Beauty and wonder

Purple iris in front of a sunflower umbrella

This type of iris, named for my grandmother, blooms in both the spring and the fall. When they do, I greet them by name and think about her indomitable spirit.

A little boy grinning and grasping Mr. Rogers's face

Photo by Jim Judkis

From nearly the beginning of writing this blog I’ve had a category tagged beauty and wonder. I was re-reading a few of those posts this morning, since we are all, once again, being urged to look for the helpers, as Mister Rogers said. If you haven’t yet read it, Maura Judkis, the daughter of the photographer who captured the now-famous image, wrote a lovely essay about the boy in the picture.

Here’s what else I’ve been reading, listening to, and admiring…

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

The Lucky Red Tie – Micah Truran on The Moth

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

The Can-Do Playground in Wilmington, DE

How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine, by Chris Milk

And I’m re-reading:

The 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto (because they are as fresh and relevant today as they were in 1999)

Suck.com: a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun (because it’s also good to remember how far we’ve come)

The White House Conference on Aging

Lawn sign in front of the White House announcing the Conference on Aging July 13

The White House Conference on Aging only happens once every ten years — and it’s happening tomorrow.

The program begins at 10 a.m. ET on Monday, July 13, and will be livestreamed: https://www.whitehouse.gov/live

I’ll be on a panel in the late afternoon talking about technology and the future of aging, directly after Tim Brown and Barbara Beskind discuss universal design. (Read this Wall Street Journal article about some of Beskind’s ideas.) Continue reading

Troublemaker vs. Rebel

List of attributes: troublemaker vs rebel by Lois KellyI adore this slide that Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, captured during a presentation by Helen Bevan. The list was formulated by Lois Kelly and I highly recommend exploring her site: Foghound.com.

The word pair that resonates most with me is “alienate vs. attract,” possibly because it reminds me of my grandmother‘s advice: You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. How about you? What resonates?

Is there a generational tech divide in medicine? And is that the main problem?

Jay Parkinson recently wrote a post responding to a question raised by Atul Gawande: Can technology be a change agent for health care? Jay’s answer focused on the generational tech divide in medicine today. One quote:

“Many of the most influential doctors practicing medicine today have an antagonistic relationship with computers. Change will only come in a massive way when the under-40 generation takes control.”

I tweeted his post, followed by a link to an essay I wrote about my grandmother, who grasped the potential of the Web immediately — at age 85 — and was a daily internet user until she died, more than a decade later. She is an example of someone who defied generational generalizations, to say the least. Continue reading

Never assume that what you are seeing or experiencing is everyone else’s reality.

Atul Gawande can shine a bright spotlight, even with just a few tweets. On Saturday he linked to an article about new social media guidelines for physicians which states:

Aside from not “friending” patients [on Facebook], the guidelines also recommend the following to physicians:

• Don’t use text messaging for medical interactions, even with established patients, except with caution and the patient’s consent. Continue reading

“I was born too soon” – my grandmother, upon seeing the Web for the first time

The 19th International AIDS Conference, held this week in Washington, DC, included a session entitled, “The State of New Media and HIV,” hosted by AIDS.gov. My role on the panel was a familiar one – to present the Pew Internet Project’s latest research about mobile, social technologies and their impact on health and health care.

But it was an evening session, after a long day, so the organizers asked each panelist to create an “ignite” talk: 20 slides which advance automatically every 20 seconds. It’s kind of a pell-mell style of public speaking, conducive to improvisation and fun.

I decided to share not only our national story, but my grandmother’s story, as an example of how one person can adapt to technological change. Continue reading