Lessons Learned: Graduation Day Reflections

Robin Strongin

In honor of this past weekend, which for me included celebrating my daughter’s college graduation and Mother’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I have learned along the way. Here is what Elise and I talk about:

  • Never let anyone else define you. No professor, no employer, no elected official, nobody. Sure it’s important to be open-minded and respectful. But remember, a grading system, an employer’s evaluation, a demographic, and a bank’s metrics tell only part of your story. While you need to operate, to some extent within existing systems, never ever stop questioning, refining, redefining definitions, metrics and systems that don’t capture your full contributions and awesomeness.
  • Learn to read a financial statement. Regardless of your major, do not leave college without a class or two that can help you negotiate a salary, fight for a budget, and demand your fair share of equity.  If you can’t read the financials, you cannot advocate for yourself and your team.
  • Don’t stress if you decide the degree you start with no longer seems to be your life long career choice.  Life is funny that way. We grow, we change, experiences and reality come crashing in to utterly upend our best laid plans.  Sometimes they are welcomed, and other times we wish they never happened. But you are young and just getting started. If nothing else, a girl needs to learn to stay flexible,  to adapt, and to see each challenge as an opportunity. Easier said than done but at the end of the day, survival takes chutzpah, a sense of adventure, and a sense of humor.  Don’t just take the road less traveled, design and map that road (allowing for all kinds of twists and turns) and then go roaring down it. (Please remember to buckle up–the ride will be bumpy.)
  • Life is not fair.  No matter where you are in life, there will be assholes.  Always do your best to avoid them, move away from them, and yes, not let them define you.  Remember, they are assholes.
  • Understand the value of compound interest.  Even an intern in a non profit can begin her financial planning.  Setting up a savings account, contributing regularly, learning about retirement planning.  I know, I know, getting a job is hard, earning a decent salary is harder, and the very idea that one day you will be old enough to retire is hardest of all to fathom. I am here to tell you: it pays to start now.
  • Relish this moment.  GRAD 2016

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  • May 2nd, 2016 Playing the Disruptive Woman Card
    By Glenna Crooks
  • 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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    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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    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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  • April 4th, 2016 Health Policy Grief
    By Glenna Crooks
  • 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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    Women, Children and Water

    Pat Ford Roegner

    Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: February 2016 reports that 64% of Americans have closely followed the news about the lead contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water supply, its likely effects on public health in that city, and the long road ahead as Flint struggles to restore a safe water supply. The same survey found nearly eight in 10 Americans are concerned about the safety of the water in low-income communities across the U.S.

    But even the challenges facing one mid-sized American city pale when we see World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water, with an additional 2.6 billion lacking adequate sanitation services.

    The United Nations estimates that by 2025, 2.8 billion people will face water scarcity in 48 countries worldwide. Closer to home, is Flint just the beginning of a water supply nightmare for low-income communities across North America?

    As the news from Flint unfolded in recent weeks, I was reading a paper – of which my daughter Amber is a co-author – about the potential for natural grasses to filter the waters on Lake Victoria near Kisumu, Kenya. (more…)

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

    Julie-PotyrajMost 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.

    Comprehensive sex education, using the example of Zambia

    For elementary and middle school students at Chadiza Basic School in the Eastern Province of Zambia, every day begins with a prayer. (more…)

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  • March 7th, 2016 We Could All Use a Dose of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Genius
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

    DW Vegas HIMSS v2-01

    Lisa-Suennen-photoYou don’t have to look far in the business of health to find rampant sexism.

    If you were at JP Morgan, you couldn’t miss the story about LifeSci Advisors’ party, where they hired a cadre of beautiful female models to keep the predominantly male partygoers company, ostensibly because they couldn’t find enough professional women to invite to make the room feel equal. Such a ruckus ensued afterwards that the LifeSci Advisors team issued an apology to party attendees (see their somewhat desperate-sounding apology letter below), after first firmly insisting that the ruckus wasn’t merited.   My friend Nancy had a hilarious comment on this, fantasizing about this situation from Emily Litella’s perspective (if you are too young to remember Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella character, curse you and click HERE for clarity). (more…)

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    Symposium on Disability and the Sustainable Development Goals

    DW-UKThe speech below was first posted here on Medium. It was given by Liz Ditchburn, Director of Policy Division for the Department for International Development (DFID) during the first day of the 2016 International Symposium Disability in the Sustainable Development Goals. The theme for this symposium was: Forming Alliances and Building Evidence for the 2030 Agenda.

    Speech as delivered:

    “Much of what Catalina said I would like to give my own take on. I was very privileged to be in the UN General Assembly when the gavel came down on the Global Goals. This is going to be something which I hold in my heart for the rest of my life.

    There are a few things about this set of Global Goals that really set them apart from their predecessors. They genuinely integrate all of the issues that we think are important for development. We finally have this integrated set of Global Goals which include everyone. (more…)

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    Sexism in Medical Education

    heather newThe medical school professor stands affront  a group of first year students in a mid-size auditorium. “I need a go-to guy,” he says, “someone to direct my questions towards.” He scans the room. “I’ve never actually had a go-to girl, before,” he admits. Later in the lecture, he makes a joke at a male student’s expense. “I joke!” he laughs. “Usually I don’t pick on the girls of the class – they can be too emotional – its true! My wife tells me it’s true.”

    During an exercise aimed at discussing issues of public health, the facilitator disagrees with a student who says that men and women should be treated equally as patients: “Men and women are inherently different,” he says, and later: “Women are less physically strong than men. If I were in battle, I wouldn’t want a woman fighting next to me. She just wouldn’t be able to carry me out.” (more…)

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    Today is National Wear Red Day

    National Wear Red Day® is a special day dedicated to bringing attention to this staggering fact that each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. Today we wear red to encourage women to raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives. For more information visit: http://www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday/.

    In honor of National Wear Red Day® we are re-running the post below.

    Terri Prof Headshot 0412Heart Disease – It Looks Different From a Woman’s Perspective

    By Terri L. McCulloch

    Lara 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. (more…)

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    Latest Survey Findings from the Society for Participatory Medicine

    A new national survey from the Society for Participatory Medicine found that patients overwhelmingly believe a partnership with their health care provider improves their overall health. The survey also found that people see benefits in monitoring and sharing their health information between visits. The results can be seen in the infographic below (also available for download here). (more…)

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