Hug Tour 2013! Photos and Podcast

This is the second annual DC Hug Tour. Like last year’s (see: Photos and podcast from DC Hug Tour 2012 | Ted Eytan, MD) the 2013 tour was led by innovator Lauree Ostrofsky (@simplyleap) and joined by Kimberly Daulton (@okdaul). Every hug tour needs a podcast, so here’s this years’.


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

In 2013, Lauree was supported by the team from Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center in bringing hugs to our care providers.

And you know what has happened in the last year thanks to this innovation?

The Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth) hug timer (see: The Hug Timer : A respectful way to guide and show gratitude during discussions | Ted Eytan, MD) was created and has graced many a meeting, many cities, across the country (could it go international?)

Now, whenever I facilitate panels and other work with our members, leaders, leaders in other organizations/industries, I ask “Are you a hugger?” And guess what, a lot of them are. The hug is a tool to show gratitude, for what seems like the smallest amount of service in terms of time, but is really a huge amount in terms of impact. That’s what people deserve, rather than a red flag/“times up” or other negative/disempowering behavior.

If someone is doing something better than I am, I’d like to know about it, which is why I invited Lauree to teach us how to be better leaders. 

We’re here to empower people and give them control of their lives so that they may achieve their goals, defined by them. That’s what health care is for.

More photos below, click to enlarge

Physicians Rating and Prescribing Parks : The DC Park Prescription Podcast

DC Park Prescription Podcast


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

I’ve done a fireside podcast, a walking podcast, this is my first park podcast. It was recorded at Washington, DC’s Stanton Park and stars Robert Zarr, MD, MPH (@doczarr), our city’s physician champion for rating and prescribing parks.

Keith Montgomery, the Executive Director of the Center for Total Health (@kpotalhealth) and I, made this the topic of this month’s walk with a doc (we walked to Stanton, of course) , and Robert talked us through what Park Prescriptions are, and the actual rating of this park, as well as his thoughts on the connection to total health and what it means for Washington, DC to lead the nation in this work. He says it all beautifully, in my opinion!

I podcasted this one because Robert’s a great speaker and I wished I had recorded our first walk together. I didn’t want to miss out this time.

Keith gave Stanton Park a solid “B” based on the amenities and the athletic activities that he likes to engage in. Keith’s rating is what made me realize this is much much more than doctors telling patients, “Go to a local park.”

What I learned is that park prescriptions are a listening tool, for doctors to learn about the interests of their patients to collaboratively recommend the right activities and spaces.

Park prescriptions are also a listening tool for the community, to get in touch with the green space around them. This prescription is so different than the kind of prescription that involves a physician deciding in their head what type of therapy would be most useful and then sharing it with the patient. This therapy is one where the patient and their family can be involved in deciding what medicine (which park) to choose for themselves and indirectly, for the rest of the community, since the ratings they produce will be used by everyone.

I’ve put together links on the park prescription program and the rating tools. The links are also embedded in the above podcast. Since my life is one big beta test, please excuse a few seconds of buzz here and there on the audio, and little bit of reverb. I have figured out how to filter out traffic noise at least :).

Thanks, Robert, the American Academy of Pediatrics-DC, The National Park Service, and all of the other professionals and community members who have come together to make park prescriptions a listening, learning, and a health improvement tool, the best kind.

We’re opting in and you should, too. Visit a park, rate a park, prescribe a park. Don’t just stop at one, there’s 350 in Washington, DC alone.

Oh, and really quick thank you to Trish Doherty (@trishdoherty) for being inspirational and offering guidance along the way about podcasts. She manages the most excellent Center for Total Health blog, give it a try.

Photos and podcast from DC Hug Tour 2012

2012 Hug Tour, at The Center For Total Health View on

This is definitely one of the most interesting events I’ve seen take place at the Center for Total Health ( @kptotalhealth ). I’ve been feeling like 2012 is the year of hugs, so why not?

I asked Laurie Ostrofsky ( @simplyleap ) to tell me about the hug tour and I recorded our interview. I asked her what a good hug is, how hugs happen in the workplace, and if a hug has to be physical (answer, no). Apologies if the audio is uneven, I am (yet again) trying new technology to capture the spoken word, I’ll do better next time!


