My Heart Breaks for Your Child

Autistic HoyaTrigger warning: Brief homophobic/heterosexist quote, and extensive quotes and descriptions of ableist and eugenicist rhetoric.

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“I don’t want a handicapped child.”

I read that line in a mother’s story of her disabled child’s birth and first few weeks, and it gave me that awful, wrenching feeling–you know, the one where your insides kind of shrivel up and your breath catches somewhere in the back of your throat, hinging on tears or gasps or other sounds of enervated shock. (more…)

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Has Patient-Centered Health Care Run Amok?

Trudy-Lieberman -- biggerBeginning with the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark Quality Chasm report in the late 1990s, the health policy establishment, the medical profession and the American public began to hear a new and disconcerting message: American health care was not patient-centered.

The IOM prescribed a number of recommendations to redesign health care delivery, one calling for patients as the source of control over their care. “Patients should be given the necessary information and the opportunity to exercise the degree of control they choose over health care decisions that affect them,” the IOM recommended, noting that patients should have access to their medical (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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In Observance of Jessie Gruman

jessie-gruman picOn July 14th, 2014 we lost a truly outstanding woman to her battle with a long time illness. Jessie Gruman was the president and founder of the Center for Advancing Health. A true patient advocate, she promoted not only patient engagement but the use of evidence-based medicine to support the adoption of healthy behavior.  In addition to her professional career, Gruman defined herself as a musician, avid reader of poetry and interested in foreign policy, the media and global health. She was a true disruptive (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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Who Will Take Care of You at Home if You’re Seriously Ill?

It turns out that the hilarious British spoof on the horrors of the Man-Cold might be truer than we ever imagined. The joke reality here is that when a husband gets sick, his wife is naturally expected to become his doting caregiver, but when a wife gets sick, she may feel distinctly on her own.

A study presented last month at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America actually reported that the risk of divorce among married couples rises when the wife – but not the husband — becomes seriously ill. (more…)

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  • July 7th, 2014 Tackling a Tough Gun Discussion
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Working on a Dream: Reflections on The White House Summit on Working Families

    Janice Lynch Schuster

    In the late 1940s, my grandmother found herself a single mother of three, living far from family in Washington, DC, where she had moved to be a Government Girl during the war. A graduate of Smith College, and the child of Irish immigrants, she worked as many jobs as she could, and I often heard stories about her nights spent cleaning spittoons in dentists’ offices, or making dollhouse furniture on a lathe. At some point, unable to manage so much on so little, she sent her children to boarding schools run by the Catholic Church. My mother was five; the only story she shares about those years is about her joy when she was finally old enough to go home again, and to let herself in to the apartment after school. Eventually, my grandmother completed a master’s degree in science, and worked as a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She was always my hero. (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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    “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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    Encourage The Men In Your Life To Take Control Of Their Health

    Terri Prof Headshot 0412 Does your man make his health a priority? Probably not, but it should be. June is Men’s Health Month, so what better time than now to encourage the important men in your life to take control of their health. Women who are constantly encouraging their men to head to the doctor, should continue to be insistent based upon an overall decline in men’s health. It’s important to highlight specific diseases and issues that are extremely important.

    Heart Disease (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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    Eliminating Telehealth Policy Barriers

    Robin Strongin

    We’ve learned from television commercials that you can pick up your e-book reader, punch a button on the touch screen and instantly see a live person appear in front of you to walk you through any technical problems you have with your device.  TV advertising also reminds us that, if your newer model car breaks down, you’re just a click away from speaking with someone who can diagnose your automobile’s problems from hundreds of miles away and send immediate assistance to your location.

    These wireless advancements that make our lives more convenient can’t help but beg the question, though – why aren’t we moving just as rapidly to use digital technologies to make ourselves healthier? (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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