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2017 brings with it a lot of "new" things, from calendars and planners to resolutions, we all have our hands full. But, as advocacy professionals, we also need to set a new agenda for our organizations. The 115th Congress convenes this month and so begins a new year!

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Each year, it gets harder to look back on the past 12 months and identify just a handful of digital campaigns that I thought were "the best." As time passes, the creativity and reach we see on social media increases tremendously. Folks, we work in a very exciting industry! Here are some of my favorites from 2016...

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Tis the season to travel and read! Whether you're going by plane or train, the holiday season means we spend a lot of time in transit. I find this time of year gives me a unique space to catch up on reading!

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I'm thankful for a lot, including my family, my dogs, and my fantasy football team. And, of course, I'm thankful for the developments that make our jobs easier. Here are just a few of my favorite digital updates from the past year.

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Congrats - you won the digital advocacy lottery. You have $10,000 to spend on Google AdWords that's burning a hole in your digital pocket! Now comes the bigger question: How do you spend all that money?

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What if you won $10,000 a month for life? Sadly, I can't give you that prize. But there is a way for your organization to get that funding - from Google!

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Everyone wants to succeed - in life, at work, at Tuesday Trivia.... But sometimes on social media, it's difficult to tell if you are winning. You post. You like. You retweet. You share. You send. But does it work? How do you know if all that effort you put into your digital advocacy has an impact? How do you know if you get a win?

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Fall is my favorite time of year. I love eating pumpkin-spiced treats, picking apples, and making 2017 predictions! I know it seems early, but success in digital advocacy means staying ahead of the curve. So, what does next year have in store for us?

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Can you believe Giving Tuesday is less than a month away? Over the past four years, this national day of giving has seen exponential growth. Last year alone, nonprofits raised more than $116,000,000! So, how can you tap into the #GivingTuesday buzz? How can you make this Giving Tuesday a fundraising success for your advocacy organization?

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We thought it was time for a refresh on the alphabet of government agencies designed to keep us healthy. The government body charged with overseeing and providing essential public health services in the U.S. is the Department of Health and Human Services, also known as HHS. HHS oversees 11 unique divisions, each of which leads a particular aspect of public health in our country.

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Everyone wants their campaign to "go viral." After the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, it's hardly surprising! The ALS Association raised $220 million from the campaign, not to mention the enormous amount of awareness and engagement. Of course, creating a "viral" campaign is easier said than done. But, you can set up your campaign for success with these elements.

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It's the beginning of a new season! And no, we're not talking about autumn. For eligible U.S. seniors enrolled or considering enrolling in Medicare, the time for enrollment and plan selection is upon us. Every year, Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. But before you jump in and start making changes, here's a quick refresher on the plans and process.

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"There's an app for that!" I remember saying that as a joke when apps first started appearing, but now I use dozens of apps every day. In fact, I do practically everything on my phone. Whether it's an app or in a browser, most of my online interactions happen on my tablet or smartphone. The same probably holds true for your advocates. People spend more and more time on mobile devices - more than 50 percent of their time on average!

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Have you ever felt like no one notices your organization? You jump up and down on a virtual table, wave your arms and no one looks your way. For some advocacy organizations, it may seem like your potential advocates overlook you. With the election and a month full of awareness days on the horizon, many organizations struggle to break through the noise.

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Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect and engage with others in new and exciting ways. While the shifting of platform offerings are ever-evolving, they all have one common theme: with (most) every update or addition comes advancement in connection with targeted audiences.

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I consider myself a political junkie, but even I can get sick of the nonstop coverage during election season. And, as we get closer to election day, it will only increase. No matter what side of the aisle you sit, everyone can agree that exercising your right to vote is critical.

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With so many digital developments, social media managers, beginners and veterans alike can feel overwhelmed. What works best for each platform now? Do you really need to use Snapchat after all? And remind me what Facebook's new reactions look like?

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Many organizations don't utilize their biggest advocacy asset: their employees. With our lives being so intertwined with digital media, it's imperative to see employees as people who can help maintain and nurture our advocacy campaigns.

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Have you ever felt like you just got the hang of something and then the rules changed? As an Instagram lover, the last few months have been a digital rollercoaster. With changes come improvements, and the latest updates have advocacy folks wondering how to best use this platform for upcoming campaigns.

