Now is a critical time.

Breast Care for Washington has been open for six months.  During this time we have succeeded in providing care to all patients that have come through our doors, regardless of ability to pay.

We are the only provider of breast cancer screening, diagnostics and patient navigation to treatment, regardless of ability to pay, East of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., and the only provider of breast cancer services housed in a primary care setting in the entire metro area.  We are not alone in this fight against breast cancer in Washington, D.C., but we are doing it differently, and we’re making an impact.

You might ask yourself why that East of the River locale qualifier is important.  The reason is Ward 8 has some of the highest breast cancer mortality rates in D.C. Before Breast Care for Washington existed patients had to travel well outside of their local neighborhood for care.  We know that providing care to patients in their local neighborhood, in an approachable, culturally sensitive way is paramount to patients seeking and receiving care.  This is particularly true when dealing with breast cancer, which has many cultural stigmas associated with it. These cultural stigmas can be barriers to care. Our six month data shows that we are diagnosing breast cancer at a rate twice that of the national average and that the average age of our first time mammogram patient is 52: twelve years older than the recommended age for a first time screen.

Now is a critical time for BCW. Your support keeps our doors open.  We are exceeding strategic projections for number of patients seen, which tells us that there is a huge need for our services, but it is also a challenging time as we need to raise additional funds to keep our promise of offering care regardless of ability to pay. Please watch our video (produced by yours truly!) to learn more about what we have accomplished in six months and why your financial support is more important than ever.

  Our six month data shows that we are diagnosing breast cancer at a rate twice that of the national average and that the average age of our first time mammogram patient is 52: twelve years older than the recommended age for a first time screen.

This holiday season you can give meaningful gifts that support our local community and change the lives of women in Washington, D.C. Instead of buying material presents this year, your donation to Breast Care for Washington can be given as a gift to someone you love.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a donation to Breast Care for Washington through our website.
  2. In the “special purpose” section notate who you would like this gift to be donated in honor of and your address where you would like the card shipped.
  3. Wait for the arrival of a card explaining your gift to your recipient this holiday season.

Alternative Gifts available include:

  • $25: Provides gowns for 25 women to receive mammograms.
  • $50: Covers the fee for a 3D mammogram for an uninsured/underinsured woman
  • $100: Covers the fee for our radiologist to read three screening mammograms
  • $200: Covers the cost of a screening mammogram for one uninsured woman
  • $1,000: Covers the cost of a screening and diagnostic mammogram, and a breast ultrasound for one woman.

The monetary amount you spend will not be included on the card, as we feel the most important part of giving is the act of giving itself. The card will include the service that the amount covers.

We hope you will join the many who feel that the Holidays should be a time of true giving, a time to teach children that we all make our communities better when we give back, and a time to uplift those less fortunate than ourselves.

ABOUT BCW: Breast Care for Washington was founded in 2012 as a community-centered breast cancer screening organization to enhance access to breast cancer screening and care among medically underserved women in the Washington, D.C. area. Our founders are two local women – Dr. Regina Hampton, a highly regarded breast surgeon, and Beth Beck, M.A., CHES, the former executive director of Capital Breast Care Center of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Our mission is to reduce the breast cancer mortality in the Washington, D.C. area by promoting access to breast cancer screening, diagnostics, and treatment to all women regardless of their ability to pay.

Our programs and services are innovative and embed breast cancer screening within a patient-centered medical home model of care.  In May of 2014 we opened a permanent screening center within a federally qualified healthcare center (FQHC) – Community of Hope. Our facility is housed in the new Conway Health and Resource Center in the District’s Ward 8.

Breast Care for Washington is the first and only facility to offer state-of-the-art technology with 3D imaging east of the Anacostia River and the first entity to provide comprehensive breast screening services within a primary care setting in the metropolitan area.

Six Family Health History Resources

What you know can save you. Family health history is information about diseases that run in your family and other factors like diet and lifestyle that may affect your family’s health.

Knowing this information can help you and your physician partner together to develop a personalized health management plan. In fact, you may be able to prevent certain diseases by knowing your family health history and making healthier choices because of it.  Ever since 2004, the Surgeon General has nominated Thanksgiving as “Family Health History Day.”

family portrait

 

SIX FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY RESOURCES

#1: This family health history guide from Geisinger Health System.

It provides a detailed look at family health history and some guidance about what to ask! Geisinger Genomic Institute has partnered with Weis Markets to develop “The Family History Project,” which aims to help us better understand health at a population level and improve research. The website has some neat interactive tools to play around with. Take a look!

