient population as a whole.

The industry has an opportunity to harness this momentum, and we predict that they will through making progress in diversity and inclusion, collaboration with patients, and empathetic messaging.

“Change is inevitable. Evolution, however, is optional.” – Tony Robbins

We look forward to what 2021 will bring for our industry!

New U.S. Diet Guide Emphasizes Balance Through Life

Dec. 29, 2020 — The new federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released Tuesday, offering advice on what to eat by life stage, including information on babies from birth to age 2 for the first time since 1985.

Released by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the guidelines are designed to represent the government’s advice for the next 5 years. While an expert panel convened to help develop the guidelines recommended that they call for limiting added sugar and alcohol, federal officials chose not to include those suggestions.

“Make every bite count” is the theme of the ninth edition of the guidelines, which have been issued every 5 years since 1980. Publication is mandated by the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990. The guidelines are used to develop, put in place, and evaluate federal food, nutrition, and health policies, as well as to help people eat a healthy diet.

“Science tells us it is never too early nor too late to eat healthy,” Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health, said at an event Tuesday unveiling the guidelines. The emphasis, he says, should be on healthy dietary patterns; not a single food, but rather ”how all the foods and beverages a person consumes adds up over time.” The new guidelines also emphasize taking into account personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgets.

The new guidelines continue to support many of the recommendations from previous ones, says Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and food and nutrition consultant in St. Louis and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Science continues to support the evidence for leaner, lower-fat, more plant-based foods,” she says.

She welcomed the updated, specific information for infants and toddlers. Information for this group is sorely needed, she says. “This group [making the recommendations] tackled that, and it’s not an easy tackle.”

Four Guidelines

Four basic guidelines are recommended, including:

  • Follow a healthy diet at every life stage, from birth through adulthood. The guidelines offer specific information by stage.
  • Customize the foods and beverages you eat and drink to meet personal preferences, traditions, and budgets.
  • Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, staying within calorie limits. (The guidelines give examples of typical vs. nutrient-dense foods. Plain, low-fat yogurt with fruit, for instance, is nutrient-dense; full-fat yogurt with added sugars is typical.) The food groups include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, and proteins.
  • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. And limit alcoholic beverages.

Updated Information for Infants, Toddlers

From birth through 1 year, or longer if desired, human milk exclusively is preferred. If unavailable, use iron-fortified infant formula. Provide supplemental vitamin D soon after birth.

Nutrient-dense foods can be started at age 6 months, including potentially allergenic foods. A variety of foods from all food groups is needed, and foods rich in iron and zinc should be included.

Added Sugars, Saturated Fats, Sodium, Alcohol

As before, officials recommend that most of a person’s daily calories come from nutrient-dense choices, with little room left for extra added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, or alcoholic beverages. The recommended limits are:

  • Less than 10% of calories from added sugars, starting at age 2. Avoid added sugars before age 2.
  • Less than 10% of calories daily from saturated fat, starting at age 2.
  • Less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day; less for children younger than age 14.
  • No more than two alcoholic drinks a day or less for men, and one for women.

The expert panel had recommended lower limits on sugars and alcohol, but the officials on Tuesday said science did not yet back up that recommendation.

Nutrition by Older Life Stages

The guidelines also have recommendations for other life stages. Among them:

  • Because 41% of children ages 2-18 are overweight or obese, the emphasis should be on eating to ease weight gain while supporting normal growth and development. Physical activity should be encouraged.
  • Physical activity is also encouraged, plus healthy eating, for adults 19-59. Aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly, plus muscle-building activity.
  • For pregnant and lactating women, the report offers guidance on changing calorie needs and on weight management.
  • Adults 60 and older have lower caloric needs but similar or higher nutrient needs.

Putting the Recommendations into Action

In the guidelines, the appendix includes calorie needs for all age groups and for three physical activity levels.

Along with the guidelines, public health officials released a variety of resources to help people put the guidelines into action. At MyPlate.gov, users can look at their current eating routine and pick ways to switch to choices that are better nutritionally.

WebMD Health News

Sources

U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: ”Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.”

