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Latest Posts

Smiley Faces Foundation: Promoting Awareness And Amazing Kids

We live in a society obsessed with outside beauty, so it’s no wonder that parents whose children are born with any imperfection worry endlessly about how their child will be accepted in society.

As parents, though, our job is to make sure our kids see themselves as much more than whatever obstacles are tossed their way, as tough as that may be.

Adam and Donna Bell felt that anguish first hand in 2005 when their son Ethan was born with cleft lip and palate. Ethan now has an adorable smile and hardly a scar at all thanks to the amazingly talented doctors at the NYU Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

Wanting to do more to raise awareness about the nearly 1 in 600 infants born with cleft (opening) lip or palate each year, the Bell’s founded Smiley Faces Foundation, a nonprofit who strives to not only assist the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, but also help provide treatment for all children who need cleft lip and palate repair in the United States. Read more »

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

A Picture Worth A Thousand Calories

Shopping for groceries the other day, my kids noticed this product that made us all stop in our tracks: Chubby Drink from Aisle 7!

Yes, this is a real product from a real major brand supermarket.

Yes, the label does read “Chubby” and shows a picture of a, well, chubby kid.

No, it’s not a new health drink. Packed into that portable, kid-sized 8-ounce container is the equivalent of 2 candy bars worth of calories and sugar.

No, you’re not being “punked” or on candid blogger or seeing a prop from SNL. This truly is a real drink sold in stores coast to coast. Read more »

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

Healthcare Reform And The “Time Will Tell” Camp

So, the healthcare reform bill passed in the House. Some people want to embrace this moment as a victory because any healthcare bill that becomes law is better than nothing. I heard a lot of “this was a long time coming,” “finally,” “it was our time yesterday,” and comments like that. I also heard a great deal of “time will tell,” “who’s the really winner?,” “is it a victory with a country and government so divided?,” “is this the right path?,” and comments like that.

I’m uncertain. As a physician, I so wanted to be able to feel good about it. I so wanted to believe that the “win” would push the healthcare industry in a positive direction, even if in baby steps and even if in just the insurance industry. But I have to be skeptical about a plan that doesn’t address the needs of American’s paying high co-pays today and having trouble getting timely doctors appointments today.

As a physician, I see too many patients not filling prescriptions and going without seeing doctors for these reasons. As a patient these have been my recent concerns, and I don’t see those being addressed. Do you? Read more »

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

Teen Suicide: How To Recognize Kids At Risk

The coverage about Michael Blasil’s suicide raises important issues about how to really help depressed teens…and where to look for resources in our own communities.

In many ways, the coverage about the death of Marie Osmond’s son was excellent. The experts on all the news shows were spot on in discussing teen depression and suicide and all the news stations have posted important information for families on their sites. However, what was missing was the reality of how challenging it is to get care. All the experts  I heard this morning made comments such as “if your child is depressed for 2 weeks or more, you need to get that child into treatment because treatment does work in over 90% of the time.” Read more »

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

Liquid Calories And School Lunches

Bloomberg recently posted that the New York school system is going to eliminate whole milk from their cafeterias to cut calories. 4.6 billion calories and 422 billion grams of fat will be eliminated from the menu by this plan. A good plan for the kids involved. Well, at least a good start.

As the post notes, schools nationwide are working diligently to tweak menus and offer healthier alternatives for kids in all grades from elementary school to high school. Some schools, such as the school district my kids attend, use electronic payment systems where parents can log-on to see what their kids have purchased. We’ve found this helpful at times to remind our kids about healthy alternatives and how to order a healthy lunch, especially on days when they find them selves either completely ravenous or with little time, which can easily happen in a typical school day. Read more »

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

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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