Happy Holidays from Disruptive Women!

happy holidays

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Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

Congratulations to one of our 2015 Disruptive Women to Watch Madeleine Will for all her work on this legislation and on behalf of persons with disabilities. 

(Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2014) – Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

“Today marks a new day in our country’s understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families,” Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. “A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country’s policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability.” He continued. “For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability.”  (more…)

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It’s Holiday Party Time: Are You and Your Guests Safe?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412This month many of us will enjoy festive holiday parties.  Maybe you will be the one hosting the party.   You’ve probably got an image in your head about what the party looks like, who is there and what you will serve.  Perhaps champagne toasts or eggnog will be involved.  Maybe you know that some of your guests will even share a couple of joints. Have you thought about how people will get home safely after your party?  In addition to all of the holiday events in December, there will also be nearly 30 deaths due to alcohol or drug related car crashes every day.

While you may not be the one driving home from your party impaired by alcohol or drugs, your gathering could become one of the statistics and, unintentionally, part of the problem.  News and coverage about alcohol related or drug related accidents focus, rightly, on the victims whose lives are irrevocably changed and the loss their family members suffer.  But how would you feel if you were in any way responsible for a death or severe injury?  What if you were the one driving the car home from someone else’s party?  Would you be able to forgive yourself?  I don’t think I would.  Unfortunately, the victims probably wouldn’t be able to forgive you either. (more…)

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Dis-Ease in America: Crisis in Caring

Patricia Lee Stotter

After reading that Gillibrand’s bill to take adjudication for rape out of the chain of command was not passed…again…following the failure of Speier’s STOP act before that…listening  to the helicopters circling over my home in New York keeping an eye from above on marchers demonstrating their rage over the unconscionable deaths of unarmed young black men by police…I am looking around to find something I recognize…did I just wake up in 1965? in Selma?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–8). It is literally translated as “Who will guard the guards themselves?”. It is now commonly used to refer to the problem of controlling the actions of persons in positions of power, an issue discussed by Plato in The Republic. (more…)

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An Unwelcome Guest: Living with Chronic Pain

Janice Lynch Schuster

When you have lived with chronic pain for a while you come to know exactly what to do when it shows up in your life–nostrils flared, clamoring to be let in, so noisy you can’t turn him away. Whenever he (or she) shows up, you blame yourself for his appearance. Did you let stress habits way with you? Did you not sleep well or long enough? Did you walk too fast, too long, too soon? Did you eat something you shouldn’t have, or forget to take something you should? The more you fret over what you’ve done that you could’ve done differently the more pain makes its presence known.

You know what you need to do, but taking a break or slowing down in a society that demands that we all be-do-have more, can seem almost treasonous. (more…)

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Addiction and the Different Types of the Treatment Programs

ECalhounHeadshot 2October may have officially been named Substance Abuse Prevention month, but addiction treatment is an ongoing battle that lasts throughout the entire year. Recognizing the signs of addiction and knowing where and when to get help are vital tools that everyone should keep in their arsenal. Unfortunately, few people recognize the signs of addiction or know where to get help, which in turn can prolong the amount of time an addict may go without addressing such a serious problem.

So how does one define addiction? Addiction is the inability to resist something that makes an individual feel positively or helps an individual forget stressors and depression. People can be addicted to a multitude of things; some of it is alcohol or drug related, some addictions are action based (such as gambling or controlling body image), and others have addictions to food. Addiction is a very personal problem, and no two individuals have the same story. (more…)

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Disruptive Women Panel Talks Technology & Innovation at mHealth Summit

Tim_HeadshotFor members of a panel during the Disruptive Women session on Tuesday at the mHealth Summit at the National Harbor, innovative ideas had strikingly different origins.

For one panelist, Ramin Bastani of Healthvana, it was a slap from a woman, in response to a question about her sexual health status, which spurred him to change the way patients receive – and exchange – information regarding STDs and HIV. For Jen Hyatt of Big White Wall, it was a note from her mom after jamming to 70s music with friends that helped inspire 20-plus years’ worth of startups and social purpose organizations, the latest which allows mental health patients to access an online ecosystem of behavioral health resources.093_Gaylord

The program, called “Technology Gets Intimate,” was moderated by Nancy Green of Verizon Healthcare and afforded each panelist an opportunity to talk about their disruptive solutions – and the catalysts to achieving them – that put the patient at the center of their health care decisions through digital and mobile. (more…)

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December Man of the Month: John Beilenson

SCP_John_1_WEB_crop_2John Beilenson, President, Strategic Communications & Planning (SCP), is Disruptive Women in Health Care’s December Man of the Month.  John founded SCP (see: www.aboutscp.com), now outside of Philadelphia, in 1987. He has led this socially responsible consultancy since then, working with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, foundations and public institutions to use communications to create social good.