#2: These tips from The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

#3: This video that has interesting facts about family health history. Did you know that only 1/3 of patients have a documented family history?

#4: This great article featuring Breast Care for Washington’s Medical Director, Dr. Regina Hampton.

Did you know that white women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer but black women are more likely to die from it? Asking about family history can guide you and your physician to make personalized screening decisions.

#5: This briefing on surveillance of high risk colon cancer patients that includes five recommendations to improve services for patients.

Families with striking colon cancer family history are recommended to be screened at younger ages and more frequently. This is proven to reduce deaths but 64% of clinicians believed that someone else should be carrying out the surveillance work.

#6: This video from a genetic counselor about family history. She lists some helpful questions at the end.

I hope these resources are helpful. While family health history goes beyond cancer family history, cancer family history is my focus. I encourage you to participate in National Family Health History Day this year on Thanksgiving and ask about all health history in your family. You might be surprised what you find out!

Check out this storify version of this post, here.

 

Top Cancer Genetics Programs to AARP: Medical Interventions extend the life of BRCA carriers

Healthcare misinformation leads to fear, avoidance and worse medical outcomes for patients, even if intentions were good. Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge and poor editing led to a published article by AARP that has produced great outrage among BRCA carriers, patient advocacy groups and the physicians who work tirelessly for these patients.

Today I want to follow up from my previous post and share with you a letter that demonstrates how unified the healthcare community is in opposition of AARP’s article. FORCE, the only national patient advocacy group dedicated to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome, wrote a letter to AARP, and for me, the best part was the end.  After debunking nearly all of the statements made in the AARP article with fact, the letter was signed by numerous top cancer genetics programs, breast imaging centers and hospitals in the United States.  The signatures from world renowned healthcare institutions runs over two pages long.  I encourage you to take a look and see for yourself. FORCE’s letter to AARP can be found here. I would also like to sincerely thank everyone who read, wrote me and shared my latest post on the importance of recognizing that celebrities are not doctors. I am truly thankful and humbled every time a piece of my writing resonates with someone else.

Missed opportunities: celebrities are not doctors.

One of the most challenging parts of my job is the misinformation that surrounds hereditary cancer and the celebrities who add to the problem.

Celebrities have a large platform from which they can loudly and publicly share their views.  Often times fans and the general public take celebrity views as scientific, medical truth.  Case in point is Jenny McCarthy and her personal contribution to bringing back preventable diseases like measles and mumps, even though she now admits her son was misdiagnosed, doesn’t have autism and does not believe the vaccinations he received were harmful.  The CDC has gone so far as to call her a “Menace to Public Health.”

Everyday I am behind the scenes helping patients and families at risk for hereditary cancer. I am witness to young patients diagnosed with aggressive disease. I am witness to patients that are not offered hereditary cancer testing after a first cancer diagnosis and who are back again with a second cancer.  My goal is to do whatever I can to prevent that second cancer from happening and provide answers for these families.

Recently AARP published an article titled, “Sheryl Crow and Melissa Ethridge Beat Cancer and Heartbreak: Lessons for all of us.”   This article appeared in the Health and Healthy Living section of the magazine and had a short picture infograph containing each woman’s belief on why she got cancer, how she could have prevented it, how she believes she got rid of it, and her mantra for going forward with life. The full article depicts two truly incredible women having overcome personal challenges, medical challenges and rising to the top to continue their successful careers.  To me, that’s inspiring.  I find their ability to overcome adversity really powerful. Unfortunately, the article was somewhat of a miss, as well.

Melissa Ethridge is a BRCA carrier, which means she had hereditary breast cancer. While we are all entitled to their own opinions, this article claimed to include “lessons for all of us,” and I would have anticipated better scientific fact checking and editing by AARP before publishing. Opinion does not equal fact.

The picture at the end of the article was so full of misinformation that fellow BRCA carriers and other breast cancer patients were outraged and took to social media to let their voices be heard. In healthcare, misinformation is hurtful and dangerous.  It makes patients confused and upset.  It makes physician’s jobs even harder.  In this case, it means more patients may miss the opportunity to make informed decisions.

Let’s look at some of the false information in this article.

Ethridge: “I have the BRCA2 gene, but don’t encourage women to get tested. Genes can be turned on or off.  I turned mine on with very poor diet.”

