Monday, November 26, 2012


Participate in a national celebration of generosity. Go to and learn how. Volunteer your time, lend your expertise, donate your money.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Bring Back Home Economics Education

That’s the title of an article by Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc (Tufts University) and David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD (Children's Hospital, Boston) in Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010; 303(18):1857-1858.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I am excerpting sections of the article here in my blog.

“Home economics, otherwise known as domestic education, was a fixture in secondary schools through the 1960s, at least for girls. The underlying concept was that future homemakers should be educated in the care and feeding of their families. This idea now seems quaint, but in the midst of a pediatric obesity epidemic and concerns about the poor diet quality of adolescents in the United States, instruction in basic food preparation and meal planning skills needs to be part of any long-term solution.
Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign—with its emphasis on improving the quality of food and beverage in the schools and the community—is a welcome and historic step. However, better choices in schools will ultimately have limited effects if children do not have the ability to make better choices in the outside-school world, where they spend the majority of their time when young and which they inhabit when older. If children are raised to feel uncomfortable in the kitchen, they will be at a disadvantage for life.
Even more than before, parents and caregivers today cannot be expected or relied on to teach children how to prepare healthy meals. Many parents never learned to cook and instead rely on restaurants, take-out food, frozen meals, and packaged food as basic fare. Many children seldom experience what a true home-cooked meal tastes like, much less see what goes into preparing it. Work schedules and child extracurricular programs frequently preclude involving children in food shopping and preparation. The family dinner has become the exception rather than the rule.
An informed generation of children may also influence the eating habits of US families, just as tobacco education causes some students to discourage their parents from smoking.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


"Food choices are often...difficult to articulate yet strongly held." I second this statement by Natalie Angier which can be found in today's New York Times Science Times section. When people inquire why it is that I'm a vegetarian - a question that is typically posed while we are sharing a meal - my reply is "Because I don't like to eat dead animals." Natalie Angier let's us know that "Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too." I know this. I've known this for a long time. As long as I've been a vegetarian. Thanksgiving 1971 to be precise. I found the snippets of information, in Ms. Angier's article, about plants and their quests and mechanisms for staying alive fascinating. Turns out plants can be quite sophisticated.

So, I'm not eating dead animals but I am eating sophisticated dead plants. And so are you. Now what?

I recently learned about civic dietetics which integrates social, environmental and economic sustainability aspects of food choices into dietetics. Civic dietetics is a phrase coined by Jennifer Wilkins and you can read about it in the Journal of Agriculture and Human Values which I became aware of in Ashley Colpaart's piece in Tufts Nutrition.

Let's learn more about civic dietetics and about the amazing world of vegetables. Let's continue to forge ahead and figure out how to feed the citizens of the world - with food that is likely to be of plant origin. A challenge? Yes. Imperative? Absolutely.

Friday, July 10, 2009


And every time she came to see one of her providers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital her medical record was not to be found. This story pre-dates electronic medical records and so her hard copy medical record was ordered when she was scheduled for an appointment. Each time the Medical Records Department insisted it was missing. Yet when the nutritionist or nurse or doctor walked into the exam room, there it was. When she finally arrived for her appointment, so did her medical record. Sure enough, there she was carrying her three volume medical record in a paper shopping bag. “They’ve lost it too many times, so now I just take it home with me and bring it in when I have an appointment. This way I also get to read it and know what is going on.”
She knew the value of a personal health record, and one that was interoperable at that. She was a fan of participatory medicine a woman ahead of her times.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


That’s how one patient of Circle of Caring at The Hospice of the Good Shepherd described the organization in a recent letter to the editor of The Newton Tab. Roz Bessell of Natick, MA declared that “There is a special feeling of safety and security when one is in the hands of these amazing and outstanding people. I feel very fortunate and blessed despite my difficult illness to be a patient of the Hospice of the Good Shepard, Circle of Caring.”

As a new member of the board of Circle of Caring at Hospice of the Good Shepherd I have become immersed in a popular topic that is getting lots of attention. Listen to the National Public Radio series aired on Talk of the Nation the week of April 27, 2009 which addresses issues of death and dying including the latest trend – home funerals. Latest trend?? Isn’t that how funerals were conducted before the funeral home industry took over?

Another inspiring Circle of Caring story was highlighted in the Boston Globe. An article featured Evelyn Raphel, a current hospice patient who is an accomplished sculptor. Rabbi Carol Glass, HGS’s chaplain, suggested the idea of an exhibition of Ms. Raphel's art. Through the encouragement, hard work and compassion of Ms. Raphel’s team at Circle of Caring at Hospice of the Good Shepherd she was able to show her work one last time.

Unlike the traveler in Robert Frost’s poem - The Road Not Taken - I am able to travel various health care paths, including health IT, Health 2.0, nutrition science, etc. I am glad for my journey with Hospice of the Good Shepherd and a chance to support its mission and extraordinary work.