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.
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!
Cleaned up the blog interface over the weekend; hope you find the blog easier on the eyes, especially with pictures embedded in the text. Also, I’ve included some blogs and people I follow who write pretty thought provoking things. I highly encourage you to check them out; they’re located on the bottom of the column to your right.
Have been fiddling with Yahoo meme, although it is very similar to Twitter. What I do like about it is that you can see all the comments that are attached to one post or idea. Speaking of social media, Michael Brito was very kind to meet with me last week to talk about social media strategy for the Asian Liver Center. He’s so incredibly kind and generous with his time and expertise. We discussed blogging and how to leverage blogs to connect to the public (you!) and give people a sense of what is going on with our projects on the ground. Such a fantastic guy!
I have been primarily been trying to catch up with email and crunch out a mini-grant that is due tomorrow. Some exciting news on the hepatitis B front is news coverage of our Jade Ribbon Youth Council 2008-2009 in the San Mateo County Times newspaper. Congratulations to them for their fantastic leadership in raising awareness about hepatitis B and liver cancer.
Interesting article on NPR.com about healthcare and the detrimental effect of copays on incentives, especially in the case of chronic diseases. The author of the piece is a lawyer from a biotech company and provides a well-written argument on how co-pays tend to drive “perverse financial incentives.” Co-pays lead individuals with chronic illnesses – like chronic hepatitis B, as highlighted in the article – to look for cheaper treatment alternatives and delayed treatment only to end up with surgeries and interventions later on that cost both the patient and the insurance a great deal more. Thanks to SC for the article.
And to end the night, here’s a little comic I found funny (thanks to SL for sending!):
Had a great chat with a friendly fellow, B from Intel Digital Health Group, on the plane yesterday about my hepatitis B work and his work at Intel. He was interested in the work that we have done at Cisco and bringing hep B awareness to the Asian employee base (although, I was thinking that we need to broaden the scope since hepatitis B also affects Russians, those from the Middle East, some South Americans, and Africans). Hopefully we’ll see some progress there soon. I was not even aware that Intel played a role in healthcare, but it only makes sense that Intel would play a role in helping to create cutting-edge technology to help improve healthcare data / information technologies. Definitely check out Intel’s healthcare website to see what innovative projects they are working on to improve our healthcare system, and ultimately, our health.
Also, was reading the blog of Eric Dishman, Intel Director of Health Innovation and Policy, and I really liked his blog entry on health care reform entitled “Healthcare Reform is Personal for Me”. I feel it really speaks to a lot fo the reasons why I support true reform in the current healthcare system. One of the most poignant points was the fear of losing insurance due to a pre-existing condition or not being able to get the care that you need due to all the red tape that exists now. I’d highly recommend you read the blog entry, and do let me know what you think.
One reason the blog entry struck me was because I was recently speaking with my own mother about how her insurance monthly payment is increasing almost each month, and how she can’t afford the increases and she can’t find another provider to take her due to her chronic hepatitis status. She won’t even go and do her regular 6-month ALT and AFP blood tests to check for liver cancer because she can’t afford to pay the $30 co-pay and then the cost of the bloodwork. And she’s been having problems walking, but she won’t go see the doctor because she’s afraid of all the billing that will ensue from the various MRI’s or tests she’ll undergo. She even tried to ask her insurance how much the tests would cost, but they said they couldn’t tell her – that it was dependent on how much the physician’s office wanted to charge. And when she called the physician’s office, they said they didn’t know either, and it was dependent on how much the insurance premiums were. And so, already strapped for cash and unwilling to spend more than she has to, my mom suffers each day, having to hobble around. I spent an hour last night rubbing Bengay cream on her leg and back as she whimpered in pain.
