Photo Friday: Brookland, Washington, DC USA – An amazing journey through American History

2017.02.12 Brookland, Washington, DC USA  00693
2017.02.12 Brookland, Washington, DC USA 00693
“Charles Richard Drew Memorial Bridge
Named in honor of
Dr. Charles Richard Drew, 1904-1950
esteemed citizen
of the
District of Columbia
athlete, scholar, surgeon, and
scientist whose discoveries in
blood preservation saved
thousands of lives.”

(View on
This week’s photograph is from the historic Brookland Neighborhood, in Washington, DC. I was asked by the team at @Urbanturf_DC to go take a look with my camera (I don’t do commissioned work, this is an exception, as I’ve described previously).

The photograph above is from the Charles R. Drew Memorial Bridge, in Brookland (of course), where he once resided.

Many in the medical field know of Charles Drew as the namesake of some of the most important medical institutions in the United States today. And like many who lived (and live today) in Washington, DC, led in a world that didn’t want them to.

As the most prominent African-American in the field (of blood storage and transfusion), Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, and resigned his position with American Red Cross, which maintained the policy until 1950.

Brookland is an amazing journey through American History and the people who saved thousands of lives through medical science, helped create a Jewish State (Israel), changed entertainment, prevented Washington, DC from being turned into a 12-lane freeway, including most of present day Shaw, U Street, and Dupont Circle. They happened to be African American.

This was the plan for the neighborhoods of Washington, DC in 1970. (source)
Rest of the photos from the series are below. All taken via #activetransportation, I can’t believe I get to walk here 🙂 .

Photo Friday: Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad Byway & Visitor Center, Maryland, USA

2016.12.10 Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad  09391
2016.12.10 Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad 09391 (View on

“I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say— I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

Cope, Stephen (2012-09-25). The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling (p. 231). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A woman. Of color. Who was someone else’s property. Who was illiterate. With debilitating migraines and seizures throughout life due to a head wound received as a child. I went to go see her world close up.

In late 1850, after a number of months of freedom in Philadelphia, Harriet got word from Maryland that her niece, Kizzy, was about to be “sold downriver” into the Deep South— precisely the way Tubman’s sister had been many years before. This was a fork in the road for Harriet. She decided that she must put her own freedom on the line to help rescue her niece. She must go back into Maryland— a slave state where she herself was wanted as a fugitive— to help with the rescue.

Cope, Stephen (2012-09-25). The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling (p. 220). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

2016.12.10 Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad  09348
The view of a slave being auctioned off. Dorchester County Courthouse | 2016.12.10 Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad 09348 (View on

The Underground Railroad Visitor Center is opening in March, 2017. It will be worth a visit.

She always remembered her refrain on the Underground Railroad: “If you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.”

Cope, Stephen (2012-09-25). The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling (p. 231). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Photos below. Click here to see them on The bottom photo is a 360-virtual reality shot. Click here to see it in 360.

A transgender force (& A Great Leader) – The Washington Post on Ruby Corado

Ruby Corado has become one of the country’s most important advocates for gay and transgender youth.

Source: A transgender force: ‘The only thing that kept me alive was doing this work’ – The Washington Post

This is a beautiful story put together by Theresa Vargas (@TheresaVargas1) at the Washington Post.

I met Ruby when Casa Ruby (@CasaRubyDC) was just starting, and I remember that day in 2013 very well. Of course there’s a blog post of it: Washington, DC 2013 Sheroes of the Movement, Leadership.

I had no idea what a delicate situation Ruby was in when during this time. She presented a compelling vision for the future even then, which is what a leader does.

The opposite of Not My Problem

There’s more posts about Ruby and her work on this blog which you can find here. I think the reason for that is that I’m drawn to transformational leadership. It’s really the opposite of “not my problem” and so with those examples it’s important to show these examples, too.

A leader also doesn’t normally say things like this, which I remember to this day.

I hope every doctor and nurse gets to meet someone like Ruby in their lifetime. They’ll learn a lot about what it means to be there for people. These examples are everywhere, you just have to look for them. They are guiding in the times when you don’t know what to do because the bias is towards “doing what needs to be done.”

Another positive note, Washington Post’s comment policy

The beauty of the story was initially offset by the allowance of degrading comments by readers on the story, which are against the Post’s own commenting policy.

Initially there were about 12 of these, which have since been removed (thank you). An additional one was also removed on request..

I wrote about this yesterday: You can look at the comments. My experiment in ending transphobia. What you don’t permit, you don’t promote. I think it’s the responsibility of publishers to keep spaces like this safe and supportive.

