Rare Disease Day: Bringing People Living with a Rare Disease out of the Shadows and into the Spotlight

Today is Rare Disease Day. To help raise awareness among the public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives we are posting the video below.

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February Man of the Month: Dr. Louis Sullivan

sullivan.louiswTo celebrate Black History Month we are honoring Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan as our February Man of the Month. He is an active health policy leader, minority health advocate, author, physician, and educator. Dr. Sullivan served as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1989 to 1993 during President George H. W. Bush‘s Administration and was Founding Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. (more…)

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TBT: Here’s My Battle…What’s Yours?

Today’s TBT post is in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato

I’d like to start with a disclaimer: I am not a dietician, a doctor, or a therapist, and I do not have the expertise or authority to provide professional advice on the following subject.  I do, however, have personal experience, and in ways, I feel that for so many others confronting similar issues, these personal experiences hold equal to professional training.

I had an eating disorder.  More specifically, I had several.  For 10 years of my life, I cycled through various types of disordered eating methods [Side Rant: technically I am classified as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) because I don’t meet the very specific criteria of eating disorder categories; however, telling people I have an ‘other specified feeding disorder’ makes me feel like an animal that just has a difficult time controlling what she eats.  It’s a completely invalidating name for a condition, in my opinion, which is why it is simply easier for me to say I had an eating disorder].  My battle with food started in high school when I would restrict my calories and eat as little as possible.  In college, I gained the “freshmen 15” and then some, but also discovered I had the ability to make myself throw up.  That led to binging and purging, sometimes several times a day.  (more…)

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What Do Women Know About Obamacare That Men Don’t?

Susan-DentzerThe post below originally ran on The Health Care Blog. Susan Dentzer is one of Disruptive Women’s 2015 Women to Watch, read the post and you will see why!

For the second year running, more women than men have signed up for coverage in health insurance marketplaces during open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment ran 56 percent female, 44 percent male, during last year’s open enrollment season; preliminary data from this year shows enrollment at 55 percent female, 45 percent male – a 10 percentage point difference.

What gives? An HHS spokeswoman says the department can’t explain most of the differential. Females make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, but there is no real evidence that, prior to ACA implementation, they were disproportionately more likely to be uninsured than men – and in fact, some evidence indicates that they were less likely to be uninsured than males. (more…)

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Help for People With Vision Loss

low visionThe following post was provided by the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP).

Here’s eye-opening news: Currently, 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired. Of these, 3 million have low vision. By 2030, when the last baby boomers turn 65, the number of Americans who have visual impairments is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision.

For the millions of people who currently live or will live with low vision, the good news is there is help.

But first, what is low vision? Low vision is when even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing, which makes everyday tasks difficult to do. Activities that used to be simple like reading the mail, shopping, cooking, and writing can become challenging. (more…)

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Women Who Serve: Who We Are

diana d 2The concept of women as the gentler sex is hard to square with the military warrior culture.  Husband hunter, lesbian, slut, whore, manipulator, or too dumb to do anything else are the historical characterizations of women who serve and are changing far too slowly.   No one is more surprised with this rancor than the young, naïve and innocent women who join the military with an eye on what the future may bring.

I wanted a chance at a better life. I wanted to be more than my surroundings dictated to me. I felt a duty to my country; to protect and preserve all the things I loved.

My time in the Army was one of the best experiences of my lifetime, dotted by some of the most traumatic events I’ll ever endure.

I was inspired to join after the 9/11 attack. I wanted to deploy.

Someone in my family has served all the way back to the Revolutionary War. (more…)

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Disruptive Woman Launches a Breakthrough in Parenting

One of the original Disruptive Women contributors, Glenna Crooks recently launched a new business. Last week the Syracuse New Times published an interview with her. Read the interview here and learn more about Sage My Life.


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Heart Disease – It Looks Different From a Woman’s Perspective

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Lara D. knew that heart disease ran in her family. Her father had his first heart attack at 46.  His second, two years later, took his life when she was in high school. She learned intimately the impact that a heart attack has on a family. She saw her mother struggle to keep her children on track while trying to manage her own feelings of loss. Her college years were spent working full time and going to a community college in the evenings to get her degree and become a CPA. While many women work hard to get a degree, holding full time jobs, raising children and supporting spouses, this wasn’t what her parents had planned for her.

Now 53, Lara knows that she is at high risk for heart disease and heart attack. She has been on blood pressure and cholesterol medication since her 30s. She works out and tries to eat well, maintaining a healthy weight. Still, she had a nagging feeling that she might be missing something. (more…)

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Disruptive Women & Service join forces: Care for Military & Veteran Women Series

stodder headshot DCWe are grateful to Disruptive Women in Health Care for giving us a platform to present solutions to the range of obstacles faced by women who serve. In the posts we will introduce highly informed contributors with an eye toward solutions. The writers will be military and veteran women as well as all those who care about them and for them.

