Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Time Meals

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Summer is quickly approaching!

This is the PERFECT time to kick start your fitness routines and start trying to incorporate healthy meals into your menu to help you achieve your health and fitness goals!

Some people think that eating healthy means you have to eat boring…dry…bland food. Well that is not true at all! Today I am sharing with you several food options that should add some flavor to your meals so your healthy meals can be fun and tasty!

Beer-Battered Tilapia with Mango Salsa


3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup beer
1 pound tilapia fillets, (about 3), cut in half lengthwise
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
Mango Salsa, (recipe follows)

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cumin, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer to create a batter.
2. Coat half the tilapia pieces in the batter. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Coat the remaining fish with batter and cook in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil; adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Serve immediately with Mango Salsa.

Calories 242, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 48 mg, Sodium 234 mg, Carbohydrate 22 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 23 g, Potassium 468 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 13%.

Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad


1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of salt
4 cups baby spinach
1 small avocado, (4-5 ounces), peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices
16 thin slices cantaloupe, (about 1/2 small cantaloupe), rind removed
1 1/2 cups hulled strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)

1. Whisk honey, vinegar, mint, pepper and salt in a small bowl.
2. Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange alternating slices of avocado and cantaloupe in a fan on top of the spinach. Top each salad with strawberries, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tip: To toast sesame seeds, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Calories 202, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1 g, Sodium 90 mg, Carbohydrate 24 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 3 g, Potassium 503 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 100%.

Parmesan Orzo with Smoked Salmon


2 14 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and return to a boil, stirring once. Reduce heat to low and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain orzo over a bowl, reserving 1 cup broth. Return orzo to saucepan and stir in 1 tablespoon oil.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add reserved broth and asparagus and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cooked orzo, 1/4 cup Parmesan, sourcream, salmon, parsley and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Hope that these are some great options for you! REMEMBER…you can always substitute or leave ingredients out that you do not like! The key to creating tasteful healthy meals are to make it how YOU like it!

Also, please feel free to stop by my personal health and fitness blog at!

A brand new project went live on the people fund it web site. Our idea is to create a very large chandelier using all the single earrings that linger in drawers after people have lost its matching pair. It will take over 5,000 earrings to complete the artwork. The project is a response to the feedback we have had from the staff at Manchester Central Hospital where we have been installing mini exhibitions in the Summerhouse (another artwork of ours). The chandelier will be dedicated to them and to the patients who view the work from the windows.

Over the last year or so Sharon and Lauren have been installing art in the Glass Summer House that they created for a commission in the Manchester Central Hospital Women’s Courtyard.

Sometimes funny, sometimes eccentric, sometimes plain pretty, the art has caused a stir and discussion. Staff and patients have watched us come and go. We have almost become part of the scenery.

So, in February we asked the hospital community what they thought of the exhibits. We listened, we heard and this artwork is our response to what people said. ‘We want colour, light, movement and to able to take part in the making’. This, then, is our gift to them; an antidote to the hospital experience.

Art in hospital is good for people. It is well researched and documented that it improves healing and recovery. Lauren and Sharon want to make sure that art is still made for the hospital environment so that is why we continue to put in these exhibitions.

The Chandelier of Lost Earrings will be our next installation and then we hope to continue to make more.

For all those of you familiar with the Invest to Save: Arts in Health research and the idea of Flow posited by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, you may be interested in this short film by film-maker David Bickerstaff and our friend and collegue Dr Victoria Tischler.This builds a very neat connection between what we in the arts reffer to as flow, but from a sporting perspective. Great work.


"I can't be the only one who's thinking that the present government are using the recession to push through policies that sew it all up for the privileged few. It's like they're kettling the rest of us in every way, closing us in and closing us down – shutting down libraries, restricting access to further education, hacking away at the NHS. I'm not a soapbox merchant but what defines a civilised society for me is that we look after the sick and the elderly, educate our kids, nourish and cherish the next generation and give them ideals that are worth sticking to."

