Concussions: A Girls’ Health Problem

Julie-PotyrajFor many people, the connection between sports and concussions will come as no surprise. Within the past few months, concussions have had a continued presence in the media, mostly as they pertain to professional football. Intentionally or not, the NFL has been leading the charge on concussion awareness for the past several years. In 2014, documents were brought to federal court saying that a third of all retired NFL players were expected to develop a “long-term cognitive problem” at some point in their lives as a result of head injuries from football. Recently, a court finally affirmed the deal for the NFL to compensate all players who had suffered neurological damage as a result of these injuries. While this represents an important victory for former athletes, the battle to improve concussion prevention has only just begun.

Because of the popularity of professional football in the United States, the NFL often dominates the public discourse on concussions. But by framing the conversation about concussions around football, we are alienating one of the most vulnerable populations: girls. (more…)

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Nominate yourself or someone you know to attend the United State of Women Summit

We believe that today, we will change tomorrow.

That’s why the White House Council on Women and Girls will host the Summit on the United State of Women in Washington, D.C. on June 14. We will celebrate the progress we have made together throughout the Obama administration to improve the lives of women and girls here and around the world, and showcase innovative solutions to the obstacles women and girls still face.

We want to make sure that on the day of the Summit, the room is filled with the thought leaders, activists, community leaders, and citizens who are committed to bringing about gender equality.

That’s why we want you to help us find the real-life heroes who are showing their commitment to gender equity through action. (more…)

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TBT: February Man of the Month: Dan Miller

April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM) an entire month of local, regional and national activities dedicated to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. In honor of NDLM for today’s TBT post we couldn’t think of a more appropriate post than the one highlighting the selflessness of our February Man of the Month.

dan feb man of monthOn the topic of organ donation, Dan Miller had a consistent message: “Do the research.”

For Dan, a healthy, 20-year-old junior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., this meant seeking out the evidence needed to justify the life-changing decision of whether to donate a kidney to someone he’d never met.

Dan talked to his sister, Lauren Miller, who had successfully undergone the same procedure in December 2014 and had already overcome the judgement of skeptics, challenging her decision.

Dan read the statistics about how each year nearly 5,000 people die after being left on an 100,000-plus long waiting list for a kidney transplant. He visited specialists to determine if he had the physical, emotional and mental capacity to withstand the risks of living with one kidney. (more…)


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What it means to meet Mikey

Ellie_Dehoney_HeadshotYou know those really good people, the ones who are determined to make the world a better place?  I’m not one of those.  I live in the Nation’s Capital – a beehive for the cause-oriented – so I know a really good person when I see one.  I have colleagues who tithed their babysitting money.  Who spent their college downtime standing up global nonprofits. Who mentor and tutor and build habitats for humanity.

I spent my babysitting money on ill-considered teenage clothing.  I spent my college downtime playing quarters.  And until recently, my adulthood has been, for all intents and purposes, volunteerism-free.  I had my reasons for studiously ignoring any need that wasn’t my own: too busy, too tired, too poor.  The usual.

Then I met Mikey. (more…)

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12 Percent of People Will Be Diagnosed With This Life-Threatening Heart Disease

SWHR_Logo_Final_webThe post below first appeared on HuffPost Healthy Living on April 20.

Jen Hyde, a 30-year-old poet and artist living in Brooklyn, has a congenital heart defect. By the age of 25, Hyde had two open-heart surgeries, including a heart valve replacement.

“I know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America,” Hyde said. “I’m currently in great shape, but part of staying this way means building a strong relationship with my cardiologist so that the care I receive is preventative, not reactive.”

Hyde is not alone in suffering from heart health issues — in the U.S., cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of both women and men, responsible for 25 percent of deaths annually. (more…)


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Women and Pay in the UK

Long gone are the days of the suffragettes fighting for basic women’s rights and Emmeline Pankhurst would no doubt be delighted to see just how far women have come. But perhaps she would be a little disappointed to discover women still lag behind men when it comes to equal pay.

According to the Level Pay Field Report from Randstad, fewer women have asked for a pay rise than men in the last three years, and they are less likely to ask for a pay rise than men.

A survey of 2,000 working adults across a wide range of sectors, found around a fifth of women had asked for an increase in earnings in the last five years compared to a third of men.

On average women had had two pay rises in three years while men had secured three, and nearly half of all women asked thought men had a better chance of securing a pay increase. Another 28% of respondents felt men got more respect when promoted. (more…)

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TBT: Take Your Own Advice! U.S. Should Pay More Attention to STD Prevention Programs Abroad

Julie-PotyrajApril is STD Awareness Month. Although the post below originally just ran a little more than a month ago, it is too good not to run in support of STD awareness and for TBT.

Most sexually transmitted diseases are preventable. That’s one reason it’s so upsetting that one in four sexually active girls in the United States has one. Out of the 19 million new STD cases annually in the U.S., almost half are among people ages 15 to 24. And those statistics only represent the number of reported cases; many more infections go undocumented. Despite the clear need for STD prevention strategies among young people, current efforts are scattered and inconsistent across the U.S. While 23 states require sex education, only 13 states require that the information be “medically accurate.” Even when sex education is taught in schools, many states require an emphasis on abstinence. But are these abstinence-only programs really helping to reduce STDs in younger generations? Simply put, no. (more…)


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Put Me In Coach: Wearables in Professional Sports

Lisa-Suennen-photoThe following post first ran on Venture Valkyrie on April 10.

