You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2007.

Doing good things should be high on everyone’s list. Now of course, we all can’t start a foundation to increase the literacy of children across America or better the science and technology skills of the underprivileged – but simple things we can do.

A few days ago, I was reading through Beth’s blog and came across this online game that she was playing with her children. It sounded pretty interesting, so I bookmarked it in plans to check it out. Yesterday, I finally got around to checking out Free Rice, the English language trivia game that not only increases your knowledge of words but sends rice to the hungry through the UN.

Now, I did pretty decently on my verbal SAT but wow, there are some serious words going on here! One of my favorite words, basilisk [a legendary reptile] popped up last night but the word blazon – definitely wasn’t in my vocabulary. It means “coat of arms“. And now that I think of it, the world emblazoned is in my vocabulary and I was upset that I missed the opportunity to add 20 more grains of rice to the bowl. Anyhow, the website also includes a history of rice donated from when the website began. It’s really interesting to see how interest in the game has exploded and I’m pretty sure it’s due to word of mouth (WOM).

With the advent of social media and the importance of creating community amongst peers, it’s no wonder that word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of marketing a product or in this case, a worthy cause. Heck, there is even a whole association based around it! Global hunger is a public health issue – inadvertently, the creation of the Web 2.0 phenomenon has made a way to connect people to many great causes. The potential is seemingly endless and I want to tap into it and make some changes.

It’s an exciting time now people!!

Fall Leaves

Well it’s that wonderful time of year again, where families get together, the oven gets overworked and you already know what your New Year’s resolution will be as you reach for that last piece of pumpkin pie.

I’ll be hanging out with my wife’s family where there will no doubt be a bevy of great food, laughter and new memories. However, I’m really looking forward to playing the Nintendo Wii that they bought for the living room. So I’m thinking that since I’m the family evangelist for health, I can eat what I want and burn it off with a few sweat-inducing rounds of Wii Sports Tennis! Wishful thinking at best but I can dream can’t I?

My good friend Melissa, who turns out to be an uber expert on nutrition and lifestyle balance, had a great piece published recently in The Georgetowner. The article focuses on staying grounded in good foods this Thanksgiving. Not only does the recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables sound delicious but taking a look at the Root Vegetable Ginger Soup recipe makes me want to keep a batch of that around for the cold winter nights and potential stuffy noses!

Remember to enjoy yourself, strike up a conversation with a family member you haven’t seen in a while and get some rest. Out of the many, many days of the year where we are plugged into Blackberries, laptops and cell phones 24/7, take some time out to return to [insert your name here] 1.0

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http://www.publichealththankyouday.org/

I wish I had known about this event much earlier! This is exactly the kind of resource we need to promote and get on the news in FRONT of the latest high blood pressure drug that will eventually cause you to get high cholesterol…

Prevention is better than cure folks – our parents told us this but oh how aptly it applies to health.

I’ll be all over Public Health Thank You Day next year!

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This past Tuesday, I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Dr. Jessie Gruman, Ph.D., the President of the Center for the Advancement of Health as well as a recent addition to the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Dr. Gruman’s new book, AfterShock, deals with the very real issue of having your life turned upside down by getting unfavorable news from your physician or having a loved one receive the news and therefore being affected as well.

After an introduction, Dr. Gruman began addressing an attentive audience which truly wanted to gain insight on dealing with these life altering circumstances. She then gave a brief synopsis of each chapter, creating a great personal connectivity with the audience. We were then given 8 tenets to keep in mind when going through these trying times – 4 for those who have personally received the bad news and then 4 for those who know a loved one going through a medical crisis.

If You Have Received Bad News:

  1. You will not always feel like this (depressed, despondent, generally stressed, etc.) – as you get more information, you are able to look at the big picture, beyond your initial emotions. Dr. Gruman mentions that you just need to get through the first 24 hours.
  2. Be aware of your initial sense of urgency. Understand that there is never only one option. Get a second opinion. Don’t be in a hurry to sign up for the first solution that is presented to you.
  3. Choose who you want to involve in your situation. Be careful who you tell about the news, you may regret it later on.
  4. Hope is a gift. Remember it’s ok to not feel like everything is alright – make sure to lean on your support system.

If You Know Someone Who Has Received Bad News:

  1. Acknowledge the Situation. Make sure and let the person know that you will keep them in your thoughts and are sorry this has happened to them. The worst thing you can do is to ignore that it has happened and pretend nothing has changed.
  2. Help them to Preserve their Privacy. Please remember that if the person has confided their situation with you, that it does not mean you can tell others. Get their permission before talking to others.
  3. Help them to Retain their Autonomy. Make sure they have the best information/advice and then love them no matter what their decision. They are still individuals and can make their own choices.
  4. Ensure that they are More than their Disease. Pretty self explanatory – ensure that they keep their dignity. It’s alright to laugh, smile and have fun; life is for living!

