Local social determinants in action!

Since I’ve been on a social media kick, my goal was to find any effective social media happening locally here in NYC. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s tumblr caught my eye.

“Creating environments that make it easier and safer for communities to be physically active is a key health initiative for the Health Department.” I’m so happy to see NYC doing big things and really keeping social determinants of health as a guide in creating health programs. Here is a press release describing the event.

 

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Health gets techy

Last week I wrote a paper on a great tech startup. It made me wonder what else is around and it seems the health startup scene is off the charts. This article pointed me to a few that were noteworthy.

I.couch.me in this article, shows how using web conferences to remove barriers that keep people from getting the help they may need. However, there are serious checks and balances that need to be put into place to make sure this actually benefits the patients and makes sure that people aren’t just investing money into another thing that is suppose to help but doesn’t bc there is no quality assurance.
Another startup that I heard about at a recent tech start up fair was Medisafe. They actually have well written, simple blog. This post is worth highlighting due to a featured testimonial about Medisafe. I would say these are pretty strong communications for a fledgling company only opening within past three years, they have communications similar to big budget pharmaceutical company. I particularly like their mission statement that talks about their own family’s struggles with medications management here. It shares the founders fathers had mistakenly taken too much insulin which I thought was a powerful opening statement.

 

Lastly, they work to engage and empower users by asking for their input (below). This is rare for a health centered organization to ask for patient input, as often it tends to be a top to bottom approach in the health and medical field. This seems to be a great way to generate positive customer feedback, which can then be recycled into marketing materials.

 

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Got Music?

Another thing I love about this city is the music, everywhere, all day, every day. From riding the metro listening through earbuds to unparalleled, live concerts that have a medley of members from 4+ bands. It is a deeply musical city.  Just last night I went to the Bowery Ballroom at saw three amazing acts for $15, thats $5 a pop. Can’t beat that. Small Black featured below.

 

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Over the years I’ve read countless articles on the benefits of music. Here are a mire 20 health related benefits. I personally would not have gotten through the GRE, grad school application process and transition to NYC without tunes flowing, and on repeat.

Here is one of my favorite and most creative music related applications. NPR writes about a film that shows how a cost effective music program seemed to improve functioning and quality of life in elderly patients with Alzheimers.

Focusing on Ability in NYC

I have never been on a campus that has been so accommodating to individuals with disabilities. My higher education experience has not been extensive, but I have spent a fair amount of time in a small town in central VA and private university in DC for undergraduate and graduate coursework. My first hand account of Columbia incredible. Right way I noticed several students in wheelchairs. The school does an excellent job of placing ramps to every lecture hall and anywhere there is uneven terrain. I can’t help but feel very proud and lucky to be apart of a system that supports everyone. It truly keeps the school and city for everyone who wants to be here, and showing it is possible to have a space for all.

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This seems to extend past Columbia, as well. All around NYC I see blind individuals taking the subway alone and restaurants with similar accommodations (below).

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NYC’s synthetic MJ public health problem

In a class last semester, we did an observational assignment on the subway to report on rider behaviors. We then used this information to make a recommendation to a fictional client. The subway assignment showed this is a concrete way to reach people. Since people are literally stuffed to the brim on the train, people are fairly often looking around.  In our assignment we were able to indemnify a particularly distinct segment. We proposed to tart middle school age children for either healthy eating or possibly anti bullying campaign. We noticed around 3 they often travel together, engaged in conversation with peers and often still have high energy compared to the other riders.

 

Below is a subway public advertisement that caught my eye and I thought would potentially be targeted for high school students. Most people, including myself before reading this, don’t know why synthetic marijuana is so dangerous. Here is a Forbes article explaining how it is very different than regular marijuana. I was surprised to see public health officials fear tactics, which tend to have mixed results in effectiveness, but this article states there reports of the average ages of users is 26. It goes on to explain why De Blasio has recently banned these products. The article states users assume its safe and similar enough to natural marijuana, but there have sharp spike in ER visits and 15 deaths in the first half of 2015. The severity and misconception of the drug may warrant a harsher, scare tactic if the campaign is trying to get the word out ASAP. It definately got my attention right away.

 

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Subway Signage gets an A +

According to the MTA, 4.5 million people use the subway every day. This is astonishing as the population of NYC is estimated to be around 9 million. This means there is high reliance on the subway, but also it serves as an excellent medium to communicate with a large number of people.

Personally I feel MTA does a great job. The figures are simple and clear. Riders aren’t distracted by the messenger as they use colorful cartoon figures. Having this an option to communicate to such a large number of people is vital to public health professionals the ability to disseminate information to people quickly.          

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Here are a few more examples. You can see its well designed, has simple messaging. Even though the figures can be understood to people with varying English proficiency, these signs are great because they include multiple languages when they include additional information. The hoverboard example is a personal favorite.

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Sleepless nights are so 2015

When I first moved to the city, I was afraid of not being able to sleep due to the noise and just the craziness that can be NYC. However, once arriving, all the walking and monitoring my caffeine levels have really seemed to do the trick.

Here is a great resource on finding out what is keeping you from sleeping. For me, personally, it was drinking diet sodas throughout the day and into the night. Once I switched to one cup of coffee early in the morning, it seemed to really help.

On page 27 is a comprehensive list of things that prohibit restful sleep. A great suggestion which most people may not be aware of is avoiding certain OTC drugs after a specific time, or remembering to get enough sun every day. There are always articles on tips and tricks of getting enough sleep, but it’s always good to remember to go to the best sources like the CDC or NIH when looking for a definitive answer.


Check the rest out here.

Isle Health

Here is an excellent podcast that highly resonates with me as I love the idea of using traditional marketing techniques for good. Here research on shopping behavior is used to influence buyers’ decisions while shopping. Examples include where to place products, use of descriptive words over generic, pairing frozen meals with frozen veggies, effective use of lighting, and signage techniques. This article has always stuck with me as it is one of the main reasons behind foregoing a masters degree in public health. If you can’t beat them, join them. From previous coursework, it seemed like marketing always had the latest and greatest information. It seemed the best route to making the most difference.

 

My favorite part of this article is that this is simply a common sense approach. Both customer and grocer benefit. 
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I wanted to highlight this because this is something I see constantly in New York City. As both big chains (above) and small groceries (below) are doing this, whether it is intentional or not. I can’t think of a better use of space or better place than NYC to use this technique.  Just another reason why city living can be surprisingly healthful.

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#marketing#produce#lightscameraaction#NYC

Benefits of city living

Before moving to NYC I was nervous about everything. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to sleep due to the noise,  that everyone was going to be rude, and that my ankle and back would explode. However, after spending 4 months here, I slowly started to realize all of these concerns never came to fruition.  The constant walking helped me sleep better and to resolve some long term ankle and back pain I’d had. I found some parts of NYC are absurdly quiet at night, given the proximity to major hubs of activity around the city and high concentration of people. Lastly,  I truly relish all  the random acts of kindness I see everyday in NYC that I can’t imagine happening anywhere else. These experiences in NYC were pivotal in developing the foundations of this blog.

Anywho, speaking of the evils of back pain, I quickly found an article that further supported this idea of the importance of walking every day. Give it a click if back health is a really real part of your life.