What is an "Expert?"
In the past several weeks, some of the "experts" at HealthCentral.com have come under attack by readers because many of us do not hold medical degrees or have extensive formal education about the topics we choose to write about. Most recently, one of the experts here at ADHDCentral.com was undeservedly insulted because of a post she wrote about almost a year ago.
As the community leader of this site, I had two options. I could simply delete the offending comments or I could address this issue. I have chosen to address it.
So, why are we called "experts?" I have talked to many of the writers here at HealthCentral. While we overwhelming shy away from having the term "expert" attached to our name, it is the title those who manage the site (for whom I have great respect) have chosen to use. For the most part, the experts here are writers, although some do hold medical degrees. We come from all over the country or even the world. We have varied backgrounds and live different lives. But we have several things in common:
- We are immersed in the topic we write about. We live with the condition on a daily basis, whether as parents, patients or advocates (or all three.)
- We are constantly learning. When I write a post, I don't just sit down and write off the top of my head. I read and I research. I learn all I can before sharing that knowledge with you, our readers and members. Although I can only speak for myself, I believe the other writers do the same.
- We spend our time talking with medical professionals, educational professionals, individuals living with the medical condition, parents and relatives of children living with the condition. We seek out information to better understand not only the medical portion of the condition, but the practical. We use this knowledge to write about specific topics or as background information for greater understanding.
- We care. We care about each of you, our readers and members. We strive to bring you knowledge about a great variety of subjects. We want to help you and make your life a little easier. Many of us, especially those who write for sites dealing with mental illness, have received questions, posts or emails from a member in crisis. We have all taken the time to look up resources and find the time to help. Many of us have lost sleep at one time or another worrying about a member in crisis and breathe a sigh of relief when we hear things worked out.
Most of the time, the information we write is appreciated and that is what keeps us writing. On the post in question, LuLu writes, "I never look at the person weather he or she had ADHD who is providing the information.. I look at the resources that they provide and any evidence that it may have helped others. Parents telling their story ... if it made a difference. It is disappointing to see some so upset about just someone trying to help...just to let you know please continue your great work and post because it is very helpful to us parents that are only looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.. Thanks again..." and Paul said, "It's about helping the children and their parents do the best they can in everyday situations; helping adults too. It's a community, not a cutting edge research center with the highest credentials required. It's sincerity and empathy, and caring that hold the greatest respect here, I think."
Thank you LuLu. Thank you Paul. These comments remind us as writers why we do what we do. Won't you please join me in letting Merely Me know that SP is an exception; that her posts are appreciated and welcomed? Please post a comment below.
I, for one, look forward to her posts each week. Thank you Merely Me for sharing a little bit of your heart and soul to let our members and readers know they are not alone.