Schools on Wheels: Helping Homeless Children in Massachusetts

A few years ago I spoke with a group of mothers who were concerned about their children's school.  The neighborhood they lived in is called "transitional" and the school had an 85% turnover rate.  That means that 85% of the children who started school in the beginning of the year didn't finish the school year … Continue reading Schools on Wheels: Helping Homeless Children in Massachusetts

Patient Advocate–Pat Mastors

Empowered Through Loss Creating A Patient Advocate Pat Mastors', patient advocate, “medical awakening” came with the tragic loss of her father. “My father, an otherwise healthy 76-year-old, fell down stairs at home and fractured vertebra in the neck. Surgery to fix it went well. But his intestines burst two days post-op. Later we learned it … Continue reading Patient Advocate–Pat Mastors

It’s Okay To Laugh, Cry and Feel Uncertain

In 1990, Robert Harris and his wife and best friend, Cindy, had been married 10 years and had two boys, ages 2 and 5.  One day, Cindy complained of pain in her knee.  After going to an orthopedic surgeon expecting the usual sports related diagnosis, their world changed. Physicians discovered that she had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. … Continue reading It’s Okay To Laugh, Cry and Feel Uncertain

Bringing Back the Story: Wellbound Storytellers and Health Empowerment

The Navajo Sugar Monster Long ago the Holy People predicted that a monster would take over the Navajos. Our mothers and fathers would change...No longer were man and woman together. One after another this monster ate away their faces. It gnawed away Navajo identity....Everything turned from light to dark....Words ceased to exist. The Holy People … Continue reading Bringing Back the Story: Wellbound Storytellers and Health Empowerment

The Power of Patient Blogs: A Window Into the Lived Experience

“Patient blogs reveal the true extent of the impact of cancer on finances, work practices, family life…they offer a window into the lived experience of the patient.” ~Marie Ennis-O’Connor When you are 34 years old, lecturing and working in Public Relations and Marketing at a University, you aren’t thinking about cancer.  Yet in 2004, Marie … Continue reading The Power of Patient Blogs: A Window Into the Lived Experience

Another Caregiver Conundrum…

A 2011 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine brings to light another problem with caregiving.  The people that are hired to care for elders or disabled may not be health literate.  Health literacy  is  about understanding complex terminology.  It’s about conversational competence like the ability to listen effectively, articulate health concerns and explain symptoms accurately.  It’s also about evaluating, … Continue reading Another Caregiver Conundrum…

Every Human Has Rights!

Over the past 8 years, Nicholas Marshall Cooper has been actively involved in making the connection between human rights and health, and translating public health science into rights-based action.  This post is a continuation of the conversation we started with Cooper in October,"Great Things Are Possible." As a consultant to UNICEF’s Middle East and North … Continue reading Every Human Has Rights!

Good news on Metastases Research!

Just a short note "quote"... The Answer to How Breast Cancer Invades Bone Researchers recently solved the mystery of how breast cancer takes root in the bone. Now, the discovery has led to an experimental drug for breast cancer that has spread to the bone. At Princeton University, Society grantee Yibin Kang, PhD, found breast … Continue reading Good news on Metastases Research!

Are Patient Communities an Effective Way to Deliver Care?

Are Patient Communities an Effective Way to Deliver Care? That was the question debated at the 2012 Connected Health Symposium on October 25.  Two physicians, Dr. Andrew Watson, Surgeon and Medical Director for the Center for Connected Health and Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, Physician Director of Innovation with Kaiser Permanente faced off on this topic.  Alexandra … Continue reading Are Patient Communities an Effective Way to Deliver Care?

“Great Things Are Possible”

Ask a scholar of human rights a seemingly innocuous question and suddenly you are transported into another world.  As Nicholas Cooper observes,  “People in United States are more familiar with civil rights language, than human rights language.”  That’s what you’ll find while exchanging ideas with Cooper.  For example, when asked to define a “rights-based approach … Continue reading “Great Things Are Possible”

“It’s the Neighborhood, St***d”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein A study just published in the September 20 issue of Science gives a whole new meaning to moving.  The study comes from the data of over 4,500 low income families who participated in a large-scale randomized social experiment called … Continue reading “It’s the Neighborhood, St***d”

Parents Take Notice: Seclusion Rooms

This is beyond disturbing. Does anyone from the school(s) explain the length of time rationale? I mean, don't get me wrong...the padded room is ridiculous enough, but more alarming is the length of time a child is placed in this type of room as a  'time out' for their behavior. Most childhood experts agree that … Continue reading Parents Take Notice: Seclusion Rooms

Patient Safety: Costs in Healthcare

For many years my mother worked part-time in a hospital in North Carolina in quality.  In researching cost and quality issues, she found that a significant amount of money and time was spent on a problem that was preventable.  It was a problem that patients got in the hospital.  It was painful and could be … Continue reading Patient Safety: Costs in Healthcare

Does it have to be this way?

My dear dear uncle is at this very minute suffering from bed sores. Bed sores or pressure sores are horrible.  The skin completely disintegrates...losing layers of skin, exposing tissue under the skin. They are ulcers that are extremely painful and that can be very large.  They occur on skin that has had pressure on it … Continue reading Does it have to be this way?

Wanderings in Puerto Rico #EOL

A  breeze keeps him cool in the tropical sun as he plays.  Impishly he smiles at his sister, then makes a rush at her.   He almost catches her, the little lizard wriggling in his grasp.  ¡ Prisa!  hermana... o me voy a poner un lagarto en la oreja. ¡ Mira! El lagarto va morder el lóbulo … Continue reading Wanderings in Puerto Rico #EOL

The Power of Play, Part 2

Children will put in over 10,000 hours of video gaming before the age of 21.  How do the video game producers keep people playing?  Can health communicators harness the power of gaming by applying game mechanics to our campaigns? These two questions have been nagging at me and I have found some answers.   Following up … Continue reading The Power of Play, Part 2

Unlocking the Individual’s Ability to Care for Themselves*

“The “biggest value [of connected health]* is in unlocking [the] individual's ability to care for themselves!”  So says Joseph Kvedar, MD, Founder and Director The Center for Connected Health, a Division of Partners Health  in Boston, Massachusetts. #HCHLITSS, Health Communication, Health Literacy and Social Sciences twitter chat started 2012 with a bang.  With our guest, Dr. Joseph … Continue reading Unlocking the Individual’s Ability to Care for Themselves*

Motivated by Love

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book  was our "go-to" book when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We were able to understand the pathology reports because of it.  I know that we (my family of sisters) were all reassured by knowing there was someone "out there" researching and trying to find out more about breast … Continue reading Motivated by Love

Dance Like No One’s Watching

Do you live each moment unflinchingly?  Do you taste life the way you do the last bite of your favorite food or savor  its essence as you would the fragrance of summer’s final gardenia? Crisp…the deep blue of an October sky…exhilarating…the ocean spray on a winter day… vibrant…the ecalls of cardinals in April…fresh…the laugh of … Continue reading Dance Like No One’s Watching

Communicating through photos: Health Advocacy meets Occupy Wall Street

Perhaps it was all started by Frank Warren's Post Secret project in November 2004.  Whatever its beginnings, using stark note cards to tell a story in video or still photography has become an important and intense vehicle of storytelling on the Internet. Teens have been using index cards in videos to describe their despair at bullying, their … Continue reading Communicating through photos: Health Advocacy meets Occupy Wall Street