If you haven’t already heard it elsewhere, one of your favorite blogging physicians, Dr Val Jones, has recently hung out her own e-shingle at Getting Better with Dr Val. Many of you know Dr Val from her previous blog at Revolution Health, Dr Val and the Voice of Reason. Dr Val served there as Senior Medical Director and oversaw the growth of the consumer health portal as it grew to 120 million pageviews per month (!).
Here’s how Dr Val describes her new digs:
Getting Better is the continuation of Dr. Val Jones’ previous blog at Revolution Health: “Dr. Val and the Voice of Reason.” The archives feature most of her previous posts since 2006. You may search her archives by medical specialty and key words, using the search bar at the top of the blog. Getting Better is devoted to helping people understand health issues from a balanced, scientifically sound perspective. Dr. Val combines interviews with key opinion leaders, patients, and celebrities with health news, personal experiences, humor, cartoons and links to interesting health content. Getting Better is both educational and entertaining – providing a daily dose of “health food for thought” for healthcare providers and patients alike.
While Val and I have had professional interactions well before my blog started, I only just met her this past summer when she came up from DC to a reader meet-up with ScienceBlogs.com bloggers in New York City – Val is shown here holding forth with another dear colleague, journalist and med-web communications pioneer, Peter Frishauf, founder of Medscape.
A native of Greenwich, Connecticut, Dr Jones did her undergraduate work at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, although she doesn’t play a Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar as far as I know. She then took her master’s degree at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas where she received the training that qualifies her as “seminarian-turned-physician.” While completing her MD at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, she was a frequent contributor to the medical student section of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Her postgraduate training was at medical centers in New York City and Los Angeles in pediatric surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation. In addition to these medical qualifications, Val is one of those people who excel at everything and has served as a food critic, medical cartoonist, and was inducted into the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in July, 2008. Her ‘About’ page at Getting Better with Dr Val provides more information.
I’ve been very interested in simply observing the process by which Dr Val has reintroduced herself to the medweb. Val has always been an active and much-admired member of the sci/med blogosphere and could always be counted on for a good conversation during Dr Anonymous’ weekly podcasts (in fact, her recent interview by Dr A is here). The launch of Getting Better with Dr Val was announced with a formal press release and Val had already been guest-posting at several high-profile blogs at the time of the launch.
I was particularly struck by her scoring a good number of celebrity interviews that appealed to broad interests while still addressing critical health issues such as Grant Hill’s near-fatal battle with a MRSA infection following ankle surgery and Joan Lunden’s advocacy for women’s and children’s health. She also took on the reins as host of the Grand Rounds, the most popular medical blog carnival on the web. She is currently distributing a television show and even links to her cartoons, noting that she offers custom cartoon services.
Dr Val’s blog is always excellent and she very carefully chooses her recommended medical websites (listed here). In addition to her one-stop medical information site, she is also a contributor to Science-Based Medicine where she coined the term, “shruggie,” in her first post:
Shruggie (noun): a person who doesn’t care about the science versus pseudoscience debate. When presented with descriptions of exaggerated or fraudulent health claims or practices, their response is to shrug. Shruggies are fairly inert, they will not argue the merits (or lack thereof) of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or pseudoscience in general. They simply aren’t all that interested in the discussion, and are somewhat puzzled by those who are.
With that definition, Dr Val can be considered the consummate anti-shruggie as she has spent her post-graduate career in devotion to clear, objective, and supportive science-based medical communications. She is among my first-reads each day and, if she isn’t already, I hope she will become one of yours as well