OUR COMMUNITIES

We believe the voice of personal experience from people living with an illness, disease or health condition is the most important voice in healthcare. Every day, Health Union listens to the voices of real patients with these conditions and consistently reflects their perspectives, such that our platforms evolve and grow for the community, by the community.

Health Union communities are unique ecosystems that illuminate the voices and experiences of people living with challenging health conditions, like migraine, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, type 2 diabetes, COPD, Crohn’s disease, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, lung cancer, Parkinson’s disease, skin cancer, and atopic dermatitis among others. Our platforms are designed to cultivate meaningful relationships with patients, caregivers, advocates and healthcare professionals. These relationships are grounded in rich, original and actionable condition-specific content updated daily. We conduct innovative, large-scale patient surveys, such as MS in America, which provide unprecedented depth and breadth of understanding about the impact of these conditions. Ultimately, we provide a platform for patients to connect with each other based on shared experiences, interests or frustrations.

Listen & Understand

Health Union listens to what patients say in our communities and to what they don’t say but communicate with their actions. We listen to individual comments, small group forums, polls, surveys. We watch engagement patterns, conversation trends and more.

Create

Our community team leverages these insights to generate the new, engaging and relevant content that fuels Health Union’s ongoing relationships with patients and patient advocates. Each platform consists of hundreds of pages of core condition-specific content, along with new articles published every day from a network of patient advocates and experts. Contributors represent the spectrum of patient experiences, interests and personalities so that everyone can find “someone like me” among Health Union’s regular bloggers.

Engage

We use social media, Facebook in particular, to engage patients in real conversations. Multiple times a day, Health Union posts new content to Facebook and our contributors and community team moderate the resulting dialogue. Great content, grounded in insight and shared in social spaces, sparks conversation.

People are attracted to Health Union communities because the content speaks to them; patients engage over and over again because they find support, validation, empathy, and connection. As a result, Health Union platforms (collectively) reach more than 10 million people every month.

It is our goal to create the best and largest online communities of experts and patients dedicated to specific health conditions. Our communities are designed encourage open conversation, and we realize that discussions around healthcare can be sensitive and sometimes emotional. Health Union maintains a safe environment for all of our community members. Check out the full Community Rules.

MIGRAINE .com

Launched in 2010, Migraine.com is the largest and fastest growing online community dedicated specifically to patients and caregivers of those with migraine disease. It is a community for migraineurs created by migraineurs. Contributors and moderators share their personal experiences, expertise, frustrations and challenges of living with migraine and encourage others to do the same. The result is a unique dialogue about important topics that are rarely discussed by doctors’ visits and medical literature – unusual but frustrating symptoms, impact on quality of life, tips for managing the strain migraine has on personal relationships. Migraine.com is distinct in that it continuously reflects the needs, desires, and frustrations of real people with migraine.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS .net

Launched in 2013, MultipleSclerosis.net is now a leading online community for people whose lives are affected by MS. With an unusually diverse team of contributors and moderators, MultipleSclerosis.net is able to provide unparalleled support to this growing community of MS patients and caregivers. Health Union MS patient advocates each have a unique journey with the condition – whether as patient, care partner or healthcare professional – which they use to offer insight and help others live better with all types of MS. Whether patients are diagnosed with relapsing, remitting or progressive forms of MS, everyone can find “someone like me” among the MultipleSclerosis.net community.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS .net

RheumatoidArthritis.net is the go-to site for people with RA. Launched in 2013, the wide-ranging content attracts a broad base of patients with different experiences, interests and needs. From science-based articles that effectively explain complex components of the condition, to artistic expressions of what it feels like to deal with RA day in and day out, to ideas and tricks from the physical therapy world for handling obstacles many patients encounter daily, there is something for everyone in the RheumatoidArthritis.net community. The site’s diverse cohort of contributors and moderators provide rich reserves of experience, support, hope, resilience, and even beauty to draw inspiration from, in spite of painful challenges that can – and often do – accompany RA.

TYPE 2 DIABETES .com

Type2Diabetes.com launched in May 2014, and has been growing steadily since. With this community in particular, the spectrum of expertise among contributors sparks a broad range of engagement. Patient advocates, certified diabetes educators, registered dieticians, and even an intuitive eating counselor create an ongoing stream of interesting and useful content focused on meeting the needs of people living with type 2 diabetes. Type2Diabetes.com also features an extensive library of diabetes-focused recipes to help community members manage the day-to-day challenges of diet and nutrition.

