An Innovative Approach to Stroke & Aphasia Recovery: Part 2, Groups

brookeHOne day long ago I found myself dancercising in the basement of a bingo hall.  This was, to make a gross understatement, way out of my newly single comfort zone. I was awkward at best and going the wrong way at worst, but I was in a group with 200 others trying to do the same thing. I went back, and found a community of people I had little in common with other than this shared experience. I worked harder because I saw them working harder. Soon I knew a few routines and was offering encouragement to newcomers. I was getting more confident; healthier.   You probably have a similar story – a group you didn’t expect to join but pushed you to be better.

Groups are powerful things – little organisms that wiggle and struggle, contract and expand, create and adapt. Those who need a hand get one; those who can lend a hand offer it. (more…)

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An Innovative Approach to Stroke & Aphasia Recovery: Part 1, Life Participation

dswprophotoA1Here’s the scenario:  A 51 year-old woman is having the worst headache she has ever experienced.  Let’s call her Linda.  She is concerned and decides to lie down to see if it subsides.  Alone in the bedroom, she experiences a stroke.  She is conscious but cannot move her right side and cannot call out for help.  Her husband, let’s call him Jim, finds her, recognizes that something is terribly wrong and calls 9-1-1.

She is taken to the local hospital; the immediate question posed in the emergency room, “What time did symptoms occur?”  Jim does not know and Linda cannot answer.  She has been diagnosed as having had a CVA (cerebral vascular accident) or stroke.  An MRI reveals that a clot has traveled to the left side of her brain, but she was not given the clot busting drug treatment because there is a 4 hour window and the time of her stroke is not known.  Linda is stabilized and transferred to the neurological unit.  (more…)

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My Personal Stroke Story

IMG_0794I first shared my story in 2008 as the Passion Speaker for the American Heart Association at the Go Red for Women Luncheon in San Antonio, Texas. And I told my story many times in the next few years to the various corporate partners and in private homes where both men and women had gathered to learn about women’s risk for stroke.

Today, more than 16 years after having a stroke, I continue to tell my story with others as a You’re the Cure advocate in Washington DC. I presented at the Maryland Million Hearts Symposium and on Washington DC’s CBS TV station WUSA9 last winter. You can watch my interview with WUSA9 here.

I am proud to be an Inaugural Member of the Circle of Red for the Greater Washington DC Circle of Red in 2014. (more…)

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Introduction to Special Series on Stroke: World Stroke Day, Women & Stroke, and the Stroke Comeback Center

Stephanie Mensh

Today, Disruptive Women in Health Care begins a special week-long series to raise awareness of stroke in recognition of World Stroke Day, providing opinion and actionable information, and joining in the celebration of 10 successful years of the Stroke Comeback Center in Vienna, VA.

October 29, 2014 is World Stroke Day and the launch of a 2-year, world-wide campaign, I am woman: Stroke affects me, sponsored by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) and supported by national organizations like the American Stroke Association (ASA).  Women have a higher risk of stroke than men, a higher mortality rate from stroke than men, have worse outcomes from stroke than men, and often receive less care than men, despite responding equally well to care, according to the WSO.  Women are the predominant caregivers, often resulting in health issues that then may increase their own risk of stroke.

Each year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. In the U.S., about 790,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death, and a leading cause of disability.  The ASA estimated that Americans will pay about $73.7 billion in 2010 for stroke-related medical costs and disability. (more…)

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Free the Data Announces New Partnership with Rep.Wasserman Schultz

Sharon Terry

FTD_logo3WASHINGTON, DC (October 8, 2014)—Free the Data, a national coalition of organizations dedicated to freeing genetic information, announced that U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) was named its Honorary Chair.

“The time for hoarding data as a commodity is over,” said Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, the nonprofit health advocacy organization that coordinates Free the Data. “The Coalition is thrilled to have a powerful partnership with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. In Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are confident that the Congresswoman adds strength and momentum to the Free the Data movement, particularly as we work to free data associated with breast and ovarian cancer!” (more…)

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Vaccine Injury Stories: the Sacred Cows of the Internet?

When I first started looking into vaccines, I had no idea that an anti-vaccine movement even existed. I came across claims that the vaccines were toxic and dangerous; the diseases, it was claimed, were not. I have some background in science, so I was able to dismiss those claims as inaccurate, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by tragic, angry and deeply personal stories from parents who claimed their children were harmed by vaccines.

I dared not question them, but I still couldn’t understand…

If vaccine injuries were occurring on a scale like this, why wasn’t anybody doing anything about  it?  And why wasn’t the media reporting on them?

