Annual Report Highlights Dangerous Toys

Nov. 13, 2020 — As the holidays near, the hunt for presents begins. But not all children’s toys have made the nice list — among this year’s most dangerous items are a toolset with small parts, a toy with high noise levels, and high-powered magnets, according to a new watchdog report.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has released its 35th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report that highlights hazardous children’s toys. The 2020 report found several types of toys that should be avoided — with recalled toys topping the list. And as with most things, COVID-19 has only increased the dangers of these toys, the report says. With parents juggling virtual learning, pandemic difficulties, and their own jobs, monitoring kids is more challenging than ever.

“Parents and caregivers are overwhelmed,” Grace Brombach, a consumer watchdog associate with the research group, said during a Thursday webinar. “Older siblings are spending more time indoors with younger siblings. Toys meant for older children could end up in the hands of younger children.”

For example, the researchers found a Vtech Drill & Learn Toolbox11 — labeled for children 2 to 5 years old — that contains bolts that are 1.75 inches long by .75 inches wide at their widest point. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report, three children died from choking or aspirating on toy nails or pegs in 2006, though they were not from that specific toolset. The toy’s makers did not respond to a request for comment.

Experts on the webinar panel recommended using the “toilet paper roll test” — anything that can easily fit inside a toilet paper roll is not safe for children under 3 years old.

Panelist Kate Cronan, MD, an emergency medicine pediatrician at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware, stressed the dangers of keeping small objects around young children. She told the story of a 2-year-old who was recently rushed to her hospital’s emergency department after swallowing an eye from a baby doll. She recovered, but the eye had to be surgically removed from her esophagus.

“It’s nothing brand new, but it’s really important we know these kinds of things are happening,” she said.

The report also warns against flocked animals — fuzzy animal figures — like the popular Calico Critters, which come with accessories and are labeled for kids ages 3 years and older. According to the report, these toys and their accessories are suspected in the death of a child in New Mexico and the near-death of a boy in Utah. Both children were under 3 years old and reportedly choked on the same pacifier accessory.

The report recommends avoiding these products, especially if there are younger children in the house. But a statement from the toy’s makers said: “All Calico Critters products meet or exceed all US safety standards. We are confident that Calico Critters are safe and do not pose a risk to children older than the recommended age on packaging.”

Some products — like high-powered magnets — can cause damage if swallowed. In May, a 9-year-old swallowed three high-powered magnets made by Zen Magnets LLC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. A week later, she needed emergency surgery after the swallowed magnets caused intense stomach pain.

According to a statement from Zen Magnets, there is a “dangerous impression that high-powered magnets are kids’ toys (they most certainly are not kids’ toys and should never be marketed as such).” Zen is working on new standards that will require child-resistant packaging and strong warnings on all sets of high-powered recreational magnets, the statement says.

In addition to choking and swallowing hazards, the report discussed the dangers of dangerously loud toys. Researchers found a firetruck on Amazon that plays sounds of 104 decibels at its highest point, the report says. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to noise of 100 decibels for longer than 15 minutes can damage hearing. A statement from the compliance liaison for Zetz Brands, the maker of the truck, says the company spends thousands of dollars on research and development for its products to ensure their safety.

The statement says “the subject matter has been tested for and approved to be in compliance with the CPCS safety requirements.”

But Brombach said “a toy that loud, especially when held close to a kid’s ear, can cause serious damage.” She recommends turning down the volume on loud toys if possible, removing batteries, or putting tape over the speaker to muffle noise.

The report also warns against recalled toys that are sold secondhand. Brombach said several pages of recalled toys were uncovered during an eBay search. To avoid gifting a recalled product, buyers should be aware of the 10 toys recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission over the past year. A search of also will disclose if a toy has been recalled.

Cronan said the fear of COVID-19 may deter people from taking their children to the emergency department after a dangerous toy incident that may not seem urgent at the moment. She strongly encourages parents and caregivers to call a doctor before deciding to stay home, so a professional can assess whether a trip to the hospital is needed.

“If something happens, they should call the doctor right away,” Cronan said. “I just want parents to feel they can get help.”

WebMD Health News



U.S. Public Interest Research Group: “Trouble in Toyland 2020.”

Consumer Product Safety Commission: “Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2006.”

State of New Mexico, County of Santa Fe, First Judicial Court: “D. Maria Schmidt, as personal representative for the Estate of Dakotah Dedios, deceased; and Richaline Dedios vs. International Playthings LLC; Epoch Company Ltd., Epoch Everlasting Play, LLC Walmart, Inc., and Marie Short.” “Farmington mom, 911 dispatcher hailed for saving choking toddler.”

World Health Organization: “1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Is the Pandemic Harming Kids’ Mental Health?

By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 13, 2020 (HealthDay) — Since last April, hospital emergency rooms across the United States have seen a sustained surge in visits related to the mental health of school-aged kids, a new report reveals.