Answer at the footer of next weeks BLOG.

Thanks as ever...C.P.
The Zone from David Bickerstaff on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

American College of Physicians Annual Meeting 2012

I have just returned from an "over the top" Annual Meeting of the ACPE in San Francisco CA---over the top because it was the largest gathering of physician executives of the past seven years with more than 800 docs from around the nation, and the world. I taught the Quality Section of the Physician in Management (PIM) Series. PIM is an intensive, all day, five consecutive day immersion into the world of the physician executive. My session was closed out as we topped 160 attendees for an 8am to 430pm all day overview of the world of healthcare quality and safety. We covered the history of the quality and safety movement, evidence based medicine, practice guidelines, the culture of clinical practice and health reform. The program was very interactive and it is a real privilege for me to engage with so many emerging leaders simultaneously. It was an extra special day because our new book debuted too---HEALTH CARE QUALITY:The Clinician's Primer. I signed scores of books at the ACPE event and I hope you will go to and order your copy today.Finally, Dr Jim Pelegano, the Director of our Masters Program in Quality and Safety gave his lunch time talk about our program and I am confident that dozens of new applications will be arriving soon due to his enthusiastic presentation. This Annual Meeting of ACPE and the debut of our latest book made for an exciting event. I wish I could "bottle" some of this energy and give every downtrodden doctor a quick sip to perk them up and to join us on the journey to measure and improve the quality of care in our country. Once again, JSPH is at the forefront of this critical issue. DAVID NASH

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY Winner!

This was a really tough decision.  All -- and I mean ALL -- of your responses were great and thorough.  I was impressed by the various healthy hair tips.  Additionally, I intend to incorporate many of the suggested blog posts.  So yes, there were so many great responses.  Thank you for sharing and entering ... each and every one of you.  And now for the winner ...


Dgilly was chosen in hopes that the Pura Body Naturals products would help to decrease her night baggy routines.  (I say this in fun.  Baggying is actually one of few tips I have yet to discuss on this blog, so thanks for writing about it.) :o)

Please email your mailing address to xxxxxx before 8am EST April 27 in order to secure your prize.

Don't worry, ladies.  There will be another giveaway soon. :o)

Guest Commentary: April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Ruth S. Gubernick, MPH

In 2009, approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children. More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse and approximately 80% of those children that die from abuse are under the age of 4 (Source:

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Blue Ribbon Campaign and Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA)’s Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign have shifted to positive messages of supporting families and strengthening communities to prevent child abuse and neglect. But while blue ribbons and pinwheels may raise awareness, there is little evidence to suggest that health promotion alone can change behavior! As a QI Advisor, I facilitated pediatric primary care teams in implementing Practicing Safety, a child abuse and neglect prevention intervention ( ). We identified key strategies to help pediatricians intervene with families at risk of abuse and neglect. This work was supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation to the American Academy of Pediatrics and our research identified strategies that practice teams could successfully implement. The practices we worked with as a result of Practicing Safety would:
  • Discuss crying with all new parents, not just those with expressed concerns. Help parents be aware of their baby’s temperament. Teach new parents how to swaddle their infant.
  • Screen all new moms for post-partum depression using a standardized screening tool, such as the Edinburgh, and conduct follow-up for moms found to be at risk.
  • Encourage parents to read to their baby. Practice enrollment in the Read Out And Read (ROAR) program provides free books in multiple languages and appropriate age levels that can be given to families.
  • Talk about child development at each well-child visit, starting at 6 months, to help parents understand each stage of their child’s development. This can help parents keep their perspective as their child goes through developmental changes. Discuss establishing routines, modeling behaviors and that discipline equals teaching, not punishment.
  • Provide stickers and potty charts for parents who are toilet-training their toddlers, making it a more positive and rewarding experience. Personal Note: My adult daughter was toilet trained that way and she still uses a chart and star stickers to achieve a personal goal!
When working with primary care practices I often start a learning session on the topic of abuse and neglect by describing a story about villagers who spend much time and resources rescuing babies that have fallen into the river as they flowed down to their village. Then one day a villager traveled upstream and figured out how to prevent the babies from falling into the river. I encourage us all to go “upstream” and test and implement strategies that focus on prevention! By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

Ruth Gubernick is a JSPH doctoral student.