I appreciate the work done to remove the transphobic comments quickly when brought to their attention. It helps the world learn to love better 🙂 .

Washington, DC 2013 Sheroes of the Movement, Leadership

Just Read: My Connection Profile with Professor Sonya Grier, RWJF Leadership Network

Thanks to Meredith Wise and the team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (@RWJF) Leadership Network, for putting together this story about a connection between myself and Professor Sonya Grier, from American University.

Of course I already blogged about that connection here: Dog Parks & Coffee Shops + Leadership Networks.

Because you have to be a member of the Leadership Network to read the piece, I’m reposting it here (with permission).

The thing we’re trying to show is that social media is not about mass communication, which I think is a mistake that new entrants make when engaging. The most important network connections are the single points outside of your normal network. They are the ones that help solve problems. Abstracting out a bit, this is why diversity is a good thing – it allows the human species to survive…

I illustrated the science behind that here if you’re interested: Less connected social networks solve complex problems better : Go ahead, have a dream – Here’s the data to go along with the story 🙂

Solving Complex Problems 29657
Solving Complex Problems 29657 (View on

Professor Sonya Grier, American University at Center for Total Health 09586
Professor Sonya Grier, American University at Center for Total Health 09586 (View on

Meredith Wise
November 10, 2015

You never know where a discussion thread on the RWJF Leadership Network will lead. Recently, a conversation about diversity, inclusion and health brought two Network members together. The topic is an area of interest for both Sonya Grier, professor of marketing at American University (AU), and Ted Eytan, medical director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

The pair were excited about each other’s work, and since they both work in Washington, D.C., they agreed to visit each other to learn more about how their work intersects.

“I was impressed that a health system had thought about integrating the social determinants of health,” said Sonya about Ted’s work at Kaiser Permanente.

Ted was equally intrigued by Sonya’s efforts. “Sonya is doing research around the changing diversity in our communities, and I’m interested in that from a Culture of Health perspective,” he said. “I found it interesting that a professor of marketing was doing this research and wanted to know more.”

Sonya’s research is focused on multiple aspects of marketing—for example, the impacts of food marketing on obesity and how social marketing can be used to design interventions. Specifically, she looks at target marketing—how marketing choices communicate messages and promote products to certain groups of people.

Ted was able to attend a screening of Sonya’s documentary “DogParks & CoffeeShops: Diversity Seeking in Changing Neighborhoods,” a film about three communities in Washington, D.C. that are undergoing urban revitalization. The piece also focuses on the role of gentrification in supporting (or not supporting) diverse communities.

While making DogParks & CoffeeShops, Sonya and her team interviewed residents in the three neighborhoods to understand what can be done to promote inclusivity in rapidly changing areas. (If you’re interested, check out the trailer.)

“In the documentary, we look at how you can keep diversity in neighborhoods. There are people who want to live in diversity, but there are also tensions that arise when you bring people together,” Sonya said. “We try to identify these tensions and what marketers and policy makers can do to create inclusivity.”

Ted said, “Sonya’s documentary was really eye opening. We’re content to live in diverse neighborhoods that aren’t really diverse—we only connect with those like us.” After watching the film, Ted posted some additional reflections to his LinkedIn page, which you can read here.

Later, Sonya reciprocated by visiting Ted at Kaiser Permanente, where he works to create total health around the world. In his office, there is a space dedicated to visualizing this goal. (Check out the “What Does Total Health Look Like” community inside the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.)

“This is where Sonya’s work fits in,” said Ted. “You can’t have total health without diversity. We are always searching for the experts and information that fill in the picture so that others can work toward it together.”

Sonya said she also left Kaiser Permanente with a new point of view: “As a non-public health person, when I started looking into health I saw this real differentiation between health and health services and systems, with health being more in line with population health,” she said. “To see both of those come together at Ted’s place of work was enlightening.” (Check out Sonya’s full reflections about her visit, which inspired us to write this Connections Profile.)

“Ted is embedded in a health system with a community perspective, and it helped me think through what my next steps in research might be,” she said. Their conversation further sparked thoughts about new areas of research for Sonya, such as gentrification and health.

As for Ted, he’s glad that Sonya was able to gain some new insights from his world. “It was great to see her realize that health care could be a real partner for her,” he said.

Thanks to their connection, Kaiser Permanente and AU have started to discuss ways they might work together in different areas, including diversity. Recently, AU has been thinking about ways in which they can best serve their increasingly diverse student body. Many schools are seeing diversity as a trend, and are working to adjust services to better serve their students.

Through Ted, Sonya has made some connections between Kaiser and different departments on AU’s campus. She acknowledged that if it weren’t for meeting him through the Network, she probably wouldn’t have thought to include health systems in her referrals for these projects—to her it wasn’t initially a direct correlation.

