And the Academy Award Goes To…

This year’s Academy Award for Best Actress went to Julianne Moore for her portrayal of a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in the movie Still Alice. My parents saw the movie. They thought Moore was amazing and had their fingers crossed that she would win. The Academy Awards took place Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. On Friday, Feb. 27 I received an email from the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation. The subject line was “The ‘biggest night in Hollywood’ was a big night for health awareness, too — find out why!”

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield

When I opened the email there was a picture of Moore onstage holding her Oscar and next to the picture was a quote from her acceptance speech: “I’m so happy, I’m thrilled actually, that we were able to hopefully shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease … I like stories about real people, and real relationships, and real families, and that’s what I respond to, and [Still Alice] had all of those things in it. It’s about a real issue.”

The email goes on to talk about Alzheimer’s disease: how you can learn more about it, what to do if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one and the fact that there is no cure. It provides plenty of links for more information. It includes strategically bolded words. It also includes, of course, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress links as well as a request for contributions.

Capitalizing on a moment

I am actually a little surprised that it took the organization 5 days to send out the email, but we can assume that they are of the mind that Friday morning is the optimal time to send out a non-work related email and that is why they waited instead of sending it out on Monday morning or even Tuesday or Wednesday. The important thing is that they capitalized on an organic moment – one that they had nothing to do with but had everything to gain from by publicly identifying with and participating in its “buzz.” The Health in Aging Foundation deftly used Moore’s win to spread the word and offer real, helpful information and answer questions about Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately for the foundation, it is not presented with almost daily opportunities to capitalize on, but guess who is? O&P.


Image: ©Shutterstock

2015 has been a banner year for prosthetics already. The Super Bowl had not one but two ads featuring people wearing prostheses. Several of the survivors, and subsequent amputees, of the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon will be running in the April 20, 2015 marathon. 2014 was a pretty big year for prosthetics, too. Noah Galloway, an Iraqi war vet who lost his left arm and left leg above the knee, was the cover model for Men’s Health magazine, was named 2014 Men’s Health Ultimate Guy and was chosen to be a contestant in this year’s season on Dancing with the Stars. In 2014 Amy Purdy, bilateral transtibial amputee, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and came pretty close to winning. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, also a double amputee, had a baby girl in November 2014. These are just some examples off the top of my head.

Celebrating ‘O&P Oscars’

Every single one of these events is worthy of its own “O&P Oscar” and could be used to help spread the word, offer real, helpful information and answer questions about prosthetics. For example, I am willing to bet there are a lot of people who do not think it is possible for a woman missing both her legs to have a baby. None of these “O&P Oscar winners” have to be your patient, or wearing your components, for you to be able to congratulate them and capitalize on the opportunity it provides you to educate.

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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