The Unmentionables panel at Health 2.0 addressed issues we don’t talk about in public but which deeply affect our health and well-being. I posted the first set of videos last week — here is the second batch.
Michael Painter, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, talked about his personal perspective on stress and building a culture of health:
“You cannot get stronger without stress…but the more you stress your body, the more you have to pay attention to rest and recovery. Or you will burn out, get injured, or get sick. It’s time to fix the culture of stress.” – Mike Painter
Mike also wrote about the connection between stress and health on the RWJF blog.
Kent Bradley, of Safeway Health, spoke about how purpose, drive, and community encourage a more balanced, driven life:
“You can ignite an engine, but if the tank is empty, they are not going to go very far. We need to build capacity and ways to fill the tank so when individuals get activated they are able to sustain the change they make in their lives.” – Kent Bradley
If you’d like to learn more about Kent and his work at Safeway Health, start here: How The Things We Don’t Speak About Impact Our Health.
Victor Strecher, of the University of Michigan, addressed the #1 Unmentionable — death:
Note that this video includes Vic’s talk and a demo of his app (which I have used and written about, too). If you watch to the end you’ll learn Vic’s life hack (no alcoholic drinks allowed unless he meditated that day).
“Ideally, I’d like to see people become better researchers of themselves. I’m tired of motivation and am more interested in making you a better philosopher of your own life.” – Vic Strecher
Learn more about Vic’s book and app: On Purpose.
Maureen O’Connor, of Mosaic Health Solutions, spoke about how to take the concept of the Unmentionables to scale – and the importance of the Health 2.0 community working together to make that happen:
“What if the care team cared about the financial stress in someone’s life, or a tough relationship, or caring for an elderly parent as much as they cared about blood pressure?” – Maureen O’Connor
(Catch up on the first set of Unmentionables 2014 videos as well as audience reactions to the panel.)
Mighty Casey says
Much of what winds up on the “unmentionables” list is rooted in payment models as much as it’s rooted in personal and systemic blindness to underlying truths. And … we’re back to the Benjamins. Again.
I don’t think that single-payer healthcare systems – France, the UK, et al – are necessarily any better at whole-person care than the US’s very dollar-driven system is, but combine the high cost of US care with the financial insecurity that underlies the lives of most of us and you’ve got a double shot of stress with a panic attack chaser.
Societies bedrocked on Calvinist principles – as the US is – will forever be creating turmoil within its citizens as it shouts its “work harder” and prosperity gospel sermons at them.
Imagine, if you will, being an income-insecure single parent with a chronic condition – let’s say MS – who’s also got a minor child with serious asthma. The wider culture tells that person that they need to reduce their stress while simultaneously work smarter-not-harder at their 1.5 jobs (one full-time clerical plus another part-time nights/weekends) – great! How, exactly?
That’s the question that we, as a society, need to answer. Instead of battering them with messages from pharma about new (and very expensive) meds while telling ’em they’re not trying hard enough.
Susannah Fox says
Casey, I love the way you write even when it breaks my heart: “a double shot of stress with a panic attack chaser” (!!!)
Yes, we did not address financial insecurity head on during the panel, which was pointed out at the time on Twitter, too. For example:
“One thing left out so far is how #Unmentionables are highly correlated with poverty…” – @draguilera
How might we include that in the Unmentionables discussion going forward? Who can we look to for data and insights?
I’ll start to answer my own question: I’d look to people like Veenu Aulakh, who helped bring discussion of underserved populations to the Stanford Medicine X conference this year.
Also, I’ll point out that the stuff I was talking about — creating a culture of sharing solutions — doesn’t have to cost a lot. The best solutions are often cheap, home-made work-arounds in low-resource situations (like the pen stuck through a tennis ball for someone with limited dexterity). Yes, I suggest that there could be an online database or forum or something to gather in and spread the ideas, but I’m really suggesting culture and conversation change, not something predicated on smartphone ownership.
Again, thanks for the comment! I’d love to hear more from you and others about how to broaden and deepen the Unmentionables.
Mighty Casey says
First, thank you for the thank you. And you know, since we know each other IRL as well as digitally, that my mouth and my keyboard share the same brain. “Consistency is the mother of the message” – that’s our philosophy here at Mighty Casey Media =)
In re the cost unmentionables, including the cost-impact edition, I’d recommend following along with Jeanne Pinder’s Clear Health Costs crowdsourcing of prices model. Also, Charles Ornstein at ProPublica has an ongoing blizzard of awesome on healthcare issues, including both cost and quality (link: http://www.propublica.org/site/author/charles_ornstein), and ProPublica also offers the datasets that their reportage is based on as free raw-dataset downloads, and also (in a couple of cases) as scrubbed/categorized premium products for a relatively nominal fee. Could be useful to you/your org.
Bottom line, I see waking the kraken – the healthcare consumer – with easy to use health literacy tools AND easy to navigate pricing info as the way to break/fix this Rube Goldberg machine.
We’re all in this together. The only ones who don’t seem to get that are the dudes (gender-free term) who run the revenue side of large health systems. US healthcare is an arms race, and the healthcare lobby makes the Pentagon look like homeless people.