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When's the last time you brushed up on your health care policy facts? If you're like most Americans, a periodic refresher is in order.

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Everyone needs to step away from the hustle and bustle of the office, but that doesn't mean your organizations' social channels should go silent. With careful planning, you can take a vacation without checking your work email or sending a tweet, all while avoiding a social summertime slump.

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Who is everyone's favorite ghost? If you're my age, you'll probably say Casper. But, if you're one of the younger generation, you may think of Ghostface Chillah, the smiling Snapchat mascot. And, unlike Casper, Ghostface Chillah can be a tremendous asset to your advocacy efforts.

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The upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions mean a lot of things to advocacy professionals. Election years never fail to excite us, while still managing to bring about a bit of stress - especially when we're making communications plans.

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Petition Power

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Petitions can be a powerful force for change. Advocacy organizations have used petitions for decades. And, to no ones' surprise, the advent of digital advocacy spurred the creation of many online petition platforms.

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In December 2013, Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer took over Twitter and #TheSoundOfMusicLive became the most interesting thing online since "Charlie bit my finger!". Everyone from brands and celebrities to everyday people were live-tweeting each scene in such detail that you didn't even need to watch to know everything that happened.

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Today is summer solstice, and we're joining the Alzheimer's Association in recognizing the Longest Day. It's a day to raise awareness that people living with Alzheimer's, along with their caregivers, are still looking for answers. So are we.

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Father's Day gives us a chance to spend time with the men closest to us; sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles and friends. They've given us a lot, and today we get to give back to them. Haven't thought of the perfect gift yet? Instead of scouring the card aisle, perhaps a simple reminder on how to stay healthy will do.

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Collaboration is Key

More than ever, patients have the opportunity to become a part of the puzzle to discovering and bringing new medicines to market; for example, by being encouraged to meet with the Food and Drug Administration to share their personal perspective on how they live with their diagnoses.

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Treating illness and disease is no easy task. It takes a combination of dedicated medical and healthcare professionals, hardworking scientists and researchers and a strong support system of family and friends to make a patient's course of treatment as effective and comfortable as it can be. The best way to make that happen? Involving patients in the process.

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Here at the BIO International Convention, we've heard calls from advocates, industry, and the government to further incorporate patient feedback and perspectives into both the regulatory process, in which medicines are reviewed, and the medicine development process. An integrated approach has the potential to benefit everyone. For scientists and developers, further insight into the lives of patients can guide research and help finetune new treatments. For regulators, hearing firsthand patient experiences helps them assess whether the benefits of a potential medicine outweigh the risks for those suffering from disease. Most importantly, for patients, sharing their stories and perspectives can lead to more effective treatments.

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It's that time of year! The Campaign for Modern Medicines has arrived in San Francisco for the 2016 BIO International Convention. There's a lot happening this week, so here's a quick look at some of the events and forums we're focusing on during the convention:

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While Alzheimer's doesn't discriminate between old and young, black and white, or rich and poor, we now know that women bear the burden of the disease at rates far higher than men - and in more ways than you might realize.

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blogBanners_textOnly-A.gif When you tweet the wrong link for your organization, it can feel like the end of the world. Breathe - everybody makes misteaks.

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Here at Digital Advocacy Institute, we often talk about the rapid-fire nature of social media. From new platforms to new advertising options, the landscape never stops changing. This past week was no different.

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Do you consider yourself a podcast aficionado? From Serial with my morning cereal to Startup on my drive home, I love podcasts and listen to them frequently. It turns out, so do millions of other Americans.

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In the early years of the internet, a company website was just another budget-draining tool, largely unproven in its effectiveness. Despite today's acceptance (phew), some organizations still face a budgetary struggle for upkeep and redesigns.

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Whether it's providing health insurance, access to key medicines or fostering groundbreaking research, there are several pieces to the public health puzzle and it takes many agencies and partner groups to put them together. This time around, I've chosen to explore America's largest and most influential public health office - and the one that sets the pace toward becoming a healthier society.

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In reality, it's no secret that Alzheimer's disproportionately impacts women - not just in terms of higher rates of diagnosis, but also when it comes to caregiving.

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If you've read the news lately, you may have noticed talk of changes to some of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) programs. CMS, the federal office that oversees the administration of key public health care services, recently proposed changes to the way it values and compensates physicians that will have a serious impact on patients access to particular medicines.