FALSE. Ethridge’s statement is wrong on many levels. 1) Everyone has two copies of the BRCA2 gene.  One from mom and one from dad. In fact, everyone has two copies of the BRCA1 gene, too.  2) If her BRCA2 gene was theoretically “turned on” it would actually be protective against cancer. 3) When a patient has an inherited BRCA mutation it is present in every cell of the body and puts patients at dramatically increased risk for cancer.  Cancer in these patients does not occur because a patient ate gluten, sugar, red meat and dairy, as Ethridge later implies.

BRCA1/2 are tumor supressor genes that when working properly (turned on), act to protect your body against developing cancer. When a patient receives BRCA genetic testing we are looking for changes in the genetic code on BRCA1 or BRCA2. These changes are called mutations. Germline mutations are passed on at birth and can be passed on from either mom or dad.  Mutations in either gene cause it to stop functioning properly and confer an elevated risk for primary and secondary cancers over the general population, including up to 87% lifetime risk for breast cancer and 44% lifetime risk for ovarian cancer.

When we talk about BRCA, the syndrome is called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC), and it also includes increased risk for pancreatic, prostate and melanoma cancers. Keep in mind, harboring a mutation does not mean a guaranteed diagnosis of cancer during one’s life.  It does, however, mean risk is greatly elevated.  Inherited germline mutations from mom or dad are generally the cause for cancer in these families and the only way to diagnose a patient with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome is to offer risk assessment and hereditary cancer genetic testing. (It is possible for patients from families with known mutations to develop cancer but test negative for the family’s mutation.)  In Ethridge’s case, she has a known mutation.  We know what’s causing her cancer and it’s not diet.

Certainly testing is a personal decision, some patients will not pursue it and some may regret finding out the information afterwards. That’s what genetic counselors and physicians are for. They are there to help patients through the informed consent process and to understand the ramifications of testing. When patients are given accurate information they learn that a diagnosis of HBOC means they have an elevated risk for cancer and most importantly: they can do something about it.

Hereditary cancer is different. Standard of care guidelines published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network clearly state that management of patients with hereditary cancer syndromes should be different and more aggressive through increased screening and/or surgery. For HBOC patients, studies have shown that the risk of a second primary breast cancer in their lifetime is up to 64% and developing breast cancer first does not rule out the ovarian or other cancer risks associated with this syndrome. Diet doesn’t cause cancer in these patients.  Diet doesn’t turn a BRCA gene on or off.

As a patient, wouldn’t you want the most appropriate care for your cancer diagnosis? Unless Melissa Ethridge has received a medical degree, telling patients they shouldn’t test and that eating healthy will prevent/cure hereditary cancer is irresponsible.  I’m not suggesting that eating healthy is not a great idea.  It is! However, when it comes to preventing BRCA related cancers, all the kale in the world cannot change the fact a patient has an inherited germline mutation that puts them at a dramatically higher risk for cancer than the general population.  Period.

There are great resources for patients and families who want to learn more about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome.  Here are a few to consider:

  • My Support 360: Comprehensive information about Hereditary Cancer Syndromes and testing process written for patients.
  • Bright Pink: The only national nonprofit dedicated to early detection and prevention of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
  • FORCE: The only national nonprofit dedicated to HBOC patients.
  • #BRCA Bi-weekly Tweet Chat, Thursdays 6 PM PT/9 PM ET.

I see this article as a missed opportunity. The fault is not solely with the celebrities, but also with AARP choosing to ignore that opinion is not fact. It is a missed opportunity for AARP to use two well known celebrities to share factual, valuable information about hereditary cancer and risk assessment.  If Melissa Ethridge truly believes that her alkaline, sugar free diet cured her cancer that is her opinion to have.  Perhaps it gives her comfort and peace of mind to believe she is controlling her risk that way, and if so, that’s great. I believe that feeling empowered is important for all patients and that empowerment comes in different forms.

However, it is irresponsible to publish articles that claim unscientifically supported statements are lessons for all. Furthermore, I am reminded of how much work we have to do in educating the general public about hereditary cancer. Patients who have BRCA mutations have them whether or not they are tested. They carry elevated cancer risks whether or not they are tested. Patients deserve to know the facts, the REAL facts, and that’s why I’m reminded that our work will never be done.

 

The Cost of Not Doing: The Neuroscience of Engagement

This week we’ll do a very basic overview of how underlying brain structures and biochemistry shape the way we behave to better understand why we don’t always do the things we should do, related to our health, even when we know we’re making suboptimal choices.