Connie Diekman,  registered dietitian, food and nutrition consultant, and former president, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, St. Louis.

Press briefing, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dec. 29, 2020.

News release, USDA, HHS: “Make Every Bite Count: USDA, HHS Release Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Hamel Recreation Center Exercise on Demand

Fitness Anywhere with CRec @ Home  

As we are all now back at home and away from Durham, it may feel like we are back in March and we are entering a new quarantine. Depending on where you live, a lot of businesses in your area may have reduced hours or could be closed completely. More likely than not, some of these places could include your favorite restaurants and gyms. When we were all back on or near campus we were fortunate enough to have access to the Hamel Rec. Center whose staff worked tirelessly to give us a semi-normal experience between open gym and fitness classes. Fortunately again, the HRC has pulled through for us!  

Over the course of this very long winter break, the HRC will be offering a wide variety of exercise classes, workouts of the day, and much more to all UNH students, faculty, and staff. On the HRC homepage, you will find a new tab on top called “CRec @ Home”. When you click on this tab, it brings you to all of the fun and virtual fitness classes that the HRC offers. There are classes that have been pre-recorded and are on demand. Simply select the type of workout you are looking for (yoga, strength, pilates, or cardio) and log into your UNH account via the Kaltura portal. There are also crossfit-inspired workouts of the day that have been pre-recorded. Make these as long or as short as you want as they can be done at your own pace. There is also a new option called “Fun with Family”. This is a list of recipes and fun activities that you could do at home with younger siblings or other family members if you can’t get outside as often in the winter season.  

Finally, my personal favorite feature is “Rec Movement 2020”. This is a portal that has a collection of pre-recorded group fitness classes from over 60 colleges and universities across the country. There are classes for cardio kickboxing, strength & core, yoga, pilates, cycling, and much more! The latest one that I did was strength class from a super fun instructor at UCLA! It was so cool! Let us know what your favorite CRec @ Home feature is at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu.  

COVID-19 Vaccine Side-Effects

What We Know and What to Consider 

Something that has been on all of our minds for the past few days (besides finals) is probably the newly approved COVID-19 from Pfizer-BioNTech. Understandably so, this has been arguably one of the biggest medical breakthroughs in the past 100 years for the United States. It is truly amazing. So as we are now officially in the beginning of the end of this pandemic, and odds are someone is getting vaccinated as you read this; it is time to consider some of the side-effects of this new vaccine.  

As it could have been expected, there are side-effects with the COVID-19 vaccine that some people have experienced. Of the nearly 40,000 people that have been enrolled in vaccine trials, approximately 20,000 of them received the vaccine, and the other 20,000 received a placebo dose. By administering a placebo to half of participants, researchers can test the true effectiveness of the vaccine by having something to compare to. The most common side-effect reported has been injection site pain. This was reported by 84% of participants who received a vaccine. The next commonly reported side effect was inject site reaction. This would be swelling, tenderness, firmness, or redness at the site of the injection for a few days after it has been received. There have also been reports of experiencing minor body aches, chills, fever, and headache after getting the vaccine. These side effects have been reported in 63% of participants. All of the side-effects were easily managed with common painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen.  

Although some of these side-effects sound like such a hassle to deal with, they all went away within a few days after the vaccine was administered. It is also crucial to consider that these side-effects are nothing in comparison to some of the new diagnoses that “COVID long-haulers” have received recently such as Myocarditis and Heart Failure. This vaccine was also able to prevent COVID-19 acquisition in 95% of participants who received the vaccine. The remaining 5% who got the vaccine and still got sick only experienced extremely mild symptoms that only lasted a few days. If you are on the fence about getting the vaccine, these statistics are fantastic. It is also important to remember that if you are going to get the virus at some point in your life, ask yourself how severely sick you want to become. This vaccine is the first line of defense for your body and can make it so you only experience mild symptoms. As long as we can be courageous, trust the science, and trust the process; this pandemic will end. As always, stay safe and be well. 

Can Your IUD Make You Gain Weight?

