• Quick, name a spokesperson for autism issues

    Unless you’re deep into autism issues, you probably either can’t name a spokesperson for the condition or you thought of Jenny McCarthy. But, why Jenny McCarthy and not some physician? Go read Mark Britton’s explanation. He says she’s kicking docs’ butts in communications and marketing. Sound shallow? Well guess what, that stuff matters. A lot.

    “Aha!” Your internal marketing excuse machine says, “I am not a celebrity so you can’t expect me to compete with Jenny McCarthy or any of her Hollywood brethren!”  OK . . . so you might not get you own talk show, but let’s start simple:  Have you taken the time to simply join – or even investigate – a Facebook group relevant to your specialty?  Have you seen what the masses are saying and offered to their conversation a few supportive, maybe even innovative, thoughts.  Have you guest-written an article for a patient-oriented magazine or a blog?  Have you ever “Tweeted” an interesting article, adding just 140 characters of your own commentary?  Do you answer medical questions from every day people online?

    Asked another way:  Do you engage in grass-roots thought leadership at all?

    Want to make a difference? You can’t do it if nobody can hear you. Blogging is also a way to start.

    (H/t @haroldpollack via his private Twitter account.)

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    • My favorite is Paul Offitt. Not sure you are aware of it, but there were rumors that anti-vaccers were making threats to those who support vaccinations.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Offit

      Steve

    • I can think of several people who could be a–or the–spokesperson, but none of them can answer the question Ms. McCarthy keeps asking: if it’s not the vaccines, then why has there been such a rise in autism rates in the past generation?

      Yes, we know the Japanese study (“well, thimerosal wasn’t the cause because they took it out and the level stayed steady”), and we know the changes to the Merck formulation, and the “rivals” (phrase in quotes because none of them seem to be available). We might even believe there is an “unbundled option” (if we never asked a pediatrician to provide it).

      Jenny McCarthy, like Rick Perry, gives simple, direct answers that don’t get refuted at their root. (By Rick Perry’s logic, all mortgages and car loans are Ponzi schemes.) Going out an saying “Vaccines didn’t cause this” and not being able to answer “Well, then, what did?” is fatal to attempting such a discourse.

      And the result–children bloody dying of bloody whooping cough(!)–abides and will do so until and unless researchers find a reason, not just Reasons Why Not.