The findings suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on children because of disruptions to their everyday life, anxiety about illness and social isolation. That conclusion comes from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of data on hospitals in 47 states. Those hospitals account for nearly three-quarters of emergency department visits nationwide.

The study tracked emergency visits involving children under age 18 who sought care for a mental health issue between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, 2020.

“Our study looked at a composite group of mental health concerns that included conditions that are likely to increase during and after a public health emergency, such as stress, anxiety, acute post-traumatic stress disorder and panic,” said lead author Rebecca Leeb, a health scientist at the CDC in Atlanta who is part of its COVID-19 Response Team.

“We found that from March through October, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children aged 5 to 11, and 31% among teenagers aged 12 to 17 years, compared to 2019,” Leeb said.

Pediatric mental health visits actually dropped off dramatically from mid-March to mid-April, when stay-at-home orders were in effect in much of the country. Since then, however, such visits have steadily increased, according to the report.

But Leeb said interpreting the numbers is not straightforward.

On the one hand, she said even the large jumps seen in the report likely underestimate the total number of pediatric mental health emergencies. “Many mental health care encounters occur outside of emergency departments,” Leeb explained.

But additional research indicates emergency department visits as a whole dropped significantly between January and October. And that, Leeb said, might mean that “the relative proportion of emergency department visits for children’s mental health-related concerns may be inflated.”

Regardless, Leeb said the findings show that many kids’ mental health was sufficiently concerning to prompt ER visits at a time when the public was being discouraged from using emergency departments for anything but the most critical care.

Spotlight on Center for Academic Resources Department

An Interview with CFAR

Over the past few weeks, I have been conducting virtual “interviews” with different departments on campus. This in efforts to answer some common questions that students, faculty, or staff may have about the different services that will be offered by various departments on campus this semester. To learn more about services from CFAR, read below!

Are your services accessible to all students free of charge? Or do you offer services at a charge?

CFAR services are free of charge and available to all undergraduate students. We do not offer services at a charge.

Do you offer services for UNH faculty and staff?

We collaborate with faculty, staff, and deans to better serve our students. Faculty often request we do classroom presentations that range from just talking about our services to spending the whole class time teaching students study skills they could use in the class.

How does your department work to improve mental, physical, or social wellness of all students?

We are holistic in our approach to working with students. Although students seek CFAR services to improve aspects of their academic experience, our educational counselors and peer academic mentors want to understand all factors that may be impacting a student’s experience at UNH. Students meet individually with our professional and/or peer staff members to assess how they approach learning in each of their classes. We explore the course resources with them and teach study strategies within their course content. Students come to CFAR to improve: time management and organizational skills; note taking and reading skills; problem-solving skills and language learning skills; and how to prepare for and take tests. Within the dimensions of wellness, we really focus on intellectual and emotional wellness.

How does your department work to improve mental, physical, or social wellness of faculty and staff?

We partner with faculty and staff to help retain students who are in academic jeopardy. Students who receive an early alert warning from a faculty mentor are referred to CFAR for services. We also partner with the Associate Deans of each college to provide services to students back from academic actions like exclusions, suspensions, and dismissals.

We also teach students to actively engage with course content and use all of the resources faculty have built into the course. Students move from passive ways of studying to critically thinking about the concepts to apply the information that they are learning. When students show performance improvement in their academics by utilizing resources that faculty provide, faculty can feel a sense of purpose which can improve various aspects of their wellness.

What is one, if any, service the department offers that students, faculty, or staff might not know about?

Almost all of our services are done one-on-one. We want to help each student to develop a toolbox of skills that work for that particular student and the design of the courses they are currently taking. One size does not fit all. There are many ways for students to learn course material and to budget their time. We want to ensure that each student finds the right approach.

CFAR is not just for students who need to improve their grades. We have many students with strong GPA’s who seek our services to ensure they are utilizing best learning practices in their courses.

We are also not a tutoring center, but we can refer students to all of the pockets of free tutoring available on campus.

Are you offering any services to students, faculty, or staff who are not on campus this semester due to remote learning/teaching?

Yes! Students can schedule meetings with academic mentors by setting up an account here. These meetings are virtual and students can schedule up to two meetings per week. If students go here, they can access many of our study tools and ideas for remote learning. As stated above, if they go to our CFAR homepage, they can chat in real time with a CFAR Educational Counselor. We are also running a weekly Survive and Thrive in BMS 507 for students taking Anatomy and Physiology.

Do you plan to offer remote services during the online period between thanksgiving and the end of the fall semester?


Does your department offer any training for students to get more involved within your department?

Not training, but we will be posting videos on how to make appointments and access them. Also, all new first year students and transfer students were enrolled in a CANVAS course this summer that they still have access to. There is a section of the course on Wildcat Wisdom: How to succeed at UNH. This section has numerous videos produced by CFAR academic mentors on the differences between high school and college and the important website, services, and study skills to employ.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors who are successful students and want to help others find the most efficient ways to study are able to apply to become Peer Academic Mentors. Peer AMs are fully trained and supervised, and work only as much as their schedule allows. It is a wonderful leadership opportunity for students who want to gain teaching skills, or just give back to help other students do well.

How does your department foster a sense of well-being and promote healthy lifestyle choices for your staff members?

We are a small staff and meet weekly to check in on how we are doing and what we are experiencing this semester. Those who have the lowest risk factors for COVID-19 are keeping CFAR open for students who physically come for help.

Where are you located on campus?

Smith Hall, second floor (not to be confused with Hamel Smith Hall!)

Where can students, faculty and staff access more information about your department?

Our CFAR website has information about all of our services and our study strategies and time management calendars. Additionally, there are tutorial videos posted for every topic for the following courses: Biology 411/412; Chemistry 403/404; Physics 410/402 and 407/408. We are currently adding videos for BMS 507/508. You can also live chat with an Educational Counselor, send us an email, call us, and utilize all of the course resources posted. All of our specific contact information can be found on the CFAR website.

Our health care industry is really a disease management industry

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 and


9th Annual WEGO Health Awards | How it Works

The WEGO Health Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower patient leaders.

Considering the WEGO Health Patient Leader Network is centered around these healthcare transformers, we knew it was up to us to celebrate their accomplishments. From this need to celebrate the leaders who make a difference, the WEGO Health Awards were born.
Since its inception in 2011, the WEGO Health Awards have proven to be one of the best ways to honor, recognize, and celebrate the work of patient advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators who are helping others and transforming healthcare – often without any formal recognition.
With 16 different award categories, it is the only program to recognize patient leaders across all condition areas and platforms; whether running an online support group, speaking at conferences or sharing their health journey on Instagram, there is truly an award category to recognize every patient leader out there.
The program is split into four different phases:
1. Nominations | June – July
2. Endorsements | July
3. Judging | August – September
4. Celebration | October
Last year, we received over 6k nominations and over 130k endorsements. From there, our judging panels narrowed 6k nominations to 75 finalists and later to just 15 winners. In partnership with HLTH, we had our biggest WEGO Health Awards celebration ever! HLTH sponsored our 15 winners, covering admission and travel expenses, to attend the HLTH event and be honored on healthcare’s biggest stage for their advocacy achievements.
Learn more about how the WEGO Health Awards work:

Open June 9th-July 31st
Think of nominations as a way to recognize your favorite patient leaders for the work they are doing. With 16 award categories, it’s easy to show your appreciation for all the patient advocates in your life. To start nominating, simply visit click here.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Share out your WEGO Health profile and ask your community to recognize you for the WEGO Health Awards. Don’t be afraid to post to social, reach out to foundations, and include in any email correspondence. Your work deserves to be recognized! Once you’re nominated, you’ll receive a Nominee Media Kit for easy sharing.
Who should be nominated? Who can win a WEGO Health Award?
Anyone who is an active and leading member of an online community, and making a difference in healthcare, is eligible to be nominated. He or she should provide the community with valuable information and support to make a difference for other patients and caregivers. Nominees for an individual social channel award must have a presence on that particular social channel, of course.
Think about the advocates and influencers you see leading Facebook groups, blogging about their health journey, speaking up and giving insights to healthcare companies, presenting on national stages, and running Twitter chats. Patient Leaders have started non-profits, published podcast episodes, and authored books–there is no shortage of Patient Leaders’ contributions to the world, so let’s recognize as many of them as we can for their talents, contributions, and commitment.
How did you come up with the categories? Can I only use those to nominate someone?
The WEGO Health Awards were created based on Patient Leader feedback and the same is true of the categories we use. They might change a bit each year, but they’re created with you and your community in mind. We’ll only be selecting winners for the categories listed in our nomination form, but we’re always open to suggestions.
How do I nominate someone?
Go to our WEGO Health Awards nominations page to get started. Tell us who you want to recognize, where you follow them online, and the WEGO Health Award you think they should win. Once you’re finished nominating your favorite patient leader, feel free to share that nomination with your community or send a tweet with the hashtag #WEGOHealthAwards. And be sure to nominate early and often; we want to recognize as many patient leaders as possible.
Can I nominate myself?
Of course. We hope you’ll reach out to your community and ask them to nominate their favorite members of the online health world – and that includes you! However, you’re more than welcome to nominate yourself as part of the process. Be sure to take a moment and recognize any of the great leaders that help you on a daily basis as well.
How will I know if I am nominated?
Each nominee will be notified via email and social media (as applicable) and will be given the chance to complete/update a WEGO Health profile with additional information about themselves and their advocacy. Please note, notifications can take 24-72 hours from the time of the nomination submission