When it’s time to choose a birth control method, it’s common to wonder: Will it make me gain weight? The mere notion that a contraceptive can bring on extra pounds is a deal breaker for many users.

Sometimes this fear can extend to IUDs, also known as intrauterine devices. But there’s no evidence these small T-shaped devices, which a doctor inserts into your uterus to prevent pregnancy long-term, will make you get heavier.

“My experience is completely that weight gain is not an issue with [IUDs],” says Henry Dorn, MD, an OB/GYN in private practice in High Point, NC. “The studies basically show that there’s less than 5% [of IUD users] who show any weight gain, and it’s generally a little water weight.”

Even with hormonal IUDs like Mirena, which emit progestin, so little of the hormone gets into your system that any effects on weight are minor, he says.

The progestin in hormonal IUDs thickens the mucus in your cervix to block sperm from reaching an egg. It also thins the lining of your uterus so it’s harder for any sperm that does get through to implant. The device can work and remain in the uterus for 3 to 6 years. A copper IUD uses the metal’s properties instead of hormones to stop most sperm and prevent any that get by from implanting. This type of IUD can stay in your uterus (and keep working) for much longer, up to 10 years.

Continued

Weight Gain Not Listed as IUD Side Effect

The IUD is a LARC, which stands for long-acting reversible contraception. Like birth control implants, the matchstick-sized rods a doctor inserts into your upper arm, the IUD works really well. Fewer than one in 100 users of either method will get pregnant in the first year.

Both IUD types work about equally well to prevent pregnancy. They can cause similar, minor side effects for some people, Dorn says, like headaches and changes to your skin, hair, or mood. You might have heavier periods on the copper IUD.

Lists of possible IUD side effects don’t include weight gain. Also, a 2013 study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reported that among LARC users, women who used implants and shots were more likely to report weight gain than those who used copper IUDs.

According to the ACOG, LARC methods work 20 times better than birth control pills; the patch, which releases hormones through the skin; or the vaginal ring, which you need to replace every month.

“There is no perfect birth control,” Dorn notes, “but [IUDs] are the best we’ve got.”

It also might be the easiest. “It takes 30 seconds to put in, and 5 seconds to take out,” he says.

Other Things Can Bring Weight Gain

Even when people report weight gain, Dorn says it’s important to think about other factors that might play a role. Sometimes it’s merely your stage of life. For example, if you start using an IUD before your body fully matures, you might think normal body changes result from the IUD.

“A lot of it is timing. A lot of it is, it coincides with the normal weight gain of maturity,” Dorn says.

You can stop the birth control as easily as you start it, too. If you decide you want to get pregnant, or otherwise don’t want to use the method anymore, you only have to go to your doctor or other medical professional to have it removed.

IUDs Can Help With Other Conditions

Dorn also prescribes the IUD as treatment for women who have heavy periods. He cites the number of sanitary pads used as a measure. If you have an IUD, you might have to use 2 to 3 pads less per day during your period, he says.

Continued

If you want an IUD, a board-certified OB/GYN, certified nurse midwife, or family doctor is your best choice. “Experienced practitioners do better placing them than less experienced,” Dorn says. For example, if someone has a “tilted” uterus, which slants backward instead of forward, a highly skilled doctor needs to insert the IUD.

But such a condition is rare, so don’t let finding a health professional stop you. Check out medical clinics in your area. And while IUDs should be covered by insurance or Medicaid, Dorn says, cost shouldn’t be a barrier either. Clinics often offer a sliding payment scale. “Almost nobody has to pay full price,” he says, which is about $750.

If you’re done having children, Dorn says the best type of birth control is to have the male partner get a vasectomy. “A vasectomy has a zero weight gain for women,” he says.

Sources

SOURCES:

Nemours Teens Health: “The IUD.”

Henry Dorn, MD, OB/GYN, High Point, NC.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC): Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Implant.”

Patient Preference and Adherence: “Understanding benefits and addressing misperceptions and barriers to intrauterine device access among populations in the United States.”