It’s frustrating to say the least. I tell her I’ll pay for her appointments and I even schedule them, but she doesn’t commit to them. I try to convince her that I’m willing to put forth this money so that we don’t have to spend more later in the event of serious disease or injury, but she doesn’t listen. She doesn’t feel that her healthcare provider is there to take care of her, only to take her money away, and that is incredibly frustrating on my end, when I just want to make sure she’s healthy and happy. She’s a small business owner, and doesn’t have the luxury I have to rely on a larger company / institution for healthcare. She has a pre-existing condition that bars her from finding more affordable healthcare. And she won’t utilize the little healthcare benefits she has because she can’t navigate the insurance policies and pricing costs. I don’t know about you, but I think our healthcare is in true need of reform – if not for my mother, then for all the other mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers out there that are suffering. I know there is incredible fear of change, but I don’t understand why people don’t fear our current system.
Thanks for reading, and I do invite you to share your thoughts with me. I’m still very new to discussion about the healthcare reform issue, but these are my thoughts, and what I see from my family’s perspective.
It’s around 2:00 PM on September 1st (Happy September!), and if you’re like me, you might be constantly clicking the “refresh” button on your browser in hopes that your Gmail account will load. There’s currently a server outage (and yes, Google is quite aware), and so for those of us who do not use IMAP or POP, we are stuck until the server starts running again. I tried to tweet about this, too, and I got the following picture (the fail whale):
Just thought I’d share this little piece of humor with you as I’m waiting for gmail to boot back up so I can send off a grant and get back to writing my essays.
Overview: ALC website update, YLC section overhaul, delicious Indian Food, Twitter things, and weekend highlights! I can’t believe it is already Friday. As EN said in a tweet, this was the fastest week ever. I’m looking forward to this weekend to have the opportunity to hammer out some more application things and for my picnic adventure. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.
Asian Liver Center / Jade Ribbon Campaign Updates
Finished updating portions of the ALC website with pictures and some videos. I’ve drawn satisfaction from the redesign of the Youth Leadership Conference portion of the website where it’s less text heavy, and more picture-heavy (although it can still be argued that there still is too much text). It’s not completely done, but it will be soon after TC gets the team presentations uploaded onto our YouTube account. He’s been working hard on them (editing and everything), so hopefully the students will enjoy them. I’ve also updated with the 99 Ranch Market JRC reusable bag photos on our Flickr account as well. Staring at the computer screen coding brings back fun memories of coding late into the night when html was still the new kid on the block. Of course, this constant staring has also dried my eyes out (oi!).
I created a Jade Ribbon Campaign “twibbon” for those who use Twitter and would like to join the Jade Ribbon Campaign. Basically it puts up a little icon on your Twitter icon indicating you support the cause. There are a lot of various twibbons out there, so you can definitely explore. Regardless of the social media platform, customization is always in style. You can find the JRC twibbon here. This is an example:
Going to help TC with a Korean Church education and screening this Sunday – that shall be fun! Excitement for educating people.
Went out to fantastic Indian food last night at Amber India Restaurant in Mountain View with CT. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. I definitely reccommend it to anyone who enjoys good food. I hope to return soon.
I’ve found that most of my news now consists of what I read in Twitter feeds. It initially struck me as a bit odd considering that I used to get my news from browsing the NYTimes.com website (not that I don’t anymore, but with less frequency), but after a bit of thought it didn’t. As we’re continuing to use social media to let our friends know of various news items we find important, these platforms become dynamic news sources instead of stagnant ones. Now, I don’t have to go in search of news – it comes to me. And, I can choose what things come to me through the people I follow. Maybe I should begin following Kristof and Dowd so I at least get my daily dose of NYtimes.
I’ll be going on my picnic tomorrow with CT. We’ll be headed out to Safeway to purchase the goods tonight, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ll let you know how the picnic goes.
Thanks for reading!
Quick post today. Woke up at 3:45 AM to drive CT to his first marathon in SF. He finished in roughly 4.5 hours! Congratulations! Esp for not training! :p Currently dead-tired even though I didn’t run the marathon. Can’t wait to fall into bed and sleep.
