By Rebecca Flick
Published in Resolve for the journey and beyond, Fall 2012
This past May RESOLVE was invited by Yahoo! News to be part of a panel discussion about how social media is impacting women’s health and healthcare policy worldwide. The panel discussion was part of a day-long Business & Human Rights Summit, sponsored by Yahoo! News. The panelists were a mixture of foreign policy makers, social media experts, advocacy groups, members of Congress, and journalists and included representation from the New York Times, CARE.org, Planned Parenthood, a member of British Parliament, and female lawmakers running for office in 2012.
RESOLVE’s role on this panel was to talk about how we use social media to engage our community. I spoke about how we recently used social media to educate the infertility community about the implications of Personhood legislation on infertility treatments. Our ability to mobilize the infertility community around this issue helped us reach key decision makers in states where Personhood was close to becoming a reality. The infertility voice was heard loud and clear, and to-date not a single Personhood bill has become law.
Whenever I represent RESOLVE at an event that is not infertility related, I am always approached by someone who knows of RESOLVE because of personal experiences. This time it was by a woman who was part of a RESOLVE support group in New York City 25 years ago. She was so thrilled to see the infertility community represented at this conference. Knowing I am part of an organization rich with a history of helping those in need never gets old.
The one thing I did find interesting was that she was surprised that RESOLVE was part of the ever-growing social media conversation. She said “who wants to admit they are infertile on Facebook?” I explained that is not our strategy when it comes to social media. Every day RESOLVE is using important social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to create a community that cares about the disease of infertility and to change the conversation about this disease.
Anyone who has faced infertility understands the complexity of the disease and is subjected to the public misunderstanding about all the issues we face during the journey. It is up to those of us who understand this disease to take the lead on public education.
Could you imagine a world where infertility was a priority for government funded research? Where all insurance plans covered infertility treatments? Where the media accurately portrayed the disease? Where people stopped telling you to “just relax, it’ll happen!” Well, RESOLVE does. We know that world is in our future. But we can not do it without you helping to change the conversation.
Think about that world the next time you are visiting one of your favorite social media sites. How can you change the conversation about infertility? What do you want your friends and family to know about this disease? Does your elected official know that someone in his/her district is facing this disease? How may that change their position on certain issues? How can your social media habits help RESOLVE achieve our vision of infertility being recognized as a serious public health issue?
Here are some ways the RESOLVE community is already using social media to change the conversation:
Whether we like it or not, social media is a big part of our daily lives. Let’s use it to change the conversation about something important to all of us.
Rebecca Flick is RESOLVE’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Projects.