In a year where women’s health is being used as a political football, it seems timely to talk about women who’re pushing health. So I’ve looked into women who are blogging, tweeting and sharing online to create real change in healthcare.

In the process I learned more about why moms in particular are actually having a big impact; the Pew Internet Research Project’s Susannah Fox’s keynote speech at the Medicine 2.0 conference last year explains why: she points out that women are the social network “power users” (as compared to men) and are the healthcare decisionmakers for their families the majority of the time. So as a result, moms often have the knowledge of sensitive health issues, the blogging platforms and online social networks, and the penchant for sharing to make them in an ideal spot to bring information to the world and spur action on that information.

This branch--the mom-blogging branch--of the blogosphere hasn’t received as much attention as I think it should as an extant grassroots network that could be tapped for advocacy and activist efforts related to health issues of all kinds.

Disseminating information through mom bloggers to their readers could also be an effective way for doctors to help broaden access to health information. However, here I want to focus mainly on about information flowing in the other direction: moms gathering stories about healthcare and healthcare, moms innovating to distribute or apply health information better, moms making observations about what’s right and what’s not... and sharing it all with their networks, oftentimes with a transformative effect.

To learn more about the topic, I spoke with Deb Levine, a mother of two and the founder of award-winning sexual health Q&A website Go Ask Alice--arguably the first online Q&A. Levine’s also the co-designer of an app to help prevent on-campus dating violence that received an award from the White House.

She spoke with me about the role that women and moms can play in changing healthcare.

“A mother will do anything for her children,” she observed, pointing out one motivating force that can make moms likely to advocate for change if they see health issues affecting their families.

Levine also made the point that since as women we know our bodies best, women have naturally taken the lead in advocating for women’s health issues, in the process improving healthcare for the 3.5 billion women in the world today.

“Women are the people who, in bringing health issues to the forefront, are pushing healthcare reform and access while also bringing attention to important issues like maternal mortality.”

In a longer article on this same topic on my company’s blog I discussed six moms doing important work to improve healthcare and the health tools and information available to themselves and their families--and ultimately, all of us.

In addition to Levine--who’s coordinating a conference on new media, youth and sexual health starting tomorrow--I highlighted the work of women including:

  • Elita Kalma, who uses her blog, Blacktating, to share information about the health benefits of breastfeeding with women of color, and to advocate for better coverage of the issue in mainstream media;
  • Jodi Jacobson, who advocates for public health and reproductive and sexual health and justice as Editor-in-Chief at RH Reality Check; and
  • Penelope Trunk, whose Twitter comments and subsequent blog posts about her own miscarriage sparked mainstream discussion about the impact of health issues on working women.

Read the original article to read about two more high-impact moms changing health access and healthcare. Thanks for reading, and please email me at katie@softwareadvice.com or leave a comment if you’d like to contribute to the conversation. -Katie