Musings: The streets of Chinatown at 6:15 AM in the morning are rife with the smell of freshly baked pastries and the first batch of dim sum. And beyond the distant sound of a lonely ambulance screaming its way to a destination, the thuds of vegetables being tossed into bins after inspection were the only sounds beyond the slap of my flip flops on the dirty, well-worn paths of Stockton street. And the plumes of cigarrete smoke that shrouded the tough-skinned men squatting near an open Asian bakery trailed behind me as I searched for a place to sit and work in the Sunday early morning. I eventually fell asleep in my car in Portsmouth garage, third level, next to the “Wisdom” character before trekking back to Folsom and Embarcadero to cheer CT’s finish in the hot sun.
More images of today to come later. My hair is currently disgusting and my eyes are bruised and wrinkled from the abuse I give them while sleeping. My allergies and eczema have been rather vicious lately, and I’m grateful for the brown tinge to my glasses to make the state of my eyes less painfully obvious. When I look in the mirror, I see the eyes of an old woman: droopy, tired, and wrinkled with time (or fierce rubbing…). And what’s even better, JK sent me a NYtimes article entitled “My Eczema, My Shame.” I thought it amusing that it was in my inbox today. How fitting. Though my eczema is not as severe as the authors, many of her mannerisms and experiences mirror my own habits and self-doubts. Thanks to the author for the beautiful piece, and thanks JK for sending it!
Okay, off to sleep. More posts to come about this past week. Thank you for reading!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I had a pretty event-packed weekend, and I’m just getting to sit down now to write about it! Here’s a recap of my weekend:
The day started off with heading to the Miss Asian America press conference at Ana Mandara restaurant in Ghirardelli Square in SF. I wasn’t keen on fighting traffic and searching for parking, so I decided to take public transportation via Caltrain and the Muni. I have always found working on the Caltrain particularly fruitful, and I worked on catching up on work email (I love the Gmail offline feature where you can sync things and have things work very similar to Thunderbird / Outlook). Big apologies to all those who I have not responded to – I’ll get back soon! While I was riding along, there was a group of obnoxious high school boys who were incredibly disruptive with their talks about how big their cars were (“Hey, I can fit my drum set, my two guitars, and three chicks in my car – how about you?”) and how intelligent they were. The wonders of what goes on within the mind of a high school male. Makes me very glad that I’m now out of college and my male friends have more interesting things to discuss (well, at least when I’m within hearing distance). The Muni was fine, but man, when it crosses the Chinatown area – yeesh! – so many Asian people crowd onto the bus. I became well aquainted with two older Asian ladies with five bags of groceries in each hand (now wouldn’t it have been more convenient for them to have a nice huge Jade Ribbon Campaign reusable bag? :p haha). When I got to Ghirardelli Square, I was rather famished and decided to try Kara’s cupcakes. It wasn’t bad – the frosting was whipped so it wasn’t sweet – definitely a plus over Sprinkles’ cupcake frosting – however, the cupcake itself was a bit on the sweet side. I got the mocha cupcake (paid $3.25!), and decided that I liked baking my own $.89 box of Betty Crocker cupcakes. But I AM in the Bay Area where these speciality stores are abundant, so might as well as take in the culture while I’m here.
The MAA press conference was pretty fun. Had the chance to chat with Rose more, and continue to build a relationship with her. It’s pretty amazing what she’s been able to build with this pageant and all the work she’s done in building the San Francisco Asian American community. I had a ball meeting the contestants and the escorts. Notable escorts were Jeff and Steven who took the time to chat with me, so big shout out to them! I also had the opportunity to meet and greet with reporters and other notables in the Asian community, so I was pretty excited about the event. The contestants appeared interested in the cause, and our jade ribbon pins looked very nice on their red dresses. It was very kind of Rose to say that they’ll be wearing the pins at all future events. I finally got a contact at Sing Tao Daily, so hopefully that will prove fruitful for the 99 Ranch Market press conference on Friday. Oh! And I got to use my business card holder I got from Daiso! It’s not the classiest thing in the world, but it is sufficient and helps me look more professional than me digging around my purse. After the MAA press conference, I beelined for Chinatown to get some delicious dim sum and devoured a mantou as I walked down the Stockton tunnel. The 30 and 45 bus lines were overcrowded so I decided to walk to my destination: Davies Symphony Hall. It was quite a walk considering I was lugging my JRC resuable bag filled with outreach swag, dim sum food, and a huge bag of cherries (only $.99 / pound!) and my laptop. But I suppose it was good advertising for the bag. :p Decided to stop by Ross, and I purchased a tan purse so I could have something that matched my outfits that weren’t black (and of course, the bag is good sized so I can fit everything in there). Then I went down Market street, which is scary even at 4 PM in broad daylight. I’m glad I didn’t decide to hang out at a Starbucks and walk down that street at a later time. I ended up at the San Francisco public library which was pretty impressive, and a place that I’d like to go and explore in more detail on a future visit to SF.