HEPATITIS C .net

Launched in early 2015, HepatitisC.net has quickly become a valuable resource and source of support for people with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). Knowledge of HCV and how it is treated is evolving at a rapid pace; patients have many questions about treatment, as well as the psychosocial impacts that often accompany a diagnosis of chronic Hepatitis C. Health Union’s team of Hepatitis C patient advocates and health care experts provide not only much-needed emotional support, but also the most up-to-date, factual information about treatments, risks, infection prevention and other hot topics.

COPD .net

COPD.net will provide people dealing a potentially harrowing, chronic condition with life-affirming and pragmatic ways to deal with it and live full, enjoyable lives. Despite the nationwide prevalence of COPD, there remains a lack of quality educational and emotional resources for people with COPD and their loved ones. To help meet this need, Health Union assembled an exceptional team of contributors and moderators representing the spectrum of experiences – patients, caregivers, advocates, nurses, nutritionists, and respiratory therapists. The work of these contributors – combined with an extensive library of core condition-specific content – is creating a range and quality of content dedicated to COPD that is unmatched by other sites in this market.

CROHNS DISEASE .com

CrohnsDisease.com launched in January of 2016. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are extremely impactful, yet wildly misunderstood, diseases that can affect individuals from a very young age! This site was established not only to provide a source of reliable information and content, but more importantly, to provide support and encouragement to an often overlooked community. With a wide variety of unique and passionate contributors, the site’s content strongly resonates with the Crohn’s community at large and provides a safe-haven for them to discuss the rather unsavory aspects of the disease so that they can finally feel like they’re not alone in their journey.

ASTHMA .net

Launching in May 2016, Asthma.net became the 8th community to be added to Health Union’s family of communities. Asthma is a condition that affects roughly 25 million people in the United States and can affect individuals of various ages and lifestyles.  Asthma can severely impact the lives of those living with it. This site has been established not only to provide reliable information and content to the asthma community, but also, to provide support and encouragement to anyone living or caring for people with asthma. Living with a chronic condition may feel isolating, and we want to provide a community for people to connect with and draw strength and support from the community. Asthma.net has a great team of amazing contributors who bring not only their passion but a unique perspective about living with asthma. Due to this, the site’s content strongly resonates with the asthma community at large and provides a safe-haven for them to discuss the challenges and hurdles posed by asthma. We want to empower the people living with asthma to feel that they’re not alone in their journey as they navigate these challenges.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME .net

Launched in June 2016, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net is the 9th community to be added to Health Union’s family of communities. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects about 25-45 million people in the United States, but the data on the prevalence is varied. IBS is an under-diagnosed condition because a great number of IBS sufferers never seek an official diagnosis or are often misdiagnosed. IBS affects individuals of all ages and it can severely impact the quality of life. This site has been established not only to provide reliable information and content to the IBS community, but also to provide support and encouragement to anyone living or caring for people with IBS. Living with a chronic condition can feel isolating, and we want to provide a community for people to connect and draw strength and support from the community. IrritableBowelSyndrome.net has a great team of amazing contributors who bring not only their passion but a unique perspective about living with IBS. Due to this, the site’s content strongly resonates with the IBS community at large and provides a safe-haven for them to discuss the challenges posed by IBS. We want to empower the people living with IBS to feel that they’re not alone in their journey of coping and managing their IBS symptoms.

PLAQUE PSORIASIS .com

Launched in August 2016, PlaquePsoriasis.com is the 10th community to be added to Health Union’s family of communities.  Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes visible symptoms on the skin as well as other complications that can develop over time. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, affecting about 80% of people with psoriasis. The social and emotional impact of having a condition that is often highly visible to others can sometimes be overwhelming.  Health Union’s community advocates reflect a full range of experiences of people living with plaque psoriasis. Through their expertise and example, they are poised to inspire others to live and thrive with psoriasis.