Open July 1st – Jul 31st
This period provides a community-choice aspect of the program. Endorsements are a way to give nominees a visual show of support for a specific nomination, think of it like “liking” a post or photo on social media. For instance, if a nominee is nominated for Best in Show: Twitter, and you believe they deserve this recognition, your endorsement is the perfect way to show your support.
The three nominees with the most endorsements in each of the 16 categories will automatically become finalists.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Grab Your Endorsement Badge | Once endorsements open (in July!), navigate to the ‘Awards’ tab, of your WEGO Health profile. Here you will be able to download images and badges to put on your sites to gain endorsements. We invite you to keep your badge up once endorsements are closed to proudly display your accomplishment.
What happens when I endorse a nominee? Is it the same as voting?
Endorsements were created to give network members a chance to participate in the WEGO Health Awards. Think of it as a way to give a shout-out or virtual hug to your favorite Patient Leaders.
In response to feedback from the community, the endorsement process helps select top patient leaders to move on to the finalist round. The three most endorsed nominees in each WEGO Health Award category will automatically become a finalist. There are six finalists within each category and the final award winner is selected by our panel of distinguished judges.
So, if you are nominated for an award, make sure you ask your friends, family, and community members to take a moment to endorse your efforts.
Can I endorse more than one person?
While you can only endorse a nominee once per award category they are nominated for, you can endorse as many people as you like. If you want to spread the love and endorse others, feel free to do so.
Do likes/tweets count as endorsements?
While showing your support through Facebook likes or tweets is appreciated by the nominees, we will not be counting that form of social media support towards endorsements.
Can I still become a finalist if I do not get a high number of endorsements?
Yes. While the three nominees with the highest endorsement numbers in each category will automatically become finalists, the additional three finalists will be determined by our judging panelists through numerous additional factors aside from endorsements.

August – September
We host multiple rounds of judging, after all, we receive thousands of nominations! Judges will be using the information provided in the nominee’s WEGO Health profile to review and score.
Determining Finalists
In the past, there were a total of five finalists, however, given community feedback, we will now be celebrating six finalists in each award category. To ensure the integrity of the program, half of the finalists will be determined through endorsement count and half will be selected through our judging process. Finalists are selected in two ways:
1. The top three endorsed nominees within a WEGO Health Award category automatically move on as finalists.
2. The subsequent three finalists in each category are selected by our network judging panelists. Finalists will be selected based on their relevance to that particular award and the information provided in a nominee’s profile. The finalist judging panels are comprised of past award winners, foundations, and organizations.
Once the top six finalists in each WEGO Health Award category have been selected, we’ll announce the finalists on our blog and then move into the final round of judging.
Selecting the Winners
Top industry experts and sponsors convene to review the six finalists in each category based on their use of social media, their fit for the award for which they’ve been nominated, and how effectively they engage their online community. Judges score individually, and then WEGO Health tallies these scores to identify the winners. No one knows the winners until we make the announcement at our annual WEGO Health Awards Virtual Ceremony.
Note: A nominee’s community size (number of fans, followers, readers, members, etc.) will not be considered. The nominee is judged based on their content and fit for the award category.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Update Your Profile | Having a completed WEGO Health profile allows judges to gain a comprehensive understanding of your mission.
I want to be a judge for the WEGO Health Awards. How can I do that?
If you’re interested in participating, please email us at with the subject line ‘Be a Judge’ for additional details.
Can judges be nominees or WEGO Health Award winners?
We do allow those who were nominated to participate in the network judging process. However, if a judge is nominated for a certain award, they are not allowed to judge that category. We also give the judge the option to either remove themselves from the running or give up their judge’s spot.
How do you pick your judges?
We have many patient leaders, patients, caregivers, industry leaders, previous winners, finalists and Patient Leader Network members who connect with us throughout the year. Many of them express interest in being involved with the WEGO Health Awards. The WEGO Health team compiles a list of those enthusiasts throughout the year and connects with each before our WEGO Health Awards season. We then chat about the details, time commitment, and what is expected of the judges. Once they confirm they would like to officially participate, they are in.
How do you score the nominees? What criteria do judges use when selecting semi-finalists, finalists, and winners?
Judges score nominees on the following criteria:
• Fit for the Award | How well does this person fit the category they are nominated for? For example: if they are nominated for Rookie of the Year, have they only recently started their advocacy journey?
• Use of Social Media | How well does this Patient Leader use social media for their activism? Are they active, engaged, and responsive on their networks? Are they a power user of social media and active on multiple profiles?
• Focus on sharing of information and overall engagement | How well does this Patient Leader balance sharing of their own content with the sharing of others’ content and information?

The health of our community members is of utmost importance during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Though we’d love to celebrate in person, after much discussion and feedback from our Patient Leader Advisory board, we have decided to make the celebration strictly virtual to ensure all of our WEGO Health Award winners are safe and included.
Going virtual doesn’t mean the celebration stops though! We’re partnering with HLTH to bring patient leaders to the forefront of this industry celebration. Winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony during the HLTH event in early October 2020.
This year, winners will receive:
• $500 cash prize to be used towards advocacy efforts or travel
• Compensated WEGO Health 2021 Patient Leader Advisory Board Seat (estimated cash value $1500)
• Feature as a worlds’ top patient expert in HLTH’s patient-centered webinar series, as well as industry exposure opportunities throughout the year*
*Winners will have priority for speaking engagement and industry exposure events throughout 2021, depending on the state of COVID-19.
We are so eager for another season of celebrating patient leaders. There are so many tremendous patient advocates, influencers, and collaborators out there doing powerful work – we look forward to shining a much-deserved spotlight on them!
We encourage you to view all of the current WEGO Health Awards nominees in the nominee directory
Click here to view the nominees.