12-Hour Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY!

I promised a giveaway when the blog officially hit 500 followers.  Well here it is!  Welcome new followers, and Thank to you to my old followers who have remained loyal ...

As a token of my appreciation, I am hosting a Pura Body Naturals Giveaway, the first giveaway of this year.  The winner will receive a small package of Pura Body Naturals products put together by moi.  The contest will last for twelve hours, at which point a winner will be announced and must claim her prize by 8am EST on April 27 (tomorrow).  If unclaimed, a new winner will be announced immediately.

So, how do you enter?

Well leave a comment below with 1) your best healthy hair tip AND 2) what you would like to see on this blog. A winner will be chosen based on her response.

Hair Issues || High Porosity (and Low Porosity)

Porosity.  What is it?  It is a measure of how easily water and other substances can enter and exit the hair strand.  Depending on the condition of the hair's cuticle layers, the porosity can rank from low (i.e., the result of flat, tightly bound cuticles) to high (i.e., the result of gaps or lifted cuticles).  Highly porous hair, in particular, is more susceptible to moisture loss and breakage.  If your hair is highly porous, read the following article on how to combat the issue:


For low porosity or more on porosity in general:

Another Case for Organic: The Sweet Potato Project

So it certainly is not new news that conventional produce (unlike organic produce) is generally subject to chemical exposure and genetic modification.  Nonetheless, this girl's science project brings an astonishing visual demonstration to the effects of using chemicals on produce.  In her particular project, she compares sprouting between a conventional potato, an organically labeled potato, and an organic potato from a certified organic market.  The project raises the question of what health effects (if any) chlorpropham can have on those who consume conventional potatoes and other produce that contain the chemical.  The project also raises the question of why is there a difference in sprouting between organically-labeled produce and produce from a certified organic market.  If you haven't seen this video yet, I encourage you to do so.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Truth About YOUR Belly!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to health and fitness is “How do I get that amazing six-pack?”


Some people like to try to take shortcuts and use these kinds of items to try to help them get the body they want:


The truth? A pretty strict diet and a steady intense workout. There is NO magic machine, apparatus, pill, juice, or any kind of magic fitness gimmick to help you get a slim tone body!

To get abs of steel you have to have the diet to accompany it along with the right workout routine. You cannot do hundreds of sit ups and other ab exercises and expect your six pack (or flat abs) to just appear. Women tend to carry more weight around their midsection than guys do. So for girls it is naturally harder to have the flat stomach you dream of. What I have found to be helpful for my friends and the people I help is cardio. It helps to shed those extra pounds and it also helps to tone your body. I am not talking about 20 minutes of cardio, it usually takes around 45 min to over an hour along with other exercises and routines.

Along with the perfect routine, you also have to have the correct diet. I would suggest lean meats (such as fish or chicken) and tons of fruits and veggies. Staying away from processed foods is ideal (and also the healthiest diet you can have). Your body can process and use food more efficiently if it is not highly processed and packed full of unnecessary ingredients.

Getting a tone strong physique like the models you see on TV or online takes a lot of hard work and discipline. Starting a new healthy lifestyle is a lifestyle change! It takes extreme dedication and is not always easy! Now I am sure that those models enjoy the occasional cheesecake or other sweet treat, but the other 95% of the time they have a pretty strict diet and steady workout routine!

So when making your health and fitness goals make sure to keep in mind what YOU want! Try not to compare yourself to other people’s body. Make goals that are realistic and that make YOU happy.

