Allergist Dr. Tania Elliott discusses her decision to become a full-time digital health influencer. In her policy report, Lecia Bushak discusses the Supreme Court hearing set to determine access to abortion pill mifepristone, along with possible implications for pharma. Topping our Trends segment is Princess Kate’s cancer diagnosis, along with Steve from Blue’s Clues’ mental health check-in and standout activations from Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Music by Sixième Son

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Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Hey, it’s Marc

A few weeks ago, MM+M published a piece – written by my colleague Lecia Bushak – about top allergy influencers on TikTok.

TikTok, Instagram and other platforms are now filled with doctors who specialize in this area, as well as patients with a mix of food and seasonal allergies, sharing how to cope with any and all allergic reactions, from the simple itch to the more worrisome and life-threatening kind.

Then there are the allergy myths: Who doesn’t remember 2020’s Benadryl Challenge – the stunt where users – many of them on TikTok – dared each other to take large doses of the medicine – with one teenager reportedly dying as a result, before Benadryl parent Johnson & Johnson stepped in and helped tamp down on the dangerous trend?

Building on our reporting, this week’s guest on the podcast is Dr. Tania Elliott. She’s board-certified in allergy and internal medicine and served as Chief Medical Officer for virtual at Ascension, the big health system. She also has a sizable following on TikTok and Instagram, where she balances allergy-related content with travel and lifestyle advice.

In the first part of our wide-ranging discussion, Dr Elliott weighs in on the state of allergy influencers, telling us what information is trending on social media as allergy season heats up – including the wonky trends she and fellow allergists are working hard to combat. She also talks about her recent decision to start dedicating her energy to social media influencing full-time.

We’ll publish the second part of my interview with Dr Elliott later this week.

And Lecia’s back with a health policy update…

Hey Marc, today I’ll discuss the Supreme Court hearing on a case that will determine access to the abortion pill mifepristone – and what the implications may be on the pharma industry.
And Jack – what’s trending in healthcare this week?

This week, we’re talking about Princess Kate’s cancer diagnosis, Steve from Blue’s Clues offering a sweet mental health check-in for 90’s kids and the activations we saw during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Hello, Dr. Elliott and welcome to the M&M podcast. Thanks for having me. Absolutely pleasure to speak with you. Again. You are actually named a 2019. Mmm Healthcare Transformer. So we’ve known each other for several years, but it’s been a while and a lot has happened since then. So looking forward to catching up with you on all this stuff for sure. Yeah, so, you know as one of the first of what can be termed allergy influencers and a Trailblazer and telemedicine and broadcast the television as well. You have much to contribute on this topic. So we’re really looking forward to this discussion, you know, given, you know, I’d love to get into you know, your decision to devote your energy to Growing your you know, social media influencing full-time. But before we get into that, you know, given the time of year it is we’re just kind of embarking on flu season and not flu season allergy season, excuse me, and perhaps you could weigh in on your thoughts on the state of allergy influencers online.

Including what information is trending on social media as allergies and allergy season starts up and it’s really interesting. There are

a lot of

Individuals and moms. I would say mostly in the food allergy space but you’re also seeing Mothers Against asthmatics and a number of others. So this whole world of individual allergy influencers who are coming together really to find Community sort of started on Facebook and is now moved more towards Instagram and tiktok really interesting folks the allergic girl who kind of travels around the world and talks about her life with food allergies, but also educates people on how they can travel safely if they do have food allergies. There’s another app called spoken that rates individual products and restaurants and stuff. So there’s there’s a really big allergy community on social media, which is great to see

There are also a lot of allergy myths on social media and we saw things like the Benadryl Challenge and we saw things where people are showing pictures of their allergic reactions and not using epipens and all of this and with the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. I chair the Public Relations Committee. We actually need a decision to start a social media subcommittee where we hand-selected allergist across the country to represent the American College of Allergy and Asthma immunology and also just be that source of truth that authoritative source of Truth as a Physicians so that people have a place to go and they know that they’re getting accurate objective health information and what we’ve created is actually a weekly collaborative where we all kind of get together which I love this. I love that. There’s kind of a multi-pronged approach here where we get together and we do weekly posts where it’s four or five of us giving a recommendation on a topic. So it’s I think tomorrow