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

Thanks, Lauree, for including the Center for Total Health on the hug tour. Here are more photographs of what that looks like. A place to talk about health should also be a place to talk about hugs.

Walking Podcast! Janet Wright, MD, for Million Hearts: “systematic care, put in place, works like a charm”

Not walking, our brains have quit working. View ‘Ted Eytan MD and Janet Wright MD’ on


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

I’ll try anything if it involves walking (my first walking podcast!), and luckily so will Janet Wright, MD, FACC, who’s the Executive Director of Million Hearts ( @MillionHeartsUS ):

a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative with the explicit goal to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes in five years.

Maybe I have more than a passing interest in hypertension (if you read all the linked posts about it on this blog, you’ll see), and that’s what brought myself and Janet together, on foot.

The podcast shows that DC can be a noisy (and stunningly beautiful) place – I did my best to shape the audio to be more understandable, but in reality I think more than 5 minutes with this background wouldn’t be as fun, so I edited accordingly.

As Janet points out, DNA is not destiny, and it is the science of creating systems and teams that are going to allow us to manage a condition that affects 1/3 of the United States population.

You’re also get a peek inside the relationship between the primary care (family practice) and specialist (cardiology) point of view. Janet reminds me, correctly, that blood pressure is not easy to treat in every person, which is another reminder that we’re all necessary.

In our talk, she refers to an event in Washington, DC, that brought four innovative programs together to talk about their scale and spread across health care. In 2012, there are many more programs that harness the science of systems. Our friends at the AHRQ Innovations Exchange ( @AHRQIX ) have a whole resource of the people, methods, victories and challenges of each. From my work with AHRQIX, I believe that just about any idea to innovate in health care should start with a search on that resource. Here are the links to the four programs featured recently just as a (great) example.

Since we were walking and talking I needed to ask about walking meetings at the end and…Janet’s a fan! Keep this in mind if you are fortunate to work with her during this effort. She added yet another important reason to walk, talk, and think at the very end of our conversation – our brains quit working when we stand still. And you know, she’s right.

It’s here! The Regina Holliday interviewed by Ted Eytan StoryCorps Interview (audio)

Regina Holliday before StoryCorps Interview

Right before the interview

StoryCorps Certificate Ted Eytan and Regina Holliday

It’s “in” at The Library of Congress


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

At long last, I have acquired the audio (as has the Library of Congress) for the interview of Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ) that we did, in April, 2011, for StoryCorps ( @storycorps ), in conjunction with the opening of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health ( @kptotalhealth ) that month. The Library and StoryCorps do not routinely make every recording available online, so I am posting it here.

There were tears, there was laughter, and I am even more deeply honored to listen now than I was to be there with Regina in April. The photograph on the right was taken right before we sat down that day.

One of the questions we were both asked to answer was “What is Total Health to you?” and it’s still the same answer, being able to stand up, walk from my home, and have a conversation like this. I got to ask Regina some of my burning questions about the future of health care, medicine, and social media and her answers then are still guides for our future.

More importantly, I got the opportunity to listen to Regina talk about her art, her family, and the love of her life. She mentions in the interview that she needs the entire internet to get the level of engagement that she got from one person, Fred Holliday. And even that’s not enough. It will never be enough….

Most exciting thing in medicine is not going on in medicine – Podcast with Sue Woods, MD & Paulanne Balch, MD

Paulanne Balch, MD and Sue Woods, MD, from the mHealth Summit


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

After seeing colleagues Paulanne Balch, MD ( @BPBMD2 ), a physician at Kaiser Permanente and Sue Woods, MD , at Department of Veterans Affairs ( @suewoods , also blogs at ) at the recent mHealth Summit, I wanted to follow up by interviewing them for a podcast on this blog.

We talked about their impressions of the summit, how a cell phone can be used as a tool for health (hint, it may not be as complicated as people think, based on real patient stories) and how and why the medical profession may change in this new era.

I respect and and drawn to Paulanne and Sue’s work in a big way, and it came to me by the end of the ‘cast as to why this is. They are physicians who are excited about the future, and optimistic about every challenge along the way. They are not bystanders.

Enjoy, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments or at respective places in the twitter/blogosphere.