“Give me your tired, your poor…”

Laura JacobsonThe rapid influx of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the last few months has spurred a national conversation regarding the United States’ role in offering refuge to these children, the majority of whom are fleeing widespread gang violence and delinquency in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. A key talking point for some in the debate has become the supposed threat to public health that these children pose. (more…)

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Lava Mae

The United Nations states that access to sanitation is a basic human right.  Yet, in the United States the homeless are often forced to go without access to showers. San Francisco is a prime example of this deficit where there are only 16-20 showers to service an estimated 4,500 homeless person population. Today, DW interviews Donnice Sandoval, creator of Lava Mae, a sustainable mobile shower for the homeless in San Francisco. She shows us that sometimes it truly is the simple things that are the most disruptive. 

How were you inspired to create Lava Mae?

Homelessness is an issue I’ve cared about for a long time. I live in a neighborhood that was once predominately middle class African American families. The dramatic gentrification that has overtaken the city has changed that. We’ve watched too many of our neighbors move from their homes to their cars and then the street. I wracked my brain for what we could do but could never figure out how to end or stem the tide of rising homelessness. Then one day I passed a young woman on the street who was homeless and crying, feeling that she’d never be clean. (more…)

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Delete Blood Cancer: What You May Not Know About Bone Marrow Donation

Terri Prof Headshot 0412We all know about blood drives and the importance of blood and platelet donations to save lives. And millions of people are registered organ donors (usually when they get their driver’s license). But did you know that there is another renewable, life-saving resource you could give?  It’s your blood stem cells/bone marrow. Only 11 million Americans are registered with the National Marrow Donor Program to help save lives if their blood stem cells match a person fighting any one of 70 blood cancers and diseases. (more…)

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Tech Will Transform the Doctor-Patient Relationship

The doctor-patient relationship lies at the heart of much Western thinking about health. But only a few centuries ago, most people in the UK never saw a doctor.

During the 19th century, the greatest strides in health and life expectancy came from improvements in nutrition, sewerage and water supply rather than the medics. But by the 20th century, doctors were much better informed about how to treat and prevent a number of illnesses. (more…)

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The Incredible Work Of American Nurses

” Anyone that spends time in a hospital, realizes how incredibly important nurses are, how hard they work, and how under appreciated they are.”- Katie Couric

Check out this clip from the Katie Show where Couric interviews documentary film maker Carolyn Jones about her recent film “The American Nurse”.  Within the film, Jones lets us get a first hand glance into the  healing power of a nurse’s touch.   In an exciting twist, Disruptive Woman Diana Mason was also on the show! There she discussed the need for nurses’ voices to be heard, especially in the boardroom, and  tips to ensure you receive the best care. (more…)

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Patient Engagement: Here to Stay

jessie-gruman picA few years after my treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma finally limped to its end in the mid-1970s, I looked back and was amazed at my casual approach to that devastating, life-changing diagnosis: At times I had been completely absorbed by it, every moment governed by the demands of the treatment and illness. At other times, well, the contingencies of life intervened, and I went dancing. Or to class. Or on vacation, with little regard for the risks, the medications and all my doctors’ directives.

How could this be? Why would I take such a chance with my own health, my own (more…)

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The Power of Patients and Systems Evolving Together

Amy CaronWhen I’m asked why I left a sought after career in the fashion industry to get a master’s in public health I have an easy reply, I was a health care ‘consumer’ and I was mad. I was reminded about my experience recently when I read new guidance on immunosuppressant therapy in lupus patients that are in remission. Years ago when I found my perfect balance of diet, rest, exercise, and alternative care I had a long period of remission that prompted me to ask my rheumatologist if we could taper the azathioprine. The response was, “Look, take (more…)

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Why is the Most Effective form of Birth Control—the IUD—Also the One No One is Using?

Alexandra SifferlinEarlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled  that employers with religious objections have the right to opt-out of providing contraception coverage to their employees and we couldn’t have asked for a more timely and important piece.  Alexandra Sifferlin, a writer at TIME ,brings us this compelling look at the IUD, one of the most effective forms of birth control.  Learn more about how public health groups are working to get women more aware and interested in the contraceptive.

