Paging Doctor Faustus

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, nearly 62 million Americans are affected by mental illness annually. It is Mental Health Awareness Week an opportunity to remember that stigma still exists for those diagnosed with mental illness and that there is a vital need to raise awareness.

Take a few minutes and watch this short powerful film that makes the unfortunate point about psych care and veteran suicide. The film is a collaboration of Mark Pinto, a retired Marine, former Buddhist priest and social artist, and Patricia Lee Stotter. It will also serve as a pre-curtain preface for Paul Genega and Patricia Lee Stotter’s full-length theater piece “Paging Doctor Faustus.” (more…)

TBT: Why I Fight for Change in Domestic Violence Legislation

tiffany allisonTo support Domestic Violence Awareness Month today’s TBT tells one individual’s story which led her to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence. It first ran on September 11, 2014.

In 2009 I became the victim of a violent crime, domestic assault with a weapon. The local newspaper’s front page story included the following phrases: “Felony Assault,” “Domestic Assault with a Weapon,” “False Imprisonment,” “beaten,” “hit about the head and body,” “beaten with hands, knees and feet,” “urinated on,” “beaten with a wrought iron cross,” “refused to let leave or use the telephone,” “numerous injuries,” “numerous bite marks about her body,” “lost consciousness,” “escaped.” Lucky to be alive should have been included.

What I learned in the years following my assault will scare you.  My offender was given a two and a half year sentence for felony domestic assault with a weapon. Due to the “good time policy” in Iowa, he served only 10 months. I was his fifth victim. Twelve months after his early-release, he violently re-offended.  This time, he disfigured his victim’s face, repeatedly biting her, leaving behind a permanent reminder of his violence. For this offense, his sixth, he was charged with Burglary 2nd degree (as he broke into a locked vehicle to gain access to his victim) and Willful Injury (an act that is intended to cause serious injury to another). (more…)

What’s in Your Lipstick? Women Shouldn’t Have to Play Detective in the Makeup Aisle

swhr_icon-2-solidThe post below originally ran on HuffPost Healthy Living. It is written by Laura Meyer, a Policy Department Intern at the Society for Women’s Health Research.

Whip out your magnifying glasses and trench coats, ladies — it’s time to play detective. Not in any dark alleys or smoke-filled offices, but in the cosmetics aisle at the drug store, at the salon, and online.

You’ll need your magnifying glass to examine the ingredients lists on cosmetics and haircare products, which too often include chemicals tied to negative health effects, from rashes and burns to hormone disruption and even some cancers. Though most people assume that cosmetics on the shelf must be tested before they go on the market, the chemicals in these products are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and companies do not have to report ingredients or the concentration of chemicals in their products. If something goes wrong, the FDA doesn’t have mandatory recall authority for dangerous products. (more…)

What Causes A Toxic Hospital Culture?

Val Jones, MD

Dr. Jones’ post was first published on Better Health on September 30.

Hospital culture is largely influenced by the relationship between administrative and clinical staff leaders. In the “old days” the clinical staff (and physicians in particular) held most of the sway over patient care. Nowadays, the approach to patient care is significantly constricted by administrative rules, largely created by non-clinicians. An excellent description of what can result (i.e. disenfranchisement of medical staff, burn out, and joyless medical care) is presented by Dr. Robert Khoo at KevinMD.

Interestingly, a few hospitals still maintain a power shift in the other direction – where physicians have a strangle hold on operations, and determine the facility’s ability to make changes. This can lead to its own problems, including  unchecked verbal abuse of staff, inability to terminate bad actors, and diverting patients to certain facilities where they receive volume incentive remuneration. Physician greed, as Michael Millenson points out, was a common feature of medical practice pre-1965. And so, when physicians are empowered, they can be as corrupt as the administrations they so commonly despise. (more…)

A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power

Glenna Crooks

Do you know Jimmy Carter wrote this book? I didn’t. I admire him and follow his work, but missed this one.

That is, until this weekend when I saw his TED Talk based the book. In quoting from the description, “All the elements in this book concerning prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls.”

Near the end of the talk, he said, “In general, men don’t give a damn.” He said more than that, actually. He clarified how – when someone enjoys privileges – it is easy to ignore when others don’t have them.  He said that had been the case for him, years ago before his worldwide travels and understanding of the plight of women and girls.

He didn’t say, but I took his comments to also apply to women in the developed world, since he called on us to be more vocal. (more…)

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