Old School Song by John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival: Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…

New School Response by Warriors Coach Steve Kerr: Well, you’re biometric readings tell me you need a rest….

So if you’re me, and lots of other people I know, this is the best time of the year – a virtual harmonic convergence of orgiastic sports joy.  I can watch back-to-back baseball and basketball and, since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I get to root for some pretty great home teams: Go Giants! Go Warriors! If you need me, just look for the remote control as it is glued to my hand as I switch between games. (more…)

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The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Health Care Reform

This article was originally published by Georgetown University’s family nurse practitioner programs.

The Affordable Care Act created new health care delivery and payment models that emphasize teamwork, care coordination, value, and prevention: models in which nurses can contribute a great deal of knowledge and skill. Indeed, the nursing profession is making a wide-reaching impact by providing quality, patient-centered, accessible, and affordable care.

- Institute of Medicine 1

An estimated 27 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage during the past five years thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).2 But that, coupled with an aging population and an expansion of preventive care benefits, is putting significant strain on the country’s primary care provider workforce. (more…)


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4 Encouraging Advances in Ovarian Cancer Research

JudyIt’s estimated that in 2016, more than 22,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While the prevalence of this disease is relatively low, most diagnoses are made in the later stages, when women face a lower chance of survival.

Early detection has become a primary focus in ovarian cancer research. And the progress in research and testing means there are more long-term survivors than ever before.

Knowledge of the disease’s symptoms and the importance of care by a gynecologic oncologist can have a positive impact. As new advances are made, it’s more important than ever for women to be educated about their overall health (and specifically about new methods for detecting, preventing, and treating ovarian cancer).

Though a major research breakthrough may be elusive at the moment, women still have reasons to be hopeful. (more…)

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April Man of the Month: Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III

VADM Faison - photo - as of 31 DEC 2015Throughout the nation’s health care continuum, policymakers and clinicians are searching for ways to eliminate health disparities, improve cost-efficiencies, and achieve better patient outcomes. An organization making important strides in this area is the U.S. military, and a particular leader who warrants our attention is Disruptive Women in Health Care’s Man of the Month, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

A pediatrician by training, Faison is experienced in providing high-quality, patient-centered care to large, geographically dispersed populations. As commander, Navy Medicine West and Naval Medical Center San Diego, he was responsible for a staff of 16,000 delivering medical care to 850,000 beneficiaries from the California cost to the Indian Ocean.

In 2006, he was the commanding officer of the U.S. Expeditionary Medical Facility in Kuwait, responsible for all Department of Defense health care delivery in Kuwait, Qatar and southern Iraq. (more…)

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Not Just a Man’s Disease

SWHR_Logo_Final_webMarch is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, to help spread the word we are cross posting the following post. It originally ran on HuffPost Healthy Living.

Colorectal cancer is not just a man’s disease — it’s the third most common cancer in women behind lung and breast — and not just among the elderly [1]. In fact, colorectal cancer diagnoses are becoming increasingly common in individuals younger than 50 [2].

Colorectal cancer is the growth of abnormal cancerous cells in the lower part of the colon that connects the anus to the large bowel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 135,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed annually. Colorectal cancer tends to develop very slowly — over a period of 10 to 20 years — beginning as a noncancerous growth called a polyp that develops on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. An estimated 5 percent (or 1 in 20) of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum in their lifetime [2]. (more…)


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The Gender Pay Gap in Nursing

Sophia Headshot_Sep15With women dominating nursing, it could be assumed that a gender pay gap doesn’t exist. However, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), nothing could be farther from the truth. Although women make up the vast majority of the nursing workforce, they are paid significantly less than their male counterparts—to the tune of $5,100 less per year on average. If you’re a nurse anesthetist, it’s even worse. Annually, male nurse anesthetists make an average of $17,290 more than women in the specialty. In a recent publication, Nursing@Simmons explored the factors which feed the gender pay gap—as well as what can be done to combat them. Here, we’ll explore what they are and how women in health care can take action to prevent wage disparity.

Riding the Glass Escalator

There is actually a term for the fact that men have typically received higher wages and faster promotions in female-dominated professions like nursing: the “glass escalator” effect. (more…)

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#SpacesOfHealth: Aging in Place Live Webinar

On Thursday, March 31, 2016  from 1-2 p.m. ET Disruptive Women in Health Care Founder Robin Strongin will be a panelist on George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health’s #SpacesOfHealth: Aging in Place Live Webinar. More information on the webinar including how to participate can be found here.

SpacesOfHealthAging

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Rooming In: The Newest Birthing Controversy

ec_crop (1)Hot on the heels of media stories about the importance of screening for post-partum depression, a debate about whether to have newborns stay in hospital rooms with their moms vs. providing nursery care for the infants is emerging. It’s an interesting topic, but binary responses to the debate do little to recognize that “one size fits all” solutions may not be sound.

The benefits of rooming in instead of providing nursery care are well known. Both research-based and anecdotal reports suggest that rooming in correlates to a lower incidence of post-partum depression in new mothers and reduced breastfeeding problems for both mother and baby. Babies also appear to be less subject to jaundice. It has also been observed that rooming-in babies seem more content and cry less while mothers bond better with their babies and feel more competent in caring for them when they return home. Proponents argue as well that rooming in offering mothers more rest time because they are not anxious about what’s going on in the nursery. (more…)

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