I know you’ve been there.  You have the choice between an apple or a slice of apple pie.  You choose the pie.  You tell yourself, you’ll walk the dogs an extra 30 minutes or you’ll choose the apple next time.  It all cancels out then, right? Wrong.

Neurobiologists like David Eagleman of Baylor University suggest that our unconscious brain does most of our decision making, that there is a gap between what information is available to our subconscious and our conscious selves. I find the idea that we use only a small proportion of our brain and available information a hard concept to wrap my head around.  It seems a little overwhelming!

To understand this a little better, our brain activity was framed up as the following: Imagine that you were trying to process every single piece of news that is happening in the United States on one given day. Every story. It would be impossible to process all that information, and so we read newspapers and watch the news to get headlines that summarize and categorize what is most important. (OK, the most important part is debatable these days.) Mr. Eagleman suggests that we consciously act on ‘headlines’ from our brain’s subconscious.

Because the human subconscious drives our actions, instead of making decisions in a completely rational way that delays gratification, ignores emotion and is unswayed by influence, we often make suboptimal choices.  We are flawed. Humans love immediate gratification, we ignore consequences, we are swayed by emotion, we are influenced by branding and cultural norms, and we can’t be counted on to behave consistently.  Given all these facts, it’s a wonder we make it through the day.

MAKING A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

We spent some time on the idea of making ‘Deals with the Devil.’ This is the concept of getting something now knowing there will be consequences later.  In these situations the consequences are so far down the road, so delayed, that you don’t really care about them right now.  The official term for this scenario is a Ulysses Contract. In a Ulysses contract, we make a deal with ourselves to constrain our future behaviors. patient engagement neurobiology medx

Here is a great example of the present me trying to hold the future me accountable to do something good for my health. Remember that 30 day Abs challenge that was posted to Facebook a few months ago? It seemed doable.  The challenge was a finite amount of time, someone had already laid out the exercises for you to do, and there were videos explaining each move.  What more could I need?  I had really good intentions to do the challenge and said to my husband, “I’m doing this, no wait- WE’RE doing this. Make sure I do this with you every night after the baby goes to bed. Don’t let me say no.”  Well, 5 days in and I was too exhausted, or I had work to do, or I just didn’t feel like it, or I figured I could just make it up tomorrow.

This type of scenario is all too common, and yet, I would consider myself an engaged patient.  I take active steps to ensure my family and I eat healthy and live an active lifestyle.  I’ve even been accused to being too over zealous about my need to shop at Whole Foods even though our closest store is 25 minutes away.  (That, by the way is a great example of being engaged and committed.)  When it came to this ab workout situation, however, I wasn’t engaged.  There was no consequence of not doing the challenge in the near future.  Nothing to hold me accountable in the public eye, nothing online the line.

PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM YOURSELF

Our beautifully flawed existence can make it difficult to choose the ‘right’ decision, and is the very reason that patients frequently just do not engage. Having good intentions is simply not enough to ensure that you’ll do the right thing.  Mr. Eagleman provided five strategies to decrease the likelihood of non-engagement .

MINIMIZE TEMPTATION. Examples of this might be alcoholics who do not keep alcohol in the house or healthy families that don’t keep processed foods in their cupboards.

PUT MONEY ON THE LINE. Make a cost associated with not doing.  We all know that there are thousands of people around the US that have paid gym memberships that go unused. (Good intentions, bad decisions.)  Some gym companies are betting on you to make bad decisions and offering to pay for your gym membership if you use it ‘X’ number of times per month.

Another really neat health initiative that’s knocking it out of the park with patient engagement is Stickk.  Stickk lets its users make contracts with themselves and build support networks to reach personal health goals. Users sign up for Stickk and choose any goal they want: lose 10 lbs, stop smoking, run 3 miles every day, etc. Stickk incorporates social networking so its users have a community of participants to cheer them on and hold them accountable. In addition, Stickk makes users put some cash on the line that will be charged if the goal is not completed.  Now here’s the really cool part.  You choose how much money you want to put on the line and you choose a charity or cause that the money will be donated to if you do not complete your goal.  When I looked today there was $19 million dollars on the line from over 268,000 goals.

RECRUIT SOCIAL PRESSURE. Stickk is a great example of recruiting social pressure to help patients reach their health goals.  It’s harder to back out of a workout when you have a giant online community waiting to hear about your results.