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology: “Validity of Perceived Weight Gain in Women using Long-acting Reversible Contraception and Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate.”

Bedsider.org: “Paragard vs. Mirena.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Arthritis: Will it ever go away??

When aches and pains persist and it hurts just
to move, we know our bodies are communicating to us. Inflammation is our body
signaling to us that an area is not doing well. Arthritis is a form of this
communication indicated by inflammation of our joints. This is a more common
condition than one might think. There are over 100 types of arthritis but
osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the two most common. It
is seen mostly in people over the age of 65 and is a silent creeper, but some
children and younger adults do have problems. It is the loss of cartilage that
protects and lubricates our joints that causes arthritis. Areas usually
affected by arthritis include fingers, toes, wrists, knees, and elbows.

In our everyday living, we constantly use our joints. When it comes to osteoarthritis, this daily normal wear and tear causes OA, one of the most common forms of arthritis. Cartilage tissue naturally breaks down, but an infection or injury to an area can cause OA to really strike. Developing OA comes with a higher risk if it runs in your family. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, bone spurs, or even feeling a grating sensation when the joints are at use.

Rheumatoid arthritis has more severe pain associated with it. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. This condition can also damage some of the body’s systems, as well as a person’s skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. RA occurs when the immune system attack synovium which lines the joints. Inflammation causes synovium to become thicker. As a result, cartilage and bone within a join can become destroyed. Tendons and ligaments that hold the join in place and together become weaker and stretch. The joint starts to lose its shape as well as alignment. The signs and symptoms include joints becoming tender or swollen, stiffness of joints, and/or feeling fatigued, having fevers, or even experiencing weight loss.

Arthritis comes and goes. The pain can flare up
unexpectedly or be constant for a period of time before it subsides. Family
history, age, smoking, and weight all are risk factors.

There are natural preventative and treatment
options to mitigate the pain associated with arthritis. Keeping a healthy
weight is very important because added pounds adds stress to the joints
constantly. The work of wear and tear from bearing excess weight eventually
takes its toll. To do this, being mobile and exercising is critical. Resistance
training can help strengthen the muscles around the joints which can assist
with movement patterns. A healthy diet goes hand in hand full of nutrition to
help boost immunity. Plant based has been found to reduce inflammation in the
body. Adding turmeric to these healthy food choices is also recommended because
of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power. Herbal supplements such as
gingko and Boswellia have also been found to fight pain. Sometimes treating
yourself to a massage can alleviate pain too.

Every day functioning shouldn’t be done in pain. To a certain
degree it can feel as if our joints have expiration dates, but we can do our
part to extend their quality years. Listening to your body when it whispers to
you before it screams with pain, is very, very important. Sometimes ignoring
and pushing through only comes back later with vengeance.

https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/arthritis-natural-relief#herbs

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353653

https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2015/11000/Understanding_the_effects_of_rheumatoid_arthritis.9.aspx

everybodysfit

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

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About the Author

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

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Why has compassion been eliminated by greed?

Due to consumer demand for
inexpensive meat, eggs, and dairy, suppliers are in constant competition to
market their products at the lowest prices possible, no matter how the animals
are treated.

The farmed animals that suffer are
hidden from view and easy to ignore. But millions of people have discovered the
reality of factory farming and have decided that it’s too cruel to support.

Opposing the cruelties of factory
farming is not an all-or-nothing proposition. From eating more meat-free meals
to going vegetarian or vegan, we can all help create a better world through our
everyday choices.

 What we choose to eat makes a powerful
statement about whom we are. Actions speak louder than words and making
ethical, compassionate choices affirms our fundamental humanity.

Much as we have awakened to the
full economic and social costs of cigarettes, we will find we can no longer
ignore the costs of mass-producing cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep, and fish to feed
our growing population.

These costs include hugely
inefficient use of freshwater and land, heavy pollution from livestock feces,
rising rates of which much of our planet’s life depends.

With rising temperatures, rising
sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather
patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race.

It is all very well to say that
individuals must wrestle with their consciousness, but only if their
consciousness are awake and informed. Industrial society, unfortunately, hides
animal suffering.

