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Sunday, April 23, 2017

#MarchForScience San Francisco

OK, so, I grabbed one of my many Health 2.0 Conference press lanyards, made up a fake generic 2-sided highly visible 4x6 "press pass" to put in the plastic sleeve, and put it on after I got off BART, hoping it might serve to get cops/security peeps to not hassle me were I trying to get photos from certain locations that might be "out of bounds."

A young volunteer saw it and pointed me to a tent behind the stage inside the metal barriers and rope lines. "Have you signed in yet? They have the the press packets and food and drinks back there." She escorted me to the area, where another young volunteer with a clipboard took my card and signed me in, and gave me a 2nd pass, the one with the event logo.

Sweet. I'd not even noticed on the website that you could apply to pre-register as "media," given the tumultuous events in our lives the past few weeks in the wake of my daughter's diagnosis. Didn't even think about it.

Great turnout. Huge crowd. A few of my pics:

Baratunde Thurston. That cat is funny!
I even made it into a CBS affiliate news segment, LOL (lower left corner, camera raised over my head).

I have a lot more shots (took more than 100), but, you get the idea. The pro photographers were all over it. A zillion shots are up on Twitter and all major media.

I have yet to see any crowd size estimates, other than vague "tens of thousands" (which is what it looked like to me).

Physicians Make Themselves Heard at the March for Science

WASHINGTON — Physicians added their voices, their presence, and their passion to the thousands of people who spent a rainy Saturday here in support of the principles and practice of science.

The March for Science, held in conjunction with Earth Day in Washington, DC, and an estimated 600 satellite marches worldwide, is "the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments," according to the site's website.

In a rally held prior to the DC march from the Washington Monument to Congress, more than 50 speakers representing all realms of science — from climate to space to science education to nature conservancy to biological and chemical science — exhorted the crowd to continue to press for science funding and against the anti-science attitudes and "alternative facts" some have said are coming from the Trump administration.

Ignore Science at "Own Peril"

Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, was among a handful of physician speakers. "Public health science is the heart of so many successes that have prolonged our lives and improved our well-being," he said in his remarks, listing seat belts, vaccines, and a reduction in the threat of second-hand tobacco smoke as examples.
"A nation that ignores science, that denies science, that underfunds science, does so at its own peril. We cannot allow this to happen. We need to ensure that data and evidence drive policy-making, not uniformed ideology," he said in his speech...
Trump on Earth Day: 'Rigorous science is critical to my administration'
He stressed "jobs matter" over environment


(CNN) - President Donald Trump declared his support for the environment and scientific research on his first Earth Day in the White House amid harsh criticisms over his actions to roll back environmental regulations and proposed cuts to non-military spending, including at the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection," Trump said in a statement Saturday as thousands of marchers filled the streets of downtown Washington to support science and evidence-based research -- a protest partly fueled by opposition to Trump's threats of budget cuts to agencies funding scientists' work.

"My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks," Trump said. "As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.

"This April 22nd, as we observe Earth Day, I hope that our nation can come together to give thanks for the land we all love and call home," Trump added...
"Robust debate" is the Trumpian denialism dog-whistle code phrase for endless continuing obstructive "debate" over matters of science where the accrued weight of credible overwhelming empirical scientific consensus must yield to small minorities of irrational skeptical voices and the disingenuous voices of well-heeled incumbent commercial interests.

"Fair and balanced," my ass.

Among the many works I've cited and reviewed on this blog (see also my post "I am not a scientist"), I refer you again to Shawn Otto's must-read.

See also

Just to cite three for now.


It behooves us to not underestimate the difficulties we face in combating both ignorance (a good bit of it willful) and Trumpian venality.

Yeah, I know, that's kind of obtuse, perhaps. Great song, though.

Lots more to say about this stuff.