INVOLVE EMOTION. Well, this one is a no brainer.  Emotional investment into any cause will help drive engagement and action. Healthcare marketers, providers and institutions must tap into this for successful patient engagement.  As I mentioned in my post last week on design thinking for patient engagement, deep understanding and empathy for the patient journey is critical to creating products and services that truly engage patients.  For more on this, head back to last week and take a look.

ESTABLISH RULES.  I think this one kind of goes along with the social pressure.  Setting rules is easy to do, but they are not always easy to follow when it comes to health because of the complicated, intricately designed human brain.

I found this week to be a very interesting, new perspective on patient engagement.  I had some flashbacks to my psychology classes at Bucknell, and it also was a stark reminder of how much we have left to learn about the human brain.  As we wrap up here today, can you think of one way that you could incorporate the five strategies for engagement?

 

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Design Thinking for Patient Engagement

Design thinking.  It’s the “it” buzzword these days, but what does it mean for healthcare and patient engagement?

Design thinking is human centered. Design thinking is synonymous with the firm IDEO, a global design consultancy.  Week three of Stanford’s Patient Engagement class was “Design Thinking for Patient Engagement” lead by Dennis Boyle.  Mr. Boyle is a founder of IDEO and heads up their Health and Wellness practice. IDEO’s health and wellness practice focuses on innovations that encourage healthful behavior changes.

I was really excited about this week, as you may remember that I have a (slight) crush on the work IDEO does. We learned that design thinking, the IDEO way, is a human centered approach to innovation, using empathy to understand people’s needs on multiple levels including: social, cognitive, emotional, physical, and cultural. To do this, Mr. Boyle’s teams apply these four principles:

  1. Develop empathy for your user by understanding their journey.
  2. Doing is believing.  Always have a bias towards action.
  3. Solicit feedback from your users in the short term and long term.
  4. Engagement is social, it is contagious.

In order to facilitate change, there must be belief from all users. Design thinking projects at IDEO always start with an open ended question, including:

How might we…..?

What if…..?

What is the future of……?

Taking a human point of view is critically important in healthcare, as demonstrated by the story of Leilani Schweitzer.  Ms. Schweitzer is a mother whose child was lost at 20 months old because the medical technology that was saving her son’s life failed to incorporate the most important factor: the human factor.  I’ve scoured the internet to try and find you a video of Leilani’s story from this year’s Medicine X conference. It is not posted. Her story was so gripping, so intense, that when I watched her tell it live, I realized I wasn’t breathing.  When it was over, I felt sick.  You can read the text of her talk from Medicine X on her blog, Not With Great Frequency. I am, however, able to share with you a different video of Leilani’s story from a TedX talk last year.

All this talk about patient engagement and healthcare delivery is not just wordplay.  It’s not just a fad. Designing healthcare with a human point of view is not a a fluffy marketer’s concept. At its core, patient engagement is a real initiative seeking to change the delivery of healthcare and to make patients prime stakeholders. To have real patient engagement we have to listen to patients.  (If you haven’t clicked through to read Leilani’s story yet, here’s another opportunity to click through to her story.)

You may remember my previous posts on some experiences I had in the pharmaceutical industry where asking “what if” was seen as insubordinate, where “what if” was a dangerous, negative question.  I am happy to report that since I left that industry four years ago, there seems to be some improvement in this mentality. One example of this would be the Lilly COI lab, which was created on the premise that the drug development process must improve.  It must become more open, and patients are needed to help make that happen.

I’ll share with you a summary of one of the patient engagement design stories Mr. Boyle highlighted that really resonated with me because it had a personal impact on me for a number of years. Ever heard of Forteo?  Forteo is a legitimate wonder drug for patients with severe osteoporosis.  In our world, we would talk about patients with t-scores less than -2.7.  T-scores measure a patient’s bone density and are used as a gauge to determine whether a patient has normal bone density, osteopenia or osteoporosis.  How the heck do I know anything about t-scores and osteoporosis?  Forteo was my baby for years at Lilly.  It was one of the products I launched during my time there and is a product I would still be proud to carry today.

Here’s a little biology background before we go further.