When we picture a farm, visions of
“Old MacDonald’s” come to mind, not the warehouses with 10,000 chickens.

When we look, it’s shocking, as
our childhood pictures have been transformed into stinking factories.

Visiting a confined animal feeding
operation is to enter a world designed according to macabre principals; animals
are machines incapable of feeling pain.

Since no thinking person can
possibly believe this anymore, industrial animal agriculture depends upon a
suspension of disbelief on the part of the people who operate it and a
willingness to avert your eyes and your innate feeling of compassion.

Our own worst nightmare may be
such a place. But it is real life for billions of animals unlucky enough to
have been born under these impersonal steel roofs, into the brief, pitiless
life of a “production unit”.

Virtually all U.S. birds raised
for food are factory farmed. Inside densely populated sheds, vast amounts of
waste accumulate.

The resultant ammonia levels
commonly cause painful burns to the birds’ eyes and respiratory tracts.

To cut losses from birds pecking
each other, farmers remove a third to a half of the beak from egg-laying hens,
breeding chickens, and most turkeys and ducks. The birds suffer pain for weeks.

If most urban meat eaters were to
visit an industrial broiler house, to see how the birds are raised, and could
see the birds being “harvested” and then being “processed” in a poultry
processing plant they would not be impressed and many would swear off eating
chicken and maybe all other flesh as well.

For modern animal agriculture, the
less the consumer knows about what’s happening before it winds up on their
plate, the better. If this is true, is this then an ethical situation?

And, should we be reluctant to let
people know what really goes on, because we’re not really proud of it and
concerned that it might turn them to vegetarianism?

When we talk about flesh that is
“free-range”, does anyone realize that the exposure to the outdoors by these
creatures may amount to one small exit in an over-crowed shed, as there are no
USDA requirements for indoor or outdoor space? So, if the door is open, these
animals can be labeled “free-range”.

Packed in battery cages, typically
less than half a square foot of floor space per bird, hens can become immobilized
and die of asphyxiation or dehydration. Decomposing corpses are routinely found
in cages with live birds.

Though each hen is less productive
when crowded, the operation as a whole makes more money with a high shocking
density: chickens are cheap, cages are expensive.

By the time their egg production
declines, the hens’ skeletons are so fragile that many suffer broken bones as
they are removed from the cages.

Some flocks are gassed on-site and
those sent to slaughter often endure long journeys and sustain further
injuries.

The American laying hen passes her
brief life span piled together with a half-dozen other hens in a wire cage
whose floor is the size of a magazine page.

Every natural instinct of this
animal is cut-off, leading to a range of behavioral “vices” that can include
cannibalizing her cage mates and rubbing her body against the wire mesh until it
is featherless and bloody. The 5% or so of hens that cannot bear it and simply
die are built into the cost of production.

Birds with broken legs and wings,
open wounds, and large tumors are shackled and hung on the slaughter line,
while some of the birds are left writhing on the floor for hours beforehand.

Workers punch, kick, throw, and
mutilate live birds; eggs are ripped out of the birds’ bodies and thrown at
co-workers, and the heads of the birds are ripped off the birds that were
trapped inside the transport cages.

Contrary to popular belief, chickens
are not mindless, simple automations, but are complex behaviorally, do quite
well in learning, show a rich social organization, and have a diverse
repertoire of calls.

Anyone who has kept barnyard
chickens recognizes their significant differences in personality.

What about the “little piggy that
went to market”? Well, these piglets in confinement operations are weaned from
their mothers 2 to 3 weeks after birth compared with 13 weeks in nature because
they gain weight faster on their hormone, antibiotic, fortified feed. This
premature weaning leaves the pigs with a lifelong craving to be of them.

The USDA’s recommended solution to
the problem is called “tail docking”. Using a pair of pliers, without any
anesthetic, most but not all of the tail is snipped off.

Why leave the little stump?
Because the whole point of the exercise is not to remove the object of
tail-biting so much as to render it more sensitive.