Finally, there was a Q&A session in which a question regarding becoming informed consumers piqued my interest. Dr. Gruman mentioned that we as consumers are expected to know and understand alot of information, especially regarding health and medicine. She mentioned that since we don’t get told much, it’s a good idea to have a few really good tools and resources. Apart from having a good physician that you can trust, it’s important to have a good sense of where to go for reliable health information. I thought this was especially good advice in the age of user generated content and Web 2.0. There are so many places on the Web where “health information” might be placed, but you need reliable information in order to make good decisions.

Look for an upcoming post on the importance of accurate health information online!

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This is what I think about when I ponder on how social media can effect health education/promotion. People coming together and sharing personal battles and ideas on how to make their lives better. And not sponsored by big pharma (gasp)!

When you get a chance, please check out the home of the Diabetes Talkfest.

Thanks again to Amy over at Diabetes Mine for bringing this to my attention! Just wish I knew about it sooner 🙂

And don’t forget about World Diabetes Day on November 14! Look to the left for the link with more information.

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Photo by Eski on Flickr

What I mean by that is, has the topic of health and making improvements in health, lost the race in getting our attention?

As I was sitting on the Metro, escaping the frostiness of the evening, I whipped out the latest Time magazine issue that caught my attention. This was mainly due to the fact that it had a giant iPhone on the cover with pretty colors! So the flagship portion of the issue highlighted the best inventions of 2007, with the iPhone being the touted as the Invention of the Year. Now of course the sight of gadgets and electronics puts me in a mood akin to that of a child at Toys ‘R Us, but then I took a deeper look at the article, after flipping through all the eye candy of inventions.

On the right side of the pages that contained this article, there was a list of categories in which inventions were highlighted. What I noticed was that the category of “health” was third, sixth, last…that’s right last. Now maybe I’m reading too much into the situation but you have to wonder how the categories were ordered. How does “architecture” come before health….architecture?

If we actually take a step back and look at all the cool toys and gadgets that come out, all the computer related bling, the big screen TVs and the Mars Rover – how well does health rank in our list of importance? One of the most interesting inventions in the category is a highlight on prosthetic technology. It just felt like there was something missing for personal health gadgets or software. I mean, even though I haven’t taken a hard look at it, Microsoft’s HealthVault might have been a good candidate!

Bottomline is, I really feel people may have drooled and cackled with futuristic glee at the other categories but skipped past the health section or at the very least, looked at a giant metal foot, yawned and continued through to the next section. I’m not saying that there needs to be a sexiness factor to health but I’m feeling that if it’s not a revolutionary weight loss pill – personal health comes in last place and people have already left the stadium.

For more information on the Best Inventions of the Year, check out the November 12th issue of Time

I pretty much share in this way of thinking right now. I love gathering information but the rewards come with the “doing” rather than just absorbing and thinking.

Also, Ramit Sethi, the author of the blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich (where that link goes to) was recently featured in the SF Chronicle.

Great job Ramit – thanks for spurring me to action & change!

Nike - Just Do It t-shirt

Remember when computers were really clunky objects that you only knew existed in your classroom (5th grade for me)? I mean, I knew at that young age that I wanted to get involved somehow with technology. Ah yes…I remember now…hours upon hours of time spent playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and and [insert inappropriately excited voice here] the original Space Quest series! Oh, oh, but we CERTAINLY cannot leave out one of the greatest early games of all time….OREGON TRAIL!! That’s right folks…Aunt Martha just got dysentery after drinking river water. Ah yes, good times.

Well fortunately for us, time has zoomed by and we now have great personal computers that have gone into our homes and then everywhere we go – the undisputed mobile technology culture is in full swing! Which brings me to the recent news of a Taiwanese computer company that just produced their Eee PC. The Eee PC is small in dimension and just looking at it makes you wonder if it’s a toy or actual computing device!

asus-eee-pc-005-550x413.jpgBut for any practical purposes, this is a great step forward for devices that can be set up in the classroom (came back full circle!). From the CNET site where I saw the news, one of the pictures shows a group of young students huddled around an area where there are a few of these Eee PC. Is it a coincidence that young kids are drawn to this? With computing technology getting smaller and smaller, it becomes an automatic draw to children and teens. Portability is the theme of today. Who has time to sit at home in order to communicate or send emails? I rather send that when I’m shopping at Target…err, Banana Republic.

From CNET:

At the U.S. launch of the Eee PC, plenty of school children were on hand to test out the tiny kid-friendly laptop. The Linux-based computer has an entirely graphical interface, a short boot-up time, a solid-state drive, and a variety of educational applications and games intended to grab kids’ attention.

Bottom line is, with these technologies coming out that allow for internet access and other computing abilities in such a compact manner – how can this translate into benefits for the public health and education world? Portability should be the best thing going for health education! Think about it, one of the main issues with health education is getting into places that need help the most and just spreading the word – with portable devices, we can show people and carry on presentations on the fly! The possibilities are becoming even more endless.

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