The Health Blogosphere


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Secretary Mike Leavitt

Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services

As the summer comes to an end, we want to share information about an event which took place this summer and reinforced the importance of using new media tools in public health. In July, the Kaiser Family Foundation Exit Disclaimer (KFF) sponsored a webcast, “The Health Blogosphere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism Exit Disclaimer”. Secretary Michael Leavitt from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the author of Secretary Mike Leavitt’s Blog, gave the keynote address.

The Secretary, who writes all of his own blog posts, says that blogging “crystallizes my thinking and helps me find my voice.” He sees blogging as a way to try out ideas and share information with the public. He also says that, when it comes to change, “we can fight it, accept it, or lead the way,” and he has decided to lead the way in blogging. He sees blogging as a “very powerful engine” for public policy.

Following the keynote, KFF’s Vicky Rideout moderated a panel discussion. Panelists included: Jacob Goldstein, Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog Exit Disclaimer; Michael Cannon, Cato Institute Exit Disclaimer; Ezra Klein, American Prospect Exit Disclaimer; John McDonough, senior advisor for national health reform in the Office of Sen. Edward Kennedy and former executive director of Health Care for All Exit Disclaimer; and Tom Rosenstiel, Project for Excellence in Journalism Exit Disclaimer. If you missed the live webcast, we encourage you to check out the podcast or video Exit Disclaimer. Let us know what you think!

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Secretary Leavitt has now been joined in the health blogosphere by our colleague Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Dr. Fenton just launched a blog “to facilitate the exchange of ideas on HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention.” We are excited by this new blog and encourage you to check it out!

As we noted in one of our blog posts from the International AIDS Conference, many of our colleagues at the state and local levels are considering using blogs to reach their communities. Please let us know if you are aware of any examples–we look forward to learning from our colleagues’ experiences.

Are you interested in learning more about the health blogosphere? If so, we encourage you to check out the recently released Envision Solutions Insight Report: The Evolving Health Blogosphere Exit Disclaimer. According to this report, there are approximately 13.6 million health bloggers!



  1. It’s always nice to see more and more public figures join the blogging community…it’s an easy way to connect to people and get information out quickly.

  2. I totally respect elected officials getting into the blog world. I think it keeps them connected to where the world really is today, blogging being one place where billions live. I know I’d like to see more representation in the substance abuse and addiction treatment area from elected officials with a viewpoint about real current topics related to recovery. Very good changes occurring.

  3. I am new at blogging but we are health care professionals who are trying to reach the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community by providing education, advocacy and referrals. Our target community’s health risk are higher than the average female including the recent news about transgender females. We also trying to complete our health care provider directory and seek to recruit LBT sensitive health professionals here in South Florida who would like to listed in our directory. Unfortunately, getting HCPs to complete our questionnaire and forward to us or email has been a challenge. Any suggestions? BTW, we could use the social media training being offered at the conference in New Orleans here in South Florida. Thanks.

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