More questions? Please feel free to refer to the WEGO Health Awards FAQ Page.

Written by WEGO Health
WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of patient leaders. We are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.

DIY Hair Color Like a Pro

The thought of dying your own hair might seem intimidating — after all, it is permanent or semi-permanent — but the pros say it’s possible to have salon-quality results at home if you stick to some guidelines. Of course, stylists want you to come see them in a perfect world, but many acknowledge box color has its place.

“At-home color is good for people who have a lot of gray or those who can’t get to the salon easily,” says Doug Macintosh, color director at Kieran McKenna Salon in New York City. “Coming into a salon isn’t always convenient or affordable and that’s when a box color is helpful.”

Here are top salon colorists’ advice for making the most of DIY permanent color so you have the best results at home.

Know When You Have to Go to the Salon

There are some color jobs that require a pro. “The further away you want to go from your natural color, the bigger reason you need to go to a professional,” says Colin Lively, a colorist at Eddy’s on Coventry in Cleveland, OH. Macintosh says that going more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color sets you up for unpredictable results.

Bleaching or lightening your hair can also be a challenging job for an amateur. “Without knowledge of how color lifts, the density of hair and hair texture, it’s hard to gauge how long to leave on bleach to get the result you’re looking for,” says Nicole Brumley, owner of Kiiro Hair Lab in Springfield, MO. “I’ve had to fix quite a few mistakes with DIY bleaching, so I wouldn’t do home lightening.”

Select the Right Shade

To match your color, standing under the store’s lights won’t help much. “It’s essential to go outside to see the true color and take a close-up picture of your hair,” says Jet Rhys, president of Jet Rhys Hair Salon in Solana Beach, CA. Having that image of your shade in daylight will be helpful to match with the picture on the box, she explains.


Brumley also says your eye color can be a good guide. She says blue eyes often pair well with cooler hair color shades that have ash or a word that implies blue in the description. For hazel or brown eyes, warmer chestnuts and golden colors are a good complement.

“When in doubt, opt for the lighter shade,” Macintosh says. “If the color comes out too dark, you can’t lighten it at home but you can always darken it.”

Do a Patch Test

The boxes all suggest performing a patch test before applying the color to your entire head. Macintosh says this is essential. “You want to make sure you’re not allergic to the color because you could have a reaction,” he says. His advice is to mix a small amount of the kit, apply it to your skin behind your ear or near your elbow, and wait at least 24 hours to see if you get a rash or any irritation just to be safe.

You Might Need More Than One Box

Your hair length and texture will impact how many boxes of dye you need to completely color your hair. “For a first-time application you will likely need more than one box because they are designed for touch-ups or regrowth,” Lively explains. “If your hair is past your shoulder, buy two boxes to be safe.”

Macintosh advises buying more than one box at a time to be prepared. Mix one box and you have the second box handy if you need more color or, worst case, you have a box ready for the next time you need to color.

Prep to Avoid Stains

Staining around the hairline is a telltale sign of at-home color. Rhys suggests using Vaseline as a barrier around the hairline and the tops of ears to prevent the dye from adhering to the skin in these areas. Brumley is also an advocate of this technique, but she warns to be very careful to keep the Vaseline away from your hair because it will also block the pigments from getting into your hair.


Upgrade Your Tools

While the box kits usually come with gloves, the experts suggest an upgrade for a better experience. “I advise getting gloves from the drugstore because the gloves in the box are thin, flimsy, and tend to tear,” Lively says. “They’re not really ideal for dye application.”

Some kits contain brushes, but investing in a tint applicator brush from a beauty supply store can also help ensure for a seamless application, Rhys says. The brush helps to evenly spread the color on the hair rather than the unpredictable blob that can come out of a bottle nozzle.

Apply Like a Pro

Don’t try to cover your entire head at once. Section your hair into quadrants, Brumley says. Part your hair from forehead to nape and from ear to ear and clip each of the four separate sections. Then you want to apply the color as close to the scalp as possible. Macintosh says you might want to consider enlisting the help of a close friend who can see where the dye is going. He also advises starting with the back sections because they are darker and more resistant to color, so you’ll want to leave the dye on a bit longer to process.

“When applying the color, make sure you firmly press the color on the root area with the brush,” Rhys says. “You want to feel the color on the scalp. You’re not going to get good results if you’re feathering or lightly pressing on the roots.”

Follow the Directions

“Box color is a progressive tint,” Macintosh explains. “So the longer you leave it on the longer it develops.” You should follow the directions on the box and monitor your hair to see how it’s reacting to the dye. And Brumley says you should follow with the conditioner included in the kit. “The conditioners drop the pH of the hair to close the cuticle so the color will last longer, so you should always use them.”