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Have you ever come across a comment on your Facebook Page or a Twitter mention that made you gasp? Has an argumentative user tried to poke holes in your content? No matter your mission, it feels like someone always has something negative to say.

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April was a big month for one-to-one communication. Between Facebook's bot store for Messenger and Kik's messaging app, developments in the social sphere point to online activity happening less in public and more in private groups and messaging apps.

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The digital world is buzzing in excitement about the latest live streaming apps hitting the marketplace. A space that was just last year occupied predominately by Meerkat and Periscope now includes social heavy-hitters like Facebook Live and YouTube Connect. As the space continues to grow and platforms are rapidly developed, it is clear that live streaming is here to stay.

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"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...." While he may have left this world 400 years ago, Shakespeare's words still ring true. We all live our lives on the world's stage, acting out our own play. This applies to your organization's presence online, as well.

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If you want to learn more about progress and problems surrounding health equity, you've come to the right place. Here are just a few of our recent discussions on the state of minority health in our country, how we can create change through effective policy and what some of our partners are doing to help.

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The stage is set. The lights are dim. The audience members hush. And then it begins! I don't mean the latest Broadway play. (Although, of course, I do love Hamilton.) Instead, I'm talking about the excitement that comes with webinars!

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The first week in April marks National Public Health Week (NPHW), a time for Americans to celebrate our health as a nation and discuss the challenges we face in improving public health care for all citizens. National Public Health Week is also an opportunity to take a look at Medicare Part D, a policy that's improved the health and wellbeing of one of the largest and growing populations for more than a decade.

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It's fly-in day and you have a motivated group of advocates from all over the country and meetings scheduled with multiple Members of Congress. But have you checked every item off the pre fly-in checklist? Have you set your organization up for success? 97% of staffers say in-person visits from constituents influence their boss. With that percentage, it's clear that an advocacy fly-in could be vital to your organization or campaign.

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In Washington, D.C., one of the first questions people ask at a happy hour or social gathering isn't "how are you?" It's "what do you do?" I struggle to answer this question, because my professional title doesn't come close to explaining the work I actually do on a daily basis. As communicators, we often wear multiple hats. From project management to media monitoring to social content drafting, no day is the same. There are ways to manage the mayhem, though - and planning ahead remains one of the best!

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Not many things last 6,000 years. Not even the pyramids, the Great Wall, nor Stonehenge are that old. Unfortunately, tuberculosis, a disease that affects the lungs and other organs, has plagued mankind for six millennia and still presents serious risks to thousands of communities and millions of people around the world.

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Did you know that more than 300 million people live in the United States today? With such a large and constantly growing population, it naturally takes many health care professionals and organizations to keep us all in good health. With so many partners working together, it's important to not only keep track of each health agency's role, but also understand why they matter to your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your family and your friends.

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Comfy sneakers? Check. Computer charger? Check. Water bottle? Check. I'm nearly ready to hit the road and head to Austin! The only thing missing from my packing list for SXSW Interactive? The list of sessions I want to attend!

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Did you know than 10% of all photos ever taken by humankind happened in the last 12 months? Jaw dropping, isn't it? Photos and videos have truly become the universal language online. Facebook and Google+ both have moved to image-centric layouts. Twitter's images and videos are much more front and center. And Pinterest - a platform that relies on photos - is the second highest traffic driver worldwide. I think we're all on the image bandwagon, but the question becomes: How do we pull off an interesting advocacy campaign when we don't have the creative team to back us up?

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Angelman Syndrome. Balo Disease. Carnosinemia. You've likely never heard of these conditions before, and for good reason. As rare diseases, each of these illnesses affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. But "rare" does not mean their impacts are less severe, or that their treatments are any less important.

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A few months ago, we speculated about Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook would soon have another option, instead of just a "like." Many wondered if it would be a "dislike" button. The results are finally in: Facebook recently debuted a new feature - reactions. These new buttons include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Will these reactions do great things for your digital advocacy campaign? Or will they just give you another headache?

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In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially designated February as African American History Month. In the 40 years since then, we've taken this month to recognize how far we've come as a multicultural society and celebrate the great strides we've made. But we should also focus on the remaining obstacles we face and must solve together, including challenges in public health.