Now, a bite on the tail is so
painful that even the most demoralized pig will mount a struggle to avoid it.

At this point you might think it
can’t get any worse. Think again!

Pregnant pigs were confined in
two-foot wide stalls, only able to take one step forward or back. Many of these
pigs have deep infected sores and scrapes from constantly rubbing against the
metal bars.

Workers clip the piglets’ tails
with dull pliers; perform castrations, rip out the piglets’ testes with their
hands; and tattoo sows by repeatedly driving a spiked mallet into the pigs’
flesh, again, all without anesthesia.

If the anti-cruelty laws that
protect pets were applied to farmed animals, many of the routine U.S. farming
practices would be illegal in all 50 states.

 Are dogs and cats really so different from
chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows that one group deserves legal protection from
cruelty, while the other deserves virtually no protection at all?

Disregard for farmed animals
persists because few people realize the ways in which these creatures are
mistreated, and even fewer actually witness the abuse.

Once aware, most people are
appalled – not because they believe in animal rights, but because they believe
that animals feel pain and that morally decent human beings should try to
prevent pain whenever possible.

Do we, as humans, having an
ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing,
and to form ethical and moral judgments using the accumulated knowledge of the
ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient beings when we are not
forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat
callous reason that we like the taste of flesh and blood?

In Hawaii, the House Finance
Committee unanimously passed a bill that would allow Hawaii to construct,
maintain and run the only State owned slaughterhouse in the United States.

Despite a dozen protest
testimonies and despite over 300 written protest testimonies, ignorance
prevailed.

While testimonies were being
given, those testimonies were constantly met with the words, “let’s summarize
now” or “speed things up” or “there’s a 3 minute limit”.

Yet, when the Hawaii Dep’t of
Agriculture Head, Russell Kokubun, spoke, the Legislators held on to his every
word.

 All this coming from the guy that is a front
man for the special interest groups like Monsanto. Mr. Kokubun single handedly
killed the GMO labeling bill.

This bill was actually the
brainchild of the Cattlemen’s Association.

But, not wanting to assume any
responsibility for the disastrous ramifications regarding environmental
destruction or loss to life and limb, which is typical in a slaughterhouse,
their paid lobbyist successfully convinced our lolo (nut case) politicians that
they should foot the bill of construction – $1.9 million. And once again Hawaii
remains in first place as the per capita champion of the colon-cancer capitol
of the world.

What do we do to try to instill
compassion in humans? How do we get them to realize what they eat is the result
of immense cruelty, torture and pain?

Even more important is how do we
wean people away from their insatiable addiction to the flesh and blood of
rotting animals?

Compassion begins in one’s heart.

If the heart is hard, compassion
will not be present. If the heart is soft, compassion for all living beings
will abound.

There is a very interesting point
made in various Eastern scriptures about animal slaughter and its future
effects on the consumers aka karma.

Granted there will be many to deny
this but usually the deniers are the ones entrenched in their behaviors.

The ancient scriptures state that
for every hair on the animal’s back, those involved from the raiser of the
creature down to the person that washes the dish the flesh was on have to take
birth in a body like the one that was slaughtered.

So, while in a human form, which
is the ultimate gift of the soul’s evolution, it is the only form in which the
driver of the vehicle, the soul, can make a choice. All the lower forms are
governed by the laws of nature and bear no karma. They simply evolve until
reaching the human form.

Once there, one of two things
happen: One will endeavor for as much sense gratification as possible or
somehow one will embark upon a spiritual path endeavoring to follow God’s
instructions.

Doing the former leads to another
material body with no guarantees on it being a human form. Doing the latter
will start a purification process and insure a future human form allowing that
soul to pick up where he left off spiritually until he finally goes home to the
spiritual world and never has to come back to the material world again.

Killing vegan foods to eat also
bears karma. But, in an ancient scripture, God says, “If one offers Me, with
love and devotion, plant foods, water or a flower, I will accept it”. In other
words, if all plant sources are offered to God, He will remove the karma.

Yeah, yeah, reincarnation can be
accepted or rejected. But the truth is the truth and we all know that the truth
will set us free.

