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Latest Posts

Talking To Kids About The Economy Over The Holidays

With the holidays upon us and our country still facing a challenging economic crisis, many families are struggling with how to balance celebrating and spending without disappointing their children.

From news stories to Facebook postings, families are expressing clear concern for how to celebrate this year, what to buy for their kids and how much money to spend. They want to be honest with their kids yet shelter them from their adult financial concerns at the same time. Moreover, they feel guilty because this year was supposed to be different because last year they had the same stresses and concerns. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr Gwenn Is In*

I Can’t Believe They Said That: Overheard On Amtrak

I was traveling on an Amtrak train to a dinner meeting in Philadelphia. Two portly business men wedged in next to me and had an animated conversation about which companies do well despite a down economy. Here’s how the conversation went:

Businessman #1: You know, I’ve taken such a beating on the stock market, I just don’t know where to put my money to protect it and grow it. But I was thinking – one thing’s for sure – lots of people are going to continue dying despite the recession.

Businessman #2: So what kind of business insight is that?

Businessman #1
: Funeral Homes, dummy. That’s where the action is. People still have to cremate or bury their loved ones, even in tough economic times.

Businessman #2: Nah, that’s not really scalable. I mean, you can’t save on costs with more volume. It’s fixed – a coffin costs what it costs. What you should really get into is Assisted Living facilities. Now THAT’s a growth market.

Businessman #1
: No way, people can’t afford to pay for assisted living after the market crash. Their savings won’t last long enough to make it worth my while to take them in. Then when it runs out, what can I do? You can’t put them out on the street so you’re stuck with them till they die.

Businessman #2
: You don’t have to be stuck with them, when their cash runs out you can transfer them to a lower quality facility. Then Medicare will pay for it.

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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