Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An inspirational video about love and commitment

Rick Smolan at the TED conference: "A girl, a photograph, a homecoming"


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Music is love

The movie "Once" is inspiring and heart felt. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New York Times: "The Healing Power of Dogs"

"Dogs have long had special standing in the medical world. Trained to see for the blind, hear for the deaf and move for the immobilized, dogs have become indispensable companions for people with disabilities.

"But dogs appear to be far more than four-legged health care workers. Over the years, data on the larger role dogs play in health has trickled out from various corners of the world..."

Read the article

New York Times: "For Cancer Patients, Empathy Goes a Long Way"

"Research supports the idea that a few kind words from an oncologist — what used to be called bedside manner — can go a long way toward helping people with cancer understand their treatment, stick with it, cope better and maybe even fare better medically."

Read the article. (free subscription may be required)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Article: "Happiness may be good for your health"

Read the article, which summarizes a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, correlating happiness and positive attitude with lower levels of cortisol.

A Patient's Best Friend: My dog's amazing gift with hospice patients.

an article by Jon Katz, from Slate.com

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better

A short, but powerful video from the TED conference. Watch the great exchange between Tony and Al Gore.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

An Amazing Hug

For cat lovers everywhere, another example of the extraordinary emotional bond between animals and humans.

Why aren’t we all Good Samaritans?

Daniel Goleman, author of the best seller, Emotional Intelligence, speaks at the "Technology, Entertainment and Design "(TED)conference.

Meditation Enhances Attention - Scientific American's Street Science

An interesting video from Scientific American on the effect of meditation on increasing awareness. The study's author, Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, has been working with the Dalai Lama to bridge the gap between science and spirit. Meditation, and other practices of "inner work", enable the practitioner to grasp more of what's present, not miss the nuance, and consciously make more productive choices-rather than unconsciously have less productive reactions.

The Business of Care

There's frustration and dissatisfaction throughout the continuum of the healthcare encounter. Bright and caring physicians, nurses, and other health professionals are disillusioned that healthcare has become less about health and care, and more about disease and management. Healthcare. Disease management. Which inspires you? For many, "managed care" isn't well managed, and isn't caring.

So what's the payoff for people who came to their work with a mission of caring, now finding it dominated by paperwork, technology, time constraints, and an inability to care?

For those whose passion is in biomedical science, being a body mechanic - fixing broken parts - may be enough. But for those who agree with Sir William Osler that "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has", it's not.

The chief of medicine for one of the Armed Forces once told me that "Most of the people who come to see me are just lonely." And, as we now know that one's mental and emotional state can greatly influence one's state of health and dis-ease, "For patients, the relationship with their provider frequently is the most therapeutic aspect of the health care encounter." (Health Professions Education and Relationship-Centered Care, p.9).

In our increasingly digital world, the "analog" subjectivity of relationship holds less weight. In order to reinvigorate and re-humanize healthcare, we need to demonstrate the cost benefit of relationship: of taking more time with patients, of both parties feeling heard and understood, feeling care and cared for.

We can begin to make a solid case for the economic benefit of "relationship-centered care." In The Sociophysiology of Caring in the Doctor-patient Relationship, Herbert M. Adler, MD, PhD, writes that “A caring relationship creates a setting of patient comfort that is most likely to result in a more complete medical history (82), improved clinical judgment with regard to laboratory tests and procedures, more accurate diagnoses, more cost-effective prescribing (95) (96), a more satisfied patient who is more informed and adherent to the treatment plan (97), (98), and better treatment outcomes (99)…”(Adler, 2002, p. 883)

The word "Heal" comes from the Old English "hale," which means: "to make sound or whole"; "to restore to health". And, as the wise physician Rachel Naomi Remen has written, “The greatest gift we bring to anyone who is suffering is our wholeness.”

To your health. To your wholeness.

To be hopeful in bad times

Someone sent me the following quote today. I'm a big fan of hope, and, in a world which the media seems to constantly paint with a black brush, hope exists everywhere.

There are countless stories of survival through hope: Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, chronicling his survival of the Nazi death camps, may be the best known.

In Winning Life's Toughest Battles, Dr. Julius Segal, who studied and counseled returning Vietnam prisoners of war, wrote that, of the over 500 POW's, there was only 1 suicide. He attributes their survival to hope, and the bond of community while in captivity. And there are countless other stories, large and small.

Hope is a capacity which exists in everyone, why I believe, to paraphrase, "Hope springs internal."
"An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." -- Howard Zinn

James Fallows: "Something I didn't expect to see (China, AIDS, and Bill Clinton)"

In his excellent blog, James Fallows wrote about China's President Hu Jintao shaking the hands of an AIDS patient at a clinic. There's more hope to this story than meets the eye.

Oprah, Clinton, Kendall, and Kiva

I'm trying to think of someone who's done more good in the world than Oprah Winfrey. I'm not an avid viewer, but she'll occasionally have a show that speaks to me. Sometimes, it's Mehmet Oz, the transplant surgeon, author, and champion of mind/body/spirit medicine. Others, it's a program about people thriving in the face of physical, mental, or emotional challenges.

Oprah's program with Bill Clinton on "Giving" was terrific. Regardless of what a person may think of his presidency, Bill Clinton is doing great things with his Clinton Global Initiative (He and Jimmy Carter are probably our greatest ex-presidents). In addition to Clinton, the program featured Kendall Ciesemier, who, when she was 13, saw Oprah's Christmas program on AIDS orphans, donated $360 of her own money to "adopt" one of these children, and founded Kids Caring for Kids. Even while enduring two liver transplants herself, Kendall had raised $100,000 for African children with HIV.

Oprah had arranged for President Clinton to speak at Kendall's school, and he surprised her by bringing her on stage, then taking her to Oprah's program to talk about her fundraising. On the program, Kendall announced that she had set a new goal of raising $1 million.

Following a commercial, Clinton mentioned that he'd approached during the break by a friend (who remains anonymous) who told him that he would donate $500,000 to Kendall's charity.

The program also featured Kiva, a nonprofit which "...lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back."

This is not a tax-deductible donation (unless you contribute to Kiva's own operating expenses); but, rather, a mechanism by which you can loan as little as $25 to a small business woman or man; helping them to "fish" for themselves, rather than "giving them a fish."

Check out the kiva site for yourself and let people know about Kendall, Kiva, and the Clinton Global Initiative.

To give is to receive.