And now, to the main event of my Saturday evening: the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds symphony concert (http://www.ffdistantworlds.com/) by the world-renowned SF symphony orchestra. Met up with a good portion of my old archery teammates for the concert along with C and his crew. Thanks much to S for planning and organizing the event! It was an interesting experience because the music was accompanied by clips from the FF games. Definitely brought back memories and makes me want to go back and play the games again (read: huge time sink). The composer of the all the Final Fantasy game music was there, which was pretty cool – he had a very individual sense of fashion that made him stand out against the crowd. I really enjoyed hearing Terra’s theme (Final Fantasy 3 (the one with Terra) was definitely my favorite game!) and the encore piece Sephiroth!
Today was another jam packed ALC day. We had two events go on simultaneously: T’s Korean education and screening event and U’s Vietnamese Parishoners Festival. I really wish I was able to go to both, but alas, I headed out to the Korean event because there was a lot more logistical work involved with it. Overall, it was a pretty successful event in the sense that the parishoners really learned about the importance of hepatitis B and liver cancer in their community. In fact, after the education piece, people were getting their friends in the church who were unable to attend the education seminar to get tested. It was really neat to see people educate their friends about hepatitis B and why it was important that they all get screened. Education is so key to altering behaviour change. One thing that T and I need to do is hammer out logistics to help the education / research piece run more smoothly, and we had a good brainstorming session later in the afternoon. Hopefully the next screening (which will be much bigger) will run more smoothly on the registration end. The issue with working in an education AND screening event into a regular church Sunday is that people have other commitments (e.g. choir practice, etc) that prevent them from attending the seminar (which is really the point for us going out there) or the screening (which is secondary). We have only a finite period of time and we have to move things efficiently and quickly in light of lots of forms. N will be doing a similar venture with the Filipino community, and one suggesiton I had for her was considering the possibility of dividing the education and screening into two weekends so as to cut time down and give people the option of scheduling a specific time for their blood draw. But we will need to think about this more and consider it’s cost-effectiveness, too. In the past, when we did ethnic community education / screening events, we did them on Saturdays and the events were open to the public, so we didn’t have busy parishioners needing to stick to their regularly scheduled events – we WERE the event. But you learn something new each time, and it’s nice to be able to work with one church community at a time because they all get involved and that way, the message is promoted via friends, which inherently goes a lot farther than having someone like me stand on a soapbox. Hopefully we’ll be able to get T enough n for his research project!
On another note, U’s event seemd to have gone well, but I’ll update with more details tomorrow after I speak with her.
Another highlight today was going to the Milpitas Ranch 99 (yes, again) and seeing our posters up! I wasn’t expecting to see the posters hanging in the store, so it was definitely a delightful surprise!
I think one of my suggestions to T will be to ask if the cashiers can actively promote the bag (E.g. “Would you like to donate $2 to fight liver cancer and get a reusable bag?”) or at least put up an example so people can see useful the bag will be. But overall, I’m so impressed with how GENEROUS Ranch 99 has been. I was also very very excited to see an individual go up and grab a brochure (Know HBV) and read through it while he was walking out of the store (he’s pictured in the photograph I sneaked of him). One more person educated about hepatitis B! Tomorrow will be confirming press to come to the press conference on Friday at Cupertino. I’m also trying to sit down and work on YLC material since we need to get the handbook in NOW. C has been working hard and coming into the office on the weekends to get things done for the conference. I’m super excited, but there remains QUITE a bit of work to do.
