Photo Friday: Never underestimate a mom, a dad, a teacher, a principal

Christine Gillard-Arthur, Prince George’s County Physicial Education Teacher, and student from Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary, interviewed by Danielle Cass. Part of Everybody Walk week, Kaiser Permanente, Washington, DC View on

I’ve been trying to understand the role of the mobile app, gamification, and the “attack-vector dashboard” (listen to Adam Curry’s rundown of the latest buzzwords) to improve health. And yet, I saw so many people this week who are “willing to give anything, whatever they have” to help their communities be healthy. In the photograph above, Danielle Cass (@DanielleCass) is interviewing Christine Gillard-Arthur, who brings physical education to her kids in Prince George’s County, so that they can be healthy for life.

I heard the story of the mom who understood how hard weekends are on kids when they don’t have access to food, and created food bags that they could take home on Friday, on her own. The program was eventually expanded upon by the Capitol Food Bank. Then there was the mom who insisted that her city council person walk to school with her, and almost got hit by a car. (See “The Long Scary Walk Home” video shot from a child’s perspective)

It was totally unexpected for me that the greatest impact of Everybody Walk Week didn’t come from the doctors, nurses, and researchers studying the science of community health improvement (although they were the catalysts)… it was the teachers and principals at the Iverson Mall (“Teachers follow Teachers”) and Prince George’s County, the dedicated moms and dads at schools, the parents at St. Baldricks (@StBaldricks @46mommas) Shave for the Brave (also this week), who all have an unbelievable (let’s say untouchable) ability to change the world around them. We need to understand and integrate this as part of the health system.

The Power Rangers were just icing on the cake, photos below, enjoy.



You share such touching and thoughtful things on your blog. This post reminded me of a community self-mapping project with young women in Richmond, CA. The maps they drew of how train tracks bifurcated their community, the bad air and water from nearby refineries, the challenge of walking the streets without fear of harassment … exercising outdoors was truly daunting.

It’s great to see examples like this collaboration that is all about supporting healthy communities and indeed our health system needs to be more about these efforts. After being totally immersed in health data, population-health management, tracking apps, business models, and start-ups – nice to be reminded about the low-tech, high-touch, people-centered part of staying healthy. Keep sharing this kind of inspiration!


By the way, we missed seeing you at Health 2.0. I got to meet Dr. Lyle in person … thanks for that connection. He’s really awesome, smart and helpful!

Hi Yin,

Thanks for the comment! Given that your background is public health, how do you bridge the world of the app and social determinants? I am starting to worry that the app industry and this world are not integrated and as a result we’ll look back and say, “darn, it was a good idea, but it didn’t change a lot” because a lot of this work targets the “already engaged.” The week was really a lesson in finding allies in health that I wasn’t totally aware of.

I couldn’t be at Health 2 this year because of overlapping events (not limited to actually doing Yoga at Center for Total Health, how did I sign up for this?), glad you met Dr. Lyle, I’ll see him next week at @HealthcareILN,


Ted Eytan, MD