PSORIATIC-ARTHRITIS .com

Launched in October 2016, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com is the 11th community to be added to Health Union’s family of online destinations. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a progressive autoimmune condition that can lead to permanent and debilitating joint damage. PsA can be difficult and challenging to live with, causing significant pain, stiffness, and loss of function in affected joints. PsA can cause fatigue and other health complications and have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. Health Union’s community advocates reflect a range of experiences of people living with PsA and readily engage with this growing community.

LUNG CANCER .net

LungCancer.net, launched in January 2017, is the 12th of Health Union’s online communities. Over 200,000 people receive a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer each year. More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. In fact, as of 2013, more people die each year from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. This platform was established to provide education and support to a population that is often overlooked and stigmatized. LungCancer.net provides up-to-date information on treatment and emerging research, along with a safe space for people to share their experiences, fears, frustrations, and hopes – to let those affected by lung cancer know they are not alone in their journey. The LungCancer.net team of contributors and moderators share their lived experiences and provide much-needed comfort.

ParkinsonsDisease.net

PARKINSONS DISEASE .net

Launched in April 2017, ParkinsonsDisease.net is the 13th online community created by Health Union. There are about one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease, and about 60,000 people are diagnosed each year. The platform is dedicated to and designed with input from people living with the condition, their care partners, and health care professionals working in the field. It is a place to share personal experiences and perspectives, expertise, frustrations, and day-to-day challenges of living with the condition. ParkinsonsDisease.net provides useful resources on managing every stage of Parkinson’s, information on new and emerging research, and a safe space for patients and their care partners to connect and share.

SkinCancer.net

SKIN CANCER .net

Launched in June 2017, SkinCancer.net is the 14th online community created by Health Union. There are nearly 3.4 million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year, making it the most common cancer in the United States. The platform is dedicated to and designed with input from people living with all types of skin cancer including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and other rare types. It is a place to share personal experiences and perspectives, expertise, frustrations, and challenges of living with skin cancer. SkinCancer.net provides useful resources on treatment options for different types of skin cancer, information on new and emerging research, and a safe space for patients to connect and share.

ATOPIC DERMATITIS.net

ATOPIC DERMATITIS .net

Launched in July 2017, AtopicDermatitis.net is the 15th online community created by Health Union. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects children and adults around the world. AD is also referred to as atopic eczema, and it is characterized by itchy, dry, scaly patches on the skin. An estimated 30% of people in the United States are affected by atopic dermatitis, with 90% of cases diagnosed before the age of 5. The platform is dedicated to and designed with input from people living with eczema, parents and caregivers, and health care professionals working in the field. It is a place to share personal experiences and perspectives, expertise, frustrations, and day-to-day challenges of living with the condition. AtopicDermatitis.net provides useful resources on managing atopic dermatitis throughout the lifespan, information on new and emerging research, and a safe space for patients and parents or caregivers to connect and share.

OUR AMAZING ADVOCATES

In order to bring the voice of the patient dealing with every condition we support, Health Union platforms publish frequent articles, blogs, points of view and advice* from leading patient advocates, health care professionals and other experts. Each of our contributors has been impacted in some way by the condition (whether that be personal or peripheral experience) and has chosen to dedicate a portion of their lives to educating and improving the lives of others with their genuine content. They use their personal experiences – the good and the not-so-good – to help others and positively impact the community by sharing valuable insights, strength and camaraderie.


*Health Union and its contributors DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information contained on Health Union websites should never replace a doctor’s advice and recommendations.

FIELD EXPERTS

Health Union works with field experts who contribute their expertise to multiple sites.

PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL WRITERS

Health Union works with professional medical writers to develop core content for each site. These writers are responsible for writing articles that are relevant to each patient community that are clear, concise, and scientifically accurate.

Otessa Middleton Miles

If you’ve subscribed to the business standard, Dow Jones Newswires or read The Wall Street Journal’s prescription drug coverage, you’ve seen Otessa Middleton Miles’ byline. For more than eight years, she made complex health and medical information clear and relevant to scores of readers, including those of Smart Money magazine. Otessa also conducted several one-day seminars for Food and Drug Administration officials on working with the media, gave a seminar to a health public relations firm on targeting the medical media, served as a guest journalism lecturer at Howard University and at the University of Maryland, coached other writers at the National Association of Science Writers annual meeting and reported live on influenza vaccination on MSNBC and on an over-the-counter drug application on NPR.

