Archive - Mar 2011

March 11th

#ff #mayoragan #hcsm #fqhc

@daniellecass @gingeranderson @billyorr @g24khamr @jeisman @BRIGETTESCOTT @mlinson @kevindarst @MrsARodriguez @StacyLSimon @amyconcetta @MeridithGould @tahughes @toplineMD @LaurenVenoy @texasgirl11 @randyschwartz @kathybarbour @chrisboyer @shelholtz @LeeAase @raganreporter @MarkReganCEO

Normally on Fridays I post a Follow Friday (#ff) entry to my blog. Through the magic of TwitterFeed it shows up on Twitter as a Follow Friday tweet with a link back to my extended thoughts about whom I am following and why.

Normally, it is people that I’ve been following for quite a while, or people that I’ve recently met. Today, I am doing a preemptive Follow Friday.

You see, Sunday afternoon, I’m flying down to a Social Media conference in Jacksonville, FL, which goes by the hashtag, #MayoRagan. Since it is health care and social media, I figure I should add the #hcsm hashtag, and since I work for a Federally Qualified Health Center, I figure I should add #fqhc to the list.

As is often the case, people that will be attending the conference have already started tweeting ahead of time. With this, I can spend a little time getting to know who will be there.

Starting off the list is @daniellecass, @gingeranderson, @billyorr, @g24khamr, and @jeisman. It appears as if they are on a lunchtime panel together. @daniellecass is a communicator for Kaiser Permanente and is listed as the moderator. @gingeranderson works for ScrippsHealth. She’s a mommy blogger and I’ve scanned her blog. She sounds interesting. @billyorr is an EVP for Racepoint Group. @g24khamr is another California EVP. At first glance Gary’s blog doesn’t seem all that interesting; yet another guy writing about social media, public relations and journalism. Yet his blog roll seems interesting. He lists himself as a fellow member of the Media Bloggers Association. He links to Global Voices, Jay Rosen, David Parmet, and even an old Second Life business blog. He just might be interesting to talk to after all. @jeisman appears to work for, but I don’t find her in the program listing and she doesn’t seem to have a lot of information on her Twitter page either.

A bunch of other people have tweeted about being there and I’ve been reading various profiles, blogs, etc. I’m sure I’ll have a good time and have some interesting discussions, but it’s been a very long week, and something about all the profiles makes me feel like I need to bring a copy of Fear and Loathing with me to the conference.

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March 10th

Culturally Appropriate Storytelling to Improve Blood Pressure: A Randomized Trial

Recently, I read a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation entitled Culturally Appropriate Storytelling to Improve Blood Pressure: A Randomized Trial.

The overview starts off, “African-Americans with uncontrolled high blood pressure benefited from an intervention using DVDs of real patients' stories of how they dealt with their chronic disease.” I stopped and wondered to what point could this be generalized. Instead of DVD’s could the videos be shared on YouTube? Could the stories be told in blogs? Would it work as well for other populations or other health conditions?

When I think about this, I think of the many cancer blogs I’ve read. One ends off as a touching tribute to the writer who finally succumbed after several battles with cancer. Another, Pregnant with Cancer starts off:

This blog is to document my experience of pregnancy with cancer. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma 2 weeks after finding out I was pregnant. I went through Chemo from 10 weeks into my pregnancy throughout. Gabriella was born health at 36 weeks on November 17th 2007. I am in remission since February 2008. This is mine and Gabriella’s story.

On Monday, Sandi wrote a blog post, When Blogs Disappear. She talks about reading other blogs, and finding too often that people stop writing about their battle with cancer when they enter remission. She says it makes her sad and wishes more people would share the hope of survivors.

Sandi’s blog is the epitome of hope, and I have to wonder what sort of health outcomes could be achieved by having patients struggling with cancer read her blog. I left a comment on her blog about how important I believe her writing is. I hope others will stop by and read her blog and join with her hope.

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March 9th

Wordless Wednesday

Shadow of The Virgin, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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March 8th

Random Stuff

Yesterday, I was significantly delayed in my trip home by flood waters across the Wilber Cross Parkway. I mentioned this in passing in my latest blog post on the CHC blog.