Please make sure to check out my website at!

Nutritious Bartending || The Healthier Mimosa

The mimosa is a relatively simple alcoholic drink that makes a great sidekick with a Sunday brunch.  The typical version contains 1/2 to 2/3 Champagne.  Depending on where you go, some mimosas may not be mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice ... and if they are, the oranges are more than likely not organic.  So how do we make the mimosa more healthy?  Well, I suggest the following concoction which involves freshly squeezed organic oranges and the smaller Champagne to juice ratio.  (Organic oranges are said to contain 30% more Vitamin C than conventional oranges.)  Additionally, this recipe calls for less orange liqueur, or none if you wish, thus reducing your sugar and calorie intake.

{Image Source}

Dry, chilled Champagne
2-3 fresh organic oranges
1-2 tbsp of orange liqueur, e.g. Triple Sec

Using a juicer, squeeze your fresh organic oranges.  Fill a chilled Champagne flute 1/2 of the way with your freshly squeezed juice and almost the remainder of the way with the dry Champagne.  Then add the the orange liqueur and voila!  (Refrigerate any remaining orange juice for later.)  NOTE: To reduce your sugar and calorie intake even further, opt out of using the orange liqueur.

Serving size: 1

For an even healthier mimosa that is packed with Vitamin A, check out this SPICY CARROT SUNRISE MIMOSA:

RECIPE for Spicy Carrot Sunrise Mimosa


WOMEN ARE HEROES, Art in the Public Realm and a Free Conference

Thank you for the responses to the ‘Olympic’ themed Richard Creme competition. I’m pleased to say that the winers will be notified by email this week, and disconcertingly, a certain Lord Coe won one (hmmm, be interesting to see if he turns up!) Next weeks blog will be a Richard Creme special to coincide with the opening of his show at MMU.
For those of you who have commented on FCnK a big thank you, and its interesting to note a few things that link into it from the popular press and the streets of Liverpool this week.

Zoe Williams in her ‘saturday sketch’ further expands on Olympic histrionics and in particular takes the bell theme further. Here’s a snippet of her conversation with Loughborough resident, John Stevens. "Have you heard about the Olympic bell?" he asks. Nope. "So there's a giant bell, and the (local) Taylor Bell Foundry put in a tender to make it. But instead they gave it to a firm in London, who subcontracted it to a firm in the Netherlands. Now," he finishes darkly, "we all call it the Dutch bell". Oh yes – moaning, in an anti-authoritarian, not entirely serious but not exactly joking, way – that's another thing we're really good at.

The streets of Liverpool have been filled with teary eyed spectators, watching the progress of the Royal de Luxe produced, Sea Odyssey. An Olympic sized extravaganza, but polarizing opinions. Lynn Gardner in the Guardian commenting that, ‘...the result is inclusive theatre where young and old rub shoulders with the giants. We walk together in their footsteps, and we walk taller because they are with us.’ Chris Bradley in the online Liverpool Click is more scathing, noting the huge expense of the performance, suggesting the event cost around £2 million, and focusing on the Little Girl Giant urinating! The horror and outrage at the urinating has produced some blisteringly funny responses and in both the Gardner and Bradley articles, it's worth scrolling through the readers comments to get a balance of views, including the role and place of the local arts communities, comparisons to Notting Hill Carnival (or not) and of course, relieving yourself in public. 

I can see the thrill in this kind of event. People being together, technical skill, pathos etc - but I do think Gardner is perhaps over egging it a little suggesting ‘we walk taller because they are with us’ - how so, and what’s the long term impact? I’d like to know if anyone has been undertaking any research on the impact of this kind of street theatre, and once the carnival is gone and the streets have been scrubbed up and the Little Girl Giant, her dog and her uncle and packed off to the next city, what’s the legacy? Each year the firework shows just get bigger and I for one, love them (I think its in our nature), but just how big and spectacular can all these events get, and don’t they leave us unable to be satisfied by smaller moments and greedy for increasingly larger helpings - moving towards a super-morbid cultural obesity? 

