Got Chips? Go Get Your Own!

Ok, thinking about chips… Salty, onion, sour cream, bbq…? Nope! Think again.

I am not easily impressed. I have very high demands on others since I have extremely high demands and expectations of myself. I hold myself to a high standard on integrity, work ethics, follow-through and accomplishments. That is the only we can change the world as I am all about achieving and improving, not waiting (anymore) or wasting (any longer). I am not a follower – unless you count being a Condie and Madeleine’s groupie. Having said that, I LOVE this woman. Nely Galan. @nely_galan rocks. Never heard of her, but she is a woman of my heart and reading her fabulous article (see link below) invigorated and inspired me like nothing in a long time. Thank you, Nely. Thats what I call ‪#‎GirlPower‬.

What is the question? What are your chips? Your dreams, your passions? Are you following through and changing the world? What will you need? Courage! What now? Go get your our chips!  How? By reading her article below. What next? When you are finished, share with us – Did she inspired you? What will be your first step to getting your ‘own chips’?


The Plight of the “Poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) Boys”

The Plight of the “Poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) Boys”


Recently, something magnificent happened to me!  A gifted writer with a great deal of following, upon whose article I commented earlier on, actually replied to me! You heard right. He not only replied, but also managed to, even if (slightly) patronizing me in his response, still connect with me on LinkedIn! Oh, the omnipresent and positive power of social media… What happened you ask? Well, before you’ll see my brilliant if I say so myself response, let me catch you up first:

This writer wrote a fabulous & empowering piece “Letter to My Fellow Men” where he questioned the ingrained gender-specific, ok let’s call them sexist, stereotypes, behaviors and views. It started with him noticing the treatment/ behavior his wife was getting from the men in Silicon Valley. So needless to say, from the get-go, I was a fan! It cut right into politics and democracy, into the make up of the 2015 U.S. Congress, it went right through to the issue of true representation of women in city/county/state or federal governments or to the dismally low number of nurses, for example, being elected to hospital boards. His Letter took a strong stance on gender, politics, sociological conditioning and the distribution of political power therefore on the learned, ingrained and enforced stereotypes we all face in everyday society. Right up my alley, yes?

The follow-up to the Letter, was a long article discussing a variety of issues among which was a paragraph commenting on the current heightened trend – if I may call it that – of supporting girls or ‘looking after girls’ and their empowerment, and how as a society we are now more cognizant of gender issues with #HeSheHero campaign. Still good, right? After the girls empowerment, he went on to list the shortcomings of the boys; how boys are medicated with Ridillin (no kids, no idea about the spelling) at much higher rate, how boys read at much lower grade level, and how boys don’t do well at school. At the end of this part he asked: so who is “looking after” the boys?

With that one sentence, my teeth started to grind especially since our ‘gender-barring friendship’ was going so well.

That one question stopped me in my tracks and while realizing we were perhaps on our way back to “Gender-Stereotype Central“, it all started to (not) make sense. One thing, however, was clear: if an educated man who publicly stands up, questions, critiques and calls upon his fellow men to end their gender stereotypes and sexist behavior, if he thinks that the current support for girls or the attention to girls empowerment (hurray for #GirlsLead) threatens the boys status or existence -> we have a very long way out of the frequently-jammed and traffic-impacted Gender-Stereotype Central. Perhaps I am not doing him justice, perhaps it was not meant like that. Perhaps. But on the other hand, why would you pose such a question?



So I gathered my courage to face fears of being publicly criticized and/or not liked, and I wrote: “…yes, and even with such dismal statistic, the “poor boys” still manage to make it to the top and control the power, money and influence.” And this is where the marvelous thing happened – he replied! Then however came the next round of courage in reading his response…

What I read was a slightly patronizing reply about how making comments like mine lead to no other purpose than to gender discourse and/or to the perpetuation of sexism, or something to that sense. He went on to say that he found my use of the phrase “poor boysoffensive or smarmy and was quite frankly surprised to hear it there, or from me, I can’t remember the exact wording. HUH?

As a good ol’ feminist broad with a keen feminist mind for analysis, I immediately started to count the ways in which he just patronized / offended me based on nothing but my gender… Yes, my Women’s Studies professor was thinking about me and didn’t know why… 🙂

…so here you have it, folks, all she wrote (well, not quite). You have been caught up.

