Shattered ceilings, doors, and computer screens – Speaker of the United States House Nancy Pelosi and Regina Holliday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gay and Lesbian Awards, Washington, DC

Yesterday, in two different cities/events, I had the opportunity to see and interact with Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and prior to that, Regina Holliday. Speaker Pelosi at the Victory Fund’s 10th Annual Gay and Lesbian Awards, receiving an award for her work to end discrimination and promote health for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

She told us a story:

“When I was sworn in for my first term, I was advised not to say very much. However, I was given the floor as the newest representative, to address the Congress. I said,”I came from San Francisco to fight for funding for HIV and AIDS.

They approached me afterwards and said, “Is that the first impression you want to create with these people?”

I said,”well that’s what I came here to do.”

And there she was, 23 years later. You could visualize the shards of the shattered glass ceiling at her feet and at the feet of millions of women and girls, and all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. It was a great moment. Representative Tammy Baldwin reminded the audience that the gavel was not passed to Speaker Pelosi; she worked for it.

Earlier in the day, I saw Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ), on stage at ePatient Connections 2010, telling the audience the story of her family.

She spent the previous two days diligently producing three works of art, arriving before the air conditioning was turned on, continually teaching and sharing her story 1 on 1, patiently, again and again. I laughed inside when one attendee approached her and asked, “may I take a photograph?” Regina said, “of course!” with a smile, as she has done so many times.

if ePatientDave ( @ePatientDave) is the patient-in-chief of the United States, Regina has become the Artist Laureate of Health Information Technology. Our colleague Christine Kraft ( @ChristineKraft ) took this photograph of her on the way home from Philadelphia.


Regina Holliday, Artist Laureate, It’s what she came to do.


The podium isn’t being passed to her either, she’s working for it.

I brought the topic of shattering barriers to this post after reading about the tragic death of Tyler Clementi, whose environment did not offer a sense of hope, which might have saved his life.

Harvey Milk said, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.”

I am always grateful and honored to be around people who bring hope to others, it’s my 3 year DCVersary this week, and I can say it’s what I came here to do.

My photos of Speaker Pelosi and from ePatient Connections 2010 are below. There’s a few shots in there of a fun walking meeting with Danny Sands, MD ( @drdannysands ) and Christine Kraft.


Ted Eytan, MD