Please Turn On Your Cell Phones

Photo by Sherry Boschert

From a meeting sponsored by the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco.

It’s so routine it’s almost a Pavlovian response — at the start of each medical conference that I cover, the course director asks everyone to please silence their cell phones and pagers. I reach for my iPhone, turn off the sound, and discreetly keep it handy in case there’s some tidbit of news worth tweeting.

But not this time! Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal of the American Diabetes Association asked the hundreds of people at a postgraduate course to turn on their cell phones. He then walked us through the process of sending a text message with the letters “ADA” to 25383, which generates a return text asking the user to confirm that you’d like to donate $5 for diabetes research. The charge shows up later on the user’s phone bill.

Judging by the giggles in the emphatically non-adolescent crowd, this may have been the first text message that many of them have sent via their cell phones. Dr. Bergenstal slyly suggested that they may want to practice their texting chops by texting “ADA” to 25383 again… and again… and again…

It’s all part of the Association’s “Stop Diabetes” campaign, and it’s the first time I’ve seen a medical organization use this modern tool in its public outreach. I think we’ll be seeing more of this.

— Sherry Boschert (@sherryboschert on Twitter)

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Filed under Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Family Medicine, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Practice Trends

2 responses to “Please Turn On Your Cell Phones

  1. This could soon become commonplace me thinks!

  2. Laura

    Charity Navigator gives the ADA a one-star rating, which is the lowest assigned to charities reviewed. Means that $$ go to overhead, not program expenses. In contrast, Partners in Health, which has been trying to build a public health infrastructure in Haiti for 20 years, uses at least 95% of incoming contributions for program expenses.

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