“It’s important to be open to things that might seem tangential to you,” Sonya said. “I wouldn’t have thought about a doctor in a health system because it didn’t play into my idea of public health. Being open to that discussion let me learn about it and develop a potentially important partner, and increased my own knowledge.”

Ted also offers some advice for those looking to make a connection on the Network: “Take a chance and ask if someone wants to talk – assume that any new connection is potentially worthwhile,” he said. “Sometimes you’re busy, but it doesn’t hurt to take 20 minutes to chat – you never know what you’re going to learn.”

Have you made a connection on the RWJF Leadership Network? We’d love to talk to you! Send us an email at

Presentation: How to sustain a (health) revolution

I gave this presentation, what I call my 2nd TED talk (although not affiliated with an actual TED event, just a person named TED – me), exactly 3 years to the day after I gave my first one, at Henry Ford Health System, in 2012 (see: “Embrace of Failure” – TEDx talk with Regina Holliday ), with awesome leader Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday).

Back in 2012, it’s highly possible that I thought that everything that needed to be done had been, and then a mobile app (see:What it means to earn a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index) and an anonymous email sent to me around the time of the 2012 presentation changed everything.

Thanks to my colleagues, who are doctors, nurses, lawyers in our government relations organization who asked me to bring this dialogue forward in 2015.

As it says on slide 2, I 🙂 Kaiser Permanente, and all of the people who have trust and hope that physicians, nurses, health professionals, and patients have the power to change everything. It’s in our DNA. Oh, and love always wins.

Enjoy, feel free to post any questions or comments.

Just Read: Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo, by Nicholas Carlson

As with a previous work on the birth of Twitter (see: Now Reading: Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal), I like the story, and some of the insights on leadership and innovation.

The reason tech dictatorships work isn’t because the dictators are perfect. Steve Jobs didn’t want to put iTunes on Windows machines, and he didn’t see the point of apps on the iPhone. Mark Zuckerberg pushed several products on Facebook users that invaded their privacy and caused huge uproars. It’s that dictators make mistakes quickly, and the good ones learn from them and move on.

Carlson, Nicholas (2015-01-06). Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! (p. 93). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

“You know, you have it all wrong,” the counselor said to Mayer and the campers. “It’s not what Zune knows, it’s how Zune thinks.” The counselor said that what made Nguyen so amazing wasn’t the facts that he knew, but rather how he approached the world and how he thought about problems. The counselor said the most remarkable thing about Nguyen was that you could put him in an entirely new environment or present him with an entirely new problem, and within a matter of minutes he would be asking the right questions and making the right observations. From that moment on, the phrase: “It’s not what Zune knows, but how Zune thinks,” stuck with Mayer as a sort of personal guiding proverb.

Carlson, Nicholas (2015-01-06). Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! (p. 139). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Just Read: Becoming Steve Jobs, The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

Great read about leadership and the uniquenes of one person, and also an insight into the commonalities of people born into the baby boomer generation that Steve was a part of.

We can learn as much, if not more, from failure, from promising paths that turn into dead ends. The vision, understanding, patience, and wisdom that informed Steve’s last decade were forged in the trials of these intervening years.

Steve’s gift was even greater: he saw clearly what was not there, what could be there, what had to be there. His mind was never a captive of reality. Quite the contrary. He imagined what reality lacked, and he set out to remedy it. His ideas were not arguments but intuitions, born of a true inner freedom. For this reason, he possessed an uncannily large sense of possibility—an epic sense of possibility. – Laureen Jobs, 2011

Photo Friday: Leading in a world that doesn’t want you to – Thurgood Marshall Center, Washington, DC USA

Anthony Bowen YMCA, 1979_Collage
Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, 2015 and 1979 (View on

This week’s photograph is a collage of the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, from 2015 and 1979.

The Center is on a side street in the Shaw neighborhood and is the home to many revolutions in leadership, most notably the end of school segregation in 1955.

When I was there recently, I tried to imagine what it must have been like for someone like Thurgood Marshall to walk out of what was then the YMCA onto the street, into a world that might not be so secure. Here’s a 3D photosphere of the sidewalk outside of the Center that might help you do that, too.

Since that time, the Center regularly celebrates the kind of high impact leadership that the world often tries to suppress.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of those celebrations, that honored Ruby Corado (@CasaRubyDC) as well as Annie Kaylor, who built an iconic steakhouse in the LGBTQ community. In the 1960’s, she famously said this to two of her male customers:

“No, no–you hold those hands right up here on top of that table” – Annie Kaylor

These are the seemingly little things to the majority that mean the difference in having dignity to the minority.

