Non-compliant: The story behind #Teds2ndJacket , told side by side by Regina Holliday and Ted Eytan

Here’s the story of my second Jacket. Regina Holliday’s ( @ReginaHolliday ) version on the left, my version on the right. Comments always welcome.

“Non-compliant,”by Regina

This is a jacket for my friend Ted Eytan. This is his second jacket and it depicts his story.

"Non-compliant" a jacket for Ted Eytan
He has been a member of the Walking Gallery for the past year. He has walked all over the country wearing Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s story. He did an amazing job. So many people know more about our Surgeon General because this man was willing to wear the trials of another on his back.

It is so Ted. He is one of those amazing people who questions everything, and through those questions purifies thought and distills a million pleas for help into a coherent strategy. This skill is not without price, and Ted has paid and paid again.You know how you learn to see a problem from the outside?

You learn by being the outsider. You learn by years of darkness. You learn bravery while hiding in closets avoiding fists or taunts. You spend years standing out within a crowd, not fitting in. You learn in the lonely time of introspection that these other children see a different world. Their faces are not finished yet.

When I was young, I loved to paint and draw old men. My friends wondered at my fascination. I said “I love to draw their beautiful pain.”

Regina and Ted
Ted has one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen, and he had it as a child. In this painting, I stand behind Ted. My hand rests upon his shoulder. I too look to the side with a worried glance and question what is coming.

We are non-compliant. Do you know what compliant means? It means docile, willing, obedient, manageable and submissive to an excessive degree. Ted may be a doctor. I may be a patient. In this we are one, out and proud.

We are non-compliant.


“Non-compliant,” by Ted

After I ask questions, I often wonder if I should have just kept quiet. But then I meet people like Regina.

My face in the jacket is taken from the photograph below. I think I’m getting ready for my podcast with Regina that will take place 40 years later.

Ted s first podcast  1972
I am a first generation American, raised in a home where English was a second (or third, or fourth) language, by immigrant parents, who were refugees from their homeland.

My mother tells me I was an excellent student. I could never sit still though. I remember her coming to pick me up from first grade one day, finding that my desk had been put outside. She says I was making the other kids laugh too much.

I trained in medicine when it was pronounced that my minority status was “the last accepted prejudice,” and the President of the American Medical Association, Nancy Dickey, MD, told the world that the AMA would not admit gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender physicians into membership. I and many other physicians are still not members. Love always wins.

In 1985, I didn’t wear the same shirt as all the other kids.

Anytown 1985 highlighted
In 2005, I didn’t either. Total coincidence. My rationale was that I wanted the patients in my organization to see me wearing their shirt, not another organization’s.

Medicine and Management 2005
The worst presentation I have ever given was one where I was told to not talk so fast. That was the last time I tried to talk differently than I normally do.

I appeared in this magazine talking about giving patients their own health data in 2002.

Healthleaders outside the box
When I joined the CCHIT EHR Working Group and later co-chaired the PHR Workgroup, I was told:  “EHRs are for doctors, PHRs are for patients.” My opening statement was that customer of the EHR is the patient, not the doctor. This didn’t seem to go over well in 2006. In 2012, a patient is being recruited for the United States’ HIT Policy Committee.

Unlike Regina, I received a champagne education, paid for by society. I got into social media because I wanted to be honest about what health care isn’t good at so we could get better. I started the organizations’s first blog before it was allowed.

Welcome to the Daily Kaizen
I asked Regina Holliday to be in my jacket because she’s part of my story now, which is fantastic. It’s an unlikely pairing on one level.

Ted and Regina


Every day, Regina and I are “asked” nicely, sometimes not so nicely, to be like everyone else. This is hard, sometimes lonely, sometimes painful.

I think we’re both pretty good at adapting ourselves to a situation (and my social styles profile confirms this). Our problem is that we don’t know how to live someone else’s life.

On the other hand, I am ecstatically happy to live in a diverse community, in a family and with friends where the duty to rescue is the norm, in a society that has become more tolerant, where love always wins, Prevention is the new HIT, and it’s possible for doctors to be comforted by patients. That a life like this exists is a cool discovery.

2012: Whatever privilege we have we’ll use to make sure it gets better


See you at The Walking Gallery and everywhere it’s possible to walk. I’ll be wearing my jacket with pride. I’m the one with the perennially untied shoes.


The beauty of the @ReginalHolliday and @TedEytan partnership is the respect shown in honoring different perspectives (side by side) and sharing with the world an unfiltered looking glass into your soul so others can understand your motivations and inspirations; different views coming from the same place… the heart.
By doing so, you give others the courage to stand with you.  A silent unspoken permission to begin knocking down traditional boundaries. There is something very reassuring about knowing that we aren’t out here alone. There are Regina’s and Ted’s helping to pave the way to a better world and you are so right Ted… Love Always Wins.

While the world is lucky to have both of you in it working in tandem to make it a better place for everyone; I am truly blessed to count you both as friends. I want to thank you for all the work you do; but from the bottom of my heart, I need to thank you for your friendship. The jacket is perfect. In every way.

Such a beautiful story. I continue to discover and hear stories about unlikely partnerships and alliances that appear to form out of thin air. The reality is that truth and love always prevail. Regina and Ted you are a blessing to so many. Thank you for being brave enough to question, strong enough to challenge and honest enough to be real no matter what.

Thank you Gail, Kait, Kristen for the awesome comments, and really I think the magic of Regina’s approach is creating the understanding that everyone is paving a path, it is just that in their normal clothes they are not allowed/able to share it. You can’t tell a wall to be quiet, and same goes for a jacket. Looking forward to walking with you virtually and/or physically soon,

 @tedeytan  I am so glad you are telling the world your story.  You are amazing and you enrich all of us every day.

Thank you so much for posting this. I love what Regina is doing and your story Ted is an important one for medical students to hear.

Galloping through recent years of your posts this Sunday… boy oh boy what “soul yummies” this is.

I’ve never heard of the Social Style profile but its website seems compelling so I want to “do it.” It doesn’t appear to be available to individuals – I’ll ask them, but do you happen to know?

Hey Dave,

Yes, it’s a proprietary instrument – however, there are variants on the internet that you can look up and test yourself. The proprietary-ness of this instrument is that they survey people around you for their assessment of you and then compile to create a profile, and in my case my self assessment was 180-degrees different than how I was assessed by others. If you’re a BSG fan, I felt like I had been a Cylon all this time…


Ted Eytan, MD