On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dolores Hirschmann. Dolores is a STRATEGIST & COACH. She helps clients clarify their “idea worth sharing”, design their communication strategies, and implement business growth systems.
In this episode, we discuss:
- THE IDEA OF YOU: A Framework for Clarity of Self
- Clarity of life purpose
- Clarity of who you are as a leader
- Clarity around how to set goals and set yourself up to achieve those goals
- Her work as a TEDx organizer and how you can get on that stage
- And so much more!
"Stand Out the TED Way: Be Seen & Grow Your Business" eBook Download https://doloreshirschmann.simplero.com/bc
For more information about Dolores:
Dolores is a STRATEGIST & COACH. She helps clients clarify their “idea worth sharing”, design their communication strategies, and implement business growth systems. Her clients become speakers and authors and take their message to larger audiences like TEDx and beyond. She works through group coaching, workshops, one on one coaching, as well as public speaking. Dolores is a writer, TEDx Organizer, and participant in TED conferences. She is a CTI certified and ICF accredited coach and has a business degree from the Universidad de San Andres, Argentina. Originally from Buenos Aires, Dolores speaks fluent Spanish, English, and French and lives in Dartmouth, MA with her husband and four children.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen: 00:00 Yeah. Hi Delores, welcome to the podcast. I'm happy to have you on.
Dolores: 00:05 I am so excited to be chatting with you today.
Karen: 00:08 And now in your bio, like I read, you're a tedx organizer. You help support speakers on the TEDX stage. So can you elaborate a little bit more about that? Cause I know a lot of my listeners would love to one day be on a ted or a tedx stage.
Dolores: 00:23 Yes, absolutely. I mean at the core of my work is my passion for ideas and because of that I, I I pursued as a volunteer. I pursued the TEDX platform. If you wand as a tedx organizer and in doing so I really connected with something that I love to do, which is help people clarify. And I know we're going to talk a little bit about this today, but you know, clarity comes in two ways. First is an internal clarity and then annex I communications clarity. When you bring yourself out into the world, which is what speakers do day in and day out, right? They bring out their messages. And so what I do with speakers today in my work, I held them in both guide, find the message Clive, find the overall communication strategy so that they can actually engage their audiences and kind of moved on.
Dolores: 01:16 You love their other movement or their, their impact. Right. And so that's on the, on the strategy side. But on the tactical side along the speakers just are not getting out there often enough simply because they just don't have time to pitch and to put themselves out there. And being in front of organizers and event planners. So with, in my company, in the agency side of my company, we actually have two services. One is where we actually research and pitch of peoples we have for them to speak in virtual and live events. And another one specifically signed four stages that are a little bit more harder to get in. It could be a telex, it could be, you know, some of the newer stages are coming up that are more inspirational or more kind of the idea based stages versus more the pitching stages. Um, and so what we'll do is we'll help the speaker life other core idea, clarify the positioning so that they can send out in the selection process and then help them with the research and the application process until they get selected. And that's something that I, you know, we do it for very specific clients whose message is ready for that kind of platform.
Karen: 02:32 Okay. So let's talk about getting this clarity around ourselves as a speaker because you had mentioned that a couple times, you know, getting clarity on who you are on your idea and, and even on where you want your idea to be, right? Because not every stage is right for every person. So let's talk about that clarity. Let's first talk about how to get clear on yourself.
Dolores: 02:58 Yes. So one of the things I am involved into, and I haven't, I realized that all my life, whether I was aware of it or not, I have been kind of this puzzle maker. Right? You know, what once as we started evolving and developing ourselves and becoming more self aware, I mean, especially when I did my coaching training, um, a lot of my internal introspection was about what is it that I bring to this world? Like we all have unique brilliances who all have that thing that we do well. Um, and for me that is that p being a puzzle maker. But to make a puzzle, you first have to have puzzle pieces. What I mean by that is we are always kind of lumping all of ourselves together in a tight box. And so when we're in that place is very difficult for us to really get to know ourselves because we are kind of mishmash with what has happened today.
Dolores: 04:02 The pain we had 50 years ago, um, and what we think we want to do, right? It's all kind of all mixed. And in order to make a puzzle, again, you need to pull out the puzzle pieces. So one of the things that I consistently do is create frameworks to break things apart so that we can build them back together. And so this framework, I, there's a friend where I designed called the idea of view and all it is really ease, deconstructing the different parts of who we are and the different kind of what I call layers of clarity that we can access so that when we actually pull them apart and look at it layer by layer, we can have a much more comprehensive picture of who we are. And in doing so, we can better assess where we're going. Does that make any sense?
Karen: 04:52 It does. It does. And would you mind giving us a, an example of maybe an exercise within this idea of you like a deconstruction exercise?
Dolores: 05:04 Yeah. And so let me just run you through the layers first. Okay. Uh, and then we'll hop into one or two exercises here that will help you better understand what I mean. So in the idea of you, and you know, I, I can send you some images later. It's, it's all about mmm. Getting Cody from the inside out so that at the core we begin with terrifying the you and, and, and he's, I say the idea of you because I believe that each one of us was born in purpose and for a purpose that we're kind of a seat of a, of a something, right? And so at the core of this exploration is what is your life purpose? Now this is a really big question and the question that has been around for many years, but I'll buy that today. It's kind of very heavy in, in making the decisions of our career paths and where we want to go, right?
Dolores: 06:00 And so I posted not as exactly the word we're going to do, but simply the who we are at our core, independent what we do. And so one way to do this is to think of yourself as a metaphor. Now you do this exercise. Please don't go and knock on your neighbor's door and let them know what metaphor you are because they're going to look at you like you're crazy. But when I did this exercise myself, I came up with my own personal life purpose statement, which is going to sound grandiose and he should sound round you dos because it's a lifelong purpose, right? And for me is I am the light that brings clarity. Clarity is at the core of who I am, independent of any activity or job that I'm holding. You see the difference. It's something that I can help a being.
Dolores: 06:56 I am attracted to like that lump of puzzle pieces because I like sorting them out and making a new picture. That's what I am in all aspects of my life. I've been like the cloudy maker for family situations, for job situations, for ideas, for for four speakers talks. I always bring that element right? So we begin with that and then we go and transition into identify what are our values and when I talk about values, I talk about what are the top things in your life that when you don't have them or you're not honoring them in your life, you just feel off. For example, I am, I have a big value on adventure. And when I was doing this work for myself at the time I was a young, youngish mother of four children. And you can say that having four children is an adventure in itself, but when you're in it, diaper in diaper a how day in, day out, it doesn't feel like an adventure.
Dolores: 08:01 It really starts looking like a very big routine after routine. Like it just doesn't feel exciting. And I, and I met some people might or might not agree with me, but that was my experience. And so when I recognize that adventure was a very big part of who I am and that not honoring my sense of adventure was kind of bringing me down, just that knowledge made me ask myself, okay, what can I do to fulfill that need of adventure? And you know, here's the thing Karen, is that tell us a shifts and changes can be very subtle. They don't need to be like moved to Africa. You know, it just do. Okay. Then I will just make time every week and maybe an hour a week to learn something new or to meet someone new or to explore a new place, even if it's just a new supermarket where I'll do food shopping.
Dolores: 08:54 Right? But, um, but it's just understanding what is it that is then that makes you tick and making sure that those values are being honored in your life. Then we go to understand your unique brilliance. What is it that you would excel, add in a natural way that you are, that you love doing. You never get tired of doing it and that, um, and then you always bring value. And what happens is again, when we are not connected with who we are, we sometimes unconsciously move away from that. That comes easy. Sometimes it's, I believe that work must be hard. So I might as well put that grit to it and we, and we discard maybe opportunities that might come our way that our land with our unique buildings because it feels too easy. So therefore I'm probably not regulated. Right? Right. And then, and then we explore another ring of clarity, another layer of clarity.
Dolores: 09:59 Quiches and this might be a great exercise for, for me to pause for a minute, but it's a ring of clarity of how do we define your life's work. Now, if you remember when I talked about life purpose, I talked about purpose of your sole purpose of who you are. Who doesn't mean that he defines the work that you do? A lot of people are trying to like calm, packed your job with your life purpose. And you know, there's a, there's a, there's another step in between and that is a step of your life's work. And why is it important? Because you have to translate your life purpose into as something that the world needs. Because, because even nobody needs your life purpose as it states in its true form. Um, then you might be both frustrated entrepreneur if you launch yourself into, like for example, when I first started, I just wanted to bring clarity to everybody and he was like, I wasn't getting anywhere, right?
Dolores: 11:05 Was, it was a very broad, esoteric value proposition that everybody liked it. I mean, I remember people saying, I really like you. I like when you say I put your ride. I just not sure how I can benefit from you. Um, and that's really great feedback to get right because it's like you're casting the net a bit too wide, way too wide. And I, and I see this a lot in the newly, you know, new business owners, entrepreneurs, we're following their passion. And again, it's not about that they're wrong, it's about they just need one more step. And this step is the lives we're defining your life's work. And here's a little exercise that we can share with your audience. And it's redundant. You have a venn diagram and you have four circles. What is your life purpose? Right? Just in that way of stating it broadly and grandiose, you know that people will look at you funny to share it in the subway.
Dolores: 12:03 And then the other circle there would be what people will pay for Nike nearly researching what will people, what do people pay for people pay for photographers, for weddings be both paid for accountants. People fave for a strategy for business growth. Like those are real things that other people are salad. Then another circle in this, in this damn, I'm would be, what are you trained to do? Like what are, what is your academic background and your past job experience, bathroom. Why? Because you don't want to just hop on a wagon and say, I'm going to do this because I love doing it, but no real credibility or kind of credentials.
Karen: 12:51 Exactly. It'd be like me saying, you know, I'm really good with numbers, so I'm going to be an accountant to be a physical therapist. Yeah. No one's gonna pay me for that. They'll think I'm crazy. Exactly. Exactly. Because you know, it's, there's something to be said about
Dolores: 13:07 some credentials. Um, um, and so, so really make a list of whether you were wrong and choosing your career path, our certifications you received. I would challenge that and look at what they can still bring you to life right now. Like, even if you're a doctor and you don't want to be a doctor anymore, that doctoral degree will go a long way to validating what you know and then putting into some, some other kind of surveys. Right. Absolutely. And then the last one is, so we have life purpose, what people will pay for what you have experience, job or, or academic. Um, and the last one is what does the world need? Or what does the world need more off? So when you do those four kind of circles and maybe do a little less in the middle, what you then looking at is what are the common denominators?
Dolores: 14:07 Where do all these four circles come together? So for me, you know, clarity is what my brain, right? And people pay for business strategy. People go for communication strategy. People pay for, uh, you know, maybe speaking people who pay for growing their business. My academic background, which at the time I was in school, I was kind of resenting it because I wasn't excited about it. Every day. I remember my mom would say, okay, you don't like what you're doing. Do you have any other ID? And I would say no. Then she would say, then finish what you started. Best Advice I ever got. Um, like stay on. I get that degree. Even if you have to like, you know, put a little bit of effort to it. Just get that done. So going to business school, I have to say 20 years later going to business school was the best decision I made at 18, even if I did 11, because he gave me the tools to narrow down my business and to be our business strategist. And so, so that's where my academic and what does the world need more off the world needs more ideas that can have a positive impact in the world. And the truth is, in my work and masters in clarity, we stand behind those ideas, typically in the hands of service entrepreneurs who have new methodologies, new perspective, new angles or new ways to helping their market or the world.
Dolores: 15:40 And that's that. Um, so as far as you know, that exercise is, is really helping you narrow down of how to you become off service in this world with your life purpose in a way that can be financially, not just financially sustainable, but can I might say financially abundant.
Karen: 16:03 Right. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Dolores: 16:05 How old is all right with that? Because the more abundant you are, the more you can do the work you're called to do, the more the world's will benefit.
Karen: 16:15 Absolutely. And I really love the, that sort of venn diagram of those categories. So I'm going to just repeat them and I want you to let me know if I got them right. So, um, what is your life's purpose then? That's a big grandiose statement that's supposed to be grandiose. Uh, what will someone pay you for? What does the world need more of and essentially what are your credentials? That right. I think that four parts. Exactly. Okay, great. Great. Great. Yeah. And, and I think if, if you can really sit with those questions, cause I don't think it's something that's not answered in five minutes, right. Syntheses questions. And how do you, and, and, and I dunno if there's a straightforward answer to this, but how do you know what your life purpose is? Because you know, sometimes when people hear that they're like, whatever.
Dolores: 17:14 Yeah. So here's a couple of ways to do it. MMM. You can sync off and moment in your life where you felt completely, um, completely valued and completely, um, like you were, you were at critical element of a situation where we're maybe without you playing whatever role you were playing, maybe outcome would have been very different or not positive in one way or another. That's one way to ask yourselves and start asking, you know, some days is, is asking you as a, what roles have I played most of my life? What do people know me for? What do people say about me? Um, and I, and I did that exercise and I asked my, the people in my life, my food, my mother and my friends. And, um, and you know, a lot of people would say things like, well, I would always call for you to you is I was needing to make a decision. I was the go to person for decision makers. Um, it's funny, I'm actually posting a blog on, on that, on this particular topic this week, um, because I'm helping my daughter made college decision right now. Um, so it's just really going inside and also go into your inner circle asking how do I bring value? What, what is it that the role that I play that I'm somehow always falling into that role in any kind of social or professional environment.
Karen: 18:59 Yeah, that's great. And I think that'll give the listeners a little bit something more to think about when they're trying to kind of discover what their life purpose is because I know I find that to be a bit difficult as well and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
Dolores: 19:15 Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's, it's one of the things that can always include us. Um, but my experience is that it did for many years until I came up with that, with that metaphor that I'm the lie the breeze clarity and sometimes I want to challenge people because we try to make this life purpose statement very complex or very sophisticated and symptoms is so simple that we rejected for its simplicity.
Karen: 19:52 That's true cause because we think it needs to be so over the top. Amazing. When in fact some simple as smart, right?
Dolores: 20:01 Yeah. Yeah. And any, maybe it's simple bod grandiose and so are our cultural belief system that who are we to believe that we can be that good comes into play and also mucks things up.
Karen: 20:17 Yeah. That self doubt and lack of self compassion for, uh, for ourselves can kind of derail us every time. Right?
Dolores: 20:27 Absolutely. And I think, you know, I mean this is just my perspective and I, if I might share it, I think that I really believed that each one of us in the world, not just me, all of us are here in person for a purpose. We were a gift and that that grandiose side is actually bigger than us. Um, we're just here. I, I believe to do a job that we're called to do within a universe that is much bigger than us. So to reject our brilliance is a, it's a, it's to reject that gift of who we are.
Karen: 21:08 Yeah. I love that. Thank you for saying that. And now let's say we kind of have this clarity of life purpose. We have more clarity around who we are as a leader. What do we do then? What's the next step? How do we then
Dolores: 21:26 goals? Yeah, so there's a couple more layers that, um, that will take your right there. So then the next layer would be clarifying how you interact with the world. And for that you have a lot of online assessments. There's one that is free that I love is basic, but it works. It's called 16 personalities. Got Home. It's based on Myers Briggs. You have finder and Colby and um, uh, an agreement like this, a lot of assessments out there, but those are really great and those are fun. And you learn more about how the world perceives you because that's important as well. And then, and then, and then we put all this to work. How would we do to work? Two more steps or internal one is we, and maybe I, I'm happy to do this for you and maybe the lessons will love this is um, identify and bring forth your internal leader and that is the highest voice.
Dolores: 22:26 We have voices in our head just for all of you are there. Yes, I do have voices in my head and there's nothing wrong with me. And we typically have most of the judgmental whiny voice that says that we're not enough. That's usually the loudest, but when we tap into our internal leader or captain that voice, then we can start kind of all of those not so happy or positive voices. So tapping no leader is an great um, resource because it will be that voice of reason that says to me, the Lord is slow down. Think about what you're going to say. Like you got this, uh, yes, it's hard, but you know, keep them going. That kind of positive reinforcement. And then the other part of this kind of clarity is understanding again in the same line, what is that conversation in your head and how many times a day you're going into victim mode, things are happening to you versus I got this, this is hard, but this is happening for me.