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It's the week you've all been waiting for--Social Media Week February 2016! Now I realize not everyone looks forward to this week as much as me, but it is a truly great opportunity for learning and collaboration. Taking place in four cities across the globe, this is the first in a series of year-long conferences focused on the power of social media. While there are hundreds of amazing sessions to attend, check out these can't-miss ones for digital advocacy leaders:

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A lot can change in 50 years. From landing a man on the moon, to inventing computer systems that can analyze billions of data per second, to the creation of social networks that put friends just a click away, our world is a very different place today than it was five decades ago.

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Do you participate in advocacy? It's defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. As you can see, it's a sweeping definition - and I bet you advocate for something, whether it's personally or professionally. When you think about your advocacy efforts - do you consider how an online presence fits in? If you do, you're not alone.

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Too many things to do, not enough hands to get them done. Most, if not all, of us have been faced with this situation in our work and personal lives. I know I get frustrated when I have all of these great ideas, but not enough resources to follow through. If you are part of a non-profit or smaller organization, this probably resonates. Luckily, there's a lot you can do in digital advocacy - even without a dedicated team.

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FDA. HHS. CMS. CDER. With so many acronyms abounding in the health care world, talking about public health can sometimes feel like wading through alphabet soup! Today, I'll continue to explain the meaning--and the action--behind the acronyms you may hear when it comes to health care.

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If you spent any time on social media this week, you may have noticed trending hashtags like #WeCanICan and #WorldCancerDay on your Twitter sidebar. This year, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) used the World Cancer Day initiative to kickstart a three-year campaign for reach and impact - largely built online. People around the world use the identified hashtags to explain how they can do their part to reduce the global burden on cancer. Something that once seemed so huge and daunting now has a tight-knit community online - all through the use of a simple awareness day.

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When's your next big gathering? A winter wedding? Your Super Bowl party? Maybe you're a leap year baby and your big, once-in-a-blue moon birthday bash is coming up? All of these events present great opportunities to share your advocacy message. We've mastered digital messaging and techniques, but do we know how to support our cause in-person?

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Like many of you, I tuned in last month to watch President Barack Obama deliver his final State of the Union address. Over the course of 6,044 words, he discussed issues ranging from the economy to foreign policy. Among the top priorities for this administration, both today and moving forward, is public health and health care. The president made several references to improving public health throughout his speech, but how do these statements translate into the real world?

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Do you have a friend who insists on @ mentioning you on Twitter, posting on your Facebook wall, texting you or sending you a LinkedIn message when an email would suffice? Some of mine may avoid phone calls by using one of those platforms, but I can't say my inbox looks any less flooded. Email remains as popular as ever, which is precisely why every advocacy organization sends thousands of them every week to members of Congress. So, how can you use this tool more effectively? By getting back to basics!

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Health care can be a daunting journey at times: Hospital procedures. Insurance details. Medicines and prescriptions. Trials and treatment regimens. Without some guidance every now and then, it can be easy to get lost. A great way to stay on course and to improve your experience as a patient is to express your opinions, ask questions and make your voice heard.

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While waiting for a recent flight at Indianapolis International Airport, I indulged in a little people watching and was reminded of the many characters that struggle through departure gates daily. As I sat, I zoned in on one major detail - what everyone was doing on their phones. I saw a teenager sending a Snapchat, a man in his 20s scrolling through live Twitter feeds and an older couple viewing a new Facebook album of what I can only assume was photos of their granddaughter. All the while, I was searching sleek living room designs for my new Pinterest board. One airport gate captured the segmentation of audiences we see on social media today.

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IRL, TBT, SMH...the endless abbreviations on social media today make my head spin! These are just a few examples from the rapidly growing body of new words and phrases used online. Thankfully, knowing the meaning behind all of the ridiculous (and lazy) acronyms may not prove important - at least in your digital advocacy work. Now, I wouldn't recommend you memorize a list of 117 glossary terms, but you do need to keep up to speed with at least some of the new terminology.

