At age 22 I was just getting a formal diagnosis of major depressive disorder. In retrospect, I realize that I experienced my first depressive episode when I was 19 but it was not until age 22, that my ability to function completely broke down. Over the next two years, I became increasingly isolated while a pain that I can only describe as what I imagined it would feel like to be outside in a hail storm with no skin pervaded my entire being. My ability to envision a future ceased and then slowly, slowly entered those early suicidal thoughts. The idea that death would be a relief (from all this pain) became a common refrain.
It was 2008 when legislation to create parity between behavioral/mental health services and all other health services was signed into law. In 2009 the HITECT Act was signed, setting in motion all of the information technology changes necessary to support a health care system in sync with the digital age. One should have guessed, however that IT advances in behavioral/mental health would not keep pace with those made in the other medical disciplines. While facilities can receive incentive payments for the adoption of health information technology for the psychiatrists and nurse practitioners on staff, for most facilities the provider mix is far more complex including social workers (both at the MSW/CSW and doctorate level) as well as clinical psychologists (both PhD or PsyD) and they are as integral to care delivery as the MDs and NPs.
What inspired Kathleen in this endeavor? She explains, “I feel like there are a lot of people living their life in a full and useful way but nobody knows about it”. These are the people “I want to support and feature.” Dr. Hoffman seeks out these individuals to give them more visibility. “[Helping] others shine is rewarding,” she continues. Having featured health luminaries such as Andre Blackman, a leading voice for health and innovation and Katherine Leon, a passionate patient advocate for SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) early in the history of the chat and relatively early in the career trajectories of these advocates illustrates just how keen Hoffman’s eye is for talent. The chat has also feature entrepreneurs like Victor Wang, inventor of GeriJoy, a therapeutic tool in the form of a virtual dog that talks back to its owners and the founders of Medivizor, the physician-founded medical information platform.
The voting period will last from August 19 through September 6. I have teamed up with a great group of individuals to propose: Minorities in Health Tech: A How-to Workshop. It is designed as an insider’s guide to the unique aspects of the health innovation sector. Ivor Horn, MD MPH, Kimberly Bryant, and Damon Davis, MBA will … Continue reading