Dolores: 23:34 Right? And, and so that, that kind of wraps up the clary layers and the mindset layers. And then I think this is what you were alluding. It's like, okay, now what we do, right, right. Was parts one is the exercise of goal setting. How do we set goals that are honoring our values, our purpose, our internal leader? And from a positive mindset or victory mindset perspective. So how do we set goals from that? And our goal setting is not mixed science is they have to be smart, specific, measurable, attainable, um, timely. Um, and uh, and they have to be a stretch from where you are. But nod, I want to lose a hundred pounds in a month, right? Setting yourself up for failure. And so the goals are the big kind of gps as well. We're going lag. You can have a goal for each part of your life or only the parts of your life that need attention right now and is a great exercise with that.
Dolores: 24:44 It's called a wheel of life. A lot of, uh, you can probably find that online is it breaks your life into different kind of sections like a pie. And he helps you really assess from one to 10, one being this is not working really well, 10 being I'm rocking aid and from one to 10 and tried to understand which part of the life is not doing so well and so that he can focus on that. And then at the end of the day, Karen, all this is wonderful, but that transformation and our true selves as leaders only comes to shine in the details of every day. And that's why I talk about habits all success. So at the end of the day, how we wake up in the morning, how we brush our teeth, how we get dressed, how we make our bed. And yes, making your bed is part of [inaudible] leadership and what we eat, how we greet the post man, how we say hi to our coworkers. Those are the tiny details of our day that honestly make our big life. Okay.
Karen: 25:56 And you, you, you're about that. The making the bed thing all the time. And I started doing that a couple of years ago and I remember someone asked, why, why do you make your bed? I'm like, cause then I feel like I start out my day with a little wind.
Dolores: 26:10 Yes. I actually, one day I may have, I've always made my bed. I was raised that way and it was actually bothered me not to, I think at some point I was, you know, this, this balance. And at some point I was so, so kind of one, I was wound, wound very tied when the kids were little. And I remember having a coach who said, I challenge you not to make any bad this week. So I actually had to not make that because it was becoming a burden to me. But years later, my sister, teen 16
Karen: 26:44 year old, oldest son, um, started making his bed and I hadn't said a word and I noticed it and he said, yes ma'am, I read this book and he gave me the book. And it's a book that I recommend always. He had read this book called the power of habit from child. I don't know if you've read it and I, it's, for me, it's an amazing book and everywhere. And that book taught my 16 year old back then to make us better. Oh, how wonderful. Charles Duhigg would be so proud.
Dolores: 27:15 I was going to say, maybe I should send a note that he accomplish almost impossible.
Karen: 27:20 I ain't got it. He had a teenage boy to make it better. Exactly. Yeah. That's amazing. Yeah. And then how, so, you know, you work with your clients and they've gone through all of these steps and then how do you, how do they then say or decide kind of where did it go from there? Right. So let's say someone's already a leader and they want to do a Ted talk. Somebody wants to do a Tedx talk. Right. Which are probably a lot of people listening to this podcast. So they go through all this. They have a good clarity of self, an idea of self, what's the Prac, what do you do, how do you do that?
Dolores: 28:06 So is a good question. So actually if someone comes straight, like let's say I didn't have work with me and they come to me just to do a talk, I will go through the process even though it might feel not linear. That is good to do with my talk because especially in the life purpose because with a talk like a Tedx talk on the of the talk is an idea that can have a positive impact in the world and that is right in the line of what we were just talking about. Your life purpose and your life's work. And so what I do is I bring that conversation APP and say, okay, this is your life purpose. Great. Your idea is kind of the cousin of your life purpose because it is an actionable version of your life progress. For example, for me, if I were to do a talk, it would be about how cloudy frameworks can help entrepreneurs realize their impact.
Dolores: 29:10 So my life purpose is clarity, but for the idea is the concept of clarity for frameworks as a tool for the purpose of serve as entrepreneurs realizing their impact. I'm just kind of very specific. So what we do is we tap into who the speaker is, what is it that they've always known about themselves, what is it that they've always longed to do or accomplish in this world? And then we explore about on the work they do, because here's the thing, can everybody comes to me and says, I want to give a talk. And I say, okay, what's, what's your core idea? What do you want to share? And they go on and say, well, let me tell you about my work. And it's on and off for like 30 minutes. Right? And and when you're pitching to any stage, but specifically at Tedx stage, the organize who will ask you one question and he's like, can you tell me your idea in one short sentence? And most people can. So that's why the life purpose, um, and a framework that I teach for, for stating your core idea come together to create this one line idea statements that then the top will be based on.
Karen: 30:22 Got It. Thank you for that. Cause I think that's a big point of clarity, if you will, for people who might be thinking about pitching themselves to do a big talk somewhere that you should be really be able to state the purpose of your talk, like you said in one sentence, succinctly and but with the punch, right?
Dolores: 30:46 Yeah. Yeah. But here's the thing is not, you know, they get caught up in this sexiness of it. Yeah. And they lose the practicality of it. So it depends the market. If you are looking to stand out in your market so that people will hire you, I would say lose a sexy gained the clarity. If you're looking to send out in an application to be speaking, then the stress, the, the to stress, the takeaway with the audience will get and the uniqueness of your process.
Karen: 31:27 Great. So it really depends who you're talking to him. Sure, sure. Because in the end, especially if you're talking about a Tedx talk, it's all about what, like you said, it's all about the audience, not about you, not you.
Dolores: 31:40 No, no, and I actually have had, you know, I love the work of the Tedx or the speaking if you want. What I love about it is that
Dolores: 31:53 people come to get that Karen, right? Like that kind of thing that they want the tedx stage or whatever stage and what they gads when they do this work of clarity is they get a Vishen so much bigger than they had before. I had a client what a multi multimillion dollars coaching program, a company, very successful is 16 years in business. And she did the work to get on that stage. And because of that work, she completely rebranded her company after 16 years, change the name because she realized that what the core idea of her work and the essence of our work was so much bigger than the brandy she of created for her company. And she was, she was kind of, she was feeling that the company was a little stale because she had reached the boundary, the box she had made for herself.
Karen: 32:52 Yeah. Oh my gosh. That has me thinking so much. It really does. And I think, you know, often times people get caught up in themselves instead of in the idea. And I think that can derail you.
Dolores: 33:09 It is, it is kind of a process then without knowing you'll fall in love again with your work. Awesome.
Karen: 33:18 Well, that just sounds amazing and I think you gave such great tips and, and really kind of got into the work that you do with, with uh, entrepreneurs and, and possible speakers and a executives. So thank you for sharing all of that with us. Is there anything that we missed or things that you want the listeners to really take away?
Dolores: 33:43 Um, I think that whatever you are doing, whatever situation you are in your life right now, just checking and understand where you stand. Don't make decisions from what other people say unless you also include your higher voice in the conversation.
Karen: 34:08 Excellent. I love that advice. And then I have one last question and it is again, another piece of advice and it's the question I asked everyone and that is knowing where you are now and your life in your career, what advice would you give to that? You know, fresh face Gal right out of college?
Dolores: 34:26 Well I, I, I would say to her, stay in this state of wonder. Trust your gut and yourself and it's okay. Life is not linear.
Karen: 34:41 Awesome. And where can people find you if they want more info or if they have any questions,
Dolores: 34:49 they can come to masters in clarity.com and right on the main home page you'll have a big orange button that says free resources and you can find different resources that you can download for free and start getting the clarity unique.
Karen: 35:07 Awesome. And then just so the listeners know, we'll have all of these links will be up on our website at podcast out healthy, wealthy, smart.com and that Dolores also has a free gift. Stand up the Ted way, be seen and grow your business ebook downloads. So we will also have that on the podcast page under this episode as well. So thank you for that and thank you for coming on today. This was great.
Dolores: 35:34 Thank you so much for having me. I had a lot of fun
Karen: 35:37 and everyone who's out there listening, thanks so much. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.
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On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Laurie Seely on the show to discuss gut health. Laurie is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach specializing in helping people repair their gut from Candida, IBS, and Heavy Metals Toxicity.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The number one question you should be asking your doctor at your next check up
-How you can assess the health of your stool
-Simple solutions to improve your gut health
-Laurie’s long journey to overcome Candida
-And so much more!
For more information on Laurie:
I’m a Functional Medicine Health Coach, a lover of Young Living Essential Oils, a mom to a beautiful little girl, and a professional opera singer, formerly in the chorus at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
I suffered for years with IBS and all the horrible, embarrassing symptoms that came along with it, including a raging candida (yeast) overgrowth. Eeeeew!
With help from my health coach and the School of Applied Functional Medicine, I learned how to kill Candida and repair my gut. I am a health detective! Now I teach people how to kill Candida and repair their gut through workshops, group programs, essential oils, and 1-on-1 coaching.
Many of my clients find surprising side effects such as extra energy, clearer skin, fewer wrinkles, better digestion, less need for medications, lower blood sugar, and clearer thinking!
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:01 Hey Lori, welcome to the podcast. I am happy to have you on.
Laurie Seely: 00:05 I'm so happy to be here. Thank you Karen.
Karen Litzy: 00:08 Of course. And as we were talking about before we got on the air, the way that we were introduced to each other is through Christine Gallagher, who's a really wonderful business coach and she was part of my women in PT Summit, in our inaugural summit a couple of years ago. And so I just want to give a quick shout out to Christine for the hookup here.
Karen Litzy: 00:31 She’s great. So now obviously in your bio I talked about the fact that you're a functional medicine health coach, but I have a feeling a lot of people aren't exactly sure what that is or what that means. So would you mind giving the listeners a little bit of background on to what that is exactly.
Laurie Seely: 00:48 I got a certification as a health coach and then I continued at the school for Applied Functional Medicine and they offer another certification. And basically that's where I learned all my stuff. You learn about just really how to be a health detective because there are so many symptoms of dis-ease that a lot of doctors will label as an illness. And I was very interested in this kind of, it's not really medicine, but I was very interested in this kind of health detective work because I went through this whole thing myself with IBS and Candida and I still had a couple of pieces left to really, really find health for myself. And it was at this school that I've finally put in the last couple of pieces to make that happen. And so, in the process I became a functional medicine health coach. Isn't that cool? Now I help other people that had the same sort of problems that I once had.
Karen Litzy: 02:08 Yeah. And I feel like oftentimes that's kind of the way life takes us, right? We kind of have these experiences and we figure them out for ourselves and then we try and delve a little bit deeper to widen the net and then help others. So I think it's great when you can kind of make that change. But a question, what were you doing before you were a health coach?
Laurie Seely: 02:32 Well, I was an opera singer actually. I was singing fulltime in the chorus at the lyric opera of Chicago, which was really, really fun. And actually I just recently quit there. I was doing both at the same time for a while, which was a really difficult juggle. And I feel like this is where my heart lies and my passion now. So yeah, I was an opera singer.
Karen Litzy: 03:12 What a career, what a career switch. Yeah. I love talking to people who have had different careers within their life because I always think like it gives people hope, you know? So if you're not doing exactly what you love right now, that there's hope, you may find that thing that kind of, like you said, gives you your passion. Right? Fantastic. All right, so now let's talk about the health coaching aspect of things. So let's say I'm one of your clients. I come to you and I've already been to my doctor or maybe I'm going to see my doctor. So what are some important questions that maybe doctors should be asking us that they're not? Maybe that, yeah, we're not delving into as much.
Laurie Seely: 03:49 So I think that the number one most important question a doctor can ask you is what does your poop look like? And specifically, what does it look like and how often do you poop? Because that is your body's way of telling you when there's something wrong. I learned that functional medicine school that most dis ease begins in the gut. We don't say all because we just want to, you know, 99.9% of disease begins in the gut, I would say, right? And that's your first indication. That's your body telling you, hey, there's something wrong. You know? And so we need to be educated on our part. What poops should look like. Right. And I feel like this should be like on the commercials on TV instead of like, you know what pharmaceutical drug can help you with your IBS.
Laurie Seely: 04:52 They should be telling us what our poop should look like so it doesn't have to go all the way to IBS. We can see right at the beginning, you know what, I'm pooping little marbles like that's, that was my problem for most of my life. Little marbles with occasional bouts of diarrhea and I went for close to 40 years not knowing that there was anything wrong. If one doctor had asked me what my poop looked like when I was say 12 years old and I was old enough to kind of tell him, well about nine times a day I'm pooping little balls. He'd be like, wow, there's something wrong with you. We need to figure out what it is. And I feel like there's so many people who are in the same boat, you know, it never would have gotten to candida for me. I had a yeast infection for a year, every single day. And if somebody had asked me at 12 years old, what does my poop look like? I just, I feel like it never would have gotten that bad. And I feel like there's so many other people in this world who are in the same boat, you know, and who are maybe at some sort of state of disease that really could have been kind of nipped in a bud years ago when it was much less.
Karen Litzy: 06:05 Hmm. Yeah. And so if we're going there, right? We're going to talk about poop right now. We're in it, we're doing it.
Laurie Seely: If you have a conversation with me long enough, it'll eventually go there.
Karen Litzy: Yes. This is it. Obviously a very good question that your doctor should be asking, but now if people listening to this next time they go to their doctor, they can bring this up, correct?
Laurie Seely: 06:33 Yeah, absolutely. And you want to be very clear because even doctors can mess up with this. You know, there was one chiropractor that I was at who asked, we sort of, we get treated in the same room, a bunch of us, and there was another client, they're getting treated at the same time. And she was making comments that kind of made the chiropractor and me kind of go to, sounds like you're constipated, but we didn't say that. And he asked her, how's your digestion?
Laurie Seely: 07:04 She’s like oh, it's fine. And then he left the room and I said, what does your poop look like? How many times do you poop a day? And she said, Oh, I'm pooping like once every 10 days. Oh my God. Yeah. So I was like, wow. Like I didn't want to alarm her, but I sort of explained, you know, that it shouldn't be that way. So, that's the thing, when you talk to your doctor, like get gross, get like in it, tell them what it looks like, what it feels like, the texture, the smell, how long it takes to pass, because they need to know all of those things. And sometimes the doctor's going to get grossed out by that. And you know what, find a different one because you need to be able to talk about this stuff.
Karen Litzy: 07:45 Okay. So let's talk about what it should look like. So there is a chart called the Bristol stool chart. So can you tell us what it is and what it should look like?
Laurie Seely: 07:59 So on the chart it goes from number one to number seven. So number one is constipation and that's the tiny little balls. Number seven is diarrhea, that's watery stools. And number four is Nirvana poop. Like exactly what it's supposed to be like. It's like soft serve, ice cream texture. And it's not going to smell very much. It's going to be light brown in texture, easy to pass. We're talking one or two minutes and it's all gone all out and it leaves almost nothing to wipe. So that's the, the good stuff. And then they have, you know, the different levels in between one, four and seven also. So you can, you can Google that. There's like great illustrations online.
Karen Litzy: 08:50 And so obviously if you're at a one or a seven, we pretty much know something's up, right? Yep. So four is perfect. What if you're at three or a five? I mean, are these things to be worried about?
Laurie Seely: 08:56 I honestly, I don't think so. If you're at a three or a five, it's probably not your norm. If that makes sense. Like you want to look at where, where is it usually? Right? What is your pattern? If you have a couple of days with a little bit of stress and suddenly you're pooping tiny little balls, but then you get back to a number four after that, you're good. It was the stress you got over it. Right. Do a little yoga, some deep breathing, you'll be fine. Same thing happens with diarrhea. You know, a lot of people get stressed diarrhea. So if that's a temporary thing and it's due to stress that's temporary, then you're fine.
Laurie Seely: 09:49 If it's happening all the time, then you need to know that, yeah, it's a problem and you need to do some detective work there and that's time to do a stool test or to do any number of blood tests for parasites and stuff like that. So that's time when you want to, you want to find out what's causing it. A lot of times like, okay, so I went to my gastroenterologist, I said, I have IBS, I'm constipated all the time. Sometimes I have diarrhea. I told her the whole story and she said, we don't know what causes IBS.