This BLOG has shared a number of street artists over the years in an attempt to show that the work of people like Banksy is a bit more than a superficial tag. Recently images of spray-painted walls in Afghanistan, Russia and now Bahrain have taken this potency much, much further. French artist JR takes a different perspective on participatory art, that he explains as simply, ‘Raising questions...’ That said, he did win the TED 11 prize and his work really resonates when thinking about art in the public realm. I’m mindful of comments made by Mike White on the publication of the Derek Wanless report to the Treasury in 2004: Securing Good Health for the Whole Population. Mike drew from this report and other work he’d been scrutinizing, that it is women's health and particularly women's education, that has the greatest impact on society. More than that - female literacy rates are the most significant indicator of mortality.

So, Women are Heroes is a book and a film by JR - but more than that, its an artist illuminating something of the world beyond the narrow confines of individual experience.

Here is an interesting quote from an article reviewing the book. When one onlooker in Monrovia didn't know what an art exhibition was, another person explained it thus: "You have been here for a moment looking at the portraits, asking questions, trying to understand. During that time, you haven't thought about what you will eat tomorrow. This is art."

Панк-молебен Богородица, 
Путина прогони PUSSY RIOT в храме 
Discerning readers may be picking up on how art in the public realm may have an impact that reachers wider than narrow sensationalism and potentially has political implications, that in turn, have clear implications on well-being. Since February three women from the punk-rock collective, Pussy Riot have been held in detention in Moscow, for performing a protest song against president elect Putin and what they see as the Russian Orthodox Church collaborating in politics. 13 more people were arrested over the weekend for demonstrating outside the Moscow courthouse, where the band members face up to seven years in jail.

“Five masked members of Pussy Riot performed a protest song entitled “Holy Shit” at the altar of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in downtown Moscow on February 21. The lyrics included lines such as “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!”
Pussy Riot said the performance was a response to Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill’s backing of President-elect Vladimir Putin in the run-up to his landslide March 4 election victory. The patriarch called the 12 years of Putin's rule a "miracle of God" in a televised meeting. Putin’s press secretary said the president-elect reacted “negatively” when told of Pussy Riot’s protest.”

10 + 11 May 2012
Music in Healthcare Settings Seminar
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

RNCM Music for Health is pleased to invite people working in the cultural and health sectors to attend a FREE 2-day seminar about music in healthcare.

The seminar will
1. present the experience and learning from the EC funded ‘Music in Healthcare Settings: Training Trainers project’ (Leonardo Transfer of Innovation) at a local, national and European level;
2. highlight the importance of working in partnerships across the cultural and health sectors;
3. compare and discuss policy frameworks in the UK and France;
4. present case studies of musical interactions in healthcare settings and outline the training offered by RNCM, including the Medical Notes project funded by Youth Music;
5. present evaluation and research findings from the RNCM Music for Health programme.

The seminar is FREE, but booking is essential as places are limited.
To reserve your place for either one or both days, please fill in the booking form attached and return by email to no later than 1 May 2012.

For info on the project and seminars in our partner countries, go to

Women Make Music Opens for Applications (UK)

The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced that its Women Make Music grant scheme is now open for applications.  The second year of Women Make Music comes after a successful pilot programme in 2011.  Through the programme, financial support of up to £5000 is available to women musicians; and new music in any genre is welcome, from classical, jazz and experimental, to urban, electronica and pop. 

