Aging Audaciously Series and Holiday Happening

ellenOur Aging Audaciously series starts tomorrow and runs through December 9, be sure to check back daily for some great posts from various experts. The series will culminate with AGING AUDACIOUSLY: A Holiday Happening brought to you by Disruptive Women in Health Care & Women in Healthcare DC.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
4:30—6:30 PM
Verizon 5th Floor Conference Room: 1300 I Street NW (Nearest Metro is McPherson Square)

2015 was a momentous year when it comes to aging: it marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, not to mention the White House Conference on Aging which took place over the summer. And, at a local level, along with fourteen other worldwide jurisdictions, Age-Friendly DC was selected to participate in a pilot project assessing the World Health Organization’s Draft Age-Friendly City Core Indicator Guide. All this got us thinking. What is aging really, and how are people preparing for this phase of life: for yourself, for your family? What progress have we made on the Caregiving front? How is technology helping? (more…)

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Remembering Dr. Pamela Davies & her work with premature babies: A personal tribute

ed greenDr. Pamela Davies may not be a household name, but she radically improved the life chances of premature babies.

I had direct experience of this – in fact it is largely due to her work that I’m even around to write this. My early weeks, more than 45 years ago, were spent at Hammersmith Hospital in London after my twin sister Jenny and I were born ten weeks premature – weighing in at 3lbs 5oz and 2lbs 12oz. The circumstances of our birth were anything but usual – the doctors discovered mum was carrying twins less than 24 hours earlier. Mum did have her suspicions. ‘What, do you have an elephant in there?’ my grandma had exclaimed the week before. Still, the doctors assured her there was just one very big baby. That is, until an X-ray confirmed otherwise (those were very different times!) Mum’s waters broke when she got home from the X-ray appointment. (more…)

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130123_10177_phcm137.jpgWith the abundance of wearable activity trackers currently available, it has never been easier to track steps and other health indicators. Currently 21% of US online adults use wearable activity trackers (Forrester Research). The pace of innovation in devices and the relative affluence of many purchasers lead to frequent upgrades to new devices, and to abandonment. One study found that 1/3 of devices are no longer used after 6 months (Endeavour Partners). Given current sales, there are conservatively millions of devices sitting in drawers. With the cost of these devices out of the reach of many, was founded to give a second life to unused wearable activity trackers. (more…)

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The New Rules of Fight Club, as Written by Women

Lisa-Suennen-photoThe post below originally ran on Venture Valkyrie on November 18.

BB8PORT.jpge204a4df-b817-46ad-a795-355912fc5e70OriginalIf you have any doubt that women’s roles are becoming more important in the workplace, look no further than the upcoming new Star Wars film. In the film, the main robot character, BB-8, has been designed to be female, according to news reports…and not just female, but pivotal to the plot and strong in character.

I love this new twist on Star Wars, as it occurs to me that it is our national standard to default to assuming most things are male, especially robots and CEOs, unless they are pink and purple and frilly. But most of the strong, fierce and successful women I know are neither pink nor purple nor frilly but are far closer to BB-8: curvy perhaps, but strong in character and pivotal to the plot. More often than not, they dress in black like the ninjas they are.Female-Ninja-ninjas-34049725-600-451

I read this story about BB-8 while on my way home from a retreat with a group of very senior female healthcare leaders.  It’s an organized group who meet once a year to share thoughts, stories, encouragement and support. (more…)

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November Man of the Month: Pablo Graiver

Pablo Graiver

Photo credit: Edu Ferrer

Pablo is the CEO and co-founder of TrialReach, a health tech startup focused on matching patients to clinical trials.

You’ve spent your career in the startup world, and seem to be committed to life as an entrepreneur. What does that say about you?

To want to start from the ground up and create something new, you have to be a little bit fearless. More importantly, you need to have an incredible amount of resilience. Anybody can have an idea but it takes resilience to drive that idea into something that can grow and to navigate all sorts of complications.

You started TrialReach after helping to get Kayak off the ground in Europe. Do you find a lot of similarities between travel searching and trial searching? (more…)

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The Gender Breakdown on Research & Health

mwheadshotcolor2012When it comes to health and wellness, more than half of Americans, men and women alike, say that their family’s health has been improved by medical research, (55% men; 51% women).  Gender differences arise when respondents are asked if disease has affected them personally, or those they love. Remarkably, 40% of men, as opposed to only 25% of women, say neither they nor any one in their extended families or among their close friends suffer from any of a long list of diseases and disabilities. Even controlling for age of respondents, underlying lack of personal experience helps explain other findings in a recent public opinion poll of the U.S. adult population commissioned by Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy and public education alliance dedicated to making research to improve health a higher national priority.

Female respondents, significantly more than male respondents, say health issues and health care costs are highest among the concerns facing this country. (more…)

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Diabetes – Who’s in Control?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412What if you had no control over what you ate, when you ate, how much energy you had, or what you weigh? What if, on top of this, you had to test your blood 6 times a day and give yourself injections, carrying around your supplies constantly so you would be ready no matter what else was going on in your life? Now, throw in that you are 15 and just want to be normal, like everyone else, eating pizza when you feel like it and going wherever you wanted?

Kimberly Young was that teenager. She, likes hundreds of thousands of other American teenagers, has type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed at the age of 4, she was never like other kids. She always felt that her diabetes controlled her life. She didn’t have the carefree lifestyle of a teenager. Kimberly had to grow up more quickly than her friends as the realization that what she ate, how active she was and how closely she monitored her blood glucose had long term impacts on her health. Having too much pizza wasn’t about just gaining the “freshman 10” (or 20!) when she was in college, it was about maintaining her vision and her circulation to prevent serious complications. She learned that, “There is no vacation from diabetes. You live with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where you go or what you go.” (more…)

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Get Excited: Igniting DIGNITY through DIGITAL Health Panel is TODAY at the mHealth Summit

mhealth summit 2015 poster3Igniting DIGNITY through DIGITAL Health – Connecting All People to Community
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Room: National Harbor 4-5
November 10, 2015
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM.