Laurie Seely: 10:24 So that's another indication that you need a new doctor. So that's what I did. I got a new doctor because there are so many things that cause IBS and that's time to just find yourself a health detective and figure it out. There's a great test from the Meridian Valley lab called a comprehensive stool analysis and Parasitology times three. So that will tell you all of the expected beneficial flora that you want in there. It'll measure imbalanced flora. Any flora that's dysbiotic or like out of crazy, out of balance. So you know exactly really what's supposed to be there. It's also going to measure how much yeast you have in there because everybody pretty much has yeast in their digestive tract. It's just when it gets overgrown and it's bad. And then it also measures like mucus and then it checks for parasites and it's a three day test.
Laurie Seely: 11:26 So if you find a doctor that gave you a stool test and it's just from one bowel movement, that's not a good enough test. If it finds something cool, then you got lucky. But it's good to test over the period of at least three days. There are some stool tests that go up to six days. So the reason for that is that the bacteria and the parasites and the candida, it all travels in groups like in clumps, they like to stick together like a school of fish, right? And from one bowel movement you could be full of parasites and in one bowel movement you pass a whole bunch that doesn't have any parasites in it because they were hanging out somewhere else in your colon. So that's why you want to test over three days. So then you have a pretty good chance that if there's any parasites in there, you've found them.
Karen Litzy: 12:27 Yeah, that makes sense to me. And now let's say you do this test and something is positive. Where do you go from there?
Laurie Seely: Well, there's a lot of things you can do about that. It depends on your doctor. He might give you a pharmaceutical antiparasitic drug to take, which can be effective and there's the possibility that it's not effective as well. You always want to retest. What I do with my clients is I use a product from young living essential oil as it's the best thing that I've found so far, the most effective and it's called para free and it's full of various essential oils and all. So, other ingredients that are known to support intestinal health and are, I can't say that they're known to kill things because it hasn't been approved by the FDA, but I've seen in my practice and in my own body and in my mother's body, that it clears up parasites.
Karen Litzy: 15:29 So now let's say you do this comprehensive stool analysis and you find something, it's treated either by your physician with the pharmaceutical or through the essential oils, but I guess it's probably important to note that with the essential oils that like you said, they're not FDA approved and they're not studied or tested. It's just more like anecdotal stuff.
Laurie Seely: 16:01 There are many case studies and actually it seems like from the case studies that the para free is actually more useful.
Karen Litzy: 16:14 Well it would probably behoove someone to do some research on that because it's hard to I think get buy in from a lot of people when something isn't well-researched. That's a word I was going to say, test it. But research is probably better. Probably a better way to put that. So, you know, at least someone will, we'll do that to help people make a better decision.
Laurie Seely: 16:50 Right. Well, here's a thing, the reason why they're not FDA approved is not because the FDA looked into it and disapproved them. It's because the FDA doesn't want to waste their time on something that can't be patented because they're natural ingredients in there. They're not synthetic versions of natural ingredients it’s the actual natural ingredient. And so those things can't be patented and they can't, you know, companies can't make money off of that. And so the FDA doesn't want to use their funding on that.
Karen Litzy: 17:23 Right. Yeah. Well hopefully someone can do like a nice comparative study between that and a pharmaceutical and see what works and what doesn't.
Laurie Seely: 17:34 I think one of the issues that pharmaceuticals are usually aimed at just one thing. And the para free has been useful in treating a wide range of parasites. So it's like throwing a huge blanket on it. You Kill Them all. But you're right. You're right. It'd be nice if it were more widely publicized.
Karen Litzy: 18:05 All right. Now let's say we talked about this a little bit. Let's say you're on the one of the Bristol stool chart, which means that you're constipated and everyone at some point in their life has been, and we know it's not comfortable, so how can we relieve this?
Laurie Seely: 18:29 So there's a couple of different ways. It depends on what's causing it. So before doing a stool test, I would try, what I'm going to tell you now, I would first look at how much water are you drinking every day. So the rule of thumb for how much water you should be drinking is you see how many pounds you weigh, divide that by two. And that's how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day. So if you weigh 140, you should be drinking at least 70 ounces of water per day. Right? Now there's a lot of people who are already doing that, but there are a lot of people for whom that would be quite a bit of water. That's really what we need to be doing because, the number one and the Bristol stool chart is an indication that your stool is dehydrated and you're still maybe dehydrated just because you're not drinking enough water, it's possible that the muscles along your colon aren’t functioning absolutely properly and that you're just moving along slowly because there's not enough water in your stool.
Laurie Seely: 19:36 So that's the simplest fix. Right? And then also if you do that and you find that it doesn't fix it or it improves it, now you're still drinking more water. Another thing to do is consider that maybe you don't have enough magnesium intake. So a lot of us don't have enough magnesium just because we're not getting it anymore from the fruits and vegetables because of modern day farming practices. It's not in the soil. So if it's not in the soil, can't be in the vegetables and that's where we're supposed to be getting our magnesium from. So we use supplements. So there's, the form of magnesium that helps to stimulate the bowels is called magnesium citrate. And so you just see, you try taking some magnesium citrate and there's a very easy way to figure out how much of that you need.
Laurie Seely: 20:32 You want to get the powdered version because it's easier to lower or raise your intake right then like taking a capsule. And so you start with half a teaspoon of magnesium citrate. And you do that for about three days because it takes a while for it to build up in our bodies. And if after about three days you're not moving along the way you want to be, then you raise it by another half teaspoon and you just keep doing that in three day intervals like that until you're where you want to be. And it's possible that you might go up a little too far and have diarrhea and then you know, for sure that half a teaspoon or less than that is what you need.
Karen Litzy: 21:17 Right, right. Yeah. So it's a little bit of trial and error there, but I get it.
Laurie Seely: 21:22 I mean that if you're trying to do things naturally, that's how it is.
Karen Litzy: 21:27 Yeah, for sure. Okay. So we've got lack of water, lack of magnesium. Anything else that can contribute?
Laurie Seely: 21:35 Well, we always say we should have more fiber. Right? And that could be part of it as well. So you want to make sure that you're eating enough vegetables because I never recommend a person to get their fiber from things like shredded wheat or bread or things like that. But that's what we see in the media, right? We see like, oh, have your high fiber bread and that's going to help you. Well, wheat actually can irritate the colon. Whether you have a sensitivity to it or not because of the way that it's being produced nowadays. It's a very common irritant. And so that could be, I mean, maybe you're eating bread and that's your problem, right? So if you feel like maybe it's a fiber issue, then the way to get fibers through vegetables and I'm talking about like spinach, Kale, leafy Greens.
Karen Litzy: 22:34 Yeah. So that makes sense. So you want to start having more water, kind of eating a little bit healthier and things may even out for you. Okay, great. So is there anything else with constipation that we didn't go over about kind of how to relieve it or what might be causing it?
Laurie Seely: 22:55 Well, those are the places that I would start. And if you don't make any headway there, then got to find yourself a health detective, I think.
Karen Litzy: 23:07 Yeah. Yeah. All right. Sounds good. Now you made mention of this earlier, but, and I know it's part of your history and kind of why you became a health coach, but talk a little bit about Candida and what it was like for you for 10 plus years.
Laurie Seely: 23:28 So, my whole life, this whole thing with my digestion just kept getting worse. I didn't even know that I had a problem. I was unaware of it. That's why I'm here. Like educating people about it, bringing it into the light. Eventually I started having like three to six or more yeast infections every single year, which I also didn't know, but that's considered frequent for yeast infections. And then eventually, this is a little while after I had my daughter. My immune system just tanked and so did my thyroid and I had a yeast infection for every day for an entire year. I remember spending a week at Disney with an itch that I couldn't scratch. It was just horrible. So that's when I finally, I took the plunge. I was googling the whole time, like, there's probably a good 10 years that I was like, why am I getting so many yeast infections?
Laurie Seely: 24:32 And I would Google that and it would come up as a candida, you know, a systemic candida infection. I was like, no, no, no. It couldn't be that, because then I of course googled the remedy for that. And it just seemed like so hard and such a problem to go through that I was like, no, it's gotta be something else. It can't be that. So when I finally admitted it, I mean, that was the first day of the rest of my life, you know? And, I started my journey to health
Karen Litzy: 25:11 So aside from having the recurrent and constant yeast infections, was there anything else that you noticed that maybe you ignored?
Laurie Seely: 25:20 Yes. Looking back, I started to have, when I wasn't constipated, I was having far more urgent diarrhea, which actually led to like public accidents. Very, very embarrassing. And I got some allergies that I had always had some allergies, but it was just so bad that I was seeing an allergist and I was using Flonase and other steroid nasal sprays. And of course that was just making my problem worse because steroids actually kill gut bacteria and that was the root of my problem. And then after that allergies then more yeast infections. That was I think the allergies and the more frequent diarrhea that I didn't put it together. I didn't understand.
Karen Litzy: 26:19 Yeah. And that always seems to be the way because especially when you're in it, it's kind of like hard to connect all those dots, right? Because you're just trying to take care of the symptoms.
Laurie Seely: 26:30 I was constantly putting band aids on symptoms, not realizing that they had a common cause. And sinus infections also. Yeast kinda likes to live in the warm, wet areas and sinuses are a really good place for them to take up shop. And I had that problem too.
Karen Litzy: 26:50 Gosh. What a way to go through life.
Laurie Seely: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, there's so many people who are really experiencing this all the time still and also haven't connected the dots, you know.
Karen Litzy: Well, you know, hopefully you can raise a little bit more awareness for people and have them be a little more aware of how they poop yes. And what it looks like and the consistency and this smell and all that stuff so that hopefully we can, cause you know, what you put in your body's got to come out, right? So, I think it's important that we pay attention to what our body is doing because like you said, our bodies are pretty good at telling us when things are wrong. When things are out of homeostasis and if checking your poop, that seems pretty easy to me so then you could say, oh, this doesn't seem right. Maybe I should call my doctor about this.
Laurie Seely: Exactly. Yes, exactly. Just have to pay attention.
Karen Litzy: Yes, we have to pay attention. Well, now is there anything that maybe we didn't cover that you feel like who I really want your listeners to know this.
Laurie Seely: 28:21 I think we got everything.
Karen Litzy: All right, well then I have one last question for you and it's a question that I ask everyone, and that's knowing where you are now in your life and your career. What advice would you give to yourself, let's say right out of school, or maybe in your case when you first started getting into the opera world?
Laurie Seely: 29:05 Oh, well this is, yes. Advice that I wish I'd had. Just keep trying get used to hearing no.
Laurie Seely: 29:20 Because in the opera world we deal with a lot of rejection. There's a lot of auditions and you might get out of, I don't know, 20 auditions, you might get one job. So I really would have liked to start to hear that, to know that it was normal. You have all these auditions and just get one job, you know? But I have a very stick-to-it-ness sort of nature to me and I rolled with it.
Karen Litzy: 29:52 Gosh, I'm sure so many people have been in your boat many times over and would have loved to have had that advice. And now you have, which I'm very grateful for, something for the listeners. So what is a Freebie for people?
Laurie Seely: 30:10 So I have a seven step program that I use with my clients to help them get over candida and repair their gut. And I have a blog post on my website that goes through those seven steps. And it also has a very handy downloadable checklist that you can use as you're going through the program.
Laurie Seely: 30:42 So, and it also has a very nice list of Anti-candida foods, foods that are allowed and not allowed on the anti-Candida, a diet that is very handy to print out and just hang in your kitchen so that you can check it every once in a while and see what kind of recipes you want to make for yourself. Because when you're doing the Anti Candida Diet, it can be very difficult and very depressing to try and figure out what there is that you can eat without feeding your candy jar. So for anybody who sort of was thinking, oh, that might be me, I don't know, you can go to my website and check out that post. And there's so many other posts on there about IBS and Candida and food sensitivities and all that stuff. You can go down quite a worm hole on my website.
Karen Litzy: 31:33 Perfect. And we'll have the link to the seven steps to kill Candida checklist. We will have the link to that in the show notes over at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com so you can one click and it'll take you there. And where can people find you?
Laurie Seely: 31:55 I am at laurieseely.com and I'm also on Facebook at Laurie Seely functional medicine health coach. And I also have a group on Facebook called Candida Ibs and heavy metals education group.
Karen Litzy: 32:14 Awesome. And again, we'll have all the links to that. So if you have questions you want to get in touch with Laurie, you can pop over to her website. If you weren't writing all this down, you can go to the podcast website, click onto it and it'll take you right there. So Laurie, thank you so much for coming on and talking to us about poop which is a first for me on the podcast.
Laurie Seely: So that's awesome. I'm so glad I get my bad for you.
Karen Litzy: It was at first. And hopefully people, no pun intended, got a lot out of this. So Lori, thanks so much for coming on and everyone else, thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.
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LIVE on the Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy Facebook page, I welcome Professor Ewa Roos to discuss the GLA:D Program. Professor Roos is an internationally leading researcher and change agent in the field of musculoskeletal health. She has been able to both produce high-impact clinical research and translate that research into clinical tools that are easily and effectively implemented in hospitals, primary care clinics and even community settings in municipalities.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The three components that make up the GLA:D program
-Are GLA:D exercises superior to performing any other form of exercise?
-The benefits of participating in group therapy
-A sneak preview into Professor Roo’s talk at the World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy
-And so much more!
For more information on Professor Roos:
Professor Roos has a passion for advancing the frontiers of knowledge in muscle and joint health to improve the quality of life of those with musculoskeletal disease and to improve health care delivery for these conditions. Her focus is on patient involvement, non-surgical and surgical treatments and clinical care pathways.
A decade ago Professor Roos and colleagues started to investigate the evidence underpinning the outcomes from arthroscopic knee surgery. When they found very little evidence to support the ever-increasing frequency of these surgical procedures, they started investigation of the efficacy of arthroscopic surgery compared with sham surgery or structured exercises through a series of high quality randomised controlled trials performed in collaboration with Danish and Norwegian orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists. To the surprise of many and the concern of some, the results of these and other research projects have found that arthroscopic surgery for the degenerative knee is no better than sham surgery or non-surgical treatments for improving pain and loss of function.
Professor Roos is an internationally leading researcher and change agent in the field of musculoskeletal health. She has been able to both produce high-impact clinical research and translate that research into clinical tools that are easily and effectively implemented in hospitals, primary care clinics and even community settings in municipalities. She has also served as an expert on clinical guideline committees for osteoarthritis (Sweden and Norway 2003, Sweden 2012, 2017--, Osteoarthritis Research Society International 2014, China 2017), knee osteoarthritis (Denmark 2012) and meniscus pathology (Denmark 2015), thereby impacting the delivery of clinical care in the Nordic countries and worldwide.
One of the principal outcomes from her research has been the development of the Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D®) project for people with knee and hip pain. The GLA:D® project is an outstanding example of how to successfully implement evidence-based clinical guidelines in primary health care practice and municipalities. Its underlying principles focus on patient education, patient empowerment, exercises and self-management. Since 2013, more than 1000 clinicians nationwide have been trained in delivering GLA:D® care to about 30,000 patients, who report remarkable improvements in health in terms of less pain, less disability, consumption of less pain medication, increase in physical activity, reduced sick leave and return to work (www.glaid.dk). The GLA:D® project now serves as a template for establishing similar initiatives in other countries including Canada (2015), Australia (2016) and China (2017).
Professor Roos’ research unit at University of Southern Denmark now has 20 members, attracting international recognition for its involvement in evidence-based medicine, development of patient-reported outcome measures and pioneering research in the field of joint injury, osteoarthritis and the role of surgery and exercise in treatment.
Professor Roos plays an active role in breaking down the barriers between disciplines and forging interdisciplinary teams to collaborate on addressing key research questions of common interest. She is open-minded and inclusive, welcoming the opportunity to work with other disciplines and professional groups - a trait not always found in academia – to ensure the highest standards and the best possible outcomes for people suffering from musculoskeletal disease. To this end, she has been integral to the creation of the new Center for Health in Muscles and Joints at the University of Southern Denmark, which aims to become the leading institution in Denmark for information exchange, interdisciplinary research and innovation in the domain of musculoskeletal health.
Professor Roos has published many articles in lay language targeting patients with osteoarthritis, often in collaboration with the Swedish and Danish Rheumatism Associations and she has made hundreds of appearances in printed and electronic media and TV. She takes every opportunity to increase political awareness of the impact of muscle and joint disease for the individual and the society and the proven benefits of physical activity for those with these conditions in Denmark and internationally, to raise its visibility through public debate, and to advocate for its recognition as a public health priority to offer treatment of muscle and joint disease equal to that of other chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes.
In 2014, her contribution to public health was recognised when she won the OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International) Clinical Research Award for her “outstanding work in exercise as prevention and treatment of joint pain, joint injury and osteoarthritis”. This is the first time this highly competitive award was given to someone other than a medical doctor and to a Danish researcher. In addition, in 2014, she was awarded the Queen Ingrid of Denmark’s prize for outstanding arthritis research by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the Danish Rheumatism Association (Gigtforeningen).
Professor Roos is the author of 205 peer-reviewed publications. She has published in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet. Her work has been cited in total 10952 times with 1 paper cited more than 1100 times and 23 additional papers cited more than 100 times. Her h-index is 54 (January 2018). She has supervised 21 PhD theses to completion with her students having professional backgrounds in medicine, physiotherapy, nursing and sports. Four of her PhD students have received awards and/or prestigious post-doctoral funding from the Swedish or Danish Medical Research Councils.
Her success in attracting project funding is testament to the value that funders place on her research. In total, she has attained over 27 million SEK, 10 million DKK, 0.6 million AUD, 0.8 million CAD, 0.9 million USD and 4.2 million Euro as applicant or co-applicant since 2005.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:00 My name is Karen Litzy. I'm a physio therapist. I'm based in New York City and I am so happy to be on the Third World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy Facebook page interviewing Professor Ewa Roos. And we are going to talk a little bit about her background and the GLA:D program and a sneak peek at what she's going to be speaking about at the Third World Congress, which is October 3rd through the fifth in Vancouver, Canada. So Professor Roos, thank you so much for taking the time out and joining us today on this Facebook live.
Ewa Roos: 00:44 Thank you. It's very exciting to meet you Karen.
Karen Litzy: 00:47 Yes. And for all of you who are on watching, if you have questions, we can see them. So feel free to put questions in as we get a little bit more into the conversation. But before we get to the meat of what our interview is about, can you talk a little bit more about yourself?
Ewa Roos: Okay. So what do you want to know?
Karen Litzy: Well, let's talk about how long you've been a physio therapist and kind of what led you into the work that you're doing now.
Ewa Roos: 01:16 Okay. So I've been a physiotherapist since I graduated back in 1981. So that's a really long time ago. And the reason why I moved into this area was because I was very much involved in sports. I went to a sports high school and I competed on the national team in my sport, which is something called orienteering when you're running in the forest with the use of a map and a compass. And I got an obvious injury and suddenly I couldn't run as much as I wanted to run. And I visited a number of sports medicine doctors and they actually can’t tell me either and that built up some frustration and eventually actually have surgery for these overuse injuries. That was not very smart either. So that really sparked my interest and then my career. And then getting a degree in physical therapy was the fastest way of getting to work with what I wanted to work with Sports medicine.
Karen Litzy: 02:21 And what took you from that, from getting your degree to where you are now? Professor, researcher.
Ewa Roos: 02:28 When I think back I realized that I had aspirations of becoming a researcher already as a kid. I published my first paper back in the 80s. But it didn't really take off until I found a very good supervisor in the mid nineties and that's good advice, I think. Find yourself a good supervisor.
Karen Litzy: 02:57 And so you’ve been conducting research in that since the 80s. And can you tell everyone where you currently are working?
Ewa Roos: 03:05 So I'm working at University of Southern Denmark.
Karen Litzy: 03:09 And that takes me into the GLA:D program. So before we start talking more about it, can you let the listeners know what does GLA:D stand for?
Ewa Roos: 03:22 So GLA:D stands for good life with osteoarthritis in Denmark.
Karen Litzy: 03:26 And when did this program start?
Ewa Roos: 03:30 So I think I would like to start by saying that while I am a researcher, GLA:D is not really a research because GLA:D came out of the frustration I felt knowing about all the evidence that was out there and sitting on clinical guideline committees in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, China and globally. And we could see that all guideline committees, they're recommended patient education, exercise and weight loss if you were overweight as first line treatment for osteoarthritis. And there were lots of money spent on these clinical guidelines, but nothing changed in clinical practice because of these guidelines. So GLA:D actually came out of pure frustration and we realized that something needs to be done to help clinicians implement these clinical guidelines into their practice. That was the beginning of the GLA:D program and that was in 2013.
Karen Litzy: 04:41 Okay, so it's yourself, Soren Skou. Yes, I pronounced that correctly.
Ewa Roos: 04:48 Soren Skou was my PhD student at that time. And Soren is a very young, smart, energetic young man and the combination of the two of us was really good to make things happen.
Karen Litzy: 05:05 Okay. So before we get into, and we'll talk about some of the discussions on social media regarding the GLA:D program in a little bit, but before we get into that, can you talk a little bit more about what is involved in the program and how it works?
Ewa Roos: 05:23 Okay, so the whole aim is really to improve quality of care for patients with osteoarthritis and to do so we use three components. The first is that we educate clinicians in Denmark, it's mostly physiotherapist. It could basically also be other clinicians who have the sufficient background and knowledge about osteoarthritis and knowledge about exercise as treatment. So we have a two day course to educate about osteoarthritis and about delivery of exercises. That's the first component. The second component is then what these clinicians deliver in the clinical practice. So that is patient education and exercise therapy, which is group based and supervised by a clinician built on evidence. And the third very important component is that we evaluate the outcomes with an electronic registry. But I would again like to point out that this is not per se a research project because this is uncontrolled and this is real life. This is what happens across a nation.
Karen Litzy: 06:46 I think it's important to note that this is not like a randomized controlled trial, you’re collecting the data that you are finding from clinicians, from actual patients sort of in the trenches so to speak.
Ewa Roos: 06:59 Yes. So if you run most controlled trial, everything is very much controlled. That's not the case when you do it in real life clinical practice, but GLA:D it's a minimum, it's a core package of patient education and a 12 exercise sessions. But as a clinician you're always the one who determine what your specific patient need. So you have to deliver the patient education and you have to deliver the exercise, but you are absolutely free to add whatever you think your patient may need. They may need manual therapy to improve the range of motion of the joint or something else. That is absolutely fine. You can also send them to a dietician if you think that would be beneficial for them, et cetera.
Karen Litzy: 07:53 And so sorry for that. We may hear horns and sirens because I'm in New York City, so I apologize everyone. So as far as the program is concerned, so it's not like a clinical practice guideline but rather a full program. So I guess my question is if clinical practice GLA:D guidelines weren't being followed, how do we know that the program is going to be something that's sustainable and followed? Do you know what I mean? Like if therapists were like I'm not following these clinical practice guidelines.
Ewa Roos: 08:31 So, I’m not really sure I understand your question. But, so I think that's probably why to be able to answer that or respond to that question I would say that it's basically that we can see that clinicians want to take the courses and we can see that they actually register patients in the registry and we can evaluate the outcome. And that's a very good way of measuring the quality of what's being delivered. We can see how many sessions they have attended, for example, and things like that.
Karen Litzy: 09:06 Yeah, yeah, exactly. So if I'm a clinician, so if I'm looking at it from the clinician standpoint, for me, it gives me some accountability. Right? So it's like, of course we're always accountable to our patients and should be to ourselves. But it's always good to know that you're being held accountable and being held to a certain standard for your patient in order to kind of be part of the program, if you will. And I think that's important because otherwise, I mean, human beings, right? We get lazy and we're not following things as best as we should. So I think that's an important component of the program.
Ewa Roos: 09:55 I would say that the longer we go on, the greater is the part that has to do with quality assurance.
Karen Litzy: 10:03 Absolutely. Yeah. And so, you know, let's get into some of these discussions on social media now that we have a better idea of what the program is, so some of the discussions are regarding whether the GLA:D program is superior to performing other forms of exercise. But what are your thoughts on this?
Ewa Roos: 10:24 Yeah. Okay. So when you do a research study, the primary outcome can be pain relief. And if you look at randomized control trials and if you look at the effect that you find from different exercise program, there are no studies showing that one type of exercise is superior to another program when it comes to pain relief. So when the neuro muscular exercise program that we used in GLA:D is being compared to other exercise program, we can say it's similarly effective, but it's not more effective than other exercise programs. But what is interesting is that we can see that when we deliver it in clinical practice, one of the thing is that we're able to teach it to physiotherapists with very different backgrounds. You know, we have taught more than thousand physiotherapists in Denmark and some of them are real musculoskeletal experts, but some are not.
Ewa Roos: 11:28 And just being able to teach a program to clinicians with very varying background that is in itself, something that requires a good framework for the program. I think. So that is one aspect and then we can see that we're actually able to have about 25% pain relief directly after program. So we can kind of duplicate the findings that we have in randomized controlled trials. But what I think is even more important is that we can maintain that improvement at one year. And that is something that we don't always see in randomized controlled trials actually. So in some regards it looks like we're doing better than in the randomized controlled trials. And this is not a research project. So I can't tell you why I can just say that the clinical findings are really good and encouraging because it looks like there must be some kind of a better understanding of the disease from the patient's perspective. And there are some indications that there are some lifestyle changes. One third for example, report that they have increased their physical activity level. We can see that one out of three stop taking painkillers and we can see that there is a lot less sick leave, especially among the knee OA patients at one year.
Karen Litzy: 12:58 And do you feel that, at least in Denmark, I'm assuming if a thousand therapists have gotten through this, this is a pretty recognized program in the country. So do you feel like patients have more buy in so to speak because it is a recognized program?
Ewa Roos: 13:17 That's a very interesting question. And my feeling is that there was more buy in from patients, from clinicians and from those referring to the program that is general practitioners and orthopedic surgeons. What the general practitioners tell me is that they really like to refer to program where they know the content of what is being delivered. They don't really like to refer to a physical therapy as a black box treatment that they don't really know what is going to be delivered. And I guess to some extent they may be right because there has been delivered passive treatments for which there is really no evidence in these patients.
Karen Litzy: 14:07 And the other thing that I find interesting about the program is that it's in a group setting. So you have a lot of people together in one group and I also wonder does that also foster, first of all, it's a nice sense of community, you have a support group. Again, accountability on the patients. If it makes them more accountable, they’re doing their exercises, right? And they've got the support.
Ewa Roos: 14:36 Yeah. You can see that when you go and audit the clinics that you can kind of see the interplay between the patients. And there was some kind of positive peer pressure, you know. And for example, we do some exercises on the floor very deliberately and there may be older patients who come in and say, I cannot get down on the floor because I haven't been on the floor for the last 10 years. You know? And the physio can say, well that's fine, you don't have to, you know. But after a few sessions, that person will be on the floor, not with the help of the physio, but inspired by the other patients and as some kind of side effect, you know, they're also learn how to get up with the help of a chair and they get less fear of falling because they know they can get up again.
Karen Litzy: 15:22 Right. And I look at that as such a positive for the program, but also for the patient, the individual patient, because then they're more likely to do the exercises. I’m sure part of it is they're doing exercises on their own. I would assume it's not just twice a week or however many times a week you're coming into the program.
Ewa Roos: 15:44 So what we told them actually is that this is twice a week. And we do not require them to do anything at home if they want to, sure they can do it. But there is no requirement of home exercises. And I think that makes it maybe, but this is pure speculation, a better experience because you feel sure if you're more secure about what you do, you have someone to hold your hand because it's painful to start exercising when you have osteoarthritis and you ask your body to do things you haven't done for a long time. And many people get anxious if they should exercise at home and they also feel bad conscience if they don't do it. So actually I think it seems to be a better experience to tell people do this twice a week. We know it will be better if I did it three times a week. But we also know that for most people it's not possible to squeeze that into their daily life. So it's a very pragmatic decision to say twice a week because that is what most people can do. It's not the best, but it is pragmatic.
Karen Litzy: 16:55 And do you find that your class attendance is always very high? Meaning are there a lot of dropouts?
Ewa Roos: 17:04 Yeah. So if we look at the last annual report that I have access to was from 2017 we are about cleaning of the data for 2018 but that was nearly about 30,000 patients. And we can see that eight out of 10 patients have completed at least 10 supervised sessions. That is very good, I think.
Karen Litzy: 17:27 Very good. Yeah. Because you know, people always say exercises are great, but if you’re not going to do it it’s not going to make any bit of a change. Now is there anything else about the GLA:D program that you'd like to talk about and let everyone know about before we talked more about what you're going to be speaking about at the conference?
Ewa Roos: 17:53 So I think it's important to say that the GLA:D program would not be the success it is if it didn't have the buy in from the clinicians and that the clinicians wouldn't feel that it really supports their clinical practice. And because it's the clinicians who take ownership of the program and it's them who kind of market it in their local areas, it's them who inform the general practitioners. So GLA:D is really more of a grass root movement or bottom up initiative or whatever you would like to call it. We actually had no, or very, very little funding to get this whole thing started. We actually only had funding to set up an electronic registry. That was it. The rest was just pure frustration, hard work and wonderful support by all the clinicians who have embarked on this and they feel that it really eases their daily practice and it has also made it possible for them to attract new patients. So it's actually been a good business for them in that sense.
Karen Litzy: 19:06 Yeah, and I also liked that you mentioned earlier that if you've got a patient taking part in the GLA:D program, that it doesn't mean that you're not perhaps seeing them for one on one therapy as well.
Ewa Roos: 19:19 So GLA:D, it's a framework, you know, and there are some core things that you have to deliver, but if you would like to deliver extra things on that because you are the clinician, you're the only one that knows the patient. I think that's really, really important to stress. And I think this pragmatic approach and this flexible approach is part of the success. And that may come because we have all worked for very long in the clinic and know what it's like to be in the clinic and we know that it needs to work. So for example, if it was a research project, we also do functional tests. Like we look at walking speed and chair stands just for example. And if you did that in a research project, you would do three attempt, you know, but we don't do that. We only do one attempt because that is what you can do in clinical practice. So, we have tried to do everything in a way that we evaluate the outcome. We can check the quality, but we've done it with minimum resources on the therapist.
Karen Litzy: 20:38 And oftentimes that's what it's like when you're in a clinic.
Ewa Roos: 20:41 You need to make your ends meet during the daily work because else you won't do it.
Karen Litzy: 20:51 Exactly. Exactly. And I think it's also worth mentioning that the GLA:D program is not only in Denmark, it's also in let me see if I can remember Australia, China, Canada.
Ewa Roos: 21:07 Yes. This year in April, Switzerland will come on board. In November in New Zealand will come on board.
Karen Litzy: 21:16 Great. And the thing that I found really interesting is in China is that it's physicians who are running the program, their orthopedic surgeons, which is in your head, you think, well, that was interesting. It's competition, so to speak. But I think it's, I think that's great. And hopefully in other countries, hopefully you guys will expand in other countries in the near future as well. All right, so let's get to what you're going to be speaking about at the Third World Congress of sport physical therapy. So can you give us a little preview?
Ewa Roos: 21:55 Okay. So we haven't been talking much about research. We've been talking about implementing clinical guidelines in clinical practice. But I think I have been so fortunate that I actually grew up academic department of Orthopedics and that has put me in a position that I've had many close collaborations with orthopedic surgeons and we have across professions then been interested in surgery and exercise therapy as treatment for different kinds of problems, mostly knee problems. So, over the years I have been involved in randomized controlled trials where we have compared surgery to exercise for an acute ACL tear in the young active populations, for a meniscal tear in the middle aged population and for severe osteoarthritis in people that we have provided with nonsurgical treatment, comprehensive package and then randomized them to have a total knee replacement in addition or not. So I will talk about the outcomes of these trials and I will talk about how you as a clinician can use these results in a shared decision making with your patients.