From The Atlantic:
"Book publishers are rarely held accountable for publishing invalid health information. Rather, there seems to be an incentive to publish the most outlandish claims that purport to upend everything the reader has ever heard ... Cycles of fad dieting and insidious misinformation undermine both public health and understanding of how science works, giving way to a sense of chaos. It seems that every doctor has their own opinion about how to protect your body from calamity, and all are equally valid, because nothing is ever truly known."
'eh? From "The Next Gluten."

"On April 29th, Donald Trump will have occupied the Oval Office for a hundred days. For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. His Presidency has become the demoralizing daily obsession of anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, constitutionalism, civil rights, criminal justice, a free press, science, public education, and the distinction between fact and its opposite..."

More to come...

Friday, April 21, 2017

The March for Science

See my prior posts on The March for Science.

Article at The Atlantic:

How the March for Science Misunderstands Politics

If protesters want to change policies, they need to target the values, interests, and power structures that shape how research is applied.
This Saturday, in Washington, D.C., and around the world, scientists and their supporters will hit the streets. From Ketchikan to Buenos Aires to Bhutan, marchers will demand that politicians support scientific research, publish its results widely, and base their policies on those results.

I will be marching with them. But I worry about the movement’s arguments. A few skeptics have charged that the march will politicize science, reinforcing an already widespread perception of scientists as liberal activists rather than dispassionate researchers. As march advocates note, however, science is already enmeshed in politics. It could hardly be otherwise, write Jonathan Foley and Christine Arena, in an article reposted on the official March for Science website: “After all, politics is how we are supposed to solve problems in a democratic society, and science is crucial to nearly everything we do — our economy, our health, our security, our future.”

My concern is the opposite of the usual objection. The March for Science, I believe, is not political enough. I do not mean that the marchers should campaign for Democratic or Republican candidates or take stands on contentious issues such as immigration reform. Rather, I hope that they will come to grasp much more clearly how political power works, how it intersects with social conflicts, and how policies emerge from this nexus.

The movement’s rhetoric suggests that if governments simply fund and heed scientific research, the world will march steadily toward peace and prosperity. Applying science to politics will create “an unbroken chain of inquiry, knowledge, and public benefit for all.” This is, dare I say, an unscientific conception of human action...
"Who knew that science could be so complicated?"

No, I don't like the guy.

From The Atlantic article:
"The march organizers imagine a future world in which science promotes equality and justice, rather than simply wealth and health for the few. Evidence-based policy is important, and science should certainly play a role in politics. Yet more and better data is hardly enough to ensure equality and justice. Societies employ science in accordance with their leading values, interests, and power structures. If March for Science participants want science to advance the causes of equality and justice, they will need to help create a society in which those values predominate."
We seem to be moving in the other direction of late. Consider the ruminations set forth in "Four Futures."

The article is fine. Buy the book, it's better. See also Paul Mason's excellent "Postcapitalism: a guide to our future." I cited him last year here.

Quadrant IV, folks.


apropos of our topic here, broadly, from a article:
"...[W]hat philosopher Henry Giroux has described as the “culture of cruelty.” It is the intersection of creeping authoritarianism, militarism, surveillance, violence by the state against its citizens, gangster capitalism and extreme wealth inequality, the assault on the very idea of community and government, widespread loneliness, and social dominance behavior against the Other.

How did the culture of cruelty help to create the political and social circumstances for the election of Donald Trump? Is the United States now a fascist and authoritarian state? What are the issues that could potentially unite the American people to create a more humane society and to resist the cultural and political forces that helped to elect Trump? Are Trump’s voters victims? Is American democracy in a state of crisis and permanent decline? What should resistance look like in this moment?
'eh? Again, to me, we look to be on a course toward a iron-fisted dystopian Quadrant IV.

I may have to buy and study his book.

Above, from the NYC March.

Another news item, from Vox:

The March for Science on Earth Day, explained

The Trump administration is cutting science budgets and denying research. Scientists are pushing back.