I like coming here because I get to meet the people and learn about the stories that change the world. That’s priceless. Having these things happen every day where you live, that’s Washington, DC 🙂 .

More photos of the Center and of the 2015 Community Pioneers Awards below.

Learning about high impact leadership in Washington, DC: Ruby Corado and Regina Holliday in national media

As I prepare to head back for my final session of the Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard School of Business (@HBSExecEd), I am paying extra attention to examples of great leadership. Especially those of leaders who have the highest impact with the most minimal resources – that’s special to me (and many other humans).

Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday) is featured in USAToday (@USAToday) in this piece: Patient advocate fights for access to digital records through her art

Ruby Corado (@CasaRubyDC) is featured on the PBS NewsHour: LGBT youth home welcomes population accustomed to insecurity, Video at Giving transgender youth a safe haven from the streets

As well as on NPR: Casa Ruby Is A ‘Chosen Family’ For Trans People Who Need A Home : NPR

First of all, wow. They both are achieving national recognition for their work, in the same week.

I’ve known regina for 6 years, Ruby for 2, and from watching them lead, I think this has been inevitable.

There are so many similarities in their leadership. Their impact is far far greater than a person in society is supposed to have, much less a person in society representing a vulnerable population (in Regina’s case, patients in health care, in Ruby’s case, the LGBTQ community).

Regina’s leadership was shaped by the hospice (and hospital) experience of her husband Fred, where there was little love for coordination of care or provision of information to patients and families.

Ruby’s leadership was also shaped by work in a hospice, where as she says, “all they had to give was love.” Ruby worked at the Gift of Peace charitable residence, in Washington, DC operated by the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa. Gift of Peace was protested against by its neighbors because they believed at the time that HIV could be spread through the air. (See: Photo Friday: Our generation is changing everything for people who are LGB and Transgender | Ted Eytan, MD for more of the story)

Ruby told us before she opened the LGBT Youth and Adult houses in Washington, DC that she was going to be successful because “I get stuff done.” And she did. Prior to her work, LGBTQ youth who were not accepted by their families/society had to be homeless in Washington, DC, as they were either rejected by or harassed in shelters.

Regina told us that she will not stop until every patient has the ability to see their own health information, and she’s not going to, 330 walking jackets later.

I have noticed that they are both on a mission, but in a way that is inclusive of everyone. They can engage in a conversation of one or a room of 1,000. They can command the attention of a community, and as we’ve seen this week, a nation. You can’t say no to either of them (or at least you shouldn’t), and at the same time, they are inclusive, kind, and open. When they write about their victories, they generate excitement, about their frustrations, they generate sympathy. How do they do it? It’s really worth listening to their stories and learning more – see for yourself.

Oh, and they both happen to be women.

There may be something to this kind of leadership that draws so many people to it. I was able to watch Ruby receive a community-wide honor for her work at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, DC last week. I’ll post on that separately, but that’s a place where leaders also walked out onto a street and into a community that didn’t accept them, and look what they accomplished.

There’s one thing I don’t agree with in the NPR story about Ruby which is this opening statement, and the USA Today opener about Regina also makes me scratch my head a little:

This story is part of an occasional series about individuals who don’t have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities. (NPR)

Despite her grief and background, Holliday has emerged as a colorful patient advocate with a command of electronic health record rules to rival any button-downed lobbyist. (USAToday)

I think Ruby and Regina have immense power beyond financial resources and colorfulness, and of the kind that society wants leaders to have and express. Like I said, much to learn.

I came to Washington, DC hoping to learn from the most transformational leaders of our time, in the most diverse places, where people believe everything is possible, because it is. As Ruby says, dreams do come true 🙂 .

A few photos taken on the way to the future #SCOTUS #LoveMustWin #WalkingMeeting

SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663 (View on

I normally walk to work through history, this time I walked to work through history being made, as the United States Supreme Court heard arguments for marriage equality.

#activetransportation w #scotus pit stop #steppingthroughhistory

#activetransportation w #scotus pit stop #steppingthroughhistory (View on

In an awesome confluence of events and social movements, I was participating in a roundtable co-hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine (@ACSMNews) and the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (@KPIHP) on creating a Call to Action on Making Physical Activity Assessment and Prescription a Standard of Medical Care. Of course that roundtable of medical leaders was going to have walking meetings, and we walked to the future, while talking about the future. Two social movements coming together.

Isn’t it great how all things Total Health are so related….

Enjoy photos of the day and the people who are changing everything. Click here to view them on Flickr directly. All are creative commons licensed.