Karen Litzy: 23:20 And I think that's so important, having that shared decision making, being honest with your patients and giving them all points of view so that they can then make the decision that’s best for them.
Ewa Roos: 23:31 Yes, because there are pros and cons with different treatment strategies and there is not one treatment strategy that fits all patients, but I think it's really good if patients can get informed so they're able to make a treatment decision that is right for them.
Karen Litzy: 23:52 Well I am definitely looking forward to that and you know, as we speak, I am seeing and a 12 year old girl who had an ACL tear with subsequent surgery, and I see a lot of ACL patients. So that is something that I always try and give, you know, all views so that they can make the best decision. And sometimes that involves being the quote unquote bad guy.
Ewa Roos: What do you mean by bad guy?
Karen Litzy: Well, not bad guy, but sometimes telling them things that they don't want to hear saying to the patient because you're trying to give them all points of view and sometimes patients don't want to see all points of view. I think oftentimes, and this has been my experience with patients is they want to hear the point of view that is going to confirm what they've already decided without hearing all the points of view
Ewa Roos: Confirmation bias.
Karen Litzy: Right. And so sometimes you have to if you want to be open and honest with your patient and give them all of the information that they can take with them to make that decision. Sometimes you have to tell them things that maybe they're not wanting to accept.
Ewa Roos: 25:15 It would be very beneficial if we could develop educational packages or educational tools for young patients as well. Just as we have for osteoarthritis patients. That will be really beneficial. But it's a hard nut to crack because when you're young, you think you're invincible and your perspective is not very long. You want things to happen here now or yesterday would have been even better.
Karen Litzy: 25:43 Well, I'm definitely looking forward to that because I'm always looking for better ways to communicate with my patients and really to be able to give them all of the information they need. So I am definitely looking forward to your talk. And we've got a couple of comments that I'll just read. All right. I am going to not say this person's name right, but Meredith Gosh, I hope I said that correctly. She said, your work is incredible. Your work is incredible. You truly make the world a better place. So proud to know you. Hope to see you soon.
Karen Litzy: 26:47 And then another one from Jay F Esqulare who is part of the world Congress, said you're a pioneer in the world of physio therapy, knee injuries, osteoarthritis and rehab programs such as GLA:D, so amazing to have you at SPC 2019. So, hopefully, everyone who is listening will now be a little bit more curious. Will want to come to Vancouver to listen to your great talk. So again, it's Vancouver October 3rd through the fifth of this year, 2019 in Vancouver. All the information is right here on the Facebook page. So you can go and click on the link on the Facebook page and we'll even put it underneath this video. And if it's okay with Professor Roos, we can also maybe put some links to the GLA:D program as well.
Ewa Roos: 27:50 You can link to GLA:D Canada and GLA:D Australia and you will find information in English. That might also be a good thing.
Karen Litzy: 27:57 Awesome. Yeah, that would probably be great, we're going to be in Canada even better. So in English.
Ewa Roos: 28:03 If you link to GLA:D Switzerland, you will also get information in French, German, and Italian.
Karen Litzy: 28:10 Awesome. So we've got a lot of languages covered there which is wonderful. So Professor Roos thank you so much for taking the time out of your day today and coming on, and I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver in a couple of months.
Ewa Roos: 28:24 Nice talking to you Karen.
Karen Litzy: 28:27 Thanks so much. Bye everybody. Thanks so much for coming on and we'll see you in a couple of weeks with another interview.
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On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Robin Meyers on the show to discuss fear. Robin Joy Meyers is an international speaker, fear strategist, molecular geneticist and radio show host. She educates and empowers women who are thought leaders, executives and entrepreneurs. Robin specializes in implementing strategies to harness the positive power of fear to their advantage through executive coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The science behind the fear response
-Why self-awareness is key to harnessing the power of fear
-Recognizing the positive and negative side of fear
-How Robin transitioned her career throughout different periods in her life
-And so much more!
For more information on Robin:
Robin Joy Meyers is an international speaker, fear strategist and molecular geneticist.
She founded Navigate2Empower to educate and empower women who are thought leaders, executives and entrepreneurs, on how to harness the positive power of fear to their advantage. Robin specializes in implementing strategies for self-awareness, mindset and leadership through executive coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements.
As a molecular geneticist, Robin discovered the TUB36 gene, a gene that affects the wing formation of fruit flies. She is also the host of the popular radio show, Activate Bold Choices, and is best-selling author of “Alone but Not Lonely” and “The Art of Unlearning.”
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:01 Hey Robin, welcome to the podcast. I am happy to have you on. All right, so we've got a lot to talk about here. Just given your bio, we've got a lot to dive into. So the first thing I am so curious about is what is a molecular geneticist and how did you get into that field?
Robin Meyers: Yeah, I have an eclectic background. I know I got into molecular genetics actually really because I didn't get into med school. I thought I was going to go to med school and I didn't get accepted in the states. And of course my parents were like, you're not going out of the country. I was like, okay. Although now looking back could have been fun. So I went to, I got accepted into Case Western reserve in Cleveland, Ohio and sounded like a great program. So I went and became a molecular geneticist down the road.
Karen Litzy: And what does a molecular geneticists do exactly?
Robin Meyers: You spend quite a lot of time in the lab. I actually was in a lab working with fruit flies. So in a lab with a lot of fruit flies, killed many of them a lot on research. So I was on research specifically looking for genes that had to do with flight.
Robin Meyers: 01:34 So lots of DNA work and I'm not talking about, I'm talking old school, so now I'm going to date myself. Old school, 1986 to 89 where you know, the DNA plates were big glass plates that had to be poured. That was the hardest part I think.
Karen Litzy: I mean it's pretty amazing because now you know, we hear a lot in the news about women in stem, science, technology, education, medicine. So we hear a lot about women in stem and how the push is to get more women involved in these professions. So you were involved in this profession in a time where I have to think there weren't a lot of women there.
Robin Meyers: Well interestingly enough, I never really put that together until recently in my life that maybe I was a pioneer. I don't know.
Robin Meyers: 02:34 I was too shy and quiet then to even think about that. But, it's true. There really weren't, and it was really on the forefront because when I graduated it was just the beginning of the human genome project and all of the human genetics. You know, my first job was with the French Anderson Group who was part of that genome project. And one of my companies that I started working for was the first DNA purification columns, like the disposable kind. And it really was on the forefront. So kinda cool.
Karen Litzy: No, I think it's amazing. I think that this is the coolest thing. And, and when I was reading through your bio, I feel like, so just for context, Robin and I have known each other for well over a year now, right? Maybe year and a half, two years, I'm not quite sure. But I remember reading her bio thinking, well, I didn't know any of this.
Karen Litzy: 03:28 I didn’t know you discovered a gene. I did not know any of this. And I just think it's like so cool that here you were and I will say a pioneer in the fields of stem. And I just wanted to highlight that for people so that, you know, they know that you’re coming from this sort of, I would think analytical data driven background.
Robin Meyers: I really am actually, you know, and it's funny how for me as I developed, I always thought of my science and my master's degree was kind of just a stepping stone into whatever that next step was of my life. But dots do connect, you know, and when you start to own it, you do see these patterns. I did, I discovered a gene. And it's funny, it wasn't until recently, even in the salon when it was like you did what?
Robin Meyers: 04:25 And the ironic part is the gene, it's still called TUB36 because it's on the chromosome region of 36 in fruit flies has to deal with the wing formation, for fight or flight for flying like dystrophy and working with fear and that whole concept, it's like, it's just kind of weird and ironic and exciting and just interesting.
Karen Litzy: Yeah, it's really interesting. And so let's get into now this other part of your life and your career, which is a fear strategist. So the same question as what is the molecular geneticist I have for what the heck is a fear of strategist.
Robin Meyers: So I've taken over owning fear strategy because, you know, I became a coach, you know, after I left my graduate degree and became a wife and a mother and went through that phase of my life, and other jobs, I really started to figure out who I was and finding my own voice and dealing with my own fears and things like that.
Robin Meyers: 05:38 And so I worked with women giving themselves permission to look outside the box and working in transitions really. And so I've been every kind of transitional kind of coach to life strategists. And when it comes down to it, as I've owned the molecular genetic side and the science of fear, I was like, I'm a fear strategist. Like really what it is, is being able to understand that fear is real. And I think that's really where my message is right now. Like, if I can get the world to understand the science of fear, that it's not just this thing that should stop us in our tracks. Yes, it's limiting beliefs, but we can work through that. And I think when people hear the science of it and realize that it does work to our advantage, it creates a whole different conversation in this world.
Robin Meyers: 06:35 So it makes people stop and say, what is that? Instead of like, you're just another coach. But there is the science. So it kind of for me kind of stirs up the science and to be able to say, let me tell you, let me explain my science background to you.
Karen Litzy: Yeah. So let's talk about the science of fear. So what is it about fear? What happens with them? I'm assuming that's what happens within our bodies, when we have that feeling of fear. So could you tell the listeners a little bit more, give us a background on what is the science.
Robin Meyers: Okay. So it's totally fascinating. So the science is, you know, our brains so anyone in science will understand this, that you know, our brain is the most complicated organ in our body. Our emotions basically are lit up from different regions of our brains working together in combination and lighting up and igniting. The fear response is in combination of five areas that light up.
Robin Meyers: 07:41 And that's the amygdala, the sensory cortex, the Thalamus, the hypothalamus and hippocampus, all those areas. When a fear response comes they have to work together to produce that next step for the fear. Now the interesting thing is as all of that coordinates together, the Amygdala, which is like the size of a cashew, not only decodes your emotions, but it stores the imprint of every fear of every response from pre verbal stages throughout your entire life. Like every single thing, if you think of it like a tattoo, like you keep getting a tattoo with every single thing every fall, every emotion, every emotion associated with fear is another tattoo. And I don't think people actually realize, it's almost like if you could kind of tell me all about your life and actions that have happened. And I could sit there with a stamp, an ink pad, and just stamp a piece of paper and like you could physically see how many imprints you have.
Robin Meyers: 08:53 It's fascinating because not only do imprints start storing prior to you even realizing it, and that's more so because our parents impose their imprints of fear on us, but every little thing for the good and the bed. So there's a whole pattern of evolution that happens.
Karen Litzy: First of all, I love the metaphor of the tattoo imprinting in the Amygdala. I love that. I'm going to start using that with patients who have chronic and persisting pain. I love it. Thank you. And it takes me back to, you know, as you know, Robin, I have a long history with chronic pain and a lot of that was centered. What kind of made the pain worse or prolonged would be fear avoidance behaviors. So I can't do that. It's going to hurt my neck. I don't want to do that it's going to hurt my neck.
Karen Litzy: 09:55 I can't sleep. It's going to hurt my neck. So now I look back and think of that day when that pain first happened, I woke up and couldn't get out of bed. So much pain. And the thing that I guess I didn't connect until right now was how fearful I was. How fearful I was laying in bed not being able to move. So can you imagine the size of that Tattoo in my amygdala?
Robin Meyers: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So the idea is to take it one step further is to realize what those imprints are and remove the ones that aren't serving you. And you know, that's easier said than done. It's not easy. No, no, no. I'm not saying any of this is easy, but there's some that have been imposed that you really can't put your finger on it.
Robin Meyers: 10:52 Right? And then there's some that you've had an accident or something that you can put your finger on it, but it's not serving you. And then there's some deeper wounds that you really have to work through. But if you can start removing the ones that totally aren't serving you and actually work through it so it makes you the more you've worked through it. What I find with my clients, with myself, just people I deal with, it makes you live much more presently and actively and it takes courage. I always say it’s actively moving through the action with the conscious courageous presence because you have to be present and it is, it takes a lot of courage, no doubt.
Karen Litzy: And how do you start working through some of these things? Like can you give the listeners, I don't know, one or two tips or exercises that they might be able to start doing today if they realize they have a fear that might be holding them back.
Robin Meyers: 11:54 So the biggest thing really is self awareness. It's really taking the time for you to understand who are you and just you forget kind of the noise of what your responsibilities are. If you've got, you know, spouse, dog, kids, whatever stage of life you're in and everyone has a different stage. So, and just to tell your listeners I had three kids and now 22, 24, 27. So I've been through a lot. Trust me. So I get it all. But whatever stage you're at, I only say build in five minutes every morning just to be in your own thoughts. And ask yourself, what do you need? You know, it really does come down to self awareness and saying, these are my non negotiables for me only for me. And you're going to find that you become very aware of people that work in your life, things that work in your life, conversations and what's acceptable.
Robin Meyers: 12:57 Once you start doing that, you're able to kind of start peeling away and going after things that have held you back. You know, the other side of this conversation is that our brain, as brilliant as it is and everyone's brain is, is great at keeping us in the patterns that it's been given. So a lot of that is reprogramming and there's ways to actually get into your subconscious and reprogram. But it is reprogramming. So it's baby steps and sometimes it's two steps forward and three steps back. And it's being very gentle with yourself and not beating yourself up and saying, okay, tomorrow's another day, but it's just breaking into a new pattern.
Karen Litzy: And those patterns I agree in the brain can be so deeply set, deeply set from childhood into adolescence, into adulthood. Like you said, whenever a stage in life that you're in.
Karen Litzy: 14:01 And you know, again, I go back to this population of people with pain, which is a huge population across the world. It's a $1 billion industry and that's just back pain, forget about every other kind of pain. So I think being able to work with someone to maybe tap into some of these patterns that we have developed, I think can really help people perhaps make sense of some of their pain, help overcome some aspects of that pain. I can say anecdotally from myself, so an n of one that being able to do that for myself was really helpful, I felt was for me the next step that needed to happen.
Robin Meyers: I totally agree with you. It's sometimes like those patterns of talking yourself like, but if I get out of bed I might hurt. But if you don't get out of bed and you don't try, will you hurt? What is that risk?
Karen Litzy: 15:13 Looking at the risk reward there. Right, right.
Robin Meyers: I'll go back to a story if you don't mind. When I was 11, I think I was 11 I used to ride horses. I don't even know if I was good at it, but I used to ride horses. I had a really bad accident and I broke my back in three places. I ended up being fine. Actually it ended up being a blessing in disguise because I had a horrible scoliosis that they discovered. But I was in a back brace and possible surgeries and you know, initially it was like, is she going to walk? And things like that. It was a nine month recovery, but, and I was 11, so I think it, as much as it affected me, my parents really obviously dealt with it.
Robin Meyers: 16:01 Fast forward to my daughter being 10 years old and we lived in the countryside of outside of DC in Virginia where horses are Galore. She wanted to ride horses. I actually didn't think twice about it. It was a local farm. It was around the corner. I would take her, I would watch got her all the safety equipment. My father happened to call me, my mom had already died and my father had called me and didn't call me often. And instead of like, hi, how are you today? He just ripped into me. He just, you know, his, the first thing out of his mouth was, I'm so disappointed. Are you stupid? And I was like, oh well those are triggers to my childhood. Hello father. But when I sat, now when I process it, I understand in a way where he was coming from and I said, she's fine.
Robin Meyers: 16:53 I had an accident and I understand your thoughts. So for me, I honestly had to make a conscious decision to say, I could have easily said, you're not going to ride because I had this accident and I'm afraid for you versus processing. Listen, it was an accident. Logically it was an accident. I'm going to be there. We have all the possible safety stuff. Is there a possibility of an accident? Yes. Is there the probability? I don't know, but why am I going to not let you try something because of what happened to me. So that's an easy imprint to get rid of. Right. But it's just an example of making a real conscious choice to say, I'm going to cut that cord right there and not let that pass on. Because if I let it pass on, then she at some stage in her life would either say, I've always wanted to do this and I'm going to try it, or I'm never going to try it, but I wanted to do this.