=>> So Before you scroll down and read my brilliant and utterly awesome response, please do let me know if I am wrong (or how much wrong), if you encountered perhaps a similar situation, or felt like talking back or speaking up somewhere on a gender issue? What would you have said? Do you agree OR disagree with ascertaining that comments like mine, or similar in nature, serve no other purpose than to incite gender discourse or bias or sexist behavior?

I always enjoy your comments, I appreciate other people’s point of view, I learn from it. It is only through communication we truly learn <<=


So, HERE WE GO(due to word limited replies on LinkedIn, I had to edit my piece down and posted the second half only)

“Thank you Louis for your response.

I do appreciate it, and I’d like to welcome you to my professional network. Happy to have you as a part of mine.

I’ll take a wild stab here when I say I am not alone here; a woman, an immigrant, with an accent, without influential friends in Ivy colleges (or Towers but I would want some), fighting her way in men’s business every step of the way. Trust me when I tell you there was no offense or smarminess (is that a correct word?) intended in my comment because I know how it feels since I have been on the receiving end. As a discussion leader in Women’s Studies classes at a university, I brought the men in to talk about issues, I asked their opinion, I shielded them from emotional and un-constructive attacks and I always included them. So you are way off the mark here.

You take an offense at me using phrase ‘poor (as in underrepresented in politics, money, power and government) boys‘ but rest assured, I do not take offense at your shall-we-say smarmy or even-slightly patronizing response. I like your article, I enjoy reading your stuff, I love your Letter to Men and I think there should be more men, thought-proving leaders and husbands like you. Having said that….

My use of the ‘poor boys‘ phrase was meant not as an offensive derogatory terminology, but as an incredulous response to your question of who is looking after the boys. That quite frankly, I could not believe I was reading!

Men control if not all, than almost all, of U.S. power and money, in 2015 we’ll have still-a-laughable-number of mere 100 women in U.S. Congress, women make up 51% of population yet less than 24% of elected officials in city and/or county governments, and while nurses (majority of women) make the largest pool of healthcare professionals, they still make only 6% – 9% of elected hospital board members.

Taking it one step further, before the Mid-Term 2014 Election, even “Liberal” California has elected only I believe around 180 women in total during its entire political history to the CA State Legislature, furthermore, speaking of California, women candidates / possible legislators even lost several seats here. And I could go on….

So when your article asks who is looking after the boys, yes, the poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) boys since we are now finally looking after the girls, I must ask if we are talking about the same playing field, because I do see little disparity here, don’t you? And that was THE intended point of my comment. I thought THAT could be something a great writer such as yourself with an impressive following could look into and write about. People would listen and attitudes would change! What happens that even if having such dismal initial statistics, as you write, boys (i.e. men) still end up at the top, controlling the power, wealth and the seat of influence? What happens?

That was the point I was trying to make, and clearly badly.

PS: Boy do I like this! Thank you for such a great topic and for this discussion.”


Hippocrates, the Original Public Health Care Worker?

Hippocrates, the Original Public Health Care Worker?

Recently, I watched a videotaped lecture by the famed Dr. Carl Taylor, MD DrPH (1916-2010), the founding father of then-new academic discipline called International Health. Dr. Taylor’s lecture, taped few years before he died at the age of 93, was called The Key Studies of Primary Health Care and it was available on the Johns Hopkins open access website. This interesting lecture was actually a part of Dr. Taylor’s teaching curriculum at the Department of International Health that he established at his beloved Johns Hopkins. His love, however, was to travel around all corners of the earth and help communities empower themselves!

Johns Hopkins hospital, Baltimore MD

Currently, I am taking Health for All Through Primary Health Care class through Johns Hopkins, and if we realize that by all accounts the most important Alma Ata Conference was held in 1978, that we are faced with a certain crisis of unfulfilled Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015, and that more people live in abject poverty today than ever before – we begin to truly appreciate the genius of Dr. Carl Taylor’s approach and his vision for not only health care as such, but for PRIMARY HEALTH CARE especially!


WHY is primary or community health care THE point? Simple: If the government doesn’t do it for you (i.e. the Top-Down model) the people must do it for themselves (Bottom-Up model)… Hopefully with some help and guidance from global health or international organizations, sure, but by leading themselves nonetheless.