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American seniors overwhelmingly agree: Part D works. If you or a loved one signed up for Part D during the most recent open enrollment period, you may want to review a few of the many benefits you can expect:

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On New Year's Eve, like many of you, I toasted to good health in 2016. A new year offers the opportunity to reflect on the strides made toward improving our lives and the lives of those around us. And, we can use this time to think about ways to continue this momentum in the year ahead. As I look forward to a year brimming with opportunity and hope, here are some of my top health care aspirations:

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Right now, more than 2 billion people use social media worldwide. That's certainly an impressive number already, but it will only continue to grow with time. No one can ignore the expanding digital universe. In fact, 97% of U.S. companies have a presence on a social network. So what's in store for 2016? These trends may change how organizations use social media in the year ahead:

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I am an awards season junkie. The Golden Globes, Oscars, SAG Awards, Emmys...the list goes on and on. I swoon over elegant gowns, question whether I could pull off a red lip and cry over the scene in that one movie everyone has seen. It's also the time of year when brands show their stuff on Twitter by creating real-time quips that add to the social conversation. From Charmin to Oreo, I'm always in awe of their digital prowess.

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Millennials are often stereotyped as entitled, self-involved and opportunistic. However, a new trend is quickly changing expectations of my generation.

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Life science is a field with many twists and turns, but one fact always rings true: medicine only works when it can reach those who need it. This is especially important now, after recently observing World AIDS Day and throughout December, often recognized as AIDS Awareness Month.

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Have you been inundated with a plethora of video updates from celebrities like Seth Meyers and Ellen DeGeneres, presidential candidates, journalists, or your friends this year? Well, you must not be alone. The live video streaming app Periscope took off big-time in 2015 - and now it's been named the iPhone App of the Year by Apple.

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The holiday season is in full swing! Americans will spend the next few weeks traveling, visiting family and buying gifts. Many of us kicked off the holiday shopping spree on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but there's another sale I think you should know about: Medicare's Open Enrollment Period.

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"You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak."

Now, if that's not the epitome of parental advice, I don't know what is. These one and two-liners may have seemed annoying or flippant when we were younger, but this saying (as well as countless others) certainly begin to take shape as you age. I have other favorites, such as "if it was easy, everyone would do it" and "don't quit until tomorrow", but there's something about knowing how to listen that's really helped me, in both my personal and professional lives.

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As we approach the close of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, I've discussed the history of the disease and its impact on a patient's loved ones, but I haven't talked about the extensive, and often silent, effects of Alzheimer's. The burden to people with this chronic illness, to caregivers and to our society rises each year. For these reasons, I'd like to explore the true costs of Alzheimer's disease.

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When it comes to new digital trends, you'll rarely hear Congress called an "early adopter." Despite their sluggish reputation, they've grown a lot when it comes to social media usage. Just ask the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). Last week, CMF's CEO Brad Fitch joined us for a discussion of their #SocialCongress survey. The report explores the ways members of Congress, and their staff, use these tools to communicate and listen to their constituents. What could these findings mean for the future of digital advocacy?

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Every five years, Congress revises the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) to modernize the development, review and delivery of new medicines in the United States. PDUFA provides the FDA with the financial and human resources it needs to more efficiently assess applications for new medicines. Each version of the law builds upon an already-solid foundation, continuing a trend of constant improvement to an essential facet of public policy. As we approach the sixth reauthorization of PDUFA, I think it's a good time to examine the numbers behind this law.

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Have you ever wished you had more than 140 characters for a tweet? Lucky for us, Twitter may develop a new product that lets users share longer updates. While it wouldn't replace the traditional tweet, it could give users another option for long-form narratives. This update joins a larger trend across digital platforms.

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"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." These words from President John F. Kennedy demonstrate the true spirit of Veterans Day. Every year on November 11, our country honors the millions of Americans who have served in our armed forces. A big part of caring for our service men and women means doing our part to ease their transition back into civilian life.

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Launched three years ago as a charitable answer to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping days, #GivingTuesday has grown into a global movement to encourage engagement. The goal remains simple: to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in giving all year round. If your advocacy organization relies at all on donations, circle this day on your calendar.

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The cancer community is one of the largest and most engaged patient groups offline and online. Every day, millions of patients, doctors, family members, caregivers and others congregate online to educate and support one another via Twitter chats. If you'd like to get involved, now is the perfect time: November plays host to Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Interested in getting involved? Here are a few chats to get you started:

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Halloween has its fair share of tricks and treats, but not all tricks are fun and games. Have you fallen for one of those Facebook hoaxes? How about retweeting a headline that later proved false? Misinformation on social media can be just as scary as your next door neighbor dressed up as Freddy Krueger! So beware...

