Currently chillin’ at my favorite downtown university bookstore reading the new book by Stanford alum Brian Eule…
In other news, ran across a neat tool by Google called “Living Stories” that is in partnership with New York Times and Washington Post. It’s pretty exciting, and I really like the timeline that they provide you with all the articles that have been written on a particular topic! One example of its uses is helping to navigate the health care reform and all the various issues that are being debated and discussed. Go check it out!
Speaking of health care reform, I’m interested to see what the Democrats’ have come up to alter the idea of a public option. Overall, I can’t wait to see more specifics and less divisive battling between the two parties.
While I am a proponent of making sure that American citizens have access to health care to improve the livelihood of their health and those of their loved ones, I don’t know if a public option is necessarily the correct option. I understand that one of the argued benefits of having a public option will be offering a competitive piece to the health insurance market, but will it really help drive costs down for individuals, small businesses, and employers? Will it make it more compelling for people to utilize the healthcare that they will have? From personal experience, I know that there are individuals who don’t utilize their health care access because of either cultural beliefs, not wanting to “waste” money on something they can tough out, or because they just don’t quite understand what options they do have and how it is applicable to their health.
And where will we get doctors to care for all the people who will soon have insurance? I think we need to expand our healthcare support staff (PAs, NPs, etc.) to make sure that quality care is given to folks in the future. And another thing that concerns me (and does not necessarily have to do with whether or not a public option is a good thing or not) since we’re speaking of health care reform is the spending that is done on unncessary tests and procedures because either a physician feels the pressure to cover her butt against law suit or the prospect of incestives OR a patient requests for tests to be done because they otherwise don’t feel that they are being thoroughly cared for. I think a big part of health care reform that is missing from the public option, abortion, etc. debates is how we view health care and what we expect of it. Tests and procedures aren’t always the best solutions, but they certainly are fast and provide concrete (if not necessarily necessary or better) results. I think that there needs to be consideration on what health means, how we’ll acheive it, and what role health care and its providers play. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Because of memories like the one in this picture from my archery days with two of my students on the Stanford Archery range. (I’m the one in the middle, yes, I’m short…) Thanks to TP for posting the picture on facebook!
I really enjoyed those times on the range, even when it was cold, windy, and raining, working with the students on improving their form and getting them excited about archery. Their enthusiasm and keep-me-on-my-toes attitude were always something I looked forward to each week.
On 12/2, UC San Diego’s The Brain Observatory began slicing the brain of the most famous and most studied neuroscience patient H.M. (Henry Molaison) who had lost his ability to form new memories after an brain operation in 1953 to relieve him of seizures. You can watch it LIVE at their website. And if you’re curious to learn more about H.M. and his story, visit this nice brief in the NYtimes.
Shout out to all the neuroscience study buddies during college and big thank you to DH for being his enthusiastically-neuroscientific-fantastic self and updating me about it. And of course, thank you, H.M., for your incredible contribution to the field of neuroscience and our understanding of memory.
Received news about hep B misinformation that was on a popular Chinese TV drama, Woju or Dwelling Narrowness. The article from Global Times, “Fuss over TV Drama’s Line,” details an account where one of the characters on the show INCORRECTLY reprimands her sister for not washing her hands, warning her that she’ll contract hepatitis B and subsequently won’t get a job. The lack of correct education is frustrating – it is really unfortunate that this popular show’s line perpetuated the misconception about the transmission route for hepatitis B (which is ONLY blood transmission) with that of hepatitis A. However, I will give it that it touches upon the discrimination that is still in effect in China.
But here’s the kicker: The article continues to recount how the show is deleting the phrase before re-airing the episode (small victory!), but also mentions some of the public’s outcry that deleting that line was an overreaction, that the person who complained was being radical, and the deletion was not sensitive to the public’s feelings. I can’t express how incredibly frustrated this makes me. I support the deletion and believe it is not a radical or an overreaction, and in fact is a step in the right direction for human rights and fixing misconceptions. It’s clear that much more education needs to be done to lift misconceptions about hepatitis B’s transmission.
Ran across an interesting commentary from JAMA entitled “A Closer Look at the Economic Argument for Disease Prevention” by Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH. I am currently doing some research as I create an employer toolkit regarding hepatitis B, and I just got a chance to read through this delightful commentary that SC had referenced during one of our earlier working group meetings. In a time when the details of health care reform are being debated, this is an interesting take on what some policy makers may be considering when looking at health policy.
