What I learned at Social Justice Camp DC ( #sojuca ) 2011

The basement of the historic Martin Luther King Library in downtown Washington, DC on a Saturday morning is not the brightest place in the world. I went there to attend Social Justice Camp 2011 ( @socjustcampdc ). When we went around the room and introduced ourselves in three words (I recycled my Health 2.0 “change the profession”), none of that mattered, they had me at the second intro.

Social Justice Camp in 2011 is split over 2 weekends, and next weekend is actually the health (Social Justice Weekend II – The Empowered are Back) oriented weekend. I’m going to be in Arizona (which has health issues of its own) next weekend, so I went yesterday. Since this blog is about what I learned yesterday, a few tidbits:

In the first session, convened by Pete Tucker of TheFightBack.org, I learned about local media in Wasihngton, DC. Even though, for people not in the industry, the narrative is that print media is dying ( @themediaisdying as an example ), I learned that newspapers still wield considerable influence to inform or not-inform, as well as about the patchwork of local media/blogs, etc in our city. Yes, social media is transformative, but it is not the savior – analogy in health care, yes health information technology is transformative, it is not the savior.

The second session convened by Greg Bloom from Bread For the City, was packed with people to talk about FAIL, and how to do it well. People working in the non-profit space fail all the time, actually people working anywhere fail all the time, I think it’s refreshing to have a learning session on how to do it. I learned that the World Bank has “failfaires,” ( with twitter account: @failfaire ) and was reminded of the hotwash concept for reflection on projects – I had forgotten about this technique and I think I could have used it in the last 12 months.

The third session I participated in was about a project called “Peace Classroom,” which is a prototype for a kind of speakers bureau for experts in international development. Kind of similar to what people have been talking about for patients in health care. See what you think of the concept. Homeless advocate for the homeless Eric Sheptock was in this session and I learned about some of his work on his blog. You can, too.

At lunch, Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ) showed her work at @Health2Con to this audience, and once more, I was in a group of people who was being exposed to this work for the first time.

It’s not that I forget that the health of a community is 10 % (or less) determined by what the health care system does; it is that I like being reminded of the 90 % of where the health of the community is happening. I can’t wait to hear the reports from next weekend’s 2011 DC Sojuca II.

And then I looked up and 7 hours had gone by.

Photos below, enjoy


Ted Eytan, MD