I wanted to know more about these vaccine injury stories but worried it would be insensitive to probe or question their accuracy. I could hurt their feelings or worse, insult their child’s memory. After all, while I (more…)

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Federal Changes in Lab Results Access Can Make Personal Health Management Easier

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Have you ever received a phone call from the doctor’s office with the message, “Hello Ms. X, Your test results are normal.  Make an appointment next year.”?  All you know is what the healthcare provider tells you over the phone.  Maybe this conversation happened in the physician’s office during your visit.  Your doctor swoops in, glances at your test results and breezes through the test results.

If you are healthy and have never had any major health issues, this may be enough information.  You continue on for another year, or 6 months, without a worry.  But, maybe you wonder, “What does ‘normal’ mean?  Can I do anything to improve my health?”  How do you know?  Are you at the high end, the low end, just barely in the range? (more…)

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Why I Fight for Change in Domestic Violence Legislation

In 2009 I became the victim of a violent crime, domestic assault with a weapon. The local newspaper’s front page story included the following phrases: “Felony Assault,” “Domestic Assault with a Weapon,” “False Imprisonment,” “beaten,” “hit about the head and body,” “beaten with hands, knees and feet,” “urinated on,” “beaten with a wrought iron cross,” “refused to let leave or use the telephone,” “numerous injuries,” “numerous bite marks about her body,” “lost consciousness,” “escaped.” Lucky to be alive should have been included.  (more…)

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Back to School… Co-Parenting Style

Amber Coleman-MortleyIt’s back to school season!  Malls and stores have had their sales; schools have requested their info; doctors’ offices are quickly fulfilling vaccination and proof of appointment forms.  But most importantly, parents are eager to send their little ones off to be enriched amongst a class of their peers.  It’s a beautiful time.  It got me thinking- how can divorced and separated families be just as successful as families who are together this school year?

There are several challenges that kids from divorced and separated homes face.  Beyond emotional challenges, there are the self-confident, psychological, economic and logistical challenges, which can be (more…)

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Iowa Accountability Program’s Judicial Training Institute Aims at Improving the Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

iapDomestic violence is an epidemic that impacts an estimated 6,000 Iowans each year. While many view domestic violence as a private issue, Kimberly Baxter, Director of the Iowa Accountability Program, identifies how domestic violence is truly a community concern: “Domestic violence affects everyone from service providers to families and the community at large. We need to address domestic violence as a community. Brutality behind closed doors is not only real, but also taboo. It is not something we want to discuss, but if we cannot discuss it, how can we address it? How can we mitigate it?” For nearly ten years the Iowa Accountability Program (IAP) has worked to assist victims of domestic violence and the communities in Iowa that support them. This year, the IAP aims to strengthen its impact through its new Judicial Training Institute. (more…)

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An Interview with Amanda Sager

asAmanda Sager graduated from Bridgewater College in 2009 where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis on Early Childhood Development. After college, she became the Site Director for the After School program at Cub Run Elementary in Rockingham County, Virginia. After a year at Cub Run, Amanda then moved to Mountain View Elementary in Rockingham County to open the Before and After School program as the Site Director there.  She was at Mountain View for three years before accepting the position as Behavioral Specialist at Spotswood Elementary School in Harrisonburg City. After two years at Spotswood she moved to Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg City to work with students with autism. Amanda started at Second Home same time as she started at Thomas Harrison. (more…)

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Disruptive Women in Health Care 2014 Summer Mini-Series: Back to School–At the Intersection of Health and Education

elbWhen thinking of what I wanted to do with my future, the one thing I was always sure of was that I didn’t want a job where I’d be chained to a desk all day. Enter: teaching. After working as a camp counselor for many years and being fortunate enough to observe and help in a variety of different elementary school classrooms throughout the past couple of years, I’ll be starting my junior year at James Madison University in the Department of Education—and I couldn’t be more thrilled about my experiences to come. (more…)

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From Helplessness to Hope: A Reflection on the Death of Robin Williams

Wrenn_Headshot (2)Collective focusing moments occur when an event takes us by surprise, shakes up our usual state of inaction, and captivates our attention in a way that generates public discourse.

When I saw the first words of the subject line of the news alert on my email announcing ‘Robin Williams, dead at 63’, I was in denial, shocked, but expecting a sudden heart attack as the cause. The news that he died by suicide was even more shocking and (more…)

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A Wake-up Call

After I found out I was pregnant last January, I knew I had a lot of work to do in the coming nine months. I was working full-time and going to school; I knew the costs of having a baby were high, but I naively thought that surely, in America, finding help as a low-income pregnant woman and single mother wouldn’t be that hard. If people can donate time and money to the SPCA, I thought, someone must give to organizations dedicated to supporting women like me.

It’s important to note that I do in fact have a job that I worked hard to get. (more…)

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“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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