We’re going to be posting on our favorite allergy hacks. So we have Ruben allergies at Ruben. I think he’s got about a million followers on tiktok. We’ve got piled Gupta who also has a podcast called the itch podcast vericon Doug Jones a number of others and we kind of get together. We have a lot of fun with it. It’s actually really a created a nice Community for us to kind of share our best practices and learn from one another but the patients love it because you know, they may have one loyal our just now they’re getting the opinion of five or six loyal allergies on a Hot Topic and then the American College of allergy Immunology is actually getting content out of that because it’s challenging for these large specialty organizations to keep up with the content demands of social media. So then they become very outdated and then they’re not resonating as much with their members. So it’s like a multi-pronged approach but it’s been great because all of these collaborative things sit on our individual accounts, but then also live on the college account too. So I think the allergists are doing great job. I encourage other specialists

To do so as well and my longer term vision is to actually have a multidisciplinary approach where we’ve got an allergist a GI doctor a nutrition as a cardiologist all kind of weighing in on a clinical question. We do this traditionally as a form of like Grand rounds where we sort of educate other providers and stuff, but this could be a piece patient-facing where we kind of just get Specialists weighing in on topics and they don’t have to be really complex topics. It could be hot topics. They could be fun topics, but you’re getting a well-rounded view as opposed to just a snippet from one random person that might not even be in healthcare.

I like that. It’s really fascinating to see what you’re seeing, you know in this space because right we’ve seen the doctor Rubens and so forth and I was also saw your approach where you have multiple second opinions or hot takes and you kind of go deep on one topic from a number of your colleagues and and that’s that’s been a really nice approach and an Innovative one too. And and it’s interesting that you’re then creating a Content stream for the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, and I’m going to get to that as well too because you decide to vote a lot of time to them, you know with the social media committee and so forth and that that probably has come with a, you know, significant demands on your time. But and any thoughts on how the allergy Dynamic differs from other disease States like on tiktok and that’s some of these other platforms. Well what I what I love about allergy is it’s the diagnostic dilemma, and so we’re off in like the fourth fifth sixth.

Doctor that someone comes to you know, just don’t know what’s going on. Right? They see a GI is it? Is it a food intolerance? Do I have acid reflux or this or that so we are kind of like this all-encompassing allergy cells or in every single organ in the body. So we really are we we do have a holistic view of the patient as opposed to other Specialists who are like, you know, ricciardi just we focus on the heart. That’s the only organ where well as allergists you can have mast cells in your heart. So we have to know that too. So and also we deal a lot with the the random cases that are you know, again those diagnostic dilemmas that are very hard to that are challenging to diagnose. So we often end up finding ourselves as quarterbacks where we have to talk with a whole bunch of other Specialists and stuff to try to piece together what’s been happening with an individual and so that’s like a kind of the fun detective work that we do but then all there’s the bread and butter allergy that one in three Americans suffer from an allergic condition. So it’s like very

Tangible for people whereas again, you may never see Markham rheumatologist in your entire life or you never need to see an orthopedic surgeon, but more often than you know, more likely than not you or someone close to you has had an allergy. So it is like a very hot area for social media for broadcast like you can bet there’s always gonna be an allergy story. It’s always allergy season is always in the news right? I’m always getting that phone call to talk about it’s this allergy season and is this gonna be the worst season yet? So it is very like allergies are very households thing. Everyone’s got rashes highs and things like that. So while it’s very common and impacts everyone and there are lots of things that you can do and your environment to reduce allergies. So that’s like a very very tangible recommendations for people. It also can be very esoteric where we come to where people come to us with very complex problems. And we’re we’re working to kind of figure out the root cause kind of being expert diagnosticians, you know, bringing in all these different. I mean, this is why

This is what makes an MD and MD right and NP or PA but you mentioned the television, you know, you’ve appeared on a host of TV shows including GMA where you’ve addressed some of these topics. You’re also chief medical officer for virtual Ascension. One of the very biggest Health Systems in the country and in addition to your clinical academic medicine appointment at NYU, but you’ve decided to position yourself as a thought leader in health influencing and what it means to be a medical digital Creator. I think four months ago you decided to you’re going to you know dedicate my energies to social media influencing full-time talk about you know, why you made that decision and you know, what you’re following is now and you know, how you I think you said you’re still kind of defining yourself and you kind of letting the audience kind of help steer in that direction talk about that, you know.