At 5:30pm we will move to POSE ULTRA LOUNGE to celebrate all Disruptive Women in Health Care with a networking reception. (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Anne Wojcicki

Anne_Wojcicki_IMG_5679_A_2The success of the Human Genome Project, over a decade ago, created a foundation from which science and the practice of medicine could be revolutionized, enabling greater knowledge about human health and new insights into the origins and nature of complex diseases.  For genomic research to reach its full potential, however, requires the vision and energy of pioneers who can democratize the science and give it profound, everyday meaning for the population at large.

Anne Wojcicki, the founder and CEO of 23andMe, is one of those pioneers.  She is also a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016.

Wojcicki, who had spent years investing in innovative healthcare companies, saw the decoding of the human genome and realize it presented an opportunity to bring a new degree of empowerment to patients and healthcare consumers. (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Elizabeth Taylor

ElizabethTaylor2By any professional standards, Elizabeth Taylor is an extraordinarily skilled attorney.  What makes her special – and a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016 – is that she uses her gifts to improve the health and well-being of millions in need.

Taylor is executive director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP).  The NHeLP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals.  As the organization describes itself, “NHeLP defends the nation’s health care safety net for those most in need and those with the fewest resources. We fight to give at-risk populations a voice in federal policy making, promote the rights of consumers in emerging managed-care systems, and advocate for creative solutions that preserve the government’s responsibility as the provider of last resort.” (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Patricia Lee Stotter

pl-stotter2There are scores of female veterans who have served their country with valor, suffering physical and psychological disabilities in the course of fulfilling their duty.  The extraordinary challenges they face in transitioning back to civilian life should not go unrecognized.

Patricia Lee Stotter, a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016, has made certain that the strength and heroism of these women is made known to their fellow citizens.  She is one of the filmmakers who created the Emmy-award winning documentary, “Service:  When Women Come Marching Home.”  The film received stellar reviews, including four star praise from the New York Daily News, which wrote, “While the film doesn’t blink in showing the impact of service injuries, it also stresses the resilience of women veterans.” (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Linda Rosenberg

linda-rosenberg2In June of this year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, publicly recognized Linda Rosenberg, the president of the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH), for her work in increasing access to mental health care services and in preventing suicide.

In his speech explaining why Rosenberg was selected for the Allies in Action Nonprofit Partner Award, the AFSP Vice President for Public Policy said, “With contributions like Ms. Rosenberg’s and her organization, we are much closer to achieving our goal of reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025.  This award recognizes the invaluable collaboration of Ms. Rosenberg and the NCBH team and AFSP on issues like the Excellence in Mental Health Act, our joint Mental Health Consumer Tools and now in Mental Health First Aid.  Our work together will save lives.” (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Dara-richardson-heron2A physician by trade, an advocate by choice.

That’s how Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., the chief executive officer of the YWCA, describes herself.  And while her would-be patients would almost certainly have benefited if she had continued actively practicing medicine, there is no doubt that society as a whole – and particularly those facing the greatest life challenges – is better because of Dr. Richardson-Heron’s decision to devote her talents and energies to social activism.

Under her leadership, the YWCA has become far more than an iconic organization with over 1,200 locations in 47 states.  It has proven itself time and time again to be an active, effective force dedicated to empowering women, fighting racism and promoting freedom and dignity for all people.  There are, in fact, multiple reasons why Dr. Richardson-Heron is an easy selection as a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016. (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Kathy Martinez

Kathy-Martinez-June-2014-2-199x300_2In 2015, Americans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  But just as it is important to recognize that, for a quarter century, the law of the land has protected individuals with disability from discriminating, it is equally critical to acknowledge that there remains a significant employment gap in our society.  Americans with disabilities are far less likely to be gainfully employed and far more likely to be reliant upon public assistance programs.

There is no greater champion in trying to change this paradigm than Kathy Martinez, a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016.  Until February of 2015, Ms. Martinez was an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor, in charge of disability employment policies.  She has now moved into the private sector as an executive with the Wells Fargo financial services corporation, expanding the company’s capabilities and programs dedicated to serving its customers with disabilities. (more…)

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Could the Doula Model Work for Women Seeking Mental Health Care and Support through the Veteran’s Administration, Especially After Rape or Sexual Trauma?

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Elayne Clift, M.A.

Her first experience with childbirth was traumatic. Repeated “checks” to determine how near she was to giving birth seemed like unnecessary invasions. When she questioned their frequency she was silenced, as she was when she asked why she had to remain in bed attached to an IV. Labeled a “failure to progress” after only seven hours in labor she was given a C-section “to ensure a healthy baby.”  During her second pregnancy she chose a medical practice that included nurse-midwives and allowed for vaginal birth after Caesarean. Then she “hired” a volunteer doula to support her through labor and delivery. The doula helped her feel calm, safe, capable, and in control of her birth experience. She reassured her that she was strong and her body could do this hard work. The mother’s memory of her second birth experience, unlike the first, is one of joy.

She was violently gang-raped while on active duty during Desert Storm. At first she kept quiet, suppressing the traumatic impact of the rape, but later, back in the States, when she could no longer suppress memories of what had happened she went to a VA hospital to seek counseling.  (more…)

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