Call for Help

If you don’t like the results, it’s probably best to seek the advice of a professional rather than try to troubleshoot on your own. Macintosh says you can try the 800 number on the box to seek the manufacturer’s recommendations. “The best advice might be to come into a salon and see a professional because you don’t want to make it worse,” Macintosh says. “If you start doing too much on your own, you risk causing too much damage or putting too much pigment into it so there’s not much that can be done to repair the results.”

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine .

WebMD Magazine – Feature Reviewed by Mohiba Tareen, MD on March 04, 2020



Doug Macintosh, color director at Kieran McKenna Salon, New York City

Colin Livey, colorist at Eddy’s on Coventry, Cleveland, OH

Nicole Brumley, owner of Kiiro Hair Lab, Springfield, MO

Jet Rhys, president of Jet Rhys Salon, Solana Beach, CA

Schwarzkopf Professional website

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Top Questions from Pharma Marketers for Patient Leaders 2020: The COVID-19 Edition

“Unprecedented times.” Without further explanation, the reference is clear.

2020 isn’t halfway through and already we’re living in a different world than that of 2019. Marketing plans haven’t just been disrupted, they’ve been overturned, just as all of our lives have. What patients and their communities were concerned about a mere five months ago has radically shifted, leaving many brands unsure of how to best support them while navigating the rough waters of a new world.

To help address this, the WEGO Health team held an invitation-only virtual lunch and learn in April for our valued pharmaceutical partners to help uncover tangible tips for companies to improve the patient experience amidst a global pandemic. A selection of submitted questions was answered by a panel of four patient opinion leaders representing a wide range of acute, chronic, and rare conditions.

The panel covered a range of topics from involving patients at every opportunity and speaking in patient-friendly terms, to the desire for patient support programs, patient fears of drug shortages, and lack of information about the pandemic’s effect on their condition. In just 60 minutes, we had only scratched the surface of the patient experience conversation, leaving many

lingering questions from our industry partners unanswered.

We knew there would be value in conducting a quantitative follow-up survey to our Patient Leader Network ensuring all questions were addressed. The survey was a massive undertaking, fielding over 300 responses across 100 health conditions. As we dug deeper into the industry questions, we uncovered both practical and tactical advice from Patient Leaders.

More than manufacturing: Patients find the most value in financial support and disease management resources

When asking Patient Leaders what types of information and support resources they find most valuable, nearly 2 in 3 patients (63%) count financial support among the top three. With unemployment rates at their highest since the Great Depression, patients need help paying for medications now more than ever — and they also need to be made aware when programs like this already exist.

Coming in second and third, more than half of patients find high value in medication and disease management. Living within the walls of this industry, we know that many of these resources already exist, but we see pharma struggle to communicate their availability to patients. What is the ROI tied to an adherence or support program? From patients’ perspectives, it is a worthy investment and one that can drive engagement for your brand, as well.

Ignorance is not bliss: Patients are largely unaware that financial support services are available to them

Companies spend countless hours and resources developing financial support programs that more than 6 in 10 patients are “not at all” to only “somewhat” aware exist. Patient Leaders on the cutting edge of their conditions report that only 39% of patients within their condition communities are “aware” to “extremely aware” of these programs. As one of the top three most valuable resources, there’s a huge information gap between treatment manufacturers and patients here. How can you bridge that gap? If your company or brand has a financial support program for patients, ensure you also have a plan to market it. If not, consider the benefits of providing this for your consumers and the rapport it can build between your brand and patient communities.

When it comes to virtual solutions, get connected

The world has slowly but surely been shifting to a more virtual model, and COVID-19 has no doubt accelerated that shift. In light of the pandemic, there are a number of virtual solutions pharma can provide that patients are eager to embrace.

Nearly 3 in 4 patients would like to see pharma companies get involved in telehealth adoption. WEGO Health has seen big pharma companies forging partnerships with telehealth over the past several years, and COVID-19 is simply the accelerator that patients needed to inspire adoption.

Well over half of patients would like to see more detailed information around COVID-19 on pharmaceutical company websites. These are not the obligatory COVID-19 messages that patients are getting from retail brands and restaurants ad infinitum, but rather high-science and educational information surrounding the impact that the disease may have on their conditions and their medications. We know that science takes time, and information like this may not exist or may require in-depth, long-term research to ensure validity. But, even a simple message that it’s being addressed can make all the difference in the world.

It can be done, and in some cases, it has been done — and quite well at that. We’ve seen this type of unbiased, non-brand related content living on corporate websites and being shared on LinkedIn amongst industry colleagues, but there is a missed opportunity to share this information with the patients that can benefit from it the most. Information needs to be shared at scale, not suppressed within the organic news-feeds of our industry walls.

The other virtual solution we’ve seen taking shape prior to, and now accelerated by, COVID-19 is consumer educational webinars. Patient Leaders would like to participate in these events, not just for the knowledge it can bring them, but also for the knowledge they can, therefore, share with their communities. We know from patient behavioral intent research that when a healthcare influencer shares information about a condition or therapy, 9 out of 10 patients who follow them will ask an HCP about the information.

