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From Your No. 1 Health Advocate

It is fall, yet the memories of summer are still with me: I, for one, was thrilled to see -- for lack of a better term -- "middle-aged" women and men in the Olympics competing alongside athletes a decade or so younger. Did you notice the older athletes appeared just as toned and competitive as their more youthful counterparts -- yet also had a graciousness and calm about them that exemplified the beauty of age and experience? Yes, there are benefits to aging!

World competitions are a reminder that each of us is striving for something. Sometimes it is just getting through the day -- as my brother says to me as he completes his Braille training and encounters the world as a blind person taking three different bus lines to get to work, raising his sighted son, and learning how to cheer at his athletic events. And yet with every new day, my brother -- like most of us -- strives for accomplishment through change—as past hurdles become simply daily routines and sights are set on new, greater challenges.

Our cover story is about striving for change. As newlyweds in 2004, Dennis and Kimberly Quaid had no idea that they would become impassioned health activists. The couple is now using their celebrity and personal willpower to help change our healthcare system and stop medical errors, so other families will be spared the kind of nightmare they endured when their newborn twins received the wrong drug dose in the hospital. Could this happen to you? Read our story and find out more. And in case it is time to put down our magazine because "the doctor will see you now," you can find our magazine stories on our website at WebMD.com.

We don't need to be health activists to get the right care, but we do need to be our own health advocates. As actor Chandra Wilson, Dr. Bailey from Grey's Anatomy, says in our back-page WebMD Checkup, her TV role has humanized physicians for her. "We have to be proactive in our health care," she tells WebMD. "We need to come to our doctors' appointments with questions and suggestions." Wilson also stresses bringing a gracious attitude. There is not a doctor in practice today who does not welcome a gracious, informed, and proactive patient. But if you happen to encounter the opposite, find a new doctor who is right for you. One place to start is the WebMD Physician Directory and Hospital Directory on WebMD.com. Millions of others like you are getting help and giving help online at WebMD.

Happy fall, and treasure your well-being. Strive for something. WebMD is behind you.

Nan-Kirsen Forte

Nan-Kirsten Forte, MS
Editor in Chief, WebMD the Magazine

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