TBT: Taking A Stand Against the USPSTF’s “New Breast Cancer Guidelines”

Grace Bender

On November 11, 2009 we ran the post below. For many this week when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its draft breast cancer screening recommendation it was deja vous.

As a member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance Board and a breast cancer survivor, I welcome readers of Disruptive Women in Health Care to read the statement below that was released by Komen as a result of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force “new breast cancer guidelines.” In addition, please visit the Komen website: www.komenadvocacy.org and take a stand and action by signing the petition and help ensure that all women have access to this lifesaving screening.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Recommends No Impediments to Breast Cancer Screening (more…)


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Snap to It: Passing the Torch of Advocacy and Change

Janice Lynch Schuster

Any given week, one of my five Millennial children is out volunteering for community-based groups, or marching in the streets for social justice. Although I like to think that I had some influence on their propensity to serve and advocate, they deny this. Instead, they tell me, they are driven by motives and experiences that are entirely their own.

Even so, they were all in grade school when I took them to their first rally: the Million Mom March on Washington to protest gun violence. They were in middle school when I joined a candlelight vigil to protest the war in Iraq, and in high school when I canvassed for Kerry and Obama. Their father, my former husband, played his part, too, having them volunteer at organizations that serve the homeless in our community, and other groups that help vulnerable people thrive.

It could be, I guess, that children take less notice of us than parents believe (or take notice, for years, of our shortcomings). I have no doubt, though, that my parents influenced me to try to change the world for the better. (more…)

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SWHR Honors Champions of Women’s Health at their 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner

swhrThe Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) held their annual black-tie gala on March, 25, 2015. This year celebrated 25 years of transforming women’s health. More than 600 guests gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Washington D.C. to commemorate this milestone.

Judy Woodruff was the evening’s master of ceremony. The gala honored the accomplishments of several champions of women’s health, and opened with an anniversary video, chronicling SWHR’s efforts to put women’s health at the forefront of research. (more…)

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Founder Robin Strongin helps Women in MedTech Group Launch at MassMEDIC Forum

The article below originally ran on April 9 in MedTech Boston and can be accessed here. Many thanks to Disruptive Woman Randel Richner who invited Disruptive Women Founder Robin Strongin to participate in this launch. Can’t wait to hear more from this group!

StronginThe first-ever Women in MedTech event launched last week in Waltham, MA as 125 women gathered for a MassMEDIC-sponsored forum titled “Disruptive Technologies in Medicine.” Its founders frame their goal: “To unite New England medical device executive women by providing an inspirational and educational leadership forum.” The message: “You will hear us now.”

Randel Richner, President of Richner Consultants, opened the forum. “Today is a dream of mine, to have all of you in this room,” she said. Two powerful influences have guided her life: her dad, who said, “You will always work,” and Robin Morgan’s 1969 book, Sisterhood is Powerful. Richner started her career as a dialysis nurse on a bus, but has taken her work many places since. She has been called incendiary – inflammable and provocative – and effective, and she believes deeply in an Alibaba quote: “To be more successful, bring in more women.” (more…)

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Both of Them

Regina Holliday

Disruptive Women is embarking on an exciting week…Tuesday we head to NYC where we will be emceeing XX in Health as their retreat takes over the boy’s club (The Harvard Club). Then on Thursday we will be talking to women in tech at MassMEDIC. So as we interact with new disruptive women this week we wanted to reflect back and run some powerful posts from the past. Be sure to check the blog all this week for some of our favorites.

Do ever think of animals or fictional characters can well represent the personalities of new people you meet?

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I often do.  It helps me remember them and their personality.  When I first met Matthew Browning it was on Twitter and I knew him by his description: Founder YourNurseIsOn.com, CEO Targeted Instant Communications, Inventor IntelliBlast Communications System, RN, MSN, FNP, Healthcare 2.0, Husband & Daddy, :-)   When I met Matthew in person I thought of the 1984 film: The NeverEnding Story.  In particular I thought of the character known as Rock-Biter.  This character is tall and strong with a deep rumbling voice.  It was a perfect fit for Matthew. (more…)

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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.

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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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