Saturday, January 29, 2011

Health -- Fun is the way

Thanks to Helen Perry for introducing me to the site  the fun theory

They say "This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better"

Hallaluah and Here Here... there are so many ways that fun is health promoting and creative fun, well it is probably twice as good for us.

In the behavior change challenge presented here there is a set of stairs, with a moving escalator next to it .... both of which lead to the same spot on the floor of the upper level.  Given the choice of the two nearly 97% of the people took the escalator which is pretty typical.   Then a group of engineers got together, and decided they wanted to reverse the percentage. 
Notice what these scientists did. Clever huh?  Now, 66% more people take the stairs, than ride the escalator.
Length: 1:47

Enjoy the short video -- it really speaks for itself and then check out their site to see more challenges and solutions.  Would that we could see public health programs like this.

I will admit I didn't know what they were going to do and was charmed with the design. It has made me look at my every day environment differently.  Any suggestions for ways you would like to see fun added to your world?


Friday, January 28, 2011

THE WINNER!!! Gib Parrish top five most influential researchers for 2010

Silly grin from ear to ear!
It is official! 
Today Robert Woods Johnson Foundation announced the
winners for the most influential research articles of 2010.
We are delighted for all 20 nominees and congratulate the five winners 

And, we are ecstatic and grateful that Dr. R. Gib Parrish
was among this happy group of esteemed scientists 
for his paper "measuring population health outcomes"

To have ones work recognized and nominated by RWJF is an honor
An honor made more poignant and powerful because the final selection comes from the votes of his peers -- fellow scientists and health practitioners 
This support is humbling and a source of great joy

Sometimes nice guys finish first-- or the top five.
Thanks to the RWJ Foundation for their continued advocacy in public health and all its determinants and interconnected forces.
Links to the announcement by RWJ and to the articles themselves are included below.

So, what is the big deal?  In this paper Gib proposes specific ways to measure whether a population is healthy that goes beyond the familiar approach-- counting death and disease ---  but includes life expectancy, social factors and an individuals personal perception of their health. This seemingly simple list represents years of research and operationalizes a paradigm that has emerged from the recognition that we are social creatures.  The length of our lives and the occurrence of disease is inextricably linked to our sense of connection and efficacy.  Moreover, we have valid ways to measure these factors and we should do so much more avidly in surveys, information systems, and health investigations.  The view of ourselves as separate and separated-- physical bodies separate from mind, people separated from each other is not only unscientific but a kind of blindness we have grown beyond.

Congratulations also to Dr. Ross Brownson for his paper on measuring health policy. Finally, it is a great personal satisfaction to see the article on nurse practitioners included among the winners.

Top five winners!!

and his paper

Measuring population health by R. Gib Parrish

Yippeee!!!  Make a fuss.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exhibit by Gay Bumgarner "A Birds Eye View" and presented by Mother Daughter Press

Winter Exhibit Gay Bumgarner Photography

Opening January 30, 2011 an exhibit featuring the nature photography of Columbia native Gay Bumgarner.   Unfortunately the predictions for heavy snow last week led us to cancel the scheduled opening and we are aware this created some confusion- our apologies!  Thanks to the hearty souls that ventured out anyway and to John at the Historical Society for welcoming them in .

But, not to miss the fun, I (Sharon) decided to extend my stay in Columbia and, snow or no snow, the show will go on so, come on out.

Time: 1:00pm
Date: Sunday, Jan 30, 2011
Location: Boone County Historical Society, 3801 Ponderosa Street, Columbia, MO, 65201
Featuring: Photography by Gay McDonnell Bumgarner and printed by Sharon McDonnell her daughter.  We have a lovely collection of Gay's work and will be prepared with stories of her amazing exploits as well as the new plans for Mother-Daughter Press as we look to the future. 

This exhibit emphasizes her early work – many images not seen before. The visual display will include two main themes.  First, "behind the scenes" shows the extent that her skills and knowledge as a naturalist allowed her create environments that invited the wild creatures in for her to photograph.  To enrich your enjoyment of the images we have collected Gay's journal descriptions and augmented her first hand account with my own writings and research, and other published sources. Second we have created a collection "Faces if the Midwest" that shows the expressive faces of the animals in this environment-- from the insects to the cows.  Finally, a section of Gay's inspirational landscape images are included as well.   I hope you can attend There will be food and stories to share.  Invite your family and friends -- anyone that might be interested.   I am joined by family Dick and Tom Mendenhall.  

