The State of Women in Healthcare: An Update

Halle Tecco

Exactly a year ago, we decided to publish the gender data on founders at Rock Health. Despite women being the majority of our team and our board, only 30% of our portfolio companies had a female founder (today, we are at almost 34%). Because we’d like to help our portfolio companies access a diverse talent pool, we began the XX in Health initiative nearly four years ago.

The aim of this initiative is to bring women together to network and support one another. The 2,400 members of the group share resources and ideas on LinkedIn and meet regularly across the country. This week we’re hosting a webinar on the topic for both men and women, and next week along with Disruptive Women, we’ll host our sixth XX in Health Retreat in NYC.

Today, through this initiative, we are proud to share our third annual report on the state of women in healthcare. Our past reports on this topic have been some of our most popular content, and we encourage you to share this report with your colleagues.

Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions in healthcare. (more…)

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Endo Awareness

Amber Coleman-MortleyMarch is endometriosis awareness month.  According the CDC, endometriosis occurs “when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else”.  In other words your uterine lining can grow on ovaries, it can wrap around your intestines and in some cases on parts of the body nowhere near the female reproductive organs, like in a few rare cases the lungs.  As serious as this sounds, unfortunately, many people have heard more about ovarian cancer (which is very serious) than endometriosis.  I, however, have known about this disease and the havoc it can wreak for my entire life.

Growing up I used to pray that I would never get my menstrual cycle.  I never wanted children and I never wanted to take part in any of the natural changes that occur within the 21-35 day interval of femininity.  I saw it as the body’s unnecessary method of taking out the garbage and wondered what would happen if you could “become a woman” but keep all of that “stuff” in there. But alas the end of middle school came and my prayers were not answered.  I was a normal woman and I had to deal with the “tribulations of womanhood”. But my overall attitude toward the process changed when someone very close to me was diagnosed with endometriosis. (more…)

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Launching Healthcare’s Most Essential Dialogue

Mary R. Grealy

On Monday, March 2, a remarkable event took place in Washington, DC.  In a city in which bickering and finger-pointing are practically cottage industries, the diverse interests of American healthcare – many of which often find themselves on opposing sides of issues – came together to begin finding common ground on challenges affecting health system value, innovation and sustainability.

The stakes for this discussion couldn’t be higher.  Virtually every day, new health innovations are emerging from drawing boards and laboratories.  Advances in medicine, however, bring with them more questions.  How do we incentivize even greater progress to help extend and improve patient lives?  How do we make game-changing innovations affordable and accessible for patients and consumers?  And, how do we create a structure that achieves both high-quality healthcare and long-term economic sustainability?

The Healthcare Leadership Council – a coalition of CEOs from all health sectors – created an initiative, the National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation (NDHI) for the very purpose of answering questions like these. (more…)

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What Do Women Know About Obamacare That Men Don’t?

Susan-DentzerThe post below originally ran on The Health Care Blog. Susan Dentzer is one of Disruptive Women’s 2015 Women to Watch, read the post and you will see why!

For the second year running, more women than men have signed up for coverage in health insurance marketplaces during open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment ran 56 percent female, 44 percent male, during last year’s open enrollment season; preliminary data from this year shows enrollment at 55 percent female, 45 percent male – a 10 percentage point difference.

What gives? An HHS spokeswoman says the department can’t explain most of the differential. Females make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, but there is no real evidence that, prior to ACA implementation, they were disproportionately more likely to be uninsured than men – and in fact, some evidence indicates that they were less likely to be uninsured than males. (more…)

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A health agenda comes to the 2015 Oscars

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post originally ran on Health Populi.

The 87th annual 2015 Oscars show (#Oscars15) feted more than the movie industry: the event celebrated health in both explicit and subtle ways.

Julianne Moore took the golden statuette for Best Actress, playing the title role in Still Alice, the story a woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In accepting her award, Moore spoke of the need to recognize and “see” people with Alzheimer’s – so many people feel isolated and marginalized, Moore explained. Movies help us feel seen and not alone – and people with Alzheimer’s need to be seen so we can find a cure, she asserted. See Moore’s lovely remarks here.

Eddie Redmayne took Oscar home for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. In the role, Redmayne channels Hawking through his journey from young, healthy Cambridge University student through decades of living with ALS. Redmayne tells us in his thank-you here how his Oscar statue belongs to everyone battling ALS, and he will be Oscar’s custodian on their behalf. (more…)

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Women Who Serve: Who We Are

diana d 2The concept of women as the gentler sex is hard to square with the military warrior culture.  Husband hunter, lesbian, slut, whore, manipulator, or too dumb to do anything else are the historical characterizations of women who serve and are changing far too slowly.   No one is more surprised with this rancor than the young, naïve and innocent women who join the military with an eye on what the future may bring.

I wanted a chance at a better life. I wanted to be more than my surroundings dictated to me. I felt a duty to my country; to protect and preserve all the things I loved.

My time in the Army was one of the best experiences of my lifetime, dotted by some of the most traumatic events I’ll ever endure.

I was inspired to join after the 9/11 attack. I wanted to deploy.