There was an interesting question on Quora, Assuming Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination in 2012, who will be the Democrat's nominee in 2016?

I posted a list of some of the younger Democratic Governors

I’ve started playing with as another way of tracking sites that I’ve visited. It seems to work fairly nicely, only showing sites youve white listed, and allowing you to delete different pages.

I’ve also started using sitesimon. I haven’t done enough with it to get a strong sense. However, I worry that it’s Facebook connection may be a bit spammy. Meanwhile, I continue to use OneTrueFan as another way of tracking sites I’ve visited and sharing them.

The one other site I started playing with recently is SocialCam. Seems okay, but I don’t see it really doing a lot for me that I’m not already doing with Qik.

That’s it for today.

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March 7th


I’ve forgotten the dream that I was in the middle of when the alarm went off at 3:30 Saturday morning. There might have been some meaning there which would have illuminated the day. I skipped my morning coffee and oatmeal and climbed into the shower. It would make it easier for me to fall back asleep when I got on the train.

After the shower, checking to make sure I had everything, and my drive to the train station, I boarded the 4:42 and did manage to get some train sleep. Train sleep is not the same as a good night’s sleep. The lights are on in the train and the seats are less comfortable than my bed. Yet the rhythmic sounds and motions of the train helped me achieve a half sleep state where I got at least a little more sleep.

Arriving in Grand Central Terminal, I saw two young scantily clad women sleeping in a corner, looking like some child’s dolls swept out of the way. Were they ladies of the night seeking respite from the rain, or perhaps some suburban kids that had come to party in the city and missed the last train? It wasn’t clear, but the young boy curled up with his skateboard in a different part of the station sure looked like a suburban boy waiting for the train home.

The streets were mostly empty as I started my walk across town to the conference I was going. I passed a bank whose lobby was being painted. The pile of drop clothes and the painters in their white overalls and brightly lit, for a moment looked like an exhibit at the Whitney.

I walked up one of the avenues and saw passed many stores with elaborate designs; art, in the service of business. Why isn’t art used as persuasively for good?

I made it to the hotel and met with my fellow panelists. The session went smoothly, but too quickly. Most people were interested in how social media could help group psychotherapists, although there was one person who objected strongly to text based communications.

Bob wryly observed that we have used words for ages to express emotions. Later, I thought about the instruction we give to young children on how to deal with their emotions. Instead of hitting one another, they should use their words.

With the panel completed, Bob asked if I would like to accompany him and his wife to The Cloisters. He was hoping to get back in time for the large group, and I had some concern about the timing, but I didn’t have anything else to do, so I agreed.

At The Cloisters, crocuses, snow drops, and a few other flowers were starting to break through. We wandered around inside. At one point, it struck me that all the paintings looked so sad. I could understand this for a Pieta, but for the annunciation, the birth, or the visit of the magi?

I was struck by other parts of the museum. How much did I fail to see because of the context I lived in. If I had not read the placards I would not have understood why a man stood there pointing to a wound on his thigh as a dog offered him bread. The symbols of pilgrims heading to Rome would have been missed by me.

I thought of my daughter Miranda and how I imagined she might have read the placards. I suspect she might have been more interested in the materials used for the pieces of art.

Later, we returned to the hotel and I saw various friends from the mailing list of group psychotherapists I’m on. I slipped into the final large group and listened to the discussion. One of the consultants to the group was a Lacanian. It was interesting to here his thoughts after the group, and I think I’ll spend so time studying Lacan.

It felt that there was a lot of sadness in the group and they explored the sources. It was interesting for me to ponder whether there was any relationship between 9/11 and the more recent financial issues on Wall Street.

Yet for me, the two most important thoughts were about how we all exist in groups. Groups can be therapeutic. The can work well, or they can be dysfunctional. We can use groups for therapy. We can learn to work better in groups, perhaps even to help dysfunctional groups get back on task.

The other thought was about easily we can tap into sadness and even fear when we think about things that are not going well. Yet for many, it seems difficult to tap into the hope and joy that can also be there. Yes, we might be able to experience a little hope and joy when some well known hero is honored, but the heroic actions of daily life too often go unnoticed and do not bring the hope and joy they should.

There is a lot in all of this to unpack, but that will have to wait for another blog post.

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