Half a glass

While digital spend is increasing in the pharmaceutical industry, how likely are patients to visit treatment websites on their own?

The answer could be either encouraging or discouraging, depending on whether you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person. We prefer the glass-half-full approach, where just over half (52%) of Patient Leaders say they would be extremely likely or somewhat likely to visit a treatment website.

This provides a great opportunity for pharma to deliver an engaging and informative customer experience on-site and is a strong indicator that consumer digital marketing has never been more important. The opportunity for pharma to capture the other 48% exists in awareness and discovery platforms like social media, influencer marketing, search, and display.

The pharmaceutical report card

Our industry partners wanted to know — real talk — what grade Patient Leaders would give their companies on their efforts to be patient-centric.

Another “glass-half-full” or “glass-half-empty” answer in that 38% gave them a C – a passing grade, and while we are making progress, there’s plenty of opportunity for growth.

Only 7% of patients would give pharma an A grade. It’s a discouraging number that we all can agree we’d like to, and arguably need to, improve. When asked the open-ended question on what pharma could do to earn an A grade, Patient Leaders replied with a few resounding themes:

• Include patients at every opportunity (from research to marketing planning)
• Include ‘real’ patients across the board – patients want to hear from other patients. Authenticity goes a long way.
• Support for families and caregivers
• Communication of support programs
• Speak our language

Partner with patients as the experts they are

Lastly, our industry partners wanted to know how Patient Leaders would most prefer to partner with them. While answers varied, patients gravitated toward the opportunity to join an advisory board, be a part of the brand messaging/campaigns, and share information online via influencer marketing opportunities — all things that are achievable in the here and now.

The pharmaceutical industry has a unique opportunity in 2020 to earn the trust of patients by providing expert information, quality resources and support, and aligning with patients in a true partnership to advance beyond the status quo pre-COVID-19.

We encourage you to access the full report here and to speak to our team to learn more about how WEGO Health connects Patient Leaders with our pharmaceutical partners, providing patient insights, content creation, and digital marketing solutions to activate patients.

Easy Tips to Keep Your Diet Healthy During Corona Virus & Lockdown

To everyone who used to watch Masterchef, *kudos* you must have learned a thing or two, but for many of us, we have been positioned to cook and feed ourselves. Coronavirus lockdown has definitely shaken things up and obviously we were not ready with our culinary skills to cook every day for months. From doing work from home, house chores to cooking, and also making sure you consume adequate nutrition are quite a handful of tasks, honestly.

So we thought of making it easier for you to note down what your body needs and what it certainly doesn’t need. This will help you to make a wiser choice in buying groceries during the lockdown whilst keeping your diet balanced and your body well energized.

It’s never too late to get yourself and your family into healthy eating habits and what can be a better time to do that if not now? We have listed down 6 things you MUST DO to keep a healthy diet this quarantine.

1. Basics – Hydration!

Most of us are couch-bounded these days because of quarantine and not only that’s making us lazy but is also cutting down water consumption naturally. The rule of thumb says you should drink enough water regardless of you being thirsty or not. And you’d be lying if you say you’re having enough water during the quarantine. To make your hydration game interesting you can add slices of cucumber. lemon, oranges to your water. It’s refreshing, hydrating, and did I mention it’s insta-worthy?

2. Stock The Staples

Okay when we say stock, remember that we don’t mean hoard. Staples are your daily nutrients that energize your mind and body while keeping you full for a longer duration. Staples include rice, wheat, pulses, lentils, whole grain bread, oats, millet, etc. It is important to store staple food primarily because according to many nutritional researches, the above-mentioned staples provide a proportionate amount of calories to your body. They are not hard on your digestive system and due to the good quantity of carbs, it gives a feeling that your hunger is satiated. Since staple foods are the larger proportion of a standard diet, it helps your body with enough energy and some amount of protein while maintaining your weight. Considering the current pandemic situation these staple food items are economically cheap and sustains longer.

3. The Greens, Whites & Reds

This is the segment of food that your body demands in your diet to fulfill the need for micro-nutrients. They help your body to level up, boost immunity, and keep you healthy. We do understand that buying veggies can be a task during the lockdown period so it’s advised that you get plenty of them and store it in ways to prolong its shelf life. Vegetables can’t be avoided because it plays an important role in your diet and nutrition. They provide your body dietary fibers for good digestion, folic acid, vitamins, potassium, and minerals – these all add up to healthy functioning of your body and stronger immunity.

Try to include a daily intake of milk and eggs in your diet as a form of low-fat protein. Also, the tubular vegetables like carrot, beetroot, sweet potato, turnip, yams can stay fresh for a longer period when refrigerated. Tubular veggies are a powerhouse of nutrients like Vitamin A, B,C, iron, antioxidants and nitrates that helps to cleanse your body and improve your overall health.