What really struck me was that Dr. Woolf is emphasizing that prevention won’t save money, but rather, it stretches the benefits that the money we invest in health obtain. This places health care more as a commodity that is traded and helps me think of an alternative meaning for what it means for a medical service to be cost-effective.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
To share some holiday joy. Thanks to RN for the link, and SL for sharing.
Happy Holidays! And yes, I do intend to make good on my work items that I had mentioned in my last post. To add to my blog list of “to-do’s:” my pride in ALC intern initiatives and their enthusiasm (regarding SPP, JZ, JW, EY, and NT), my joy in having past interns return to the JRC cause (HZ, GU, KH), and how managing the ALC internship program has made my time as Outreach Coordinator particularly worthwhile.
All my best,
It has been a while since I’ve made my way to my wordpress account to share my thoughts with you. Thanks for your patience during my hiatus. Today, I finished cleaning off my desk and transferring the last of my outreach coordinator things to DN, and look forward to beginning in earnest my work on corporate initiatives for hepatitis B. Here’s a toast to new beginnings!
Hepatitis B Updates / Asian Liver Center / Jade Ribbon Campaign
There is quite a bit to share here; however, I’ll spread the exciting news over the course of future posts. There are two things that I believe will interest you. The first is President Obama’s recognition that hepatitis B is an important Asian and Pacific Islander issue that needs to be addressed. He did so during his celebration of Diwali in October. You can find the video of his speech here at the White House website or you can read a report on it here. This is extremely invigorating news that the president of the US recognizes this important health concern! Hopefully all hepatitis B awareness campaigns will be able to leverage this statement to further advance efforts.
San Mateo Hep B Free had its kick-off earlier this month and had a successful turnout with community and media partners. One of my past interns is now Project Coordinator for San Mateo Hep B Free, and I am extremely proud of her hard work to pull this event together. I am also looking forward to seeing increased hepatitis B education and awareness within the Filipino population in the San Mateo. Here is a picture of us at the event, and I’m wearing the Jade Ribbon dress my roommate ST made for me (and this time you can actually see the ribbon shape):
Upcoming: National Business Group on Health Conference debrief and hep B news in China.
I went to see the Leonid Meteor Shower with CT, WC, and AM on Monday at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. Saw a beautiful shooting star whose tail burned like a thick brushstroke across the evening sky. Didn’t see as many as I had anticipated, but it was fun to get out under the stars again. I forgot to warn the others about how cold it gets at night, but I think it was a successful event nonetheless. Definitely missed having DH and SL there, though.
Have had more free time than I know what to do with lately, and so I do what I am naturally inclined to do when without work (ha, perhaps, with less work): read. I’ve been reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which is extremely interesting and definitely a suggested read from me. I have also been exploring some science fiction short stories by Ted Chiang. (Thank you DH for your suggestion!) This guy is pretty brilliant and I thoroughly enjoy the points that he makes. If you have time, take a gander.
Have a good night,
Edit: Didn’t realize this wasn’t published publicly. Sorry about that!
Good morning world,
Currently sitting in a crowded and congested terminal at SJC waiting for my Delta flight to Minneapolis. My flight was scheduled for 6:36 AM, but on my way to the airport this morning at 5 AM (thanks, CT), I received a call from Delta’s message service telling me that my flight had been moved to 8:00 AM. Great. Could have slept for thirty more glorious minutes. I’m not a huge fan of SJC (when I have the option of SFO), but when I arrived, the check in area is a complete mess with the check-in kiosks hidden behind a large gaggle of passengers waiting to check in their bags. It was a bit hilarious considering that Delta only had 3-4 stations open and roughly 50 people waiting in line whereas the other airlines had barely any people. Goes to show that people are definitely interested in flying Delta. Now I’m at the terminal and if only I could capture the sea of disgruntled faces and record the angry phone calls and conversations. I don’t know why, but I feel this is an effect of the SJC airport. When I fly at SFO, I don’t have this problem.