We are featuring John for his “disruptive” efforts aimed at transforming how our healthcare system and the larger society deals with the challenges and opportunities associated with our country’s aging population.

John, how did you become interested in communications in a general sense?

I guess it is in my blood.  I am the grandson of the founders of Peter Pauper Press, an award-winning printing and publishing company in Westchester County, New York, and I remember going to the press as a boy in the 60s, smelling the ink, learning to set type by hand. (more…)

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Drumroll please…today is the day

Today at the mHealth Summit is our Technology Gets Intimate panel. It will be followed by our Women to Watch Reception. For those of you who can’t join us check the blog later this week for a recap.

Missed the blog’s Founder Robin Strongin announcing the event, watch it NOW!





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Innovate or Captivate? The Courtship of ‘Generation C’

Nancy Green

There will be a lot of innovation on the floor of the mHealth Summit next week in Washington, D.C. —products and solutions designed to push the envelope on applied technology for healthcare.  For quite some time, the race to innovate has compelled tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike to first conceptualize and then develop solutions that will be hailed as “new.”  After all, new is different.  New is better.  What the customer wants, we are convinced, is something new.  So we dazzle them with a new gadget or a new capability far more often than is necessary or even worthwhile.

But there is an emerging generation of tech consumers pushing back on this assumption with a new demand:  “Don’t give me something new; give me something I need.”  Say hello to Generation C—the most digitally connected, communicating, and “clicking” generation of any before it.  Born after 1990, they are the iEverything generation, and they have lived their entire lives on the cutting edge of technology and connectivity. (more…)

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Healthcare’s Renewable Resource: Authentic Patient Experience


Cancer is my medical degree. Navigating my way through three distinct cancer diagnoses across three unique stages of life and managing three different treatment paths is my specialty. In the course of enduring Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 17, melanoma at 38 and, in 2012, breast cancer at 46, I’ve amassed firsthand expertise in the critical areas of patient-provider communications, care coordination, patient safety, insurance reconciliation, disease prevention, and personalized treatment planning.

From the time of my first cancer diagnosis over 30 years ago to today, cancer has influenced my life and risk of future disease. To put my experience in perspective, the collective time I spent in the throes of surgery, recovery and treatment of my two most significant diagnoses – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer –totals twelve months. So, I have spent only 1/30th of my cancer experience fully immersed in the healthcare system. (more…)

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Women-centered design and mobile health: heads-up, 2014 mHealth Summit

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

This post is written as part of the Disruptive Women on Health’s series celebrating the 2014 mHealth Summit taking place December 7-11 Washington, DC.

Women and mobile health: let’s unpack the intersection.

12.3 1On the supply side of the equation, Good Housekeeping covered health tracking-meets-fashion bling in the magazine a few weeks ago in article tucked between how to cook healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and tips on getting red wine stains out of tablecloths. This ad appeared in a major sporting goods chain’s 2014 Black Friday pre-print in my city’s newspaper last week. And along with consumer electronics brand faves like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, Sony’s plans for a watch were hiding in plain sight on a Japanese crowdfunding site since September 2014; speaking of fashion-meets-wearables, the strap is designed to morph into 24 different designs. (more…)

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Shining a Light on the Social Nature of Health Behavior

Glenna Crooks

A new paper by several University of Manchester faculty suggests we shift our public health focus.

The shift they propose is towards greater emphasis on social habits and what we view as socially acceptable behavior. They’ve got a good point.

Today’s near-epidemic rates of lifestyle diseases, including heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes, won’t be solved by persuading individuals to get to the gym or cooking whole foods at home. After all, how many times have we sent that message? Is it working for us yet? Hardly. (more…)

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Top 10 Reasons we need The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing in Grantsville, MD

Regina Holliday

In the week since I started our crowdfund on Medstartr to help fund the creation of The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing some folks have had a few questions about this project. Though I do not do list posts very often, I thought this would be the easiest way to explain why we need to create this center.

10. People need space to create.

I recently worked with the students in every class in Grantsville Elementary School as they created art for the Grantsville Art Walk. That is 220 some children working with me and their art teacher Torria Quesenberry . We met in Ms. Quesenberry’s classroom.  (more…)

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Kaiser Family Foundation Understanding Health Insurance & Open Enrollment Resources

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released the resources below to help people understand insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. We found them helpful and hope you do too.

 Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources

  • Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources (Updated Web Page)
  • Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator (Interactive)
  • Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have It Covered (Video)
  • Health Reform Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Health Insurance Quiz (Quiz)
  • Health Coverage, HIV & You (Web Portal) (more…)

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