Aloha!

Sources:

woodstocksanctuary.org

www.peta.org

Bhagavad-gita-as-it-is

Hesh Goldstein
When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a “plastic” community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, ” let’s become vegetarians”. I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, “okay”! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, “The Little Kitchen”.

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to “The Little Kitchen”. Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, “Let’s make a deal. You do our tax return and we’ll feed you as well”. So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, “Hawaii”. Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called,” Mr. Natural’s”. I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at “Mr. Natural’s.” To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I’m working at “Mr. Natural’s” and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle – it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka’anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn’t really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that’s exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I’m asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn’t thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, “You expected anything less”? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, ‘enchilada’s at “Natural’s” tonight’. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That’s when they found out I was an accountant and “Down to Earth” was born. “Down to Earth” became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD’s that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii’s premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She said,” If you want to be with me you’ve got to stop working on naked women”. So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a “chicken” or “egg” or “fish” or “pig” or “cow” was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view www.healthtalkhawaii.com and www.asanediet.com.

Namaste!

An Uncanny Sequence of Events – Horsemen of the Apocalypse

By

Posted Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 01:40pm EST

Hi Friends,

This past year, 2020, feels like a byword at this point to me. It actually feels like a word I can’t say, well should not say. You see, I am a Christian. As I have watched this past year unfold, the word apocalypse also came to mind, along with the above mentioned byword. The more that has happened around the world the more a prophetic puzzle is coming together. Really, there are some significant current events that are aligning with ancient words.

Here is why this information could be very helpful. If you understand the puzzle pieces from prophecy you can have a heads up to make appropriate decisions. From my personal experience, it is very time consuming to unravel the many passages about what is going on. So, I am going to set forward the comparison of scripture with current events so you can contemplate them.

Event One – Corona Virus Outbreak 2019 – The word corona means crown.

Event Two – Conflict on many levels of humanity worldwide.

Event Three – Damage to food production, storage, and distribution worldwide with finical stress

Here is why these three events in the order they have unfolded actually match the sequence of the opening of the seals in the book of Revelation.

Seal One is opened – A white horse is sent out. The rider has a bow and a crown is given to him. His goes out conquering and to conquer

Seal Two is opened – A red horse is sent out. The rider is given a great sword to take peace from the earth.

Seal Three is opened – A black horse is sent out. The rider has a pair of balances in his hands and he says a measure of wheat for a penny.

Here is the connection between
the events and the seals:

One is the
concept that the rider of the white horse is given a corona (crown) and he goes
out to conquering and to conquer. If you consider the effect of the Corona
Virus, it has weakened the economic systems of the nations of earth. Now, the
governments are much more vulnerable to dramatic change that could usher in a
completely new governmental structure.

Two is the
concept that conflict is showing up at so many levels in humanity. The rider of
the red horse takes peace from the earth. It now is starting to be normal to
see images of anger and destruction very wide spread on earth. There are even
international conflicts that are showing up.

Three is the
food insecurity problem. While everyone was focused on the virus really ugly
things were happening in the food production and harvesting sectors. At a
worldwide level there have been natural disasters that have lowered the food
supply. The black horse rider says mentions food and money. We also see a
devaluing of currency that would make food prices go up. When the two things
are put together it is going to cause suffering to lots of people worldwide.

In conclusion, here is the very unhappy thought, the fourth seal that is opened sends out the pale horse. His rider is death and he is given authority of one fourth of the earth. Death uses the first three seals ( Plague, Violence and Famine ) to kill. The beasts of the earth are also mentioned as causing death. We have not seen this horse become visible yet, but if it does it would be helpful to understand what is happening.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:1-7

Dean A.

6 Best Practices for Working with Patients on Creating Content

If you’re not creating content for your brand that features real patients, you need to be. Beyond the well-documented need for authentic content, marketing materials featuring patients are proven to resonate more with target audiences than materials featuring traditional stock photography. Many pharmaceutical companies are starting to grasp this idea, if only on a small scale. For example, GlaxoSmithKline’s ViiV recently launched a partnership with Shutterstock featuring free-to-download images of real HIV patients living their best lives in order to help dispel the use of stereotypes in marketing for the condition.

