Friday, May 30, 2008

Health & Literacy: Constructing Curriculum for Health Care Providers--A Learning Institute

Health & Literacy: Constructing Curriculum for Health Care Providers
A Learning Institute
October 16-18, 2008
Calgary, AB

"This Institute will invite health-care providers from every branch of health-care service, curriculum developers in health-care and adult basic education and literacy, ESL providers, administrators, policy makers and anyone with an interest or expertise. You will share promising practices, models, consider the challenges and propose new directions for grounded curriculum in health literacy for health-care providers."

See brochure for details.

New book: Dissonant Disabilities: Women with Chronic Illnesses Explore their Lives

Whether it is fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, bipolar disorder, arthritis or many other chronic illnesses, most women are aware of at least one female friend, family member or acquaintance who has faced these illnesses.

Anecdotally, women's stories have always circulated, but now, for the first time, Diane Driedger and Michelle Owen have compiled experiences of women with chronic illnesses from all over the world shedding light on the discrimination, stigma, power struggles, misunderstanding by medical professionals and relationship challenges that women face.

Driedger and Owen, themselves women with chronic illnesses, launched their book, Dissonant Disabilities: Women with Chronic Illnesses Explore their Lives at Ryerson University on May 30th, 2008.

"Chronic illnesses are definitely a women's issue. Many illnesses such as depression, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis affect women more than men. And it goes without saying that since it is mostly women who occupy the lowest rungs of the hierarchy, it is they who become sick trying to 'do it all' and it is women who are not believed and discounted when they get sick," says Diane Driedger, one of the book's editors.

Professors, students, professionals, psychologists, writers...women with chronic illnesses come together to understand their place in a society which more and more values work and productivity, and devalues sickness and fatigue.

Certain to ring a bell with those familiar with women facing these illnesses, the anthology uses personal experiences and academic research to put women's chronic illness in a social perspective.

"Because of shame, ignorance or fear of repercussions personally and professionally, women with these illnesses often do not disclose and struggle in silence instead. Unlike some physical disabilities which are visible, the needs of women with chronic illnesses are often discounted or overlooked completely," says Bonnie Brayton, National Executive Director of the DisAbled Women's Network of Canada, "This book is important as it creates an opportunity for open dialogue on an issue faced by thousands of women in Canada. This is the first step towards understanding and finally properly accommodating the needs of women with chronic illnesses in our society.

Diane Driedger is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and author of The Last civil Rights Movement: Disabled Peoples' International. A published poet, she is the co-editor of two anthologies by women with disabilities.

Michelle Owen is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Winnipeg. Her primary research interests and publications include gender, sexuality, family and disability. Most recently, Owen worked on two projects involving women with disabilities: a longitudinal study of intimate partner violence, and a participatory action research on violence in the lives of girls and young women.

Publisher: Canadian Scholar's Press Inc, Women's Press
ISBN: 978-0-88961-464-2
Price: $36.95
Format: 200pp PB 6x9

Monday, May 26, 2008

Healthcare providers who discuss intimate piercings earn patients' trust

Patients with genital and nipple piercings, also known as “intimate piercings,” are best served by healthcare providers who initiate positive discussions about them, according to a new article in the journal Nursing for Women’s Health.

Yet, too often, such discussions do not occur, even when treating infections and other conditions related to the piercings, due to healthcare providers’ uneasiness over this increasingly common form of body art. An estimated 30 to 50% of youth ages 18 to 23 have piercings in places other than in their ear lobes, so it is highly likely that healthcare will encounter such piercings in their patients.

An article by Cathy Young, DNSc, APRN, BC, Associate Professor at Texas Tech University’s School of Nursing and Myrna L. Armstrong, EdD, RN, FAAN, Professor at Texas Tech University’s School of Nursing offers a comprehensive, practical overview of the clinical issues healthcare providers are likely to encounter related to intimate piercings. Issues range from why individuals seek and obtain such piercings to which medical procedures require such piercings to have been removed.

This study is published in the April/May 2008 issue of Nursing for Women’s Health.
Article abstract available.

New Aboriginal youth and suicide prevention website

Health Canada and the National Aboriginal Health Organization recently unveiled a new web site to help combat suicide among Aboriginal youth. Called the Honouring Life Network, the site is targeted at both Aboriginal youth and suicide prevention workers in First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis communities.

