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New WHO Report: More Than 1 Billion People Are Disabled – Could You Be Next?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank just revealed the first-ever global estimate of disability. The report suggests that at least 1 billion people are currently disabled, and about 1/5 of those are experiencing significant difficulties with their activities of daily living. Since  people with disabilities experience poorer health, lower educational achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities, this vulnerable segment of the population needs much closer attention.

I’m a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialist by training, and there are only about 8000 of us in the United States. Some have called PM&R specialists: “primary care physicians for the disabled” and I think that’s a reasonable description. The task before us is daunting – with hundreds of millions of people who are not living their lives at maximum functional capacity, rehab physicians should be in great demand.

My experience is that while the demand is great, funding is limited. I’ve seen tragic cases of children being denied critical wheelchair parts, and Read more »

Reflections On World AIDS Day – Our Global Dilemma

world-aids-dayWhat does America’s economic recession have to do with a school teacher in Kenya? A lot more than you realize. If there’s one thing I learned at the World Bank’s World AIDS Day event yesterday, it’s that our lives, economies, and health are all inextricably intertwined on a global scale.

Beldina Atieno (second from the left in the photo) traveled all the way from Nairobi to offer her first hand account of life as an HIV+ school teacher in Africa. Ms. Atieno’s story was both heart-wrenching and eye-opening. She was first diagnosed after her youngest daughter became very ill from an opportunistic infection, which prompted HIV testing in both daughter and mother. After discovering that they were both positive, she was abandoned by her husband and was plunged into poverty and despair. Read more »

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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