Up against bad PR and a lack of awareness, reproductive health groups are leading the charge to make the IUD a first line of defense against unplanned pregnancy. It won’t be easy.

Most women have been there: sitting in their gynecologist’s office, having yet another unsatisfying conversation about yet another unsatisfying form of birth control, wanting to try something new. (more…)

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June 2014 Man of the Month: Ron Goines

In recognition of both National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month  and National HIV Testing Day, DW could not think of a better man to nominate for our June Man of the Month. Ron Goines is the Director at AIDS Foundation Houston and has committed himself to the fight against HIV/AIDS. He also currently sits on the Houston Steering Committee for The Human Rights Campaign and chairs its Houston Corporate Relations sub-committee. Ron’s various roles in service have allowed him to be a resource in the community. His advocacy has expanded to serve every segment of not just the LGBT community but the wider community as well. (more…)

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A Different View – with a Broken Ankle

Meryl Bloomrosen

It felt as though I was having some type of “out of body” experience…falling down the metro escalator and realizing that I could not move. My predicament caught the attention of several Good Samaritans who sensed that something was wrong as I simultaneously screamed in agony and cried out for “HELP.”I am grateful for the willingness of fellow commuters to help me slide off the bottom of the escalator and out of the way of others. I am thankful that no one was right in front of me as I tumbled. I am enlightened by the emergency medical response process and appreciative of the emergency medical technicians (EMTS) who come to my aid, eventually taking me away by ambulance to a nearby hospital emergency department (ED). I was triaged in the ED and diagnosed with (more…)

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“Have You Ever Served?” The VA and the Private Sector

Diana Mason

I’m a veteran. I served in the US Army Nurse Corps for 3 years after I graduated from nursing school, the last 2 years of which were paid for by the Army. From 1970 to 1973, I served as a lieutenant, then a captain, at Walson Army Hospital at Fort Dix, NJ, while colleagues of mine were serving in Vietnam. Now we’re all eligible for health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), although those who served in Vietnam have access to a higher level of benefits and priority for enrollment in the VA health system than I do. I have never used the VA health system as a patient, but by most reports, veterans in the system receive very good care. (more…)

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Stop Expecting Antibiotics to Be Handed Out Routinely: Here’s Why

Trudy-Lieberman -- biggerFor years, my colleagues on the Prepared Patient site have preached the importance of being an advocate for your own care. And they’ve noted that at times it is necessary to push back against doctors’ recommendations if a suggested treatment does not seem right. I just returned from a visit to the U.K., which drove home the importance of that advice. Coming down with a common cold gave me a chance to experience differences in how British and American doctors approach the nasty symptoms of an all-too-common medical problem.

Let’s face it. Most of us have been given too many antibiotics for sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, even the flu caused by viruses for which antibiotics are not helpful. As we (more…)

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Culture Change is Here: People are Price-Shopping for their Health Care

Jeanne Pinder

Culture change is here.

People are upset about rising health care prices and rising out-of-pocket expenses.

In fact, they’re so upset that they’re acting like consumers, by shopping around for their health care, and by sharing information, and by complaining about their outrage. And that’s a good thing.

When I founded clearhealthcosts.com a few years ago, I announced: “We’re bringing transparency to the health care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs.” (more…)

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Being a Transgender Ally and Unconscious Bias

Regarding the experience of being an ally – one of the best experiences of my professional career – I wish it upon every physician and nurse interested in making humanity a better place for all.

I began working on this back in January, when I put out a call for assistance: Crowdsource Request: Being a transgender ally and unconscious bias | Ted Eytan, MD

Thanks to everyone who offered their help, all outstanding individuals, who willingly shared their wisdom, their (more…)

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Health Disparities in the LGBT Community and the Importance of Data

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals are becoming increasingly visible in our society. Unfortunately, they are subjected to discrimination and stigma similar to other marginalized groups such as racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The current political and social context and unique health care needs, impact the health of LGBT individuals, resulting in health disparities (poorer health outcomes compared with their heterosexual and/or non-transgender peers). In order to identify and eliminate these disparities, health care providers must 1) be willing and able to competently gather information about whether their patient identifies as LGBT, 2) understand the risk factors associated with such identities, and 3) use that information to improve their patient’s health. Collection of sexual orientation and gender identity in public (more…)

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