One of my favorite modern writers is Colum McCan and I was able to see him a few weeks ago at NY presbyterian. He is hyper dope and I recommend to check out his books. My favorite is “Let the Great World Spin.” Seeing him in-person was surreal because a few years ago I was reading his book and googling him from afar, trying to envision how he was able to create these intricate and sensitive stories. His books often feature characters from various ages, background and cultures. I can tell you he was exactly how I envisioned him.
Since it was hosted at NY Presbyterian by the Columbia Narrative Medicine program it had a health spin. He explained that listening to patients is like storytelling. Although the patient may come in for cut on her arm, the factors may actually be the bills she can’t pay. I have never heard an author be so tuned-in to social determinants of health and its probably why he is such an excellent writer. He stated to properly heal is beyond “recognizing the disease.” He shared in his own work, he had to learn about the health conditions to truly write so as to bring a character to life.
Additionally, he took at moment to highlight his nonprofit Narrative Four. There is a great video from the author explaining the storytelling mission of the organization. You can find the video here Narrative Four Video.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Another thing that surprised me about NYC was the number of young children and infants floating around the UWS. With the busy and hectic lives of NYC parents, I think that teaching strong eating behaviors is necessary. Living in a city that runs on convenience and has unhealthy food options everywhere, children need to learn how to make the right choices. This is a great NPR article on creating consistency in a young child’s diet.
A second quick and easy read can be found on Wiki. This article highlights steps parents can take with children who are a bit older.
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.
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.