Dabbled a little bit in social media and 2017 2018 really because when I was doing broadcast people would ask me. Oh, do you have a social media but I wasn’t really sure what to do with it and then covid hit and I just felt like there was nothing that I was going to say that was important enough, you know, because a lot of the stuff that I had historically done was travel and lifestyle and some aspirational things and I just you know, I I don’t know I kept the covid time very personal and then I just it’s always been in the back of my mind to pursue. So social media sort of been a calling for me really because I’ve always been so passionate about providing people with useful health information and I felt very limited in my clinical practice the 20th, that could see me a day were very lucky but what about everybody else that couldn’t get in to see me because it would take months to get an appointment, you know, and I just thought like I’m saying the same things over and over again to patients and it’s just it’s always an aha moment for them a light bulb moment. I didn’t realize I

I was doing it this way and you mean all I have to do is take off my shoes when I come into the house and then that’s going to reduce the pollen Loan in my home Oh, you mean to tell me that a HEPA like an air filter is not going to help for my dust mite allergy. Like why did I spend all this money on this? You mean to tell me a humidifier is going to make my allergies worse because you need to dehumidify or if you have mold or dust mite allergies. So I’m like, I gotta find a platform or a place to get this information out everywhere. And I I, you know thought broadcast was going to be that thing but then the energy and the focus has really shifted away from broadcast and more towards these online platforms and I’m like, that’s it. I got to do this. So back in November. I said, you know what I’m really gonna Focus my energy on this and and harness my creative potential. So in the last couple of months, I’ve gone from 18,000 to 81000 followers. I had one posted as like over 16 million views a few others that are over a million and

Trying to Trend and it’s really fun. And I just love that people are commenting and engaging with me and we’ll get to sort of that fine line between hey, we’re not providing medical advice, but we are providing general information that could that maybe applicable to your life. So it’s been really engaging and enjoyable and I’m not trying to overthink how you turn this into a career. I really just want to understand the platform and understand the power of these platforms and then utilize that to obviously to help patients right and and reduce their exposure to misinformation.

I also want to use it and understand it so that I can help doctors and other Healthcare Providers understand what their places and so social media.

And I want to use it to better understand the value of it as a marketing tool for your business whether it’s a traditional health care practice or you want to start something new you want to create a product you want to do Consulting you want to have you I believe that it is an incredibly powerful tool.

And so I want I wanted to start with building a base first and actually allowing my audience to inform what I do next versus I’ve got a product and now I’m going to spend all this money on organic social media as just like or paid media right to just kind of Drive things and then it just becomes an advertisement. So I truly want my next thing that I embarked on to be organic and something that my patients my viewers actually have a say in right so that’s its I they are going to Define me as as much as I am creating a product for them. And I love that. I mean in my mind this is this is real time testing and learning just like you do in the startup space. So yeah, it’s really fun. Yes as a clinician. I’d imagine you’re you’re highly attuned to being there in terms of feeling a void of what your patients want. I think that’s it’s gives you that sort of natural tendency.

To keep your keep your Cube those your North Star just very important you realize where the gap.

All realize and know and then if I can then take that information and then inform providers and you know, I have I have a coaching and Consulting business.

Called modern medical where I am informing providers like hey, like this is a really low hanging fruit. Like this is what patients here. I’ve got you know, 80,000 people telling me over and over again that they you know, don’t understand how to take their thyroid medication. For example, like this is the content and information that they want to need. So then now I can work with doctors to say here’s your patient acquisition strategy. Here’s how you need to show up and meet patients online. Right? Here’s how you can then incorporate virtual first to pull people through but you have to have some sort of online presence and then here’s the kind of information that they are looking for. You know, those are that’s great feedback and there’s a great challenge is that would make any clinician excited, you know to want to get up in the morning and do their jobs, but what they’re trained to do.

You know, I wonder you mentioned like some of the silly, you know, myths and misconceptions that pop up about allergies that the what do you seeing now? That’s kind of proliferating on social. What’s the new Benadryl challenge if you will?

Yeah, you know what? We’ve seen a lot of stuff on like epipens and how like people think it’s funny to, you know, see what happens where they’re allergic reaction and not user epipens, which is something that we’ve really had to work hard to combat another Trend which is a good thing is people just sharing their stories. We’ve seen a lot of tragic stories in the food allergy space recently, but a lot of people coming and speaking up about their experiences and then we’re seeing a lot of the food allergy Community kind of stepping up and supporting one another. So that’s actually a trend in a great Direction.

One wonky trend is that people were taking like nail polish and putting it on their face to kind of just like create like like face mask type things and then ripping them off and then thinking that they’re going to have like a smoother face and so we’re seeing a rise in very strange like it’s called the Crowley which is like found in nail polish that type of allergy popping up.

The other thing that we are seeing with this tween skincare trend is kids putting all kinds of stuff on their face and having burns on their face because they’re using high-powered retinols and acids on their faces and we’re also seeing a whole lot of contact dermatologist or contact allergy because again people are using all of these different products 10 15 different products on their faces, the more ingredients you’re using and exposing your face to the more likely you are to develop an allergic reaction. So I’m constantly getting patients saying like, what is this what’s going on? What’s happened to my face when they’re doing these product reviews? Okay. Alright. Alright. This is the pitfalls are being a product reviewer on tiktok and this certainly crosses over into you know, the skin and Beauty, you know departments, which we’ve one of my college is kind of made a living and kind of covering, you know, the weekly Trends, you know in the beauty area. It’s really an eye opener, but you know

That kind of brings us into the next question which is and you kind of alluded to this early or in terms of the doctor patient relationship, you know, the space is is less regulated obviously than traditional drama and Dr. Advertising relationships. And as you said, you’re not providing medical advice per se you’re going to kind of giving general advice.

Excuse me, but you never know how it’s going to be used, you know, or leveraged by the viewer. So, you know, what kind of questions does this raise about the doctor-patient relationship. Yeah, you know.

It’s parties here. Right? It’s the individual Doctor Who really needs education. Like we need some guardrails around like what is appropriate and what’s not appropriate for social media the brand agencies that are coming in representing Brands need to understand that there are some limitations with a clinician influencer and there’s a company called Med fluences with things doing a really good job trying to represent Physicians on social media and trying to educate these other agencies to say like they’re not doctors are not a traditional Health influencer. It’s very it’s a very different animal. So to speak in their certain things we can and we cannot say and so when we’re co-creating content, you have to give the physician a lot a lot more licensed to say this is not something that’s appropriate. This is so one thing that has I think is challenging is right. I am a doctor but I’m also Tanya and Tanya may want to do something or you know, I may like a product as

Individual but because I’m a doctor people are assuming that I’m making a recommendation clinically and that’s really where that nuance and the fine line is and one of the best areas to describe that is in medicine.

We are trained to not use the terms always or never right because there’s always some sort of an exception. So I’ll never say like I always give this to my patient or you will definitely get better from this. We always sort of say like based off of the literature the likelihood is right. We always kind of couch our recommendation and it’s also like a shared decision-making process where we say like there’s risks. There’s benefits, right?

So now take social media right where everything is a hook right? I’m a doctor and I never do this. I always use this on my face, you know, and because you have only a minute right pretty much like to keep someone’s attention. You really can’t get into like much around like the risks and the benefits of this or that you lose your audience. So even if you do end up saying that when you look at your analytics, you’ve dropped off, right so, you know to make a very compelling catchy thing you want to stay in like the 10 to 30 seconds range. Otherwise, you’re gonna lose all your audience. So like what is that balance for a medical Creator to say like I want to be able to give objective information. I also want to be able to grow my following right and have a hook and I also have the right to say that I Tanya as an individual never used this product.

But then you also have to say but that doesn’t mean I tell all my patients to do it. So you’re in like this strange conundrum and especially as I am kind of balancing the medical knowledge and information with the lifestyle and travel and like, you know aspirational, you know, you you know inspiring to other women or you know, like living a certain way that’s been the hardest thing for me right to stay compelling and catchy but then not overstep and say like Oh, I’m a doctor and I’m telling you have to take the supplement.

So again, I think there needs to be some guardrails around what Dockers can and cannot say they’re also needs to be some Liberties around. Well doctors are also people and they can have an opinion on something that they like or not like but to not combine those to your intertwine those two so much and exploit the fact that you’re a doctor.

Right. Yes, so you have to make that clear in all of your content that you create. That’s really interesting line to have to walk so to speak.

That was part one of this conversation or two will be released later this week.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a highly watched case that will determine access to mifepristone – the commonly used abortion pill that’s been approved since 2000.

In the case, FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, anti-abortion groups have sued the Food and Drug Administration arguing against its approval of mifepristone, as well as its moves in 2016 and 2021 to boost access to it.

If the justices rule in favor of the anti-abortion groups, it could significantly restrict access to mifepristone, which accounted for about 63% of all abortions last year – even in blue states that haven’t banned the procedure.

But the case has implications beyond access to abortion; it could undermine the FDA’s scientific authority, and impact the pharma industry as a whole. If the court rules against the FDA, that means future plaintiffs could sue over their ideological opposition to FDA drug approvals.

Last year, hundreds of drugmakers and pharma CEOs – including Pfizer’s Albert Bourla and Genentech’s Alexander Hardy – signed a letter supporting the FDA’s authority to regulate medications.

In the letter, the drugmakers noted that mifepristone has been QUOTE “proven by decades of data to be safer than Tylenol, nearly all antibiotics and insulin,” and that the judicial interference “has set a precedent for diminishing FDA’s authority over drug approvals, and in doing so, creates uncertainty for the entire biopharma industry.”

In an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court, pharma companies reiterated that point, noting that QUOTE “The Fifth Circuit’s decision in this case radically alters the new drug application (“NDA”) process through which drug applicants seek and maintain FDA approval of pharmaceutical products for sale and marketing, destabilizing the drug development and investment landscape and depriving patients of the benefits of scientific advancement.”

The Supreme Court justices are expected to make a decision by late June. I’m Lecia Bushak, Senior Reporter at MM+M.

And this is the part of the broadcast when we welcome Jack O’Brien to tell us what’s trending on healthcare social media.

Hey Marc,

Princess Catherine of Wales, also known as Kate Middleton, was diagnosed with cancer and is receiving chemotherapy, Kensington Palace announced Friday afternoon.

In a two-and-a-half minute video, Princess Kate updated the public on her health status following a major abdominal procedure in London she received in January.

Over the following months, her whereabouts were the subject of widespread media coverage and public speculation as she largely abstained from the spotlight.

The video — which was filmed at Windsor on Wednesday — represents her first public remarks since the surgery and confirmed that she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent preventative chemotherapy. 

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she said in the video. “As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment.”

In conclusion, she asked for time, space and privacy as she undergoes additional treatment. She promised to update the public again as she recovers and offered well wishes to others living with cancer.

I think there’s a lot to unpack here. Obviously for our sake there’s the cancer conversation, which I’ve had a number of conversations with different marketing leaders and farm Executives about this kind of reimagining how we talk about cancer not necessarily as a death sentence, but as something that millions of people go through with varying severity across the world, but there’s the pr aspect of it too. I’m far from the only one that was really puzzled by why we hadn’t seen her for so long this kind of caging us from the palace is it relates to her whereabouts and then it comes out that oh, she’s going through something that again millions of people go through and there was all this random speculation the photo shop controversy all it’s our stuff that didn’t give her the space as a public person to all so have her private Health moment, too. So I

Don’t know if either of you want to hop in on that. I think there’s just so much here that’s relatable to our industry on different fronts.

Yeah, I mean, I I don’t normally, you know, like regularly follow the Royals like some people do but this was one of those situations where you couldn’t avoid it. It was everywhere and social media all of these like conspiracy theories and long threads about why Kate was disappearing or where was she and things like that. So it’s hard to say why Kensington Palace did not announced until later that she had cancer because I imagine she’s known for months. Now, you know, I don’t know if like, you know, they were trying to avoid making it look like a weakness or something on their part or on her part, but she has definitely come forth now and been very direct about it. I know she said that she wants to remain private for now about it and probably won’t provide another update until at least after Easter. I’m curious to see how she handles it moving forward because she is someone that millions of people watching tune into and you know, the Royals are our people that a lot of people want to pay attention to and really follow on

A daily basis and I imagine she has plenty of influence.

To sort of raise awareness about cancer treatment cancer screening things like that. So I’m really curious to see how she does handle it moving forward. I agree with you in terms of what that next ACT looks like I think it’s gonna be something especially once we find out what the cancer is to I think that there’s going to be a big awareness push on her end Mark. I want to bring you in for your thoughts and just kind of adding on something that leche had brought up where it’s like I’ve seen people talk about this online. You couldn’t have had a more slam dunk PR case than

Very public person gets a diagnosis like this wants to have their privacy the fact that they got bungled in such a way where people were speculating about whether the prince was cheating on her. If she was alive, you know, all the sort of like really crude stuff that came up on the internet. I just don’t know where the pr lapse came to this is the person that’s going through something that millions of other people go through she wants to have her privacy. We can all acknowledge that that just direct communication transparency wasn’t there sure and I think that makes a lot of sense the one aspect that we might not be taking into consideration. Is that although there has been quite a lot of publicity made around the growth in certain cancers among young people from what I read. We know when a young person gets diagnosis like this. It just hits him like a bus. Yeah, and I think that my it may be that kind of played into the sort of lack of, you know, being more forth with the pr strategy there. You’re right at this seemed like a slam dunk.

Um kind of you know approach and in this situation, but it’s also a slam dunk that you know, as mucha was saying, you know, this is an opportunity for someone in her position to leverage it to call for more early screening of cancer greater awareness, and maybe she just kind of didn’t know if she was ready to take on that mantle yet, you know as such an early age, you know what she’s 42. She probably didn’t really expect to be, you know in that position so soon at least or hopefully never but you know, as you said Jack she didn’t specify her cancer only that it followed her a major abdominal surgery in January which found cancer had been present and you know doctors are still puzzled as to this, you know, what’s behind this trend of early onset cancers if they’ve seen speculation and everything from genetic factors to changes in the gut microbiome and we’ve seen some other celebrities like Chadwick Boseman dying and 2020 of colorectal cancer at only age 43

Hopefully that’s not the case here. We wish her the best and hopefully they nipped it in the bud and the chemo will do its thing. And I know we’re going to talk a little bit later in the show about the need to get testing tested and talk about a little bit more. But yeah, really, you know, wish her only the best absolutely.

First it was Elmo, and now it’s Steve from Blue’s Clues – iconic characters from children’s TV shows have gone viral on social media for posting mental health check-ins to their audiences.

Steve, who hosted Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues from 1996 to 2002, posted a video on TikTok checking in on his audience that gained nearly a million likes and 45,000 comments.

[Byte: STEVE: Hey, I’m checking in. Tell me what’s going on.

“Not me crying the instant he asked,” one commenter wrote. “When did Steve become our Nickelodeon therapist?” another wrote. “Life keeps handing me lemons and I don’t know how many more I can turn into lemonade. I’m tired, Steve,” says another one.

The overwhelming response was similar to one Elmo received on X recently, after posting an innocent tweet asking how everyone was doing.

Steve has been open about his mental health struggles since returning to the public’s eye in the last few years, noting in previous interviews that he had suffered from clinical depression while he was on the show, and that was part of the reason why he abruptly left in 2002.

In previous interviews, Steve has noted that his character Steve on the show became his role model because “he was not afraid to ask for help.”

I was born in 95 by the time he left the show. I was seven you spent a lot of years watching somebody on TV like that and

And fits our podcast producer was making the well, I think is very apt comparison. I was too young. I think at that point for something like a Mr. Rogers, but Steve fit right in that sort of category similar to Elmo too. Just being able to grow up and have those characters around and to be able to see that it wasn’t just like a childhood thing that these things can still have a hold on you and having it an impact especially around mental health and around having these people where it’s it is a really tough impersonal conversation. You can feel very isolating to say I have anxiety. I have depression. I have these issues and then see people that you are so familiar with from your core Childhood Days being there makes it so much easier have those conversations. At least it does for me. I hope it does for other people too. It’s certainly something that I think every person that we talk about when it comes to mental health campaigns. It’s like trying to normalize it trying not make it as weird as it can seem and this is one way to do that where it’s like you’re not alone in this other people are going through something very similar. Yeah. It was remember, you know reading

unless she’s reference to the earlier story with Elmo and that was a little bit different because that was Elmo’s, you know, social media manager kind of putting out the tweet. I put a, you know, reading that piece, you know, there was an interview with her on today a website and you know, she said, you know, why does what is a social media manager think that that tweet

Um, you know, when viral to the extent that it did and she said it’s a weird place in the world right now. So there’s a lot of question marks out there and when someone kind like Elmo asks you how you’re doing. You’re going to be a little more honest because you know a caring friend is listening in genuinely wants to know the foundation of friendship Elmo has with the world really resonated so I know this is this is this is the Steve a story not the almost story but kind of this common denominator there like you said Jackie somebody you grew up with it normalizes the conversation which is so important. It makes it you know Smooths the way to to have to articulate what you’re feeling and to communicate with others and that’s what it’s all about. You know, like the little experience I’ve had, you know, I’ve had some experience with therapy in my life, you know, and that’s kind of like what a therap. What a good therapist does is they help you normalize what I’m feeling, you know, and in an instant, you know, they can kind of make change what what you know, I might be sensing is is dread to oh, you know, that’s just something that like a lot of people go through and I don’t need to feel

So embarrassed by it or whatever. So it’s it’s not for nothing that you know that these relationships endure and they can also be you know leveraged in this way and something as you know innocuous as a social media post brings it out, you know, so it’s really interesting to see. Yeah, I can tell you that, you know, my experience is with my therapist. It’s one of those things that you come in and you have your issues or your worries or anxieties and then you have somebody there saying like, oh, no that’s very normal or that’s reasonable and stuff and you’re like, oh so that thing that I was holding on to that I was putting all this pressure and and all that sort of stuff. It starts to fall away and makes you feel a lot.

I don’t know just more grounded and more at ease and I think that that’s something that people really related with this post certainly with somebody that is as familiar and friendly as Steve from Blue’s Clues. So I give him as I have for the past 30 years of my life all of the the props I can.

Thank you, Steve. All right.

As part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance is teaming with the American Cancer Society on a collaborative marketing effort.

This month, the two healthcare organizations rolled out Your Colon is 45, a co-branded, social media-led campaign to educate Americans about colon health, the risks associated with colon cancer and available screening options. 

Consumers are encouraged to YourColonIs45.org for resources on how to prevent colon cancer as well as a personalized screening quiz, a doctor locator and even an e-card people can send to friends and family in an effort to get them screened.

Additionally, Atlantic Health System launched its Here’s the Bottom Line campaign to reframe the conversation around colorectal cancer, make it less stigmatizing and ensure everyone feels comfortable seeking medical attention and prioritizing their health.

And who’s the star of this marketing effort? Charlie the Colon, a cartoon organ, of course.

He is quite cute. Isn’t he going to agree with you? Not love Charlie the colon. Yes, you know we’ve seen a lot of these efforts over the years the dancing colon, you know the colon you walk through, you know at Medical congresses. So it’s a Trope that continues to endure and but this might be TMI for some of our listeners. So feel free to fast forward the next few seconds, but the the irony or The Coincidence is too great, you know, the corner of the CDC the US preventive Services Task Force recommends regular screening for colon cancer starting at age 45. I’m a little bit late on that curve turning 53 later this month, but I recently had a colonoscopy at where else Atlantic health system through through one of their Affiliates a recommended Gees one out there. But you know, I in the bed next to me there was one person who you know, I heard the doctor come out afterwards and give them their, you know, kind of results of the colonoscopy.

One woman, they said, you know no polyps in your colon. We’ll see in 10 years and the other person on the other side of me was the opposite. Oh we found, you know, we removed two polyps and you’ve got some diverticulitis or whatever. We’ll see, you know, one or three one two, three years, you know, so it really ranges but there’s something you could do about it and you know talking with gastroenterologists. They say the best colon cancer screen is the one that gets done whether that’s a fecal test or a colonoscopy, which I think is the gold standard. It’s just important to do something and so, you know, we talked about reasoning awareness, you know, and encouraging that people get tested again age 45 is the age when they recently changed the guidelines to for a reason and sorry if that was too much information. But the Again The Coincidence was it was too great to to overlook. I’ll join in there too. I had a colon ask be back in April 22 this actually a few weeks after I joined mmm because I had some

blood work done with my intestines and they want to check out something and when I got done there were no polyps that were no abnormalities and they said the same thing they said we’ll see a 45 so I’ve got

What 16 years something like that at this point so I have to worry about it again for a while. Then what they talk about too is the prep is the worst part. Yes, the actual test itself. You’re you’re out for it. I don’t know how many of the at home stuff works, but the prep of whatever that concentrate is that clears out your system by far the worst part. Yes. It’s probably had the best entry like entry point for the conversation lesson, but sorry, no, no, definitely. I mean this all brings up, you know, I feel like in the last couple years. I’ve been reading a lot of news stories about how colorectal cancer diagnoses and young people have has been rising significantly the American Cancer Society reported in 2023 that 20% of colorectal cancer diagnosis in 2019 were in patients under the age of 55 and that’s double the rate in 1996. So scientists have sort of been tracking this significant increase they’re trying to figure out what exactly is causing it. Obviously there’s

Lot of factors involved could be diet could be obesity rates. It could be smoking. You know, they don’t know exactly what’s causing this uptick. But I remember reading a really good long stat investigation that came out in 2021 about hot spots of colorectal cancer and young people specifically in the South actually where men and particularly black men were dying at very young ages like in their 30s and 40s from colorectal cancer and sort of the the research around some of these hot spots and the factors going into that. It’s a very good piece had recommend it but you know, this is something that I’ve been reading a lot about lately and just kind of underscores the, you know, awareness efforts going on this month to raise young people’s wearing about this issue as well and everyone taking kind of a unique approach on its all the same message but different ways, you know, the American Cancer Society doesn’t have Charlie the colon only one person that Charlie the colon. That’s the American system, but everyone taking their own

Approaches and saying like hey, that’s something you have to be so afraid of going back to what we talked about cancer, but you got to do something about it. You got to get tested certainly if you have the risk factors involved.

Absolutely. It’s like you said the prep is the worst part but the worst part. Oh my God, and then you have the best meal of your life afterwards. Oh, yeah. I got Taiwanese food afterwards and I ate my heart’s content. I think I took a nap. I had Taiwanese food Gatorade and took a long nap. It was great nice. The propofol is not bad either. Exactly and that’s like yeah count to 10 by the by number two. You’re you’re done. So yeah, I will on that note.

Thanks for joining us on this week’s episode of the MM+M Podcast. Be sure to listen to next week’s episode when we’ll be joined by an honoree from our upcoming Transform conference.