Someone in my family has served all the way back to the Revolutionary War. (more…)


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Disruptive Women & Service join forces: Care for Military & Veteran Women Series

stodder headshot DCWe are grateful to Disruptive Women in Health Care for giving us a platform to present solutions to the range of obstacles faced by women who serve. In the posts we will introduce highly informed contributors with an eye toward solutions. The writers will be military and veteran women as well as all those who care about them and for them.

Patricia Lee Stotter, a multiple award winning composer, addresses all issues of health care, and has created the opportunity for this collaboration. As co-producer of the Emmy award-winning film, “Service: When Women Come Marching Home”, Stotter threw herself into creating social media bridging many gaps and bringing women together. Whether working on Sesame Street or suicide prevention, Stotter is all about the right voice at the right time, creating strategic partnerships to lift the voices of the disenfranchised. (more…)

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HIMSS or Bust

Regina Holliday

Last year I had the opportunity to do an amazing interview with Tim from HIStalk.  It was a wide-ranging discussion that covered a great deal of the HIT (health information technology) landscape.   Toward the end of our conversation, Tim and I began to talk about the challenges patients face attending HIMSS.  Many patients would like to go this enormous conference with its thousands of attendees, great educational sessions and access to numerous health care venders; but cannot afford to pay for hotel lodging, airfare and an attendee pass.  We talked about the possibility of working together to create patient travel scholarships.

regina 1.26

So today we would like to jointly announce the HIS-talking Gallery Patient Scholarship for travel to HIMSS 2015, April 12-16, in Chicago! (more…)

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Who is perfect? Advocacy ads for real people.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

What is the nature of disability? What is the nature of beauty? What is perfection? Who among us is perfect?

These questions are at the heart (literally and figuratively) of a project undertaken by Pro Infirmis, a Switzerland-based advocacy organization raising awareness of people with disabilities, promoting the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December 2013.

Pro-Infirmis-Mannequins-and-People-300x188Mannequins in fashionable shops on Zurich’s tony street the Bahnhofstrasse were replaced by new ones, artfully, painstakingly and lovingly created, as shown in the video.

Pro Infirmis’s website tells us “who” we are looking at in human and 3-D life-size mannequin form: Miss Handicap 2010, Jasmin Rechsteiner; radio presenter and film critic Alex Oberholzer; track and field athlete Urs Kolly; blogger Nadja Schmid; and, actor Erwin Aljukic.

In Pro Infirmis’s words: Between the perfect mannequins, there will be figures with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One will have shortened limbs; the other a malformed spine. (more…)

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Fighting the injustice of health disparities: Honoring the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Dr. John M. Eisenberg

Robin Strongin

For the past several years I have run this post and just as it was those years, it is this year a very important message.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.John EisenbergWe, as a nation, have made progress and I believe Dr. King would be proud. But our work is far from complete – particularly where health care is concerned. Another doctor, Dr. John M. Eisenberg, a physician of tremendous stature whose life was also tragically cut short (not by an assassin’s bullet but by brain cancer) was equally passionate about the dignity of life and justice for all Americans. Dr. Eisenberg, who among other things, served as the Director of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (as AHRQ was known back in the day), cared deeply about access to and the integrity of health care for all Americans – regardless of skin color.

Fifteen years ago, on January 14, 2000, Dr. Eisenberg gave what is, in my opinion, a brilliant speech to the employees of the Department of Health and Human Services. As with the past years I want to share his words with all of you today — as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. (more…)

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  • January 13th, 2015 Filming in the ER: A Policymaker Perspective
    By Glenna Crooks
  • January 12th, 2015 Filming in the ER: A Patient Perspective
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

    Congratulations to one of our 2015 Disruptive Women to Watch Madeleine Will for all her work on this legislation and on behalf of persons with disabilities. 

    (Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2014) – Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

    “Today marks a new day in our country’s understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families,” Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. “A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country’s policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability.” He continued. “For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability.”  (more…)

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    Healthcare’s Renewable Resource: Authentic Patient Experience

    kym

    Cancer is my medical degree. Navigating my way through three distinct cancer diagnoses across three unique stages of life and managing three different treatment paths is my specialty. In the course of enduring Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 17, melanoma at 38 and, in 2012, breast cancer at 46, I’ve amassed firsthand expertise in the critical areas of patient-provider communications, care coordination, patient safety, insurance reconciliation, disease prevention, and personalized treatment planning.

    From the time of my first cancer diagnosis over 30 years ago to today, cancer has influenced my life and risk of future disease. To put my experience in perspective, the collective time I spent in the throes of surgery, recovery and treatment of my two most significant diagnoses – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer –totals twelve months. So, I have spent only 1/30th of my cancer experience fully immersed in the healthcare system. (more…)

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    Top 10 Reasons we need The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing in Grantsville, MD

    Regina Holliday

    In the week since I started our crowdfund on Medstartr to help fund the creation of The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing some folks have had a few questions about this project. Though I do not do list posts very often, I thought this would be the easiest way to explain why we need to create this center.

    10. People need space to create.

    I recently worked with the students in every class in Grantsville Elementary School as they created art for the Grantsville Art Walk. That is 220 some children working with me and their art teacher Torria Quesenberry . We met in Ms. Quesenberry’s classroom.  (more…)

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