NetWellness Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
Published October 2005
NetWellness is turning a new page in its history. This
year marks the 10th anniversary of the consumer health Web site, which
has been credited with connecting millions of people worldwide with the
health information they need via the World Wide Web.
What started out as a UC experiment with just one
health expert in pharmacy and medications has now flourished into an
online health enterprise where consumers can access nearly 37,000 pages
of health information and receive answers to their most pressing health
"NetWellness has truly made a difference in people's
lives," says Steve Marine, UC's NetWellness program director. "We are
constantly receiving feedback from people with quite compelling stories.
"Recently, one woman told us that her brother was
diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a disease unfamiliar to her, but she
was able to receive answers to all her questions through NetWellness.
Another visitor managed to quit smoking after obtaining valuable
smoking cessation information through the site."
In honor of its anniversary, NetWellness recently
received a make-over, which included a site redesign, enhanced
graphics, easier access and navigation and more content.
In addition, the popular "Ask an Expert" feature has
expanded to include 342 health professionals who volunteer their time
to answer every consumer question. Currently, 141 UC experts have
answered nearly 20,000 questions.
"NetWellness was an opportunity of a lifetime to be
involved in something that is groundbreaking," says Tina Weitkamp, UC
associate professor of clinical nursing and one of NetWellness' first
health experts. "It allows us to connect with consumers who may feel
uncomfortable asking questions in a face-to-face environment, and it
gives them the opportunity to find out what health providers think
about a particular topic. If someone takes the information I give them
and makes a positive change, it's worth it."
Looking forward, NetWellness plans to revamp all of its
health centers, including a recently added section on African-American
Produced in collaboration with Case Western Reserve and
Ohio State universities and supported by state and federal grants,
foundation gifts and state contracts, NetWellness was created in
response to the growing number of people turning to the Internet to
obtain medical and health information. Today, it is one of just a few
Web sites that remain commercial-free, ensuring that information is
unbiased, accurate and anonymous.
"NetWellness also has done something incredible and
outlasted many of the first Web sites," adds Marine."Web sites come and
go so quickly, and only a handful are able to achieve a milestone like
this. Ten years on the Internet is quite an accomplishment. The
continuous contributions of our respected faculty are what bring people
back to the site."