Four conferences over two weeks … there’s so much swirling in my head that I could write a post for each of eight different topics. But tonight I landed on a central theme after watching the video of Regina Holliday describe the painting she created during the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. She captures the most important takeaway from my two weeks of travel: I have joined a movement and I enjoy the company I am keeping.

Regina speaks and draws eloquently about the movement: The growing number of us who are taking charge of our health, our family’s health, our community’s health, and ultimately our country’s health. At the Health 2.0 conference, I met an engineer who also is an MD, an MD who is a geek, a geek who is a healer, and a healer who is a patient.

Alexandra Drane proclaimed: “We signed up to help people be healthy,” which I found remarkable coming from the founder of Eliza, which I thought of only as a robo-call company but now appreciate as a company committed to using technology to promote healthy behavior.

Michel Nadeau confided that his years as a telecomm engineer were nowhere near as fulfilling his new gig as head of a startup that makes an obesity app. “A teenager sent me an email. She was writing at midnight on a Sunday, asking for help because she couldn’t bear to go to school the next morning and face the teasing because of her weight. How can that not affect you? I know what we’re doing has real impact on people.”

Ob/gyn Jeff Livingston is motivating teen girls to take care of themselves by engaging them on FaceBook. Chris Cartter is trying to make health challenges go viral through his Change Reaction program. Physician Richard Wexler was talking to video game designers for insights on patient/doctor communication.

A few days later I was with my brethren at Kaiser Permanente for our annual gathering of communicators and marketers. We saw research that shows the marketplace is ripe for a health movement. Americans know that the health care system is broken, and they don’t trust the industry or the government to fix it. They know that ultimately the solution starts with them.

They just need a nudge.

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