As more brands begin to adopt these trust-building marketing practices, it’s important to note that there are a few rules of the road when working with patients to create content and ensure a positive experience for both brand and patient. Here are six of WEGO Health’s tips to help brands start these initiatives off right.

1. Ensure your recruitment criteria for patients are rock-solid.

Once you know the type of patient you’d like to work with for your initiative (e.g., age, gender, diagnosis), you and your teams can focus on the right patient for the job.

2. Clarity is key.

You want to eliminate any confusion the patient you are working with may have. Your goal is to make sure the patient you’re working with to create custom content fully understands your program and its goals. It will build brand rapport with the patient and also build trust, resulting in even stronger content.

3. Authentic content only.

Keep the content’s style in-line with what the influencer usually publishes; otherwise, you risk the content being poorly received by the influencer’s audience. If it feels out of place from what users organically see, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and it may have the opposite of the intended, trust-building effect. For example, if you force a patient who is not an actor to read a script in order to appease MLR, it’s going to be clumsy, awkward and stale. There’s prolific value in UG-style content where patients speak as if conversing with a friend over coffee—not struggling in front of a teleprompter.

4. Do your research.

Or be prepared to start from scratch. Take the time to learn about the audience you hope to reach. Invest in truly understanding their wants and needs from pharmaceutical companies. This means having conversations directly with patients, not assuming what their challenges may be. Is it support resources? Is it real patient videos? What messaging resonates most with them? If you are taking the time, effort, and resources to create content featuring patients, take additional time to ensure the content you’re creating is what your audience needs. If you’re unsure where to start, WEGO Health offers patient insights programs to help get you connected and informed.

5. Be flexible with timelines.

I know, not an ideal tip, but when working with patients (especially if those who have a complicated diagnosis), you need to be flexible. For instance, a symptom of lupus is severe fatigue. A lupus patient may be a day late returning content due to a flare, and you should be prepared by factoring in extra days to your timeline to be conservative. This is not always the case, but something to keep in mind.

6. Compensate patients for their time.

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised that some companies are unable to do so and others don’t consider it a factor when building a project budget. Exposure for patients is not payment. To ensure patients take your program seriously and produce their best work, they need to know they are being treated fairly by being compensated for their time, insights and expertise. Be sure to set aside some budget for patient compensation.

Pharmaceutical companies still battle significant distrust from patients and patient communities, but brand teams work hard to break through. Building trust through meaningful relationships and engagements with real patients is a step in the right direction. By including custom content featuring patients in your marketing campaigns and a campaign narrative written in collaboration with real patients, you’ve already taken that first step, and maybe a few more. It’s a best practice to take the time to understand your target audience, hearing their wants and needs directly rather than assuming you are on track to developing valuable content without them. Pair that with having a patient (or caregiver) who has personal experiences and tips to share with a broader audience, and you’re well on your way to a successful patient campaign.

If you’re ready to kick-off a patient-centric campaign but still don’t know where to start, contact the WEGO Health team and let us help build a custom program for your brand.

Self-Care During Finals Week

Trying to Be Kind to Ourselves While Also Doing Our Best 

Many of us have been home since November 20th, many of us are not going home. No matter where you are right now, we are all experiencing finals week. Self-care is something each and every one of us can do right now.  

Selfcare isn’t only facials and taking baths. It is mindful minutes, journaling, taking a walk outside, and more. 

Here are some self-care ideas you can do every day to reduce stress during finals week: 

  • Taking a walk outside, even if it’s cold out (be sure to bundle up!) 

  • Meditating for 5-10 minutes 

  • Reading for fun 

  • Call someone you love 

  • Unplug from technology on your study break or for a chunk of time during the day 

Taking part in these achievable activities will help reduce your stress during finals week and beyond. No matter which one you decide to do first, be sure to give yourself some credit and a pat on the back for getting through this challenging semester.