Americans Have Begun to Raid Retirement Savings for Current Healthcare Costs

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn


While American workers appreciate the benefits they receive at work, people are concerned about health care costs. And consumers’ collective response to rising health care costs is changing the way they use health care services and products, like prescription drugs. Furthermore, 6 in 10 U.S. health citizens rank healthcare as poor (27%) or fair (33%). (more…)

Connected Health Symposium 2016 Disruptive Women in Health Care Panel – Boston Strong


Just as trailblazer Kathrine Switzer, the first female Boston Marathon runner, made history in 1967, transforming the “men’s only” Boston Marathon into what it is today, our panelists are changing the world of health care. Meet the Disruptive Women who are transforming health care in and around Boston.


Robin Strongin

Ami Bhatt, MD, FACC

Glenna Crooks, PhD

Naomi Fried, PhD

Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Kathy McGroddy Goetz, PhD

Mandira Singh




Thursday, October 20, 2016 – 09:00 to 09:50am

FireShot Capture 37 - Panel_ Disruptive Women in Health Care_ - https___symposium.connectedhealth.


2016 Connected Health Symposium


Morning Events

Session Type:


Creative Power | A Joint Program between The Kreeger Museum and Disruptive Women in Health Care

Creative Power

Panel discussion:
Creative Power                

A Joint Program between The Kreeger Museum and Disruptive Women in Health Care

Wednesday, October 26, 6-8pm

Panelists: Renée Fleming, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Clarice Smith, and Arthur Bloom

Moderator: Robin Strongin

Creativity is a powerful gift used by those in the arts to share their vision, make a statement, forge a movement and hasten healing.  Join us for a provocative discussion with noted soprano Renée Fleming, Washington art patron and education advocate Peggy Cooper Cafritz, distinguished artist Clarice Smith and American composer and pianist, and the founder and director of MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band, Arthur Bloom.

Moderator:  Robin Strongin, Founder, Disruptive Women in Health Care

Welcome:  6:00

Discussion:  6:15 – 7:00
Q&A: 7:00 – 7:30
Light reception: 7:30–8:00

Please note the exhibition SMITH | PALEY will be open in the lower galleries 5:00 – 6:00

Tickets: $15 / $12 members  Light reception | Visit this link to purchase tickets.

Limited parking on premises and street parking

A Message from a Millennial to a Millennial: Making Science a National Priority

RWAmerica has always been a leader in medical innovation and scientific discovery. Which is why, when you think of science, it’s easy to picture a lab filled with bright lights, whirring machines, and lots of furrowed eyebrows. The image of a scientist brings to mind one set of those furrowed eyebrows bent over an experiment, with focused energy, putting the last puzzle piece into a mystery that will save the lives of thousands. Unfortunately, today walking into most labs would not yield such an experience. Rather, imagine a tumbleweed blowing by an empty lab while scientists use all their intellectual resources to compete with their peers and mentors for research funding… no whirring, and much less energy focused on solving medical puzzles.

Growing up, I imagined that my generation would gather all of the knowledge painstakingly uncovered by dedicated scientists of the past and release it into the universe to save and improve lives across the world; but that vision no longer seems viable. What has happened to bring us so far from this dream? Better yet – what can we do to get it back?

Without question, we need to provide our most capable and resourceful with the tools required to cure deadly and disabling disease, curb skyrocketing healthcare costs, and secure America’s global leadership in research and development. We need to reject scientific skepticism and complacency that hinders innovation. Most importantly, we need our policymakers to lead this charge.

As the British chemist George Porter said, “Should we force science down the throats of those that have no taste for it? Is it our duty to drag them kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century? I am afraid that it is.” We have a lot of ground to make up. (more…)

Maternal Mortality Rates Rise in the U.S.

Elayne-CliftFrom the late 1970s through the 1990s, when I worked internationally on women’s health issues, alarm bells sounded regularly about the dramatic and unacceptable rate of maternal mortality in the so-called developing world. Today, those alarm bells are ringing again, but this time because of the rising maternal mortality rate (MMR) here in the U.S.

The MMR is defined as the number of registered maternal deaths due to birth or pregnancy related complications per 100,000 registered live births. Maternal death refers to “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.”

In an article published in The New York Times in September, Sabrina Tavernise pointed out that the reduction of maternal mortality worldwide in recent years can rightly be called a public health triumph. In my day, the MMR was extraordinary. An estimated half a million women died annually of preventable pregnancy-related problems. Today that number is thought to be approaching half of that.

But in the U.S. the maternal mortality rate has been rising at an alarming rate. A 2014 report in the Washington Post revealed that maternal deaths related to childbirth had reached its highest rate in a quarter of a century. A woman giving birth then was more likely to die than a woman giving birth in China, one study showed.

At that time, we were one of only eight countries seeing a rise in mortality along with Afghanistan, Greece, and some countries in Africa and Central America. Our MMR was more than double that of Saudi Arabia and more than triple that of the United Kingdom.

Today, “the United States has become an outlier among rich nations in maternal death,” says Sabrina Tavenise. In 2013 there were 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, up from 23 in 2005. Recent research shows that the MMR has increased by 27 percent for 48 states and the District of Columbia. In Texas, it has nearly doubled.

“How is it that the United States, a country with some of the most cutting edge medical treatments, has some of the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world?” Tavenise asked.

The answer is complex. Part of it is that maternal mortality no longer resides in such events as hemorrhage, eclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure) or infection – the three most common causes of maternal death in the developing world. Today, heart problems, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions as well as obesity may be contributing factors. Even record-keeping may have impacted the collection of accurate data until recently when a pregnancy question was added to the U.S. standard death certificate.

One thing is clear, however, and that is that racial disparities play a role, as Dr. Amy Tuteur, a retired OB-GYN who blogs as Skeptical OB, points out. “Maternal mortality is closely tied to race and socio-economic status,” she says. “Often the women most in need of highly technological medical care are failing to get it.”

A sophisticated study carried out in 2016 showed “a significant correlation between state mortality rankings and the percentage of non-Hispanic black women in the delivery population.” While such factors as marital status, number of prenatal visits and C-section rates emerged as factors, the data “strongly suggests that racial disparities in health care availability, access, or utilization by underserved populations” were important indicators. Washington, DC, for example, has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the country but non-Hispanic white patients there have the lowest mortality ratio in the U.S.  Clearly “excellent care is available but is not reaching all the people.”

Whatever the reasons, “the rise [in maternal mortality] is real,” as one researcher put it. And as his colleagues concluded, “Clearly at a time when the World Health Organization reports that 157 of 183 countries had decreases in maternal mortality between 2000 and 2013, the U.S. maternal mortality rate is moving in the wrong direction [when] among 31 countries reporting maternal mortality data, the U.S. ranked 30th.”

These findings are not only alarming (and embarrassing) on their face. They also speak loudly to debates about health care, and particularly women’s reproductive health care, swirling around us in this election year.  Anyone who cares about health care policy, and/or women, should clearly take note.

Elayne Clift writes about women, health, politics and social issues from Saxtons River, Vt.

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