Brace yourself, DC: The nerds are marching in. On Earth Day, April 22, thousands of people will descend on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and take to the streets in cities across the globe — in the name of science. 
Inspired by the success of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science will celebrate the scientific method and advocate for using evidence in decision-makng in all levels of government. Though the event’s website doesn’t explicitly mention Trump, it’s a protest of his administration’s policies, including his proposal to cut billions in funding for scientific research...

Why march for science? Because the value of social trust — under attack by Trump — is worth fighting for 

Defending science is not just about resisting climate denialism. It's about bedrock values of social progress

With science under attack under President Donald Trump as never before in recent memory, this weekend’s March for Science has engendered broad, enthusiastic support, with more than 500 satellite marches listed. The role of science in illuminating the threat of global warming, and how to respond, is a key catalyst behind both the attacks and the response — and for good reason. It’s hard to imagine anything more high-stakes than the gamble we’re taking on our planet’s future. 
Yet the attack on science is broader than global warming, or the environment in general, and there’s still debate and reflection about the idea of the march itself. Some in the field still express reluctance to become politically engaged in fighting back — science shouldn’t be political, they feel. There are also concerns around science’s elite status...


My daughter was vetted for clinical trials eligibility this week at UCSF amid a "second opinion" eval (She's a Kaiser member). We should know something shortly, after some labs come back. We are still in shock over her recent dx. One of her friends started a crowdfunding page for her. We are amazed and gratified by the results to date. She's gonna need every penny. She's up to several grand in co-pays already. Probably going to have to vacate her job, break her apartment lease, and move back in with us.

We lost Danielle's elder sister to cancer 19 years ago. That still seems like last week. Gonna have to re-title (and add to) that book effort. Struggling to keep it together of late.

Backstory on my girls here.

More to come...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wow. HIMSS has acquired Health 2.0

Just wow!
CHICAGO (April 19, 2017) - Expanding its global educational offerings to familiar and new audiences, HIMSS has acquired the conference component of Health 2.0, effective immediately. HIMSS will establish a new Health 2.0 business unit within the enterprise that includes HIMSS North America, HIMSS Analytics, HIMSS Media, HIMSS Europe, HIMSS AsiaPacific and the Personal Connected Health Alliance.

“Bringing Health 2.0 into the HIMSS enterprise is a major expansion of our available resources to achieve better health through technology,” said H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, HIMSS president/CEO. “This approach will align the knowledge and expertise from the Health 2.0 global network of entrepreneurs, developers and end users engaged in the most leading-edge technologies with that of clinicians, IT professionals, executives, policy leaders and other health IT stakeholders to empower and enable people to live healthier lives.”

Lieber noted that HIMSS has no plans of changing the type or scope of the conferences presented in the past by Health 2.0. Instead, this expansion provides an opportunity for HIMSS to expand its own educational offerings with a stronger focus on start-up technologies in digital health.

Staffing: Indu Subaiya, MD, MBA, CEO and co-chairman, Health 2.0, will join HIMSS as executive vice president for the newly established Health 2.0 business unit and continue to co-host Health 2.0's Annual Fall and Wintertech conferences. Matthew Holt, co-chairman of Health 2.0, will continue to co-host Health 2.0's Annual Fall and Wintertech conferences and host Health 2.0's international conferences.

Health 2.0 Conferences: Health 2.0 held its first conference in 2007 and now holds three regular conferences in the US, with others in Europe and Asia. Over the past decade, Health 2.0 has welcomed more than 25,000 conference attendees worldwide, hosted over 4,000 demos, and introduced hundreds of new companies to the health technology industry.

Matthew Holt, co-chairman of Health 2.0, said, “Since the mid-2000s, Health 2.0 has gone from a fringe movement representing bleeding-edge technologists, patients and clinicians to being an ecosystem of thousands of companies working with all stakeholders to improve the healthcare experience for everyone. We’re thrilled to be working with the largest and most influential organization in health IT—HIMSS—to take the movement mainstream.”