Karen Litzy: 17:57 Yeah. And you are able to kind of change that imprint. You cut that fear, but your father couldn't.
Robin Meyers: No, he couldn't. He was furious. Oh, he was so mad. And that's coming probably for him of a place of fear.
Karen Litzy: Right. I'm sure when that accident happened to you, your parents must have been beyond scared.
Robin Meyers: I'm sure. I'm sure. And for them, you know, they obviously had to drive to every doctor's appointment and all of that and every ounce of pain I felt probably was as bad, if not worse for them. Right. As a parent. So. Sure. So I get it.
Karen Litzy: Yeah. Yeah, I get that as well. And I think that's a really great example for the listeners of how you can start to change these imprints or tattoos that have taken hold in your brain to allow you to move forward in the PT World.
Karen Litzy: 18:55 And this is probably in more worlds than PT, but we call that graded exposure to activity. So for instance, for me, I'll give an example. I felt I couldn't carry anything because it would hurt my neck. So I carried nothing around New York City, a place where you have to walk everywhere and groceries and things. I was like, I can't carry anything. So I always get everything delivered until, until the one day. I spoke with a physical therapist from Australia, David Butler, and he said, well, why don't you just go to the grocery store and put like, I don't know, a loaf of bread and a bag of snacks in it would be so light and just carry it home and see what happens. Right. And so that's what I did and I got home. I was like, okay, that felt pretty good.
Karen Litzy: 19:49 And then each time I went I would add one or two more things to the bag. So gradually exposing myself to the activity that I was fearful of doing. Until now I can carry, I'm like a pack mule, you know, running around New York City. But if he had not encouraged me and helped me to see that I was doing a disservice to myself through fear, I don't know where I would be today. And I'm assuming that's what the kind of work that you do with your clients is helping them to see the fears that are holding them back.
Robin Meyers: Right, absolutely. So I try and work with everyone to see, to acknowledge what it is. And you have to acknowledge it, right? I mean it's something, but once you peel back that layer of it, is it logical or illogical?
Robin Meyers: 20:46 Did something happen or did something not happen? And then what is the origin of it? And, with the groceries, how do you start working through it? Because when you become more present and you start learning about you and like using you as an example, right? You learned that you are stronger than you thought, it didn't hurt and now instead of holding yourself back. So you did move through it and you actively were aware of your surroundings and how you felt. There's actually a genetic disorder called Urbach-Wiethe disease, and it's a mutation where people cannot feel fear. It's very rare. It's like 400 people in the world or something and its parts. It's not just in the Amygdala, it's parts of certain regions of that combination of the brain. I don't know the other regions, but like that harden and kind of waste away.
Robin Meyers: 21:50 But now that wouldn't work to your advantage. Right. I mean you want to have that element of awareness and I think that's what fear needs to be looked at like a positive awareness of listening to yourself.
Karen Litzy: Yeah. And I think oftentimes when you're coming from a place of fear, you're in it so to speak, it's really hard to acknowledge that because do people feel like acknowledging that is acknowledging a weakness that they might have?
Robin Meyers: Exactly. And that's where the conversation needs to shift. Because I think when people realize that the science of fear exists, like the diagnosis is, it's not if you have it or not. Everybody has fear. Right. So if we want to talk like, you know, as practitioners, the diagnosis is you have it. The prescription is you have a choice on how you react to it.
Karen Litzy: Yeah, for sure. You definitely have it. We all have fear and how that fear manifests itself. Now in the beginning you said it could be good or bad. So how could fear be good? Cause I think we always associate with fear being bad.
Robin Meyers: Right? And that's what has to change. That's the conversation that needs to shift because I think there's an element of fear that's good. I really do. I think it needs to work to your advantage. You know, I honestly think that it makes you stop and think.
Robin Meyers: 23:29 Now again, there's different levels of people's fears, right? So I don't think in an half hour or an hour we're going to be able to like solve the world's problems. It's good because it makes you actively move through the action of fear. So if you can take that imprint in that tattoo and look at it and say, answer the question, what is it? Identify what is it? Why am I afraid of this? Why? Why is this going to hold me back logically? Why is this going to hold me back.
Karen Litzy: Logically? See but that's the hard part. When you have fear, it's hard to get that logic, right?
Robin Meyers: And that's the whole part though of almost, you have to reverse the brain, your brain function and trick your own brain because your brain is going to keep you set in that fear based negative side. But we need to do is switch that whole paradigm to the positive side.
Robin Meyers: 24:36 So I was at a course for a workshop that I did and I was one of the facilitators and the last part was this trapeze for some reason I don't like heights, I've never fallen, but just not my thing. Like I'm not going to jump out of an airplane anytime that like it's not enjoyable for me. I don't ever see doing that. But this trapeze, and this was like a pretty rustic course by the way, climb up this 40 foot tree that had the little pegs in it. Yeah, turn around on a very small perch and jump, you know, like four feet out to catch the trapeze bar. I sat there for a while looking at it as most of the people were going and I'm like, I think I'm good for the day. And then I'm like, you really got to go do it. Like why not now? You're totally harnessed in right. So logically I'm harnessed. There's no reason why I shouldn't, my body on the other hand is like, I'm shaking like a leaf. I know I can't get hurt.
Robin Meyers: 25:42 Just do it. Like you have to trust yourself to just go do it. I ended up climbing up this tree. Of course when you get up to the top of the perch, I was turned around and hugging the tree. Yeah, I could see that. Yeah. Yeah. And like the guy below is like, okay, turn around. And I was like, yeah, give me a second. I'll be there in a moment and you know, go to the edge. Then they're like, just jump. And I was like, Eh, okay. You know, and you'd have to pause. But again, it's that logic and your brain playing games with you. But again, I'm standing in a harness where I know I'm not going to do a face plant onto the ground. So I took a deep breath, right. And eventually walk to the edge and put my arms in front.
Robin Meyers: 26:31 I actually caught the trapeze. Thank God that would have been embarrassing. But I trusted myself, you know, again, will I ever jump out of a plane. No. Cause that's not enjoyable to me.
Karen Litzy: Like there are limits to where you can push yourself. And if it's not like Marie Kondo says, if it's not going to bring you joy, then you don’t have to do it right.
Robin Meyers: But, I did it and it was a point, it was more proving to my own self that I could take that leap of trust. So that's where I think it's really getting in tune and in touch with yourself that you can understand fear working for you and not against you and really using it to move you forward in life. You know, I remember when I first started coaching, one of my first instructors said, when you're excited about something and you're fearful of something, like that's a great combination. And I've always really, it's always proven true to me and I've always believed it. Because it's kind of like not proceed with caution. It's just be aware. It's just that self awareness, you know, listen to yourself, trust yourself. But go for it.
Karen Litzy: And I think that's great advice. Listen, trust and go for it. Yeah. I mean, why not? Because what's the worst that can happen? You fail.
Karen Litzy: 28:07 And that's okay too. Right? Okay. I failed plenty of times. Oh my goodness. If you never failed in life, what have you been doing with yourself? Right. So I totally get that. And now, so you went from, like I said, molecular geneticist to fear strategist, coach. How did you make that transition? I think this is a great question because there are a lot of people who work in healthcare, very science based who are like, hmm, maybe I'm ready to make that leap, but I just have no idea what to do.
Robin Meyers: It's a great question. So my transition took many years and let me cut it short for everybody else in the world. So obviously I was younger and did my molecular genetics training and jobs, and then I took a stint of time to raise a family and then I went back into the workforce smaller jobs.
Robin Meyers: 29:18 I always taught. I ended up finding, I taught biology and stuff like that. So I kept my science going. I'm not into research in my later years, but I kept it going and then realized that I never really gave myself permission to be me and to use my voice and my strengths. And so that's when I started to kind of look towards the coaching program. And especially working with professionals and women professionals. I think overall, but all professionals allowing themselves to think outside the box. And in saying that, you know, and this comes down to the whole fear thing, we're always told that you know, you're either left sided, your brains left side or right side, right, were dominant in one side or the other. So I really don't believe that. I feel like when you give yourself permission to really learn who you are, there's a great synergy that can happen and you can combine both sides of your brain and that's when you really start listening to yourself.
Robin Meyers: 30:29 So, even if you're in a science based world or something, you know, for me, my greatest strength right now is really connecting the dots back into the molecular genetics of fear and being able to bring a whole different angle and discussion and awareness, that I would not be able to. And I don't think many people can have the discussion that I'm having with it cause they just don't have that. So I think it's great to be able to combine your sciences and whatever creative side that you want to.
Karen Litzy: Yeah. So don't throw away the science part, use it, use it to your advantage, use everything you've learned to help others.
Robin Meyers: Absolutely. There are ways to connect the dots. And I mean, like you and I, you were saying, you know what, we've known each other a couple years and it wasn't until recently that I either admitted it or if you guys found out that I was a gene finder.
Karen Litzy: Now knowing that it makes so much more sense for what you do now.
Karen Litzy: 31:47 Now I'm like, oh, now I, yes, this makes perfect sense. It just comes back full circle as to that. I think the natural progression for you in your career and you know what was next for you. To me it all makes sense.
Robin Meyers: Yeah, it makes sense to me now too. It really is coming full circle. And I was actually just having a conversation. Someone's like, you know, you're kind of been in this business for several years now. And I'm like, actually I feel like I'm new. I almost feel like I've started over again just because I finally allowed myself to Mesh the worlds together. And that's what I would say is, you know, you don't have to stay science in the left brain and whatever the creative is the other side, you can mesh it and at whatever stage of life you're at, you know, if there's something that really excites you in that other world, find the time.
Robin Meyers: 32:44 And even if it's once a month or once a week, you know, find something in that other element that you want to explore it.
Karen Litzy: Yeah, absolutely. Great Advice. And, now that takes me to the last question that I ask everyone, but I feel like you might've just answered it, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Knowing where you are now in your life and in your career, what advice would you give yourself as a new Grad, as the molecular geneticist fresh out of college and Grad School?
Robin Meyers: Well I was very much an introvert, so maybe be a little more outspoken. But to allow things to happen and not think that it had to be one way only. I walked that line, like if it wasn't going to be something, just molecular genetics, then I had to leave the field.
Robin Meyers: 33:43 You know what I mean? And I think if I knew what I know now, although again, it all works full circle, I would have realized like you can think outside the box and I think that's what makes us all unique and you know, whatever your background is, you're bringing a very special element to the conversation. So think outside the box. And that's where I would have said to myself, you know, don't stop being creative just because you're taking one path.
Karen Litzy: And, I think that's great advice for anyone, but especially for women in the stem profession. I think that's really great advice. And now where can people find more about you? And if they have any questions where are you?
Robin Meyers: The best way to find me is just to go to my website, which is www.robinjoymeyers.com. And from there you can get on my calendar.
Robin Meyers: 34:43 I'm always happy to set up a discovery call with anybody if you want to have just a chat for 40 minutes and you have questions, things about what I'm doing and where I'm traveling and busy speaking with the fearless women's summit right now, all over the US. And I'm taking a group only of 10 women to Italy in October for a retreat of giving yourself permission to be you. So yeah, just go to my website because that's the easiest way to find me.
Karen Litzy: Awesome. Well, that sounds pretty amazing and thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of this information on fear with myself and with the listeners, and I can tell you, I said I'm totally using that tattoo thing. I think that's brilliant. So thanks for that. I'll give you credit for sure. I will credit you for that. Thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.
Robin Meyers: Thanks, Karen. It's been a blast. Thank you.
Karen Litzy: And everyone out there. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.
On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dr. Mark Merolli, Ann Green and Professor Catherine Dean. In this episode we discuss our upcoming focused symposium at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress in Geneva Switzerland on Sunday May 12th at 4:00 PM. The title of our symposium is Education: Technology and Informatics.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The why behind our focused symposium.
- Current global entry standards for physiotherapy in relation to digital health technology and informatics.
- How technology affects the world of physiotherapy and are we preparing new graduates to meet those demands
- A sneak peek into the specifics of our talk.
- What we hope the symposium and discussions in Geneva will lead to.
_ And much more!
For more information on Mark Meroli:
Dr. Merolli is Physiotherapist (musculoskeletal) and Certified Health Informatician. For many years now, he has been a leading voice on all matters technology in physiotherapy. He has global reputation for his expertise in digital health and informatics, which has led to his involvement and consultation on this area across several WCPT and member organization events and initiatives. He has presented on digital health at several recent APA, and WCPT conferences, run workshops, written articles for member magazines, and been interviewed on podcasts to discuss these areas. His research interests include how technology is engaging patients to be more active participants in their own health management and how we can ensure the digital preparedness of future health professionals.
For more information on Ann Green:
Ann Green MSc, FCSP, FHEA is Head of Life Sciences at Coventry University. Ann is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, awarded for her contribution to education, research and policy. Throughout her career Ann has worked in higher education and has developed physiotherapy programmes in the UK and internationally. She has been active within professional accreditation, physiotherapy educational policy and worked for the UK health regulator, the HCPC, in programme approval and international registration. Ann’s research outputs span 20 years with her earliest publication about admission and progression trends in undergraduate programmes and her recent publications relating to postgraduate physiotherapy education and the development of the individual, the profession and careers. She has been invited to speak internationally on advancing physiotherapy practice. Her current research with an international team, is on social media and its role in global physiotherapy professional networks. Ann is one of the co-founders of the Big Physio Survey, an open access resource which enables physiotherapists from across the world, to share case studies online, which forms a global repository to showcase our rich and diverse profession.
For more information on Catherine Dean:
Professor Catherine Dean is a physiotherapist with a full-time academic appointment with teaching research and administrative responsibilities. In 2011 Professor Dean moved to Macquarie University in a key appointment for the University’s expansion in health and medicine. She was appointed the inaugural Head of the Department of Health Professions and has established NSW’s first professional entry Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) degree. The Macquarie DPT includes advanced physiotherapy skills, business management, leadership, policy and advocacy units as well as completion of a research project. In 2014, she received the Executive Dean’s Service Award for engaging students and the community in establishing the Discipline of Physiotherapy and in 2015 led the DPT teaching team which was awarded the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences excellence in teaching award. In 2017, she was appointed Deputy Dean of The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Prior to her Macquarie University appointment, Professor Dean worked as an academic with teaching, administrative and research responsibilities at the University of Sydney for 20 years. Her research interests are developing and testing of rehabilitation strategies to increase activity and participation after stroke, translating evidence into practice and clinical education. She has published in leading journals such as Stroke, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain. She has been awarded over $5.8 million in grants for research and education. Professor Catherine Dean’s research has changed physiotherapy practice in stroke rehabilitation. Professor Dean’s research findings have been integrated into national and international clinical practice guidelines, such as the NHMRC-approved Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Stroke and featured on the Canadian Stroke Network StrokeEngine site.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:01 Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. I want to welcome Mark back onto the podcast and Anne and Catherine, welcome for the first time. I'm so happy to have you all on this episode. And for all the listeners, what we're going to be talking about is our focused symposium that is going to be taking place at WCPT in Geneva May 10th through the 13th for the WCPT meeting. And our symposium is education, technology and informatics, and it is Sunday, May 12th at 4:00. So if you are going to be in Geneva, you're going to want to come to this focused symposium. Now, this all sort of started with Mark, so I'm going to throw it to you first as to so you could tell the listeners why you wanted to even put this focused symposium together.
Mark Merolli: 00:58 Thanks for doing this again. And I'm actually really excited that actually got you on some part of this wider team, uh, to, to be part of this focusing posing in Geneva. And it's great to be on your podcast again. Uh, but you're right, when we last spoke on the podcast, we talked I think more broadly about just the impact that technology, the wider discipline of informatics is having on the physio profession, future trends, disrupters, et cetera. And I think obviously for no uncertain terms that work has continued and that impact continues to grow. But one of the things that, you know, obviously, are very near physio educator for some time now. And I think working in that space of, um, health informatics, um, digital health, uh, so, you know, the intersection of technology and healthcare, I think one of the things that's been really readily apparent to me for some time now is need.