The aims of Women Make Music are:
  • Break down assumptions and stereotypes within the music industry by encouraging role models for future generations
  • Raise awareness of the gender gap and to ensure that women are aware that support for new music is available to them
  • Increase the profile of women who are creating new music in the UK
  • Stimulate new collaborations between organisations and female music creators

There are two funding rounds in 2012 and the application deadlines are the 17th May 2012 and the 10th October 2012. For information visit: 
As ever, thanks for looking...C.P

Hunger is your best friend: It makes natural foods taste delicious and promotes optimal nutrient partitioning

One of the biggest problems with modern diets rich in industrial foods is that they promote unnatural hunger patterns. For example, hunger can be caused by hypoglycemic dips, coupled with force-storage of fat in adipocytes, after meals rich in refined carbohydrates. This is a double-edged post-meal pattern that is induced by, among other things, abnormally elevated insulin levels. The resulting hunger is a rather unnatural type of hunger.

By the way, I often read here and there, mostly in blogs, that “insulin suppresses hunger”. I frankly don’t know where this idea comes from. What actually happens is that insulin is co-secreted with a number of other hormones. One of those, like insulin also secreted by the beta-cells in the pancreas, is amylin – a powerful appetite suppressor. Amylin deficiency leads to hunger even after a large carbohydrate-rich meal, when insulin levels are elevated.

Abnormally high insulin levels – like those after a “healthy” breakfast of carbohydrate-rich cereals, pancakes etc. – lead to abnormal blood glucose dips soon after the meal. What I am talking about here is a fall in glucose levels that is considerable, and that also happens very fast – illustrated by the ratio between the lengths of the vertical and horizontal black lines on the figure below, from a previous post ().

Those hypoglycemic dips induce hunger, because the hormonal changes necessary to apply a break to the fall in glucose levels (which left unchecked would lead to death) leave us with a hormonal mix that ends up stimulating hunger, in an unnatural way. At the bottom of those dips, insulin levels are much lower than before. I am not talking about diabetics here. I am talking about normoglycemic folks, like the ones whose glucose levels are show on the figure above.

On a diet primarily of natural foods, or foods that are not heavily modified from their natural state, hunger patterns tend to be better synchronized with nutrient deficiencies. This is one of the main advantages of a natural foods diet. By nutrients, I do not mean only micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, but also macronutrients such as amino and fatty acids.

On a natural diet, nutrient deficiencies should happen regularly. Our bodies are designed for sporadic nutrient intake, remaining most of the time in the fasted state. Human beings are unique in that they have very large brains in proportion to their overall body size, brains that run primarily on glucose – the average person’s brain consumes about 5 g/h of glucose. This latter characteristic makes it very difficult to extrapolate diet-based results based on other species to humans.

As hunger becomes better synchronized with nutrient deficiencies, it should promote optimal nutrient partitioning. This means that, among other things: (a) you should periodically feel hungry for different types of food, depending on your nutrient needs at that point in time; (b) if you do weight training, and fell hungry, some muscle gain should follow; and (c) if you let hunger drive food consumption, on a diet of predominantly natural foods, body fat levels should remain relatively low.

In this sense, hunger becomes your friend – and the best spice!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

TechSolve in Cincinnati, OHIO

This past week I had the distinct pleasure, and honor, of speaking at the TechSolve series of health policy events, at their headquarters just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. TechSolve is a 25-year-old, not for profit, consulting company that specializes in process improvement in healthcare. According to their own materials, "TechSolve collaborates with healthcare organizations to implement business improvement solutions. These solutions reduce process variation and eliminate wasteful activities - leading to increased capacity throughout and improved patient care and satisfaction"... All music to my ears!! I spoke for four hours about the history of the quality and safety movement in our country and its direct connection to health reform under the ACA. TechSolve brought together many of its key customers and we had an awesome interactive session. They also purchased scores of copies of DEMAND BETTER and I stayed to autograph every copy. TechSolve is a gem...and I am hoping that our school will be further engaged with their ongoing work. I am also convinced that some junior staff at TechSolve will want to join us in our growing on line Masters Degree in Healthcare Quality and Safety. It's a great potential partnership for sure. Stay tuned for more news about the good work of our colleagues at TechSolve and visit them at DAVID NASH

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Commentary: Connecting to a sense of purpose in Washington

Pavan Ganapathiraju

When I first joined the one-year accelerated Master of Public Health program at Jefferson, I walked in with a variety of interests. Most students you ask about me will say emergency preparedness. However, I have always been interested in health policy.