Indu Subaiya, CEO and co-chairman of Health 2.0, said, "The creation of a Health 2.0 business unit within HIMSS represents a natural evolution, as digital health technologies are increasingly adopted and integrated by established healthcare organizations. We believe that the union of our businesses and ecosystems will offer unparalleled access and provide new mechanisms for early-stage innovation to permeate and transform the entire healthcare industry in the US and globally...”
Not yet sure how I feel about this. Hope it will be a good thing for the Health 2.0 movement. HIMSS is certainly a huge "non-profit" business. From my Guidestar account.

HIMSS certainly brings major juice to the table.

I tweeted. Matthew responded.

I was fortunate to see Matthew last week at the AARP Innovation 50+ Live Pitch event in Mountain View. I told him that he and Indu were my two favorite people in all of Health IT.

I meant it. Their work is an ongoing inspiration. Their friendliness likewise. I have always been extremely grateful for the invites to all of the Health 2.0 events. I hope the HIMSS alliance will serve to expand the @health2con reach.

From THCB:
Health 2.0 has something important to tell you

Important news about my day job at Health 2.0 from my partner Indu Subaiya and me! You can also see the press release here and watch a video discussion with HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber—Matthew Holt

Indu and Matthew are excited to announce that after 10 years of convening the Health 2.0 community through our events and programs around the world, our conference company has found a new home and a partner who will help us exponentially expand our reach and impact. Effective immediately, we are joining forces with HIMSS and will be established as a new Health 2.0 business unit within the enterprise that includes HIMSS North America, HIMSS Analytics, HIMSS Media, HIMSS Europe, HIMSS AsiaPacific and the Personal Connected Health Alliance...


More to come...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#Innovate50 2017

Good Morning AARP Innovation 50+ 2017!

I'm running behind in my blogging. I almost bailed and didn't come this time. We just got some extremely bad dx news. Yet another immediate family member has been diagnosed with advanced cancer. I guess 15 years of next-of-kin caregiver duty wasn't enough. Have to suck it up and strap back in.

But, I have to say, hearing Richard Lui's bracing caregiver story during his interview with Alexandra Drane was leavening. Have to tamp down my Pity Party just a bit.

Richard poignantly recounted his ongoing caregiver routine with his Alzheimers-afflicted Dad. I could relate. My late Dad didn't have Alzheimer's, but he languished in LTC for seven years with increasingly severe dementia. I "interviewed" him once in the nursing home.

And, after that, hearing Missy Krasner recount her decades of caregiver duty with her Mom was another whack upside the head.

We're mostly all in this together at some point. Really glad I came, tired as I am.

Thursday morning: So, today is "FinTech" day, 'eh?

Couldn't resist.

"Financial Tech," huh. I'll be all ears. For one thing, recall my prior post "Rationing by 'Price'."

BTW, be sure to grab a copy of Jo Ann Jenkins' book:

I will certainly study it in detail and report on it.


Friday morning. I'm home. I live 65 miles from the conference site, in Antioch out by Brentwood. Took me 3 hours to get home. We wrapped at 3:46, I thought "hey, I can be on the road by 4, maybe beat much of the crush."

I was wrong. Got home a bit after 7 pm. Got my fix of NPR (KQED specifically), that's for sure.

Gotta dump and triage all of my photos, and review my notes. Lots to reflect upon. For now, let me note another book. Day 2 Keynoter Jean Chatzky's new collaborative release.

My reading is piling up.

Great presentation.

I have to give major Props to AARP for continuously stepping up their game. This conference presentation was on par with those of Health 2.0. The two (somewhat overlapping) topics of "caregiver" and "financial tech" innovations could not be more timely.

Congratulations to the pitch competition winners.

The full list of pitch competition finalists and alternates is here.