While you are alive your bones are constantly in a state of turnover: a process of rebuilding and resorption (removal).  (Kind of like how your DNA is constantly repairing itself, too.) Antiresorptives like Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Reclast all work by reducing the biologic activity of osteoblasts (bone building cells) and osteoclasts (cells that resorb or remove damaged bone) to reduce bone turnover.  In normal bone, these cells work together as an important checks and balance system.  You don’t want too much or too little activity of either kind. When women hit menopause a lack of estrogen slows down and decreases the number of the osteoblasts and the checks and balance is thrown off leading to “osteoclasts gone wild,” and for some women, osteopenia/osteoporosis. (Not too shabby on the recall for not having had this conversation in four years, if I do say so myself.)

Forteo is the only osteoporosis medication on the market that builds new bone mass. Forteo is not an antiresorptive, it is a biologic injectable that actually stimulates new bone growth. Forteo is a daily injectable that is taken for two years, at which point a patient then goes onto an antiresorptive to maintain the bone they gained. The antiresorptives and monoclonal antibodies available on the market today all increase bone density, which means they make the remaining bone you have more dense, but no new bone is gained, despite how their marketing is interpreted by many physicians and patients.  I’m looking at you, Sally Field.

Biology class, over.  Now, back to my design thinking story.

Osteoporosis can be a debilitating disease yet compliance with medication is not good. Here’s a visual what Forteo does:

Forteo patient engagement IDEO

 

That is the iliac crest of a real patient treated with Forteo. Her starting t-score was about -2.7.  If you were a patient with severe osteoporosis wouldn’t you want the bones on the right?  If you were a physician wouldn’t you want your patients to have the bones on the right?  I would!  Remember, no new bone mass is gained with antiresorptives.  All that happens is the remaining structures become stronger, more dense. To grow new bone mass, Forteo is the only option out there.

We carried actual plaster cast versions of these bone models everywhere in the field.  I had bone models in my purse, my sample bag, falling out of my car and crumbling (maybe her t-score was a -3.5 on some days due to the fracture she suffered as I got out of my car.)  I demonstrated how “easy” it was to inject oneself by using our sample devices filled with saline to actually inject myself during product demos. (Yes, I used alcohol swabs and real sterile BD needles and carried a sharps container around with me too.)  For someone in their 20s with no arthritis, a tiny needle and an eight step process was no big deal.

The reality was 80 year old women with arthritis and other issues had a really difficult time using the delivery device. It didn’t matter how great the science was because they couldn’t use it.

If the proof is in a visual, then everyone should have been jumping on Forteo.  But they weren’t. The science was great, (of course patients will do this, show them bones!), but the delivery did not have empathy for the user journey. This product asked 80 year old ladies to use a delivery device with eight steps including priming, injecting and twisting a difficult dial.  The reality was 80 year old women with arthritis and other issues had a really difficult time using the delivery device. It didn’t matter how great the science was because they couldn’t use it.

IDEO worked with Lilly to radically redesign the device, eliminating the priming and dialing, and reducing steps to inject to two.  This device was well received and Forteo saw real up-tick in the osteoporosis market.  After all, if a patient can use the device easily AND get new bone, well then, it becomes a different story.  Also, I no longer had to inject myself to prove that it was easy and the needle was not scary, so that was a plus.

When the Forteo example was shown during our class I almost fell out my chair because it was such an “ah ha!” moment for me. I wish I could have shared my story with the class, but it was a recorded lecture. At the time I was selling Forteo I had never even heard of design thinking or IDEO.  It never would have crossed my mind that such a complex, human focused process would have gone into the redesign. We were told patients helped to design the new delivery device and now, years later, I really understand what that means. I had always figured a bunch of engineers sat in a lab and just came up with it, which leaves me with my final thought on this topic.

At the beginning of this week’s class we were asked what design means to us, and here was my response:

Design, to me, is creating an experience or a product that seems effortless to the end user.

 

Pulling No Punches

Liz:

This is excellent work by METAvivor, the sole US organization dedicated to awarding funding for stage IV breast cancer research. This October let’s take action. Let’s help fund research for the 30% of women who develop metastatic breast cancer. Did you know that metastatic disease only receives 2% of breast cancer research funding? That’s not a typo. 2%. Or, did you know that outcomes haven’t changed for metastatic patients in 10 years? Please, watch this video, all the way to the end, and if you want to make a difference this October, don’t just shop pink. Give money to organizations like METAvivor, that directly fund research for patients.

Originally posted on regrounding:

It has been a crazy and exciting month for METAvivor! We have lots of big news, and the first is our new video. As you’ve come to expect, METAvivor tells it like it is. Tell me what you think!

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