healthtalk.org won the Charity of the Year Award at the Good Web Guide Awards 2014healthtalk.org won the Charity of the Year Award at The Good Web Guide Awards 2014 which are an annual celebration of online excellence. healthtalk.org had been shortlisted with the RSPCA in the Charity category. The announcement came at the awards ceremony last night, hosted at the Royal Institution of Great Britain last night. Chief Executive of healthtalk.org Luís Carrasqueiro and Prof Sue Ziebland from the University of Oxford were there to collect the award.
healthtalk.org (formerly healthtalkonline) is a charity website that provides information on a range of illnesses and other health-related issues though real life experiences shared on video, audio and in text format. Thousands of people have shared their experiences in video interviews with University of Oxford researchers, to help others in the same situation understand what to expect from health issues such as breast cancer, depression, menopause or cervical abnormalities. Within each health issue covered on the site, you can find out about the full range of experiences from finding out that something was wrong and making treatment decision to changes in family life and work.
healthtalk.org was co-founded by Dr Andrew Herxheimer and breast cancer sufferer Ann McPherson, from her kitchen table in 2001. Though a GP herself, Ann wanted more than the medical facts about her condition. “I realised that I wanted to know how other people had managed with breast cancer” Ann explained in 2010 “I didn’t just want to hear the stories of people who had ridden across France and “battled” with their cancer, but just the ordinary people”. Sadly Ann passed away in 2011 from pancreatic cancer but the website continues to grow.
“More than 2.5 million people visit healthtalk.org each year and it grows in popularity”. Says Luís “There are some things about living with a health condition that you can only really learn from other people who have been in the same situation for example, how do you explain to a child that their mum has cancer? A lot of people tell us that they find comfort just in watching others talk so frankly about their experiences. It helps them realise that they are not alone.” He says “We’re thrilled that the website has been recognised by the Good Web Guide both for its technical quality and the support it provides to millions of people in the UK”
“healthtalk.org covers more than 87 different health issues. For each issue covered on the website a researcher travels around the country with a video camera, interviewing 30-50 people in their own homes” explains Prof Ziebland who is the Director for the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department for Primary Care. “We use rigorous research methods to ensure that the full range of experiences is captured and shown on the website, not just the more sensational stories or hearsay you might find elsewhere online”