Mark Merolli: 02:02 Um, and to ask ourselves the question as to where this all fits into the way we educate our future physical therapists, physiotherapists. So I thought when calls for abstracts came along and sessions for WCPT, that it would be very topical, um, for WCPT and the wider profession to embrace the idea of, you know, let, let's have a look at, at current ways we educate university students, um, in this space? Have a look at perhaps where technology features in what we teach, where it should feature, where it can feature. Um, and I was just really glad to see the WCPT thought this was equally worthy. Um, I'll debate, um, and put it up as a focus symposium for us. Uh, and the speakers on, on the symposium, the panel yourself, uh, your entrepreneurial self. Um, and, and Ann Green will have known for a very long time as a physio educator in the UK.
Mark Merolli: 03:04 Um, and Catherine, uh, over here in Australia as well, who's a very innovative forward thinking educator who's one of the few people I know who's pushed to this stuff for many, many years before this was really a debate. Uh, I thought you were all pretty much perfect, um, example of people that could help push this topic and discuss it. So that was the motivation from my end. Um, I think it's one thing for you and I to talk about technology in the profession but a very different but complimentary themes to talk about how this all fits in education. Um, cause I think in no uncertain terms, we either don't do it, um, we don't know how to do it or we do it quite ad hoc for the most part. Um, so it would be really, really nice to discuss at WCPT, we're hoping to get along as many people as possible as to how we might actually go forward with this and see informatics, technology, digital healthcare starts to become a more sort of interwoven thread in the way we're trying to future proof this profession. So I'm really looking forward to doing this with all of you. So thanks for, thanks for spreading the word for us I guess.
Karen Litzy: 04:18 Yeah, and I mean I'm really looking, I've learned so much just from listening to the three of you, so I can guarantee if you're in Geneva you are going to learn a lot with this focused symposium. So, Ann let me throw it to you now and can you give us a little snippet as to what your part of this symposium is going to focus on?
Ann Green: Okay. Well Hello Karen. I'm really pleased to be part of this podcast and join this panel. So as Mark said, it had been an educator for a long time. I've involved with a professional body in setting curriculum guidelines. I've involved with statutory bodies. Um, and I suppose that's the obvious point when, when you saw when you forming curriculum. So it was really interesting to have a look what the UK is doing and then have conversations with, with Catherine, Mark about Australia and yourself about at the U.S. and what we all found was that there are, are a few guidelines.
Ann Green: 05:19 And so I'm really interesting to discuss with everybody in the audience. Is that a good thing? Is that a liberating or should there be more guidelines? Um, I've previously been involved with Mark and do this research around social media and it's interesting that a number of guidelines appeared from all corners once physios became very active on social media. So it would be interesting to know, um, what we can learn from that. Uh, and whether it's professions, accrediting bodies, individuals we should be guiding or letting people freely develop and uh, and see what happens.
Karen Litzy: And do you feel like looking at those guidelines for social media, which like you said, I think we can all agree that probably most, uh, physical therapy governing bodies of countries around the world have some sort of guidance on social media that came way after people were using. So yes.
Karen Litzy: 06:21 So it's one of those kind of, are we asking for permission or asking for forgiveness and, and I think that's where guidelines around informatics can be kind of interesting because you want to know, are we asking for permission or are we doing things like wild west? It, that's a definitely a US thing. Um, uh, is it going to be like the wild west out there as more informatics and more technology get involved in the profession where then people have to ask for forgiveness for certain breaches of let's say privacy or things like that?
Ann Green: Yeah, I suppose, I think what we did learn from social media and the guidelines, the teeth essentially came round to good professional behavior. Um, uh, maybe mmm. Maybe in terms of going forward with how people are using technology, um, in health cat, it will perhaps be framed around, you know, the sort of common standards that we have for professional behavior, respecting patients, privacy, um, and um, and using evidence.
Karen Litzy: Yeah, absolutely. And now, Cath, can you talk a little bit more about what you're going to be sharing a in Geneva with this symposium?
Catherine Dean: 07:37 Oh yeah. Thanks Karen. I'm, hi, I'm Catherine. I'm, I'm an educator. For a long time in 2011, I changed university and I had the opportunity to develop a physio therapy program from scratch from a green field, which is a, I've never worked so hard in my life, but it's very exciting. Um, when I came to the knee university, I really wanted to ensure that our graduates, it was future proofed and future focus. So I knew I had to embrace technology and, and um, health informatics. I wasn't quite sure how to do it. Um, I was very fortunate to meet Mark at a conference who helped me out. And I really want to share at the conference a little bit about what I did, what worked and what didn't. Uh, um, the lessons I've learned it you learn a lot from the errors as you make and hopefully I can stop some other people making some of my errors. Um, but I'm really interested in what other people have done because there's still lots to solve. And how do we actually adequately prepared, um, the future professionals for practicing a ever increasing digital world. So be there Sunday, May 12th at 4:00 PM Geneva.
Karen Litzy: 08:45 And what, what do you feel like from your perspective and with the students that you've worked with in the past and are currently working with, what do you feel the biggest, I guess, barrier to, having these students be, whether it be, cause they seem to be proficient in technology, right? What is it that is maybe the biggest barrier about using this within the practice of physical therapy?
Catherine Dean: 09:14 I think it probably intersects a little bit with what Anne said. I think, well, they often proficient in using their technology. They perhaps don't understand the ramifications around privacy issues. Uh, and then I think some of the other issues is it's around professional behavior. Again, uh, your, your, your digital profile is, it is, it reflects the profession as well. So you need to think about, um, adequate oh, standards and provisional by, but I also think while they can be really good at technology and make flashy things, sometimes the content still misses the critical analytical skills that are needed. So, um, I, in some ways it's just another format for communicating and it has its own challenges about that. What you do communicate has to be accurate and evidence based.
Karen Litzy: 10:08 Yeah, for sure. And Mark Your, you know, your goal in putting this panel together is to really spark conversation and to get people interested in informatics. But one thing we didn't talk about in this podcast yet is, and it's a question I get every time I say, oh, I'm doing this focus symposium on informatics. It's what's informatics?
Mark Merolli: 10:32 We haven't had to refer people back to the other podcast episode. I don't remember look in no uncertain terms. When we talk about informatics, we're, we're really talking about information science, um, and is an essentially where technology plays a role in how we improve use of inflammation in healthcare. So, you know, we were covering everything from the way we collect health information, store it, uh, analyze it and then essentially put it into practice. It's about making healthcare safer, more efficient, more evidence based, you know, improving essentially the quality of health information using technology. If I can put it in a nutshell. Ready for if Karen, if I could probably just echo Cath sentiments. Really it's um, I agree 110% with what she said, but part of the other reason for having this topic and the symposium, I think yes, we are all passionate advocates but this is also an exercise in supporting, uh, our colleagues, uh, and the wider physio profession as well.
Mark Merolli: 11:33 Um, and much like implementing technology into practice, whether that be a small practice or a hospital. Um, you know, technology requires a big change management exercise. And one of the, you know, we were just talking about the barriers here. One of the barriers is also the confidence and the skillset and the that are actual educators and workforce clinical supervisors have to support this too. Um, so one of the things I'm very passionate about and part of the reason for getting the word out there here is that, you know, we actually need to consider the existing work force, the audience of this symposium, our colleagues, the other educators who are expected to teach these students these themes but may not also be all at 100% confident themselves. So I think that's probably one of the other barriers and considerations that I'd like to throw into the debate as well. Um, how we can support the existing workforce.
Karen Litzy: 12:30 And I think that's important. And I think part of what I guess I should say what I'm going to talk about during this symposium as well. Um, but, uh, I think what I'm going to be speaking of, I'm coming at this from a practice owner, from a practicing clinician. So I'm served, people are wondering what I'm doing on this panel of academics because I am not an academic. I'm not in, I'm not teaching in a university. Um, but I am coming at it from the point of view of the practice owner, the practicing physical, the practicing physical therapist and the point of view as someone who may be hiring these students as they come out of school and, and supervising the students. And so I think from a practice standpoint, I mean I'm really looking for, uh, graduates who at least bare minimum have an idea of what informatics are.
Karen Litzy: 13:30 Um, kind of what we use. Mark you just said, but I'm also looking at how can we use technology to make my practice run a little bit more smoothly. And that can be an electronic medical proficiency and electronic medical records, understanding how electronic medical records work and why they're there. Um, and again, the safety and privacy around that. And also using technology with my patients, whether that be an APP or a wearable, how it's like, yeah, anybody can use an app or a wearable, but to marks, uh, I think other passion, you know, big data sets and things like that. Yeah, anybody can do that. But then what do you do with the data you're collecting? It's got to go somewhere. You have to understand how to use that in order to help improve your patients' journey with you and also your practice as a whole.
Karen Litzy: 14:24 So that's kind of where I'm coming from. A little bit more of the, how can this all be applied in the real world with real patients and real businesses, whether that business be a large hospital, which is going to be way different than what I do. Um, and in some respects, large hospital systems maybe have better data collection. I don't know. I'm just throwing that out there cause they have more resources at their fingertips. So I would, I'm looking forward to are the people who are sitting in the audience to kind of get, Hey, this is what I use for my practice. So kind of sharing best practices amongst people from all over the world I think can really go a long way in supporting each other. Like you said, mark, kind of bringing it back full circle. Yup.
Mark Merolli: 15:07 They symposia are very collaborative and that's the whole point of these. Um, you know, we're, we're hoping to not talk too much, uh, outside of audience discussion. Uh, I think we're at a very unique opportunities to point with this topic. Uh, and I think that, you know, as a collective and WCPT has always been a great forum for that to really shape this debate. Um, and actually create some state of, of, you know, guidance going forward. I, and again, like Cath has said in, in our discussions a lot, um, guidance is one thing, but you know, creativities in hello. Um, we actually hope that some of the ideas come from the room and come from the session.
Karen Litzy: 15:48 And so let me ask you all the same question before we wrap things up here. And that is your pie in the sky view of this symposium. What would be the best outcome you can hope to achieve at the end of this two hour symposium? Right? Two hours. Yeah. Okay. So what would be your, your best outcome for this two hours symposium? So any one of you can kind of take it first?
Ann Green: Um, I'll, I'll go first. Okay, go ahead. Well, I'd like people to think that the time went really fast and they wish their discussion and debates could've gone on longer and that they will continue those debates at the conference and the each person we'll go back
Ann Green: 16:39 and say, I am going to get involved. I am going to effect change in my own region,
Ann Green: 16:45 in my own area with the people that I'm interacting with.
Karen LitzyL Awesome. Mark Cath. Either one want to,
Catherine Dean: 16:53 for me, I would like to connect with people who had some bright ideas they have tried and had success with and I'm really happy to to just have a network of academics that are really trying to work on this so you can actually have a kind of a community of practice where you can share your ideas and share what's gone worked well and what hasn't. And and um, look, they'll always be local contextual factors, but there's probably lots to share and, and, and some good ideas if we can get together in a, in a virtual environment. Yep.
Mark Merolli: 17:30 Yeah, it looks similar to me. I think what I'd love to say is very much the way that the whole social media landscape ramped up, um, on the back of WCPT congress is, I, I've loved after this congress, you know, educators far and wide start to actually talk about this stuff, starts to try and think of ways, um, to bring this into professional development and university curricula and that um, technology, digital healthcare informatics stays, you know, high on the, you know, WCPT annual member organization agenda. Um, and we sort of see it as a regular feature at conferences and et Cetera. So from this day forth, the type of thing.
Karen Litzy: 18:10 Yeah. And I think that's all great news. I would say I would hope to kind of meet other clinicians and practice owners who may be, can again collaborate and be the driver for a lot of the technology that we're seeing in every day use that can then be brought back to maybe local universities and to say to them, hey, listen, this is what we're seeing in practice. This is what needs to be taught to your students. And then see if we can have that collaboration between the academics and the clinicians, which I think is, is sorely lacking in our profession as a whole. That's just my opinion. Um, but I definitely feel like having great collaborations between the academics and the fulltime clinicians can just drive the practice forward in, in a way that will make us more innovative and creative and, and quite frankly, a happier profession. Um, so that would be my sort of pie in the sky view is to really get a lot of cross pollination between all of us
Karen Litzy: 19:21 So. All right, one more time. I'm going to thank Mark and thank Ann thank Cath for coming onto the podcast today and for being great partners, uh, in what will definitely be a really fun and interactive symposium. Again, it's edge, it's called education, technology and informatics and it's Sunday, May 12th at 4:00 PM, and that is at the WCPT conference in Geneva, Switzerland. So if you're there, come by, um, and sit down, share your thoughts, make sure you're coming. We want you to come armed with your thoughts on informatics, what you're doing, what worked, what didn't, so that we can have a really robust conversation within the room. So guys, thank you so much for coming on and I look forward to seeing all of you in, in real life,
Karen Litzy : 20:16 Geneva.
Karen Litzy: 20:21 Yes, bye bye. Thanks everyone. Thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.
On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dr. Jason Falvey on the show to discuss healthcare fake news. Dr. Jason Falvey is a physical therapist working as a post-doctoral research fellow at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Jason’s research interests focus on improving post-acute care quality and outcomes for older adults recovering from major medical events, such as surgery or critical illness.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The definition of fake news as it relates to healthcare and medical disinformation
-What Jason recommends you do when you encounter articles with a high comment to retweet ratio
-How you can avoid falling trap to your biases by crowdsourcing to interpretate literature
-The importance of seeking information not affirmation
-And so much more!
The Outcomes Summit, use the discount code: LITZY
For more information on Jason:
Dr. Jason Falvey is a physical therapist working as a post-doctoral research fellow at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He holds a bachelors degree in English, and a doctor of physical therapy degree from Husson University in Bangor, Maine and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. He is also a board-certified geriatric clinical specialist. Jason’s research interests focus on improving post-acute care quality and outcomes for older adults recovering from major medical events, such as surgery or critical illness. To date, Jason has authored or co-authored 18 peer reviewed papers in widely read rehabilitation journals.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:01 Hey Jason, welcome back to the podcast. I'm happy to have you back on even though we're not talking about what we usually talk about when you're on these podcasts and we have our specials with Sandy Hilton and Sarah Haag but I think this is still a really great topic and I'm happy to have you on to dive into it.
Jason Falvey: 00:24 It’s great to be back and I have been excited to present this topic for a couple of months. While it’s no sex podcast part five I think we can definitely got come up with some interesting points for the audience.
Karen Litzy: 00:37 Yeah, I think so too. And so everyone today we are talking about fake news as it relates to health care. Because I know a lot of you that are listening are in the healthcare world and if you're not, this is also a great way for you to kind of understand that everything that you read on social media isn't true gasp, right. So, Jason, let's talk about first, what in your opinion, is the definition of fake news as it relates to healthcare and let's say medical disinformation?
Jason Falvey: 01:19 Yeah, I like the term medical disinformation because fakes news is not nearly as common in medicine, you know, as far as the falsified information. But medical disinformation is much more common than people may realize. The context is most of the hundred shared articles of last year, over 50% of them are of poor evidence quality when experts have actually rated that. So when I talk about fake news and medical disinformation, I'm really kind of breaking it down to a handful of categories. So there's fake news that's rare, but it does happen that's false or completely inflammatory, you know, that is completely falsified data, or completely false claims that are created to either scare somebody into making different health care decisions or drive them towards a curative product that may be your marketing. So that’s not common, but that definitely is out there. I think the more common pieces of fake news and medical disinformation are hyperbolic and intentional.
Jason Falvey: 02:34 So the splashy headline that says Bacon Causes Cancer, you know, where people are putting that headline so it’s clicked on and read when the real story behind a lot of that evidence is substantially more nuanced. And then there's also hyperbolic and unintentional where a well meaning university employee publishes a press release on investigators article and misstates or over-interprets the conclusions to be much broader, more sweeping than they are suggesting that a drug cures cancer or Alzheimer when really it was affective in early stage studies for one particular protein in a mouse model. So those are the three definitions I tend to stick with, but really it's medical information that's not fully accurate, that’s shared widely and may influence healthcare decision making.
