9 August 2011

Internet Based Health

Posted by tedeatley18 under: Summer 2011 .

Upon conclusion of my sophomore year, I found the major I declared a drastic change from the international relations major I planned on pursuing the beginning of my freshmen year. I quickly concluded that international relations was not where I was headed, and subsequently considered a number of options. The second half of my sophomore year, I created my own Public Health major. While excited about my declaration, I was concerned that it was late in the game to secure an internship for the summer. I applied to work for the District of Columbia Department of Health, UNAIDS, and several other health organizations.

Ultimately, my persistence paid off. I contacted the Jeanie Schmidt free health clinic in my hometown of Herndon, VA. I thought the clinic could always use additional summer help. My application process included a standard application and an interview. Fortunately, one of the doctors working for the clinic needed interns to help collect data for a new website. The website, DiabetesLocal.org, launched at a wellness conference this past weekend. Diabetes Local is literally a local search engine for individuals who suffer from type of 1 and type 2 diabetes. The search engine provides end point locations for medical assistance, healthy eating venues, exercise groups/clubs and nutritional and mental health assistance.

Depending on the individual suffering with diabetes the disease can come from a variety of sources. This site addresses issues that men and women struggle with which are related to diabetes, such as weight, diet, lifestyle, ect., and lists places in the area that work with people struggling with the disease. The theory behind the website is to provide exact end point locations and contacts. For example, there is a Farmers marker in Herndon which is a great source for vegetables and fruit. The individual who organizes the market is the contact person on our webpage. The person can be used as a clearinghouse for important information, and vice versa, such as any change in calendar or location. This change of information would then be reflected on the web site. The interns and doctors associated with the clinic think that this will maintain the site’s ability to stay “live” and keep information current. Right now the interns add all the data, and find all the  venues. However, as time goes on the goal of the website is to have the individuals running the events or participating in them as a source, keep the data current. Ultimately, the flexibility of the website to constantly update information will keep both the clinic and the users of the site engaged. The website is simple. With a zip code, one is only a click away from receiving contact information, a description of activities, services, and meeting times. The goal is to provide information which can be used to foster health lifestyle choices.

I am currently gathering medical information on the state of Tennessee. I will update you on how the conference went in which the website was showcased. Both the motto for this search engine and the answer to my internship worries coincidentally stem back to the same concept: Going local is always the best way to start.

2 Comments so far...

elsaphant Says:

9 August 2011 at 3:42 pm.

wow that is so cool! I’ll definitely keep eating local–we know Williamsburg has a great farmer’s market on Saturday mornings! Just have to wake up in time…

JIll Olszewski Says:

11 August 2011 at 12:16 am.

What a great idea! It is amazing how the internet is constantly changing our healthcare system. I am definitely interested in how the website is received by the medical community and consumers alike. I wonder if anyone has adapted the concept for other diseases…

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