As for me, I would have never believed I would be interested in a discipline that does not have all the critical & intensive bells and whistles that only Code Blue, cardiac arrests, Swan-Ganz and ICP or resuscitation in hallways can provide and only critical intensive nursing can deliver. However, as my professional development began to move forward, I very slowly started to move away from all that acute rush in hospitals to seeing ‘Public Health’ from not only an administrator point of view, but also from the level of public health policy.

And that’s where it really hits you!

Saving people’s lives one by one thus making a difference in my patients and their families lives in ICU or OR or ER or PACU was wonderful and I loved every minute of my 13+ years on 2 continents and 3 countries! But, if you really want to make a difference, difference on a much broader global scale that is, you must look at the discipline of Public Health – and specifically, International or Global Public Health (as is my Masters Degree) through a different set of eyes and through completely different prism.

And this why I LOVE it so much!

In order to be successful and effective here, you must fully understand the intricacies of health care / patient care delivery, from there you must be abreast on how to deliver said services in a department or an organization, which is finally leading you to realization you can have influence through your earned knowledge and understanding over global issues, politics and public policies that are determined by international decisions via foreign policies. Those in turn deeply affect all those other social determinants of health which decide the actual individual health and well being – or not – of your people. … when they come to ICU and I can save them…

The astounding combination of my 3 professional loves and passions:  [Global] Healthcare, Politics & Administration all lead to my overall passion and I believe a certain inner sense of Global Public Health Administration. And that is why I slowly moved, over the span of several years and large sums of money for university education) from all the bells and whistles in intensive and critical care units to a global view of social determinants of health, determinants affected by political decisions.


From Dr. Taylor’s lecture, we learned that the idea behind ‘community-based primary health care‘ is as ancient and as old as Hippocrates himself, as he began to treat sick people in the open, as in village squares where every person from the village could come and offer advice on treatment and getting better! While I don’t really agree with openly spreading germs to the village, the fact that Hippocrates did not isolate the sick, that he did not put them somewhere ‘away’ from the others, shows his initial foresight of holistic / community approach to healing and showed his outlook to the future foundation for community-based primary health care.

What I also did not know is that it was Hippocrates who first started to separate medicine from public health as he started to recognize that different geographical areas meant different patterns of diseases. That was a major fork in the road for healthcare where medicine has clearly different goals and different strategies from community-based primary health care.


Dr. Carl Taylor stated that in the early days, U.S. physicians viewed primary care as ‘individual’ care, while following approach originating in South Africa encompassed and recognized all aspects of health care in its Community Oriented Primary Care approach (COPC). Here again, many years after Hippocrates, we see the resurgence of the core idea that community is at the center of “health” and well-being of an individual thus of the collective “health” of the whole community.

In a historic context, I would compare this community centered resurgence of the South African (and later American and Israeli) approach to the recent resurgence of the principles of the Alma Ata Declaration. Lancet article (Walley et all. 2008) clearly states that the community-based or community-centered approach to public health is going through a re-birth of sorts as more and more studies show that Dr. Taylor’s SEED-scale approach, which clearly encompasses Kerrer’s South African COPC model, is an approach that takes all other, not only health and disease, but also other social determinants of health in account when dealing with “health“.

Walley says: “The emphasis must shift from single intervention to creating integrated, long-term sustainable and ethical health systems…” Nobody, not the U.N. or any NGO, can achieve this Alma Ata-centered goal without dealing with a host of other determinants. Sadly, for our global health care objectives, those determinants are decided and implemented (-or not-) by sovereign national governments.


Herein resides the problem.

Health does not happen in a vacuum! Very rarely do people get sick out of nowhere…

Health” happens as a result of… or a consequence to… certain political actions or social events.
The primary public health care problem we are discussing here, is a problem originating in poverty, lack of potable water, lack of safe environment, lack of developed infrastructure, lack of knowledge and awareness, and lastly, as a lack of political will.


That is why I applaud the resurgence of the Alma Ata principles taught by Dr. Carl Taylor and the ongoing recognition of the variety of other important aspects that influence, directly or indirectly, the overall status of public health and primary health care in particular.

In fact, it was Hippocrates who preceded Alma Ata Declaration with his vision, when he involved and engaged the whole community in the treatment and planning of healing solutions… And that concept is THE cornerstone of  Alma Ata Declaration!