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Did you know Medicare Part D is so popular, 3 in 4 Medicare participants opt for its coverage? In fact, Part D subscribers give the program a 90% satisfaction rate. Medicare Part Dconsistently improves our public health system and makes high-quality care and easy access to prescription medicines a realistic option for those over 65. Here's why they're fans of Medicare Part D, and why I am, too:

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At the end of every Netflix binge, I'm flabbergasted by how spot-on the recommendations are for my next sitcom addiction. To this day, whatever drives these has never steered me wrong. How does Netflix know me so well? Seemingly, they have the same insights as Google does when reaching out to users with advertisements.

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For the estimated 49,000 individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, there becomes an immediate need for information and resources. Once these patients begin the education process, the next phase begins: navigating treatment options, including the latest therapies and clinical trials. But what would happen if diagnosed patients made these treatment decisions based on their unique tumor-type and disease characteristics?

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The History of PDUFA

I talk a lot about the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) and how it improves and impacts patients' lives. As we head toward the sixth authorization of PDUFA, I'd like to look at how we've come this far and where it all started. I've discussed the history of the bill before, but since October is Health Literacy Month, it's the perfect time to take a deeper dive and learn even more about a law that has left a lasting impression on public health.

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Sometimes you have to think "big picture" in order to get your message across to your target audience. That's why attention-grabbing infographics play such an important role in a successful advocacy campaign -- they cut through the noise and help you engage with your supporters. Think of them as the best of both worlds: you can display complex information, but in a straightforward and memorable way.

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It's no secret that Medicare provides senior and disabled Americans with affordable health care. Every year, millions of people across the United States sign up for Medicare during the Open Enrollment Period. Open Enrollment for Medicare plans for 2016 starts tomorrow.

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Admittedly, I was skeptical that a social media platform seemingly made for the everyday consumer would evolve into a tool worth consideration in advocacy campaigns. But, communicators can't ignore the trend of using visual imagery to convey an idea. With 400 million monthly active users, Instagram has turned into a powerful tool - if you know how to use it.

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg caused quite a stir when he announced plans to release a new, so-called "dislike" button on the popular social network. Our lives revolve around social media so much that the mere mention of a new feature sets the digital world a-buzz. What will the button look like and what will they name it? Will they roll it out incrementally or all at once? Will users actually use it? And most importantly for us - how could this "dislike" button affect online communities and our interactions with them? While we don't have all of the details about this new feature, here are some early pros and cons we spotted.

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What is an emoji? The Pope has his own and so does Hillary Clinton. But many of us, especially those of us over the age of 30, can get flummoxed by these little cartoons.

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If you've walked the streets of any major U.S. city, an eager 20-something has probably come up to you with a clipboard and asked, "Do you have a minute to help save the world?" This tried and true strategy remains a standard in any grassroots toolbox. And while this old-school method might seem out of place in our digital world, it clearly works.

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Throughout September patients, advocates and organizations across the globe tirelessly raised awareness about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Today, I share with you some notable facts about Alzheimer's disease and its national, global and generational toll.

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With the second GOP debate behind us, it's safe to say campaign season has arrived! Town Hall events in keys states, such as New Hampshire and South Carolina, clog journalists' travel calendars and provide excitement for voters. As the candidates lay out a vision for their presidency, I'm reminded of the power of community and open communication - both factors in these highly publicized events.

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Technology brings people together and revolutionizes the way we communicate, whether it's via email, Snapchat, or a 140-character tweet.

Today, it's practically second nature to look online for answers, support for problems, or just to interact with peers. Digital tools advance the public health discussion and create a voice for advocacy organizations, patients, caregivers and other communities.

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If you know someone with cancer, this blog is for you.

Studies show that people with cancer need support from friends. Support gives cancer patients a more positive outlook and a better quality of life. While every person experiences different emotions and needs, here are six suggestions from experts, survivors and counselors to help a friend battling cancer:

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Have you ever wondered what happens to your letters to Congress once they've been sent? Who reads them? When should you expect a response? You aren't the only one. In an effort to shed light on the path of your advocacy materials, we invited the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and two Legislative Correspondents (LCs) to share their insights during our September 3 webinar.

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Since 2006, seniors and disabled Americans have been able to easily and cost-effectively get the prescriptions they need, thanks to Medicare Part D. Next year will be no different. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that Part D prices will remain at a constant, affordable level - for the sixth year in a row.

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