On another note, GH is in town, and I’m going to catch lunch with her on Tuesday. And DS will be coming soon to film the second chatper of DCK, so that should definitely be fun. Can’t wait.
Alright, I need to sign off and get some eventual shut eye. Thanks for reading through this post, and take care.
Another milestone event occurred today, though this one may seem trivial to some: I purchased my first wedding gift for my colleague who is getting married today (July 18th)! Congrats to MB and MB! I purchased a stainless steel step trash can from Bath, Bed, and Beyond. First purchase at that store, too. I know, the present isn’t glamorous, but I feel it is definitely something practical that will come in handy. It’s a strange feeling realizing that I’m beginning to approach the age where my peers are going to be settling down with life partners and starting families. Many of my Texas friends and schoolmates have already done so, but I suppose it has only began to sink in as those who are immediately arround me hit a big milestone in their lives. However, I feel that for me, marriage and beginning my own family are still quite a bit off (but what’s a bit? four years? five?) especially since my career has yet to be established and developed. I begin to feel the signs of a headache if I think of the years ahead of me in medicine and needing to place other aspects of my life on “hold.” We’ll see how it all turns out, and in the mean time, well, I’ll just do my best. 🙂
Made a site visit to a Korean Church today with one of my interns, and made good progress in terms of visualizing the lay out of the hepatitis B education and screening seminar. One thing that I’ve learned as Outreach Coordinator is the incredible importance of doing on-site visits and walking through the event. Each site is completely different regardless how many times I’ve done these types of events, and these visits are so important in conceptualizing flow and ensuring that the day-of details are worked out well.
On the way back from the site visit, dropped by 99 Ranch Market in Milpitas and got lunch, and was happily surprised to see the cash register folks and managerial staff wearing our “Join In” buttons. I took a picture of a register staff (sorry, had to doctor the picture to protect the privacy of the individual), and look how well the button pops on the red vest! They also had the signs up promoting the reusable bag, so hopefully people will begin to think about getting them. The real idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness, not to make any money, so hopefully this will help to promote awareness! I know I’ve belaboured the point in many of my posts and twitters, but I must say how excited I am about the press conference kick-off for these bags next Friday, July 24th at the 99 Ranch Market in Cupertino, CA. It’ll begin at 3 PM, so if you’re free, please come out and support the cause! The first 100 people to purchase $50 or more in groceries get a free Jade Ribbon reusable bag (and they are SUPER useful) and Miss Asian America and many other beauty queens will be there. Plus, you can meet my great interns.
Speaking of Miss Asian America, I’ll be attending their press conference in SF tomorrow afternoon. The director of the pageant has been very kind and has supported the Jade Ribbon Campaign for over 5 years and has always asked her contestants to support the campaign, too. The ladies will be wearing the Jade Ribbon during the event tomorrow, and I’ll be also personally inviting them to the 99 Ranch Market press conference next week. Tomorrow I’ll be utilizing the Caltrain system, so wish me luck with public transportation!
Alright, enough about work. some good friends are descending upon the Bay Area beginning this weekend, and I’m looking forward to catching up with them (albeit, I have to admit, work is going to take away quite a bit of time from having the opportunity to truly hang out). As many of my college friends are leaving the Bay Area, it makes seeing them on visits all the more special.
A thing of interest today for all those neurobiology nerds out there: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-gage16-2009jul16,0,6843461.story. Apparently they found a daguerreotype of Phineas Gage who survived after having a nearly 4ft rod go through his head. Of course, his personality did change afterwards due to damage to his brain, but the fact that he survived for 11 years after the incident was amazing. Thank you to SL for sending that to me and all the old neurobio study group folks. Brings back good memories!
Thanks, as always, for reading.