Jonathan Simmons

Jonathan Simmons lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He has extensive experience writing for the health communications and pharmaceutical industries, developing educational and informational materials for both professional and consumer audiences. He particularly enjoys writing about complex topics in healthcare and exploring how modern medicine meets the challenges of developing novel and effective treatments for human illnesses.

Sarah Dobbs O’Brien, MPH, RD

Sarah is a medical writer with a public health background living in Chapel Hill, NC. After years of working for print publications, she is excited to be writing for an online audience. She enjoys delving into the science of human disease and treatment, and producing articles that help patients manage their health conditions.

Anna Nicholson

Anna Nicholson is a science writer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. While pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Science, she developed a keen interest in researching and writing about our understanding of human communication from a variety of perspectives including linguistics, neuroscience, social psychology, and philosophy of mind and language. Throughout her graduate studies, she also gained valuable experience by working with a medical communications agency and as a freelance science writer specializing in global health issues. She enjoys science writing because it provides a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of human health, therapeutic innovation, and patient advocacy coupled with the responsibility to accurately convey complex information in an effective and accessible way.

Kristine Zerkowski

Kristine Zerkowski is the Director of Community Development for Health Union, LLC, and has several years of experience working as a medical writer for multiple medical communications companies. She has a strong background in writing medical publications, including manuscripts, and poster presentations for various congresses. She currently resides in Clinton, Connecticut.

Leslie Beth “LB” Herbert, PhD

LB is Senior Director, Insights at Health Union where she leverages her background in customer research, statistics, user experience design and innovation to tackle diverse projects in both research and analytics. Her 15+ years of professional experience spans the range of primary research services, such as online surveys and user-intercept surveys, interviews/focus groups, ethnography and usability testing, along with social media monitoring and metrics. For Health Union, LB directs both qualitative and quantitative research initiatives and leverages her strengths in synthesizing all types of data to tell a “deeper customer story” and share insights with project teams and executives.

COMMUNITY RULES

We encourage open conversation within Health Union platforms – It is our goal to create the best and largest online communities of experts and patients dedicated to specific health conditions. But please be courteous, and stay on topic. We realize that discussions around healthcare can be sensitive and sometimes emotional and it is ok if not everyone agrees on a topic, but posts must be respectful and non-threatening. The content of all of our platforms is intended for users 18 years of age or older. If you are under the age of 18, you are not permitted to register as a member.

Your post may be edited or deleted at the sole discretion of Health Union moderators if it does not comply with the following discussion rules:

  • Posts cannot contain any personal contact information such as an e-mail address, physical/mailing address or phone numbers. And please remember that Health Union websites, like the entire Internet, is discoverable by search engines, etc.
  • Posts cannot use profanity or make references to religion, sexual terms, or politics.
  • Posts must be written in English, as we can only moderate comments written in English.
  • Posts cannot offer medical advice of any kind.
  • Posts cannot discuss or encourage discussion of any illegal activity.
  • Content copied from another person or site must be fully referenced and credited to the original author. If you’re not sure, don’t use it.
  • Posts cannot be commercial in nature or contain any direct or indirect solicitations, including solicitations to participate in legal action or fundraisers, offers to sell a product or service or participate in surveys, studies, etc. without prior approval. Oh, and user names can’t be commercial either… user names like “MyProductIsTheBest” will be deleted.
  • Posts cannot promote the sale of anything, ever. We do not allow users to offer to sell, barter or trade any items of any kind. We suggest you use any of the many other sites/services that are specifically dedicated to those types of transactions.
  • All user posts, including posts within the forums, articles, or stories, are viewable to the public and are visible to search engines. Users are able edit their posts within the forums, but not the posts of others. Users are not able to edit comments on an article or story once that comment has been posted to the site.
  • Users must only post information that is true and factually correct, to the best of their knowledge.
  • Posts must be respectful; it’s OK to disagree but personal attacks against moderators, bloggers, writers or fellow community members will not be tolerated. Please be careful about making derogatory statements or accusations about others by name, including other community members, employers, physicians, etc. While you should feel free to speak your mind, remember that you are accountable for any written statements you make.

Individuals who violate the rules may have their posting privileges revoked without warning.

These rules apply to all Health Union operated properties, including but not limited to websites, Facebook pages etc.

Last updated May 13, 2016