Selected high quality print products such as cards, mounted prints, fine art prints, and mousepads, and postage stamps will be on display and available-- in honor of the goal to include beautiful art in everyday life and its objects.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call me on my cell phone at 802-275-6544 or Jen Flink at the Boone County Historical Association at 573-443-8936.  I hope you can attend and I look forward to seeing you. 


Patti Possum-- a friendy Midwest face

Monday, January 17, 2011

Genetic testing has gone to the dogs

I flew cross country this weekend and saw in the on-flight magazine that I could submit a sample of a cheek swab from my dog to a lab and they would determine her genetic background or breed mix. How sad that all this data is looking for a use as real information.

For most of the human medical conditions I am aware of the data from additional genetic information does not add nearly as much as we once thought. Rather, we are still best using the phenotypic infomation (about some sort of physiological expression of a tendency) or we take it into consideration as part of an algorighm that remains unproven.

I have a White dog. She is pictured here in her new disposable booties to keep her paws from freezing. If you pass her on the street tell her how good she looks she is a little sensitive on the topic.

Look-a-like for Lacy the dog in cold weather booties

Thanks to Ano Lobb for the good questions about genetic testing-- its uses and value that were put forward in his blog on JustMeans (click here)  Short article on genome sequencing

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The garden.... the great writ small and the small elevated to the divine

Gardening as spiritual practice, intellectual paradigm, & a love story

Raspberry Bee Balm or Monarda

I was explaining something to my husband, something charged and important, emotional. The reason for the tears or intensity are not relevant or even memorable, but typically this scenario is unlikely to go well -- me leaky and sore and him trying to help. But, on this day I used my garden as a metaphor to illustrate my point(s) and how I felt.   Into a grand garden-based simile went the mishmash of partially processed feelings, deep connecting ideas, and whim and I began to explain.  Using the garden and the gardener as metaphor -- spinning from concept to common practicality.

Admittedly I am prone to see (invent) large meaning from simple things.  A quality that when viewed generously is creative and exciting but turned on its tail can be exhausting (& tedious).   But, gardens are metaphors that do not run out. It is all there, the drama, the truth, the process.  The epiphany of the quotidian

The great writ small and the small elevated to the divine.
the earth and the sky - grounded and soaring - heart and intellect
A place where all of me can come and find a voice, an ally, or an example.

Everything I have learned from Buddhism, by being a Quaker, as a parent, from studying physics and the sciences, about love and how life works, is in evidence in my garden. If I want to be reminded of the Central Truth or any of the 1000 smaller neighboring truths, they are all on show and available in my garden. On this particular day using Great-Mother images of necessary-but-difficult pruning, the care of little shoots, the need for rocks as rest and edges as frames I was rewarded, my husband smiled-- little rootlets connect.

A couple of cattails at sunset

This poem came to me from The writers almanac is called "the gardener" by Ken Weisner and it speaks to some of these elements
The Gardner
by Ken Weisner
For Kit

You get down on your knees in the dark earth—alone
for hours in hot sun, yanking weed  roots, staking trellises,
burning your shoulders, swatting gnats; you strain your muscled
midwestern neck and back, callous your pianist's hands.

You cut roses back so they won't fruit, rip out and replace
spent annuals. You fill your garden dense with roots and vines.
And when a humble sprout climbs like a worm up out of death,
you are there to bless it, in your green patch, all spring and summer long,

hose like a scepter, a reliquary vessel; you hum
through the dreamy wilderness—no one to judge, absolve,
or be absolved—purified by labor, confessed by its whisperings, connected
to its innocence. So when you heft a woody, brushy tangle, or stumble

inside grimy, spent by earth, I see all the sacraments in place—
and the redeemed world never smelled so sweet. 

"The Gardener" by Ken Weisner, from Anything on Earth. © Hummingbird Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission,mhln,dv,kvqx,d4h0,2m6n,mf9q