Patricia Lee Stotter, a multiple award winning composer, addresses all issues of health care, and has created the opportunity for this collaboration. As co-producer of the Emmy award-winning film, “Service: When Women Come Marching Home”, Stotter threw herself into creating social media bridging many gaps and bringing women together. Whether working on Sesame Street or suicide prevention, Stotter is all about the right voice at the right time, creating strategic partnerships to lift the voices of the disenfranchised. (more…)

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It’s All In Your Head

The following post originally ran on Disruptive Woman to Watch Lisa Suennen’s blog Venture Valkyrie on January 26th.

Mental health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.”

Adam Ant, mental health commentator

That quote is from the great philosopher and clinician, oh wait I mean 80’s post-punk rocker Adam Ant. Seriously. But he is so right on.

Back in 1998 I was part of the management team of a company called Merit Behavioral Care, also once known as American Biodyne. The company was the first of its kind: a company that delivered what we now know as population health for people with mental health and substance abuse challenges (then called managed behavioral healthcare). We looked essentially like an insurance company or HMO specifically for people who need that kind of help. We had a huge network of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and the like, did care coordination and utilization review, paid claims and did everything associated with accessing, using and paying for behavioral healthcare services. (more…)

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When Size Affects Your Odds

durkin_helenOncologists are on board in the fight against obesity. And they’ve made it official by issuing their first-ever Position Statement on Obesity and Cancer through the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

That’s especially great news for women—who are twice as likely as men to be affected by the nearly half a million new cases of obesity-related cancers worldwide each year. Not surprisingly, the greatest proportion of them are in North America. (http://ow.ly/FacZg http://ow.ly/Fadcm)

Despite the fact that more American men than women are overweight or obese, U.S. women are disproportionately affected by the obesity-cancer link. Obesity not only puts a woman at greater risk of cancer—especially post-menopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and colon cancer—but it worsens her odds for surviving it as well. (http://ow.ly/FacZg http://ow.ly/Fadcm http://ow.ly/H8C3C) (more…)

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January Man of the Month: Dr. Donald McEachron

don-mceachron_SmallWe are thrilled to name Dr. Donald McEachron this month’s Man of the Month. Currently, he is a Teaching Professor and serves as the Coordinator for Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement for the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. We will all benefit from the work Dr. McEachron is doing. Below is a brief look into his work. We have no doubt you will understand why we named him Man of the Month after learning more.

Dr. McEachron’s background in evolutionary biology, neuroscience and chronobiology led him to connect with architect and lighting expert Dr. Eugenia Victoria Ellis. Together they have been investigating the impact of built environments on human health, well-being and productivity. They along with collaborators, such as Dr. Elizabeth Gonzalez and electrical engineering Master’s student Greg Yeutter, are developing methods of enhancing artificial lighting systems to provide a closer match to the solar day cycle. In order to fully understand why this is important you need some background on biological rhythms. (more…)

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Go Sit On A Sofa

Amber Coleman-MortleyIt had gotten to the point where I would find myself standing in the kitchen staring at nothing; or I would get angry for no reason; and then sometimes, a random thought would cross my mind reminding me of all of my perceived failures over the past four and a half years.  I needed some help but my own personal pride prevented me from seeking such attention.

With the kids’ needs, the responsibilities for work as well as the demands for school and other external commitments; I’d lost my very tight and very regimented method of survival to a more chaotic out of control (but thinking I’m in control) method of getting things done.  It felt like every bit of me was being pulled apart at the seams and I was barreling quickly toward a very detrimental end.  Moms are sometimes these exotic robots that handle all schedules, delays, updates and changes in a smooth and orderly fashion.  For me, a point of personal pride was my ability to schedule everything in without anyone missing out on the things that they wanted to do.  But things began to fall by the wayside. (more…)

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Upcoming Screening: No Evidence of Disease

On Wednesday, February 4th No Evidence of Disease will be screened in cities nationwide.  This will be a one hour version of the film and will be followed by a discussion/Q&A led by a GYN Oncologist. Visit  www.nedthemovie.com/regal for a complete list of all screenings, as well as to view the trailer. The website  also will post when advance tickets go on sale online through Fandango and Regal.com. (more…)

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If It’s Not Your Heart or Your Age, It Could Be Your Thyroid

Terri Prof Headshot 0412If your heart starts pounding and skipping beats what is your first thought? For Mary M., 49, it was, “Oh No! Is this a heart attack? Is it heart arrhythmia? I know my mother has an irregular heartbeat and my grandmother died from a stroke.  Is it my turn?” So, off she went to the doctor. Her pounding heart had been waking her up at night and she was ready for the diagnosis and sat pretty calmly through the EKG test. Her mother took heart medication, exercised and watched her diet so she knew how to handle it. When the doctor returned to the room and told her “Your heart looks fine and your heart rate is normal,” she was confused. The call that came from her doctor a few days later threw her into a panic.

“Your T3 and T4 thyroid levels are VERY high and your TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormones) is .0009, which is extremely low. You need to see an endocrinologist. The last person I sent for this had to have her thyroid removed.” (more…)

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