Health Canada provided funding for the Honouring Life Network Web site under the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, a five-year $65 million strategy that seeks to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors associated with suicide through community-based programming.

Available in English, French and Inuktitut, the site contains resources for youth and youth workers, including a Youth Worker's Forum where youth workers from across the country can connect to discuss and share suicide prevention resources and strategies. Personal stories and fact sheets are also available for youth to read about specific issues that they, or their friends, might be facing. The site’s comprehensive directory of suicide prevention resources is updated regularly to help youth workers in Aboriginal communities find the most relevant and up-to-date information and material.

Visit the website at:

Web resource features 100 examples of health care innovations and tools

A new Web resource that allows users to learn, share, and adopt innovations in the delivery of health services was launched today by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The resource—called the Health Care Innovations Exchange—is available at

AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange is the US federal government's repository for successful health care innovations. It also includes useful descriptions of attempts at innovation that failed. The web site is a tool for health care leaders, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who seek to reduce health care disparities and improve health care overall.

Wipe Out: New documentary on traumatic brain injury and extreme sports

A new documentary asks if risk-taking is worth risking your life. Wipe Out premieres Wednesday, June 11 at 8 pm on Knowledge Network

Wipe Out tells the story of three young BC men who suffered traumatic brain injuries while pursuing extreme sports. The documentary is narrated by Olympic Gold Medalist Ross Rebagliati.

Chris Dufficy, a professional snowboarder from North Vancouver, is only now coming to terms with his ongoing memory problems – the result of multiple concussions and a traumatic brain injury he suffered when he crashed after landing a monstrous jump for a film shoot. Jon Gocer is a talented snowboarder who was looking to turn thrill seeking into a career, until a wipe out on a skateboard almost ended his life.

On Vancouver Island, Chris Tutin is defying doctors who said he would never walk again after his cerebellum was crushed in a dirt bike accident five years ago. Like Chris Dufficy and Jon Gocer, he shares his story with the hope that it will encourage kids to wear helmets, and avoid reckless risk-taking.

Wipe Out offers viewers unprecedented insight into the lives of people who are part of what doctors call the “invisible epidemic” – brain injury, the leading cause of death and disability among men under the age of 35.

Information and preview available

Tools For Decreasing Health Care Barriers

Tools For Decreasing Health Care Barriers: Accessible Health Care Briefs

The Center for Disabilities and the Health Professions Accessible Health Care series is designed to educate health care professionals, community organizations, advocates, and people with disabilities.

This series includes discussions, examples, illustrations, and resource information for improving access to health care services, programs, and products. Subjects include:

  • Introduction: Tools For Decreasing Health Care Barriers
  • Importance of Accessible Examination Tables
  • Importance of Accessible Weight Scales
  • Health Care Facilities Access
  • Choosing and Negotiating an Accessible Business Location
  • Barrier Removal: Improving Accessibility with Limited Resources
  • Providing Information in Alternative Formats
  • Accessible Web Site Design (provided by the University of Washington's Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center)
  • ADA Resources
  • Tax Incentives for Improving Accessibility
Available at:

Making Preventive Health Care Work for You

Making Preventive Health Care Work for You—A Resource Guide for People with Physical Disabilities (110 pages)

Ways to make preventive screening work for you
Can you have a disability and still be healthy?
How can you increase your odds for a healthy life?
What are your risk factors?
What is routine health screening?
Will your doctor tell you what you need?
Why is routine screening especially important for people with disabilities
Why are checkups important?
What about vaccines?
What is healthy lifestyle counselling?
How can you create your own routine screening and immunization plan?
Why is it important to have good relationships with your providers?
Should you speak up?
Why is it important to plan ahead?
How can you improve your communication with your health care providers?
The DES script: A tool for improving communication
How can you understand and remember information from visits with health care providers?
How can you be sure to get your test results?
What else should you know about routine screenings and vaccines?
Organizations and web sites
Routine preventive screening for people with disabilities: Tips for health care providers
Various tools and checklists

Available from the Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP) in the following versions:
Braille Ready File
Large Print version Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word Document Version
Portable Document Format (PDF) Version

Emergency Health Information

Emergency Health Information [for people with disabilities]
the first in the Savvy Health Care Consumer Series
by June Isaacson Kailes

Emergency Health Information
Why You Should Carry Emergency Health Information
Tips on Completing Emergency Health Information
Sample Emergency Health Information
Emergency Health Information [Blank form]

Available from the Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP)