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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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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