What’s even better is that I have received 6 phone calls regarding the constant changes in times for my flight. It went from 8 AM to 7 AM to 7:30 AM to 8 AM and other times. I suppose that at least there is an effort to keep me updated with new information. I just overheard that another airline’s lavatories do not work, so all passengers are highly encouraged to use the restroom facilities in the airport. And, I can’t enjoy the sunrise because of blackened windows. Note to self: Should’ve gone with the SFO option – this is what I get for trying to be thrifty.
Enough with my morning, and onto more pertinent updates. It’s become a pattern that I apologize for my absence, so I’ll explain what I’ve been up to and why I’ve been away from blogging and microblogging (huge apology for my delay in response). After a bout of being ill, work took over my life along with medical school applications. It’s been rather stressful trying to finish my secondaries for medical school and work full time with weekend events. The new outreach coordinator recently started, so things should quiet down (I think I’ve already said this before…), but hopefully within the next month or two, I can really have more time for other things in my life. So apologies about the delay and I haven’t given up on blogging or social media.
As most of you are aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the shelves of local grocery stores and pharmacies are covered in the pink ribbon. Now, airports are, too. When I walked in this morning to stand in the Delta check-in area, I was surprised by the pink balloons, pink ribbons, pink banner, and pink shirts. I took a couple of pictures and will upload when I return from Philly. I think it’s great that Delta has made an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer amongst its employees and its consumers. They even have a pink plane!
It’s interesting this concept of cause-marketing. I understand it’s purpose and I am definitely for breast cancer research and awareness and building communities of support, but in some sense, I have become a little bit [Side note, my flight is now changed to 8:20 AM due to snow in Minneapolis] wary of this flood of pink. Here’s an article called “Sick of Pink” from the Boston Globe that one of my interns sent me that gave me a different perspective on Pink month. While I’m not against all the pink items, I suppose the article sobered me a bit regarding cause-marketing. As a proponent of large-scale awareness, I really think it’s a great advancement to educate and normalize cancer awareness issues, but I have honestly never thought about the perspective presented in the article.
Hopefully I’ll make it to Philadelphia today (where I’m co-moderating a panel at the National Business Group on Health conference). Until then, take care.
Edit: I will give SJC one thing: Free Wifi. This fact alone has made my morning bearable.
After a week hiatus from social media, I am back. Apologies about the bout of absence, illness and work took me away. So, if you emailed me within the last two weeks, I promise I will get back to you; I’m just slightly overwhelmed at this point.
Updates from the hepatitis B front: SF Treasure Island Dragon Boat Festival was this past weekend, which is always a treat. We had the opportunity to collaborate with SF Hep B Free on holding a booth and providing educational surveys to the festival attendees. Knowledge levels about hepatitis B prevalence in Asian and Pacific Islanders (1 in 10 compared to 1 in 1000 of Caucasians), transmission (only through blood), and risks (liver cancer and liver failure) were very low, indicative of increased awareness and education. Surveys from the Filipino Fil Am Friendship Festival in Daly City also reflected poor knowledge levels and misconceptions within the Filipino population. NT, SC, and I are working on a paper that examines the knowledge levels of the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino populations, so that should be exciting. Side note: everyone loved the Jade Warrior tattoos – I’ll upload one tomorrow. They were such a hit.
On the youth front, the 2009-2010 Jade Ribbon Youth Council has been selected. 16 Bay Area high school students will be joining the ALC family to create innovative outreach ideas for targeting youth and learn how to be leaders in their communities. The application was pretty stiff this year and it was difficult to choose out of roughly fifty highly qualified candidates. Additionally, it is extremely exciting to see all the high school awareness chapters that are starting this year. I think there are ten or more chapters that are starting from this year’s YLC alone. And I also received an email from a YLC 2008 alumni at Vassar who is going to start a collegiate hepatitis B awareness group. This is just one example of how these youth empowerment programs truly impact youth and stay with them. I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to play a role in such an rewarding endeavor.
And one more piece of exciting news: the ALC’s new Outreach Coordinator will be starting on Wednesday! I can now officially start full force on the corporate outreach work. Exciting!
I also saw a mother carrying the Jade Ribbon Campaign reusable shopping bag at the Caltrain Station at Milbrae this past Saturday. I almost took out the camera to snap pictures of her, but stopped myself less I appear inappropriate. However, CL did come up with a neat idea: “Where have you seen the JRC reusable shopping bag” contest. Definitely has merit and will continue ruminating on this idea for the future.
Thank you for reading!