Well, this is one way to put things...
Old Farts Represent a Huge $ Market for Alternative Financial Services

[CARDTRAK STAFF, APRIL 13, 2017] The economic buying power of the 50-plus population who are increasingly turning to alternative financial services due to feeling that traditional bank offerings are not meeting all of their financial needs is enormous. Fintech companies are hoping to tap into this market by offering digital tools to address the unprecedented financial stress and complexity faced by this demographic.

People aged 50-plus will generate $83 billion in revenue for the fast-emerging alternative financial services sector over the next five years, according to AARP’s Financial Innovation Frontiers report. The research also found that only one in four 50-plus consumers is highly confident they can meet their financial needs in the next five years.

The research found that the 50-plus segment will spend $15.3 billion in the alternative financial services sector by the end of 2017, and that number is expected to grow by a healthy 4.25% annually through 2021. In addition, this industry is expected to syphon off $1.6 billion from banking revenue on checking and savings, consumer credit card and lending products in the next four years in addition to $1.2 billion in organic growth.

Other key findings of the Financial Innovation Frontiers report... (read the entire article)


Wow. Cool. They've posted the entire videos from both days! 15 hours of footage. (Day One program begins at 18 minutes in).

Day Two:


If you didn't attend, I recommend you watch all of these.


AARP had two professional photographers documenting the event, so I didn't work the room like I might normally otherwise do. Just took shots from my front-row seat amid scribbling in my notebook. A few random pics below.

That's enough for now. I have more. Shot a couple hundred across the two days (including a number via my iPhone).

I also have to give a shout-out to a delightful young man I sat with during the Day 2 morning session and then had lunch with. George Song, of

BTW: You can follow AARP Innovation 50+ on Twitter here.

Also, avail yourselves of this report (pdf)


My one critical conference observation goes to presentation recommendations. I found most of the pitches anxious and stiff, a parade of forced Toastmaster Moments to one degree or another. I don't underestimate the difficulty of the high-stakes time-constrained venue, and the fact that these startup Principals are tech and business management people, not performers (like I used to be), but I repeat the recommendations I proffered at the end of last year's Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit I covered. See my take on "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs."

Not the stuff about stage lighting and info-diarrhea slides (scroll past that material), the lessons going to pitch delivery. Among other things,
  1. You really need to have your presentation down cold. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, to the point you could do it in your sleep. No nervous, furtive quick glances down at the teleprompter/monitor, commit your presentation deeply to memory (inclusive of its time consumption), and;
  2. Move around (and use confident "body language"). Most of the presenters "hit their (blue masking tape) mark" and stayed stuck there. The video cameras are all on swivel head tripods. Put some physical anima in your presentations.
The trial lawyer's maxim is "he/she with the best story wins!" And, while the "story" in these cases is of course the effectiveness/utility/value propositions of the pitched apps/services, you are part of those stories while pitching them from a stage. Otherwise we could just watch a narrated video or slide deck or read the brochure.

One other thing that caught my ear. I again heard it proffered that peoples' "digital footprints" (a.k.a. "digital exhaust") might serve as "big data" grist for derivation of individualized drill-down metrics such as a "proxy FICO score." Don't get me started on that BS. I used to work in subprime risk modeling and management.
During one of the Health 2.0 WinterTech events I watched one presenter demo an AI-assisted app purporting to dynamically calculate and update your personal "health score" using, among other online factors, your social media activity. What could possibly go wrong there?
I have more thoughts, which I hope to get to ASAP, but I'm unexpectedly overwhelmed these days...


My younger daughter Danielle recently got a devastating diagnosis of Stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer (she's gone "public" with the news on FB, and gave me permission to write about it). Danielle is particularly special to me.

We lost her older sister "Sissy" to liver cancer 19 years ago. I am just speechless.

One of her friends started a crowdfunding page, regarding which we could not be more grateful.


The March for Science draws nigh. I've been intending to participate on the San Francisco event. Just in via my email inbox:


More to come...