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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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As 2015 came to a close, millions of Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D, a public health care program that changes lives and saves money through affordable prescription medications. American seniors overwhelmingly agree: Part D works. They've saved money through the program since 2006, and 2016 will be no different. 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 in the new year:

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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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