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Happy New Year! This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on research being done in our local area about the positive health outcomes of social support and connections. Jennifer R. Jones, MPH, CTSI community engagement senior coordinator, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, discussed this topic.

JJ: Good afternoon, Ms. Bush. Happy 2018! Can you believe that this year celebrates seven years of the “Take Charge” page feature and our interviews?

EB: Time goes so fast, Jennifer! We’ve covered many health and research topics throughout the years. The kick-off to a new year motivates many people to make resolutions or changes in their lifestyle or behavior. Some people may want to quit smoking, organize their closet or spend more quality time with loved ones. Some people may want to eat healthier, spend more time outside, exercise more or watch their budget and save money. The list could be endless!

JJ: That’s exactly right, Esther. I have personal goals to do many of the things you just listed. Our January page focuses on social support. To accomplish goals and resolutions, we need other people. Research shows that social support can have positive outcomes. As Dr. Ana Radovic discusses, there are many types of support we can give to and get from others.

EB: I’m really glad Ana outlined the different types of support. I don’t think I’ve ever had it explained in that way. It makes me look at the song “Lean on Me” in a new way! Our December page was on cyberbullying, and I appreciate that the SOVA websites are safe places for adolescents and their parents to share their feelings and to learn more about depression and anxiety. The holidays, while joyous, are difficult times for many people.

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