After enrolling in PBH 509: Public Health Policy and Advocacy, our class was notified of the Annual Health Education Advocacy Summit sponsored by the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations and Partner Organizations that was held in Washington, DC. The agenda for the summit included training on advocacy, discussing priority public health issues, and meeting with Congressional representatives to lobby/advocate for such issues. After hearing about it, I knew I had to take advantage of this experience; it would be a great opportunity to develop new skill sets in advocating and networking.

When I returned from the conference, I was beyond happy. Not only did I get to see the Capitol of our great country for the first time, but I had the pleasure of talking to the offices of senators and representatives from my home state of Illinois. I was skeptical at first, as were most people. As my fellow classmate Alexander Yang , who also went to the summit, said, “We have this assumption that Congressmen are these invisible people you see once in a while on television, but they actually are human.”

Alex’s cynicism is actually very true. When you walk into a legislative office and tell them you are a constituent from their district that gives you the power above them. They are actually very willing to listen to you about issues. This experience proved to me that the system works; our congressmen do listen to our concerns.

Overall, I had a surreal experience being on Capitol Hill and advocating for something I believe in. This experience was very rewarding and I felt like I had a sense of purpose. In my future career, I hope to do some more lobbying/advocating.

Any public health student at Jefferson needs to take advantage of this opportunity when it arises again.

Pavan Ganapathiraju is a student in the Master of Public Health Program at the Jefferson School of Population Health.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twist Series: Loose Twists Tutorial

Loose twists, which were officially introduced on the internet by Cipriana of, are becoming the big rave these days.  What are they?  They are basically two-strand twists done very loosely.  One of the major benefits of doing loose twists is that it takes less time to do than regular twists.  One drawback is that the style ages faster, but that may not be a problem if you love frizzies or re-stretch the twists periodically.  I have toyed with trying loose twists but haven't gathered up the courage to do so yet.  Below is a video tutorial of the style by youtuber Alicia James.  For more on the loose twist regimen, check out

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Mixology || Natural Bubble Bath

Does your use of commercial bubble baths trigger yeast infections? Perhaps these natural alternatives will be more gentle for you, but consult with your doctor first ...


2 cups almond oil
2 cups distilled water
1 cup 100% pure soap flakes (or grated soap)
2 tbsp witch hazel--2 Tbsp

Boil the spring water and melt the soap in it. In another container, mixthe witch hazel and almond oil together and shake well. (If possible, do this in a blender.) Then slowly add the soap mixture to the witch hazel and oil blend and again, shake or blend well. These amounts will make a large quantity of basic bubble bath mixture to which you can add the essential oils of your choice as and when required. For each 2 tablespoons of base bubble bath, use 15 drops of essential oil and mix well. Use 1-2 teaspoons of the final product in each bath.


1 quart water
1 bar Castille soap (grated or flaked)
3 oz glycerin
5 drops lilac fragrant oil

Mix all ingredients together.  Store in a container.  Pour in running water.

FOR MORE: 250 Bath Body Recipes

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Beet Juice, Beet Smoothie: Blood Pressure & Stamina

Don't sleep on beet juice. Studies performed over the past several years suggest that drinking beetroot juice may lower blood pressure and thus have implications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.  What is the underlying cause of this lowering of blood pressure?  It is the nitrate content of beetroot.  Additionally, other studies suggest that this juice boosts stamina, which can prolong exercising.

So how does one incorporate this vegetable into one's diet?  Well below is a recipe for a delicious, beet smoothie.  As always, please consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet or lifestyle.


