Centers for Disease Control (CDC) promotes health in Second Life

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has begun promoting health in the digital world through appearance in Second Life as a female avatar named Philo Hygeia (lover of health).

Read the interview in Spare Change, a blog about social marketing and nonprofit organizations.

The female avatar is run by a male employee of CDC, who explains: "Hygeia was the Greek muse of health, and the last name of Philo means 'lover of,' thus a CDC av with the metaphoric moniker of Hygeia Philo (lover of health) seemed perfectly appropriate....I don't see Hygeia Philo as an alternate John Anderton, rather I see her more as the face of the Agency that I am working with to disseminate health information."

The virtual health alerts serve as a complement to real-life alerts the CDC may post.

Future health topics the CDC may raise through Second Life conceivably could include some complementary and alternative medicine therapies, since Philo will potentially be reviewing health "screenings, health and emergency preparedness, childhood milestones, and other topics. On the behavioral side, there is also plenty of room for talk about good eating, active lifestyles, eye strain, and other health topics relevant to persons who spend significant amounts of time sedentary in front of a monitor."

This fascinating interview does showcase the CDC's sense of balance:

"Second Life is part of one's first life; not separate from it. Even the immersionists have to sleep, eat, and interact with the Real World. If one can merge good health practices in real life with the fun and play of Second Life, then physical and psychological realms can be enlightened and good habits enacted, to personal benefit. If this happens collectively, then public benefits are achieved, and public health becomes a reality, in virtual and actual ways."

Holism and holistic notions of health abound even for those courting "immmersionists."

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Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law, with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is also President of the the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society. The Institute serves as a reliable forum for investigation and recommendations regarding the legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care.

The most recent book written by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary and alternative medicine and related fields is an interdisciplinary collection of essays entitled, Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, the first being Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998).