Welcome to Healthy Debate

Timothy Bird

Written by Timothy Bird

Timothy Bird previously served as CEO and Chairman of M Booth Health, and believes conversations and connections can improve health for people everywhere.

Welcome to Healthy Debate, the M Booth Health forum for catalyzing the kinds of conversations that have the power to improve health for people everywhere.

Of the infinite issues the COVID-19 pandemic exposed, one stood out for its relevance and importance to professional health communicators. That issue? Discord – a relentless drumbeat of disagreement over how to contain and end the worst worldwide public health crisis ever declared by the World Health Organization. It is no exaggeration to say that the suppression of balanced dialogue and remarkable rejection of science affected whether some people lived or died. In many circles of influence, disagreement and toxic debate proved categorically unhealthy.

In 2020, we saw how disagreements about the genesis of the virus delayed efforts to stop its deadly spread; how disagreements about the merits of masks accelerated the spread; and how disagreements about how to protect the most vulnerable multiplied fatalities with catastrophic effect. Sound familiar? Four decades on, the HIV epidemic still rages today, due in large part to discordance in how to reach and teach vulnerable populations that are marginalized and excluded from health services.

In every debate about health and healthcare, there’s power in presenting balanced, nuanced, and science-backed information reflecting credible but opposing views. It gives people a chance to study the evidence and make informed health choices. Conversely, there’s risk in promoting only one side of a health debate, potentially limiting access to beneficial, if not universally popular advice or wisdom.

And owing to a media echo chamber that substantiates preconceived ideas and unconscious bias – whether it’s the slant and viewpoint of Fox News or MSNBC – or the like-minded musings of one’s social media contacts or followers – a forum for healthy debate about health and healthcare has been missing and long overdue.

As a communications consultancy for healthcare companies, government, and medical societies, we are hopeful that by adding one more blog to the busy health blogosphere, we will advance the conversation by making a valuable contribution to an informed and healthy debate. It is by catalyzing conversations about health that we do our part to create better health opportunities for people around the world.

Please follow us to read and share posts (healthily) from a variety of contributors debating a wide range of health questions including:

  • How to foster vaccine trust and confidence
  • Whether drug costs should come down or go up
  • Who should ensure better public health preparedness?
  • What can be done to address worsening worldwide mental health?
  • How clinical trials perpetuate health inequality and how to change that
  • Does the rise in telemedicine threaten humanism in medicine
  • Will renewed respect for pharmaceutical companies endure once everyone is vaccinated?
  • Has the headline-grabbing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forever changed the healthcare media landscape?
  • How can conversations about health actually improve health?

Thanks for stopping by. Here’s to Healthy Debate.