1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup mixed frozen berries or blueberries
2 tablespoons granola
1/3 cup diced beet, raw (50 grams)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
2 or 3 ice cubes
sliced orange for garnish (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 full minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

Yield: 1 generous serving.
{Recipe Source}


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The Richard Creme exhibition will be open to the public at the Link Gallery at MMU from 2nd May until 11th May. You can find out more about this show by clicking on the image by international fashion photographer, Richard Burbridge below. More details of the show will be announced next week.

Four members of the North West Arts and Health Network have the opportunity to attend a private party on 1st May with Richard and his special guests...! This is a very, very special event and the nearest the network gets to exclusivity. To have your name entered into the prize draw, simply think about your answer and email it to before 2:00 on 25th April.
1. Which multinational and Olympic Partner do you associate with image 1

2. Which multinational and Olympic Partner do you associate with image 2

3. Which multinational and Olympic Partner do you associate with image 3


Originally set up as an informal regional network for people living and working in the North West Region, The North West Arts and Health Network has members in a range of countries including amongst others Afghanistan, Canada, India, Lithuania, Mexico and Sweden. Once in a while, its good to share some of the work that’s happening in other countries. One; because its just good to learn more about what we’re all up to and two; because we can be a little myopic in the UK. So, please feel free to get in touch if you are outside the UK and want to share your work, and once in a while we can share. Today, I’d like to introduce some of the work of Debasmita Dasgupta who creates graphic novels for children, and here is her ‘mini fish tale’ published as a blog, which she’s also developed as a free android app for children, with the not-for-profit grassroots organisation; the Bakul Foundation in India. Click on the photo to go to the story-blog.

This work has also been recently developed this into a free android app for children
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Molly Carlile at the First Art of Good Health and Wellbeing, International Conference in Australia. Molly describes herself as a Death Talker: someone who through her professional nursing career, has expended her perspectives around how we live and die. Molly Carlile lives her motto ‘The more we talk, the less we fear’, by encouraging informed conversations about death and grief in order to demystify and de-stigmatise these experiences.  Molly has initiated a number of projects to engage and empower communities to deal more openly with terminal illness. Particularly interested in how the arts can play a part in peoples dying, she is a strong and charismatic voice in rethinking, how we approach are own, and others death. I quote:

“We don’t talk about death because we think of ourselves as immortal. We have faith that no matter what is wrong with us, there will be a treatment that will fix it. We tell our kids that death is something that happens to old people. And so we live in a bubble of denial, hoping that if we don’t think or talk about death, we can avoid it. So when death happens we are poorly informed, badly prepared and often suffer our grief in isolation because we have no one to talk to about how we are feeling.

The time has come for us to face death, to inform ourselves and to build our ability to show compassion to the people around us who suffer in silence and isolation.”
I recently nominated Molly for the 2012 International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards, Educator of the Year Award. I am thrilled to say - she won it! Well done Molly - and justly deserved. Click on her photo above to see her website.
I’ve been trying not to join the ‘viral’ world, but after Claire Ford shared her work in the USA with us at the last networking event, it would be silly not to share this video that has had almost 5,000,000 hits since we last shared it!!! You can find out lots more about this work and more at  

Here’s another story about he Tricycle Theatre, Improvisation and Dementia. Just click on the photo below.

And finally on the dementia front, here’s yet another feature from the Guardian about music and dementia. 

An opportunity for a fully-funded PhD scholarship studying the effects of music making on the health and well-being of young disadvantaged people. Click on the crumhorn above, or link below, for details.

Last week I read a small book by Tom Lubbock who was the arts critic for the Independent and who died last year. It’s a book about his dying and as such, is a wonderful account of what it is to be confronted by your mortality and is neither mawkish or sentimental. What is particularly strong is his account of losing his own word-finding and word-making and how ultimately, for me, this makes the book beautifully considered and nigh-on poetic. He also makes me realise what a bloody wonderful thing the NHS is.