Diane AtwoodWhen I began writing the Catching Health blog in 2011, it was a means to an end. I was just starting a new business as a freelance health and wellness writer and decided a blog would be a great way to market my services.

The strategy worked, but something unexpected also happened. I spent more and more time working on the blog simply because I enjoyed it so much. Soon people began contacting me with story ideas or to say thank you for writing about a particular topic. Catching Health took on a life of its own and I decided to let it grow.

Formative years

For many years, I was the health reporter on WCSH 6 in Portland, Maine. Toward the end of my career, I received this letter from a viewer:

“Dear Mrs. Atwood,

This letter is long overdue, but somehow appropriate to be written on my tenth anniversary. It is a thank you note to you. 

Ten years ago you did a news special encouraging women to check their breasts for lumps. I decided to check. To my horror, I found something. I was only 31 years old. It turned out to be cancer.

I have been cancer free ever since.

I owe you my life, Mrs. Atwood. The doctors and hospital did a wonderful job, too. But if it wasn’t for your news show, I never would have checked for lumps.” 

That letter sums up why I do what I do. I love interviewing people, researching all things related to health and wellness and sharing information that might make a difference in someone’s life.

Before I became a health reporter, I spent ten years as a radiation therapist, treating cancer patients at Maine Medical Center. It was a profound experience that gave me an appreciation for things I might have otherwise overlooked. The work also revealed the geek in me — as an assistant to the radiation physicist, I learned to calculate doses of radiation and calibrate the treatment machines. And I discovered that I understood and enjoyed the language of medicine, which is a huge help when that’s what you write about.

Diane Atwood, Radiation Therapist

Calculating a radiation therapy treatment dose

I left the hospital to attend St. Joseph’s College in Standish. After I got my BA, I lived and worked for a few months in France and then backpacked throughout Italy, Greece and Israel. That experience taught me I could do anything I put my mind to.

When I returned to Maine, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and landed a reporting job at WMTW-TV.

With the late Joe Novick, cameraman at WMTW

A year later another opportunity presented itself when WCSH-TV had an opening for a reporter. I thought it would be great fun, so auditioned and got the job. It was beyond great fun, as well as fulfilling.

Interviewing Maine Medical Center President Don McDowell

Interviewing former MaineHealth/Maine Medical Center president Don McDowell in 1986. (Yes, I’m pregnant.)

After more than 20 years as a health reporter, another intriguing opportunity presented itself, and I became the marketing/public relations manager for Mercy Hospital in Portland. I thought Mercy had wonderful stories to share with the community and I wanted to help tell them, which I had the privilege of doing for nine years.

And now, here I am, old enough to retire but not the least bit interested. Instead, I’m writing a health and wellness blog that is growing by leaps and bounds and I couldn’t be happier!

Awards

2016

  • Media Award, Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine

2015

  • 3rd place in Feature Blogging, Maine Press Association

2014

  • Web Health Award

 2013

  • Gold eHealthcare Leadership Award
  • Gold Lamplighter, New England Society for Healthcare Communications

 2011

  • Golden Arrow, Maine Public Relations Council.

Personal stuff

I live in Maine with my husband and our three cats. We have two daughters, one son-in-law, and one adorable granddaughter.

In my spare time, I am a student at the University of Southern Maine, pursuing a fine arts degree.

Catching Health is everywhere

WCSH and WLBZ  feature Catching Health blog posts on their websites.

Bangor Daily News carries the Catching Health blog.

I have a monthly column in My Generation Magazine.

Turner Publishing runs stories from Catching Health in its community publications and its Boomer Magazine.

Last, but not least, Catching Health is quite social! Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.

I hope you’ll take the time to browse through Catching Health. Read the blog posts, listen to a podcast, try a healthy recipe, and check out upcoming health events.

If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!