4. Frozen and Dried Food

During the lock-down period, it can get difficult to get your hands on fresh produce and that’s when canned and packaged frozen food items can seem like a knight in shining armor. Get frozen vegetables, canned fish, beans, and frozen meat that can last you for days. This will also help your body with the necessary nutrients while adding the yummy quotient to your plate. While normally we are against ready-to-eat kits, it’s safer to store them during these tough times. We can’t miss mentioning dry fruits which are full of essential nutrients and oils that you can toss in your diet every now and then.

5. Healthy Munching

Now when your favorite fast food joint is not accessible we understand that all those cravings can be really annoying. Using it to your best of advantage, switch to healthy munching options like nuts, dry fruits, boiled eggs, yogurt, sauteed sprouts, home-made granola bars, the list just goes on. Or you can just stick to the classic whole wheat bread and peanut butter combo, oh the bliss!

6. Immunity Boosters

It’s funny how suddenly the world is forced to care about their immunity, this is probably the only thing maybe we all should be thankful to Covid-19 for – teaching us the importance of immunity! Just like the above-mentioned intake essentials, you can store immunity-boosting items like citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, garlic, ginger, green tea, sunflower seeds, honey, etc. They can be excellent munchies or an add-on to your meals.

Needless to say that an Indian household can barely go a day without using spices so make sure you have that stored along with a little extra quantity of pepper and turmeric powder. Because that’s the super-weapon against most common illnesses like cold and cough.

With the essentials being listed above, we’d let you go make your grocery shopping list with a piece of simple advice – Anything that seems a lil too extra isn’t good for your body e.g. salt, sugar, and stress!

That’s all folks, stay home, stay safe, wear masks, gloves and keep splashing that 70% alcohol on your palms.

COVID Rates Lower Than Thought for Pregnant Women

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A new study suggests the rate of COVID-19 among pregnant women without symptoms is much lower than previously reported.

Fewer than 3% of asymptomatic women admitted to three Yale New Haven Health hospitals for labor and delivery during April tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

That contrasts with a 13.5% rate reported in a study of asymptomatic pregnant women admitted to hospitals in New York City, an epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

The new study included 770 hospital patients who hadn’t previously been diagnosed with coronavirus infection. Of those, 30 tested positive for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive, 22 had no symptoms — meaning the rate of positive tests among asymptomatic women was 2.9%.

No patients who tested negative for COVID-19 developed symptoms or required further testing, and no health care workers on the obstetric units had to stop work due to COVID-19 illness or exposure from a known or possible contact with a patient, the findings showed.

While the number of asymptomatic women who tested positive rose 10-fold during the study, the number with symptoms declined by half, the researchers said.


The study was published as a letter in the May 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Our report provides reassuring information on infection rates and appropriate hospital responses outside of highly endemic areas,” said corresponding author Dr. Katherine Campbell. She’s medical director of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Labor and Birth and Maternal Special Care Units.

“Not only have we provided insight into the nature of a positive test, we’ve highlighted how a comprehensive testing program can reduce the use of personal protective equipment among labor and delivery staff without increasing their risk of exposure,” Campbell said in a news release.

Among people who have recovered from COVID-19, tests can yield positive results for up to six weeks, noted study co-author Dr. Christian Pettker, chief of obstetrics at Yale New Haven Hospital.

“Given our data, we think that a large number of the asymptomatic patients who test positive might not actually be actively infected or infectious,” he said in the news release. “This requires more research but has very important implications for patients who test positive who then might have to be isolated and separated from their babies.”

For patients, this might be even more noteworthy than the fact that labor units are much safer than has been reported, he added.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: Yale New Haven Health, news release, May 26, 2020

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Take A Virtual Vacation!

Traveling This Summer

There are a lot of “cannots” and “have nots” right now. We can’t get our hair cut, hang out at Starbucks, or get our nails done. Our vacations have been canceled and replaced by speedy trips to the grocery store. All these factors play into our overall stress, and without even knowing it, we are like ticking time-bombs ready to explode. I realized I needed a way to de-stress, and I found out that virtual vacations exist!

I tried it out and visited the British Museum in London. I was supposed to go to England for spring break, and since the trip was canceled, I thought this would be a small taste of that experience. While I couldn’t tour the actual building, I was able to see many of the museum’s artifacts. Along with each piece was information on it, so it felt like I was on a high-quality tour.

After my museum visit, I zipped on over to Machu Picchu to see the ancient structures for myself. On this “vacation,” I walked through the paths with other tourists and took in the view the stunning mountains. This trip was much more realistic, and it almost felt like I was there in person.

To finish off my around-the-world tour, I took in the views of the Taj Mahal from one of its many tours. I can only imagine what it is like in person because it was stunning from the view on my laptop.

Just spending the 15 minutes touring these places calmed me down. It was fun visiting famous places in the world for free and from the comfort of my couch. Definitely check it out for an easy and effective de-stressing experience. And who knows, maybe it will give you inspiration for your next vacation once we can travel again!