Karen Litzy: 03:32 When we talk about these flashy headlines and this medical disinformation whether intentional or unintentional, as healthcare professionals, sometimes we're responsible for sharing that. It's not just the lay public. Right. So when you look at these headlines and you read through let's say a press release, is that where it ends? Do you say to yourself, yeah, this sounds good. I'm going to share it.
Jason Falvey: 04:05 I think that should be the focus of what we talk about today and that is how do we as health care providers recognize fake news? How do we kind of avoid unintentionally sharing it and how do we avoid intentionally sharing it? So I think my guiding principle for all of these things, for any healthcare professional, it's Hippocratic oath, it's do no harm. And then health care beyond what we do with patients and beyond the hands on care that we provide sharing misinformation, whether intentionally or unintentionally has the potential to cause harm. Patients for going standard of care treatment and in lieu of an alternative medicine or unproven other therapy that may actually cause their health to decline, you know, or causing them to participate in a treatment that is unlikely to benefit them and causes harm both financially or time and potentially health care harm. So I think Hippocratic oath above all else should really drive our decision making and the impetus for why we should care about this. And the other guideline I use is I really want patients and providers both to be looking at social media and healthcare information that they're sharing and really make sure that they're seeking information, not affirmation. So they're seeking to broaden or challenge their pre held assumptions and not just share things, read things and kind of propagates a worldview that just affirms that are already firmly held biases to harm a patient.
Karen Litzy: 05:58 Okay. Yeah, but so you mean we can't cherry pick things to confirm our own biases to make ourselves look better? Is that what you're trying to say here?
Jason Falvey: 06:16 Yeah, that sounds like a terrible polarizing thing to say, but I'm really going to stand by that I think and just say I really don't think we should be cherry picking evidence and just sharing evidence that is fully supporting our world view. We may have a brand to keep, you know, I don't think I would widely share studies that I think are well done that maybe say physical therapy isn't as helpful as other things, but I certainly would acknowledge that they exist. I don't think I would market them heavily, but I certainly wouldn't ignore them or basically say that they're not accurate either. But I think we have to be really careful, especially when we're talking about vulnerable patient populations, thinking about patients with dementia or patients with cancer who are really hanging on hope that there's something medically that can be done that's outside of what's already been offered to them and kind of have a cure. And I think it's really important that we choose our language and we choose what we share, how we share, and the quality of what we share very carefully.
Karen Litzy: 07:29 Well, and you know, that goes back to do no harm. And I think goes back to being an ethical person because when you look at these vulnerable populations, like you said, the elderly people with possibly terminal diseases, people with chronic pain, these are people who are looking for things that they feel they have not gotten that will fix them. Right? And so that's where snake oil salesmen come in. That's where people sort of touting that they have this great flashy thing that isn't supported with evidence, but it sounds really, really good. And so how do we as healthcare professionals combat that without looking combative and turning off those people that we actually want to help?
Jason Falvey: 08:22 Yeah. How do we combat that information without unintentionally propagating it either. I think when we evaluate information, I think one of the things I really encourage is time, take time to think about the information, take time to research the primary source of that information. Take time to recognize if there is potentially both sides of an issue. So outside of things like, you know, vaccinations causing autism, which is a clearly manufactured result. If you follow back the evidence or if you go ahead and follow back evidence about infant chiropractic work. But I guess generally falsified or highly, highly, highly biased to the point where there really isn't a pro side, but a lot of medical things have a potential pro and con side. So I think it's important to recognize the nuance and carefully layout reasons one why you disagree with something and two the rationale methodologically, not just your opinion of kind of how you came to that conclusion.
Jason Falvey: 09:42 But I think you have to do that without validating what you think is a very poor quality or highly biased or dangerous source to share. If, for example, you saw a tweet about the harms of vaccination and it may be, it was for your older adult population getting the chicken pox vaccine and it caused them Alzheimer's, you know, caused them to get dementia. Let's say you just saw a story like that. Which is not true. How do you, you know, how do you combat that? Some people would just retweet it with a really dismissive comment, like this is garbage. Don't listen to them. Well then doing that, and I'm guilty of this in the past as well, we've actually unintentionally propagated that information. Right now I have not very many followers, so 2000 followers all of a sudden see that and potentially one more retweets it and then another 2000 people. So I unintentionally exposed 4,000 people. Even if I'm dismissing that information, I've lent it credibility by sharing yet.
Jason Falvey: 10:51 I think what I have to do is write something about the study, not actually link or validate in some way and not unintentionally spread fake news. And there's not an easy way to do that. So I think you really have to toe the line between not sharing the primary sources, potentially providing that provider of fake news, financial revenue from clicks, which is a lot of times what they want. Or providing a really misguided researcher, a clinician validation that their technique is not loved by the general medical population because they're jealous of his success, you know, something that they can take it the other way to spin it as a positive for their business.
Karen Litzy: 11:39 Right. And because if you're re tweeting this and clicking on it and retweeting it, you're giving it life, which is what they want. That's what we don't want to do.
Jason Falvey: 11:52 Right. And I think that's one of the ways that propaganda is designed right from the early days of using propaganda as a war tool. It was shared not just for people that believed in it heavily. It was shared in outrage and passed along and whispered about which served the exact same purpose. So really it's hard to discipline ourselves in a really, like we see something, we feel like we immediately have to react on social media and immediately have to comment on it. And I've been guilty of sharing articles that are either satire and actually taking them seriously, which has happened once in a fatigue non-caffeinated state. And also information or studies, which I think in hindsight probably weren't high quality or perhaps overstated its conclusions. My own articles have had overstated conclusions written and press releases that weren't by me or interpretation of written press releases that are perhaps more definitive than I would have wanted, you know, not fake news, but certainly unintentionally declarative about the quality and strength of the evidence versus, you know, the hypothesis generating evidence that it was.
Karen Litzy: 13:16 Yeah, absolutely. You sort of alluded to one way as healthcare providers that we can combat the fake news or the medical disinformation and that's taking time to read the source if it's a press release, to read the article, to maybe look at the methodology and to see how would rate this study? So that's one way we can combat it, which takes time. And like you said, on social media, people often react quickly because it's emotional. So maybe we need to take a deep breath and then take a moment and think about what we want to do. Do we want to share this misinformation or do we want to read it and come up with maybe another way to share more positive information? What else can we do as healthcare providers to get around this fake news?
Jason Falvey: 14:14 When we encounter something that we think is fake news or unintentionally or intentionally hyperbolic to the point where we think it's harmful to patients. And I think that's the line I draw. If I think that potentially sharing or engaging with this information in any way which propagate information that's harmful to patients. I generally take a little extra caution. And one of the things I look at, you know, I see in politically or in health care news, if I see a that goes out that has a really high comments or retweet ratio. So there's this term ratioed and it's not scientific and it's not peer reviewed. But I find that the good starting point when you see a tweet from a government official or a healthcare provider, healthcare related source, and there's more than double the amount of comments, then there is retweets and the likes.
Jason Falvey: 15:18 It makes me go and do a little bit more investigation. You know, sometimes those comments are positive and way to go. And sometimes there's a lot of skepticism or criticism of the findings or people really, you know, offering some real insight into some of the problems in methodologically or otherwise. And often a well done methodological study can be completely blown out of the water on Twitter by a very poorly written headlines. Right. We should care about storylines, not just headlines. And one of the ways we do that, looking at comments, retweets, and the likes, looking at that ratio and look at the source, right? Who's retweeting? And so I pay attention to that because most fake news on the Internet is actually propagated by bots. So there's a very high percentage of fake news that was propagated by automated accounts that are automatically set up to capture certain hashtags or certain language and amplify it.
Jason Falvey: 16:23 You know, if you're a political audience would know that that's how the Russians basically designed the misinformation campaign to influence the 2016 election using bots to amplify certain messages. Well, that happens to a lesser extent in health care. There are certain pockets, you know, of health care professionals, and there may be some in our profession that provide certain treatments. There may be some in other alternative medicine professions, there may be some in mainstream medical professions that are physicians or nurses who use their medical expertise and propagate information about medical techniques like abortion or vaccines in a way that makes them seem more credible. So I look at who's retweeting what the population of people are retweeting is, who the person the primary sources coming from. Right. You said if it's a summary of an article from a press release or somebody's blog, like I want to go and find that primary source and then also look at the bias of the person who may be interpreting that information for me if they're a credible source.
Karen Litzy: 17:40 Yeah. And I think you also want to keep in mind those hot button issues may have more misinformation about them. Like you said, vaccines, abortions, these are hot button issues, right? So you have to I think take a more examining eye to some of these hot button issues then with others. That's not to say that other issues in health care do not have as much misinformation surrounding them. But when you're talking about things that are really emotional for people, I think that's when you have to also take a good editing eye to some of this information being put out there.
Jason Falvey: 18:26 Looking at the source of information is one thing you can see. Cleveland clinic has accidentally posted fake news before where they put in like a really positive result from an innovative experimental therapy for cancer. And they put it in a brain scan and said this person had a miraculous results forgetting to mention that they also were receiving the standard care and this additional therapy would, they didn't know if that was the cause or if it was just a normal reaction to the normal care. But then all of a sudden you created a demand for something that is at best maybe ineffective and at worse, we don't know if it's harmful. By having a high visibility site, your responsibility for news is even higher. So I think that's an important piece. Like know who's tweeting it, but then go back and make sure you have the whole story. If it sounds too good to be true.
Jason Falvey: 19:38 This is the humanities education that a lot of PT students have complained that they've had to take history and literature and policy courses throughout their undergraduate degrees and some have suggested streamlining education to really eliminate those things. My counter argument is those skills you learned from critical thinking and critical reading and analysis and understanding of historical context and how to read hyperbole, how to read marketing and different kinds of language really with a critical eye, you tend to develop a radar for when you're suspicious of information and when you want to go and look a little deeper, even if it's from what you view as a pretty credible source.
Karen Litzy: 20:27 Yeah, absolutely. So we've got taking your time really looking at not only the source of the article but who's re tweeting it and that retweet to comment ratio. Is there anything else that we should be doing as healthcare professionals to make sure that we're not propagating this misinformation?
Jason Falvey: 20:54 Another thing I think would be really helpful is crowd sourcing, right? So most of us are networked on social media with a lot of other really knowledgeable professionals. You know, I know that on my Twitter feed alone, half the people are probably smarter than me.
Karen Litzy: 21:10 Oh, I don’t know about that.
Jason Falvey: 21:14 But that's intentional, right? Like I want to be in a community of really intelligent people who think about issues critically, who may have different opinions than me. And I could say, I just read a study about Xyz and the conclusion seems flawed. Who would want to, you know, and maybe I don't name the article, maybe I don't put a link to it. I just put the tweet and throw out a few names and say, Hey, I would love if some of my community would like to take a look at this and tell me what they think. Right. If I'm on the borderline of whether or not I think this is legitimate or I asked somebody in the profession, you know, lean on them to really make sure that I'm taking that extra step to not share information that is influencing medical decisions in a negative way.
Jason Falvey: 22:03 And I teach my patients these same strategies, right when I'm talking to patients and caregivers who are googling information, WebMDing, looking at blogs, and I've had patients with significant neurological illnesses that are terminal. And one of the places I've practiced, and I won't name that place if it's a relatively rare disease, but this person searched the literature and she was very well educated person, searched the literature high and low for a cure for her neurodegenerative disease and found one that was highly controversial. Probably harmful. And she invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of travel over three months for something that was not beneficial while she was askewing typical medical care. So you know, that kind of taught me how to teach patients, not just how to look for information, right? That's part of the problem. But how to evaluate information, how to triangulate information to make sure that the reference that they found is supported by expert opinion and maybe other articles and making sure that there's a critical mass of support for this particular treatment before they really make a major alteration to their course.
Jason Falvey: 23:21 A single article about a vitamin supplement that might help that has little harm. You know, that may be something that I don't intervene on, but somebody who's thinking about making massive changes to their medical routine, whether it has directly to do with Rehab or not. I encourage people to look at the literature critically and I use the word triangulation and I draw it out. I'm just like, you should be able to verify this information should be similar between these three things. Right? And if they tell me that they've done that and they found those three things, I'm more comfortable, even if I disagree, at least I've done my diligence to make sure they looked at the issue in a robust way and not fallen victim to something that was purely a single tweet or Facebook post of medical disinformation.
Karen Litzy: 24:15 That's a shame. And I think it's important that you brought up that as healthcare professionals, we should be talking to our patients about this and we should be teaching them stuff. Glad that you went through that. Yes, we should be teaching them what to look for. If we can have a more educated patient base and a more educated base of health care professionals that high in the sky view. Of course the amount of misinformation may be less.
Jason Falvey: 24:45 Yeah. And I think there are certain countries that have done a lot of work. Norway for example, has done a lot of work from a country perspective on educating citizenry on medical and you know, general disinformation, both political and medical and teaching, how to recognize it. Giving a lot of the same strategies we've talked about of really time and a little bit of additional resource and that solves so many of the problems. If you don't change some of these decision making process and they still are firm believers in the medical information at that point then you go to some of the other strategies, you know, more targeted intervention. But I think as a general population strategy, those are great places to start and really just, I tell patients all the time, I am going to be telling you seek information, not affirmation.
Jason Falvey: 25:45 If you have a friend who told you about this treatment, you need to remember that everybody responds individually, the medications and treatments and you know, cause I think we've all had patients that say my friend got this therapy and their knee got better, really inappropriate for that patient. But it's really hard to walk that back, you know, from just your professional opinion. So teaching them how to look for information and letting them look for it on their own instead of providing it to them I have found is sometimes a helpful strategy because it feels like I'm not forcing my view on them. At the end of the day you can rest knowing that you put tools in people's hands, you know, health care providers or patients teach them how to do these things. I mean, but it does take some effort on their part too.
Jason Falvey: 26:37 You definitely have to want to read these things carefully and you have to have the mindset that you don't want to just look for information that validates what you already believe. And I've seen this, you know, I don't like to pick on dry needling, but I definitely have seen people who are very strong believers in dry needling, just cherry pick evidence that supports their worldview, without recognizing that there's a lot more nuance to that discussion. And I'm not anti or pro dry needling. I'm pro information. Looking carefully and realizing that there are patients who do benefit from it, but it is certainly not a blanket treatment that everybody should be using and it's a tool in your bag, like everything. So, I think it's really important to just have that seek information, not affirmation. If I can say something a few times on this podcast that will be what it is.
Karen Litzy: 27:40 Well, and then my next question would be, after having this great conversation, is there anything we missed and is there anything that you really want people to stick in people's minds, which I think you just said it, but I'll ask the question anyway.
Jason Falvey: 27:55 Yeah. And I think the other thing is like, when you are a healthcare professional, I think investing money in like high quality sources or whatever source. For me, I tend to read a newspaper in New York Times or Washington Post. I have a subscription to it. I try to support that kind of, you know, to provide financial resources to a place that I trust to provide good information because that is positive reinforcement, right? I try not to provide positive financial rewards to places that are providing this information. And you do that by clicking on their articles, right? You read a headline and it's like vaccines cause autism study says, and I clicked on that headline, I’ve unintentionally propagated and supported financially that fake news provider who now is incentivized to create more fake news. So I think it takes a lot of discipline to not fall victim to our need to read everything.
Jason Falvey: 29:02 And you know, sometimes we have to think about the greater good is not clicking on that article. Shutting it down, blocking that news source or whatever, if you really feel like it's egregious enough and not engaging with it. Creating polarization. Polarization is what creates ratings on television. Polarization is what creates ratings on radio, polarization is what gets people to download podcasts and things that are highly controversial. Polarization, you know, sells books, right? The top selling books on New York Times bestseller lists are generally, there's political books that exist, sometimes multiple political books that are on that list from different points of view. So I think it's really important that we don't support agregious, you know, fake news providers or fake healthcare news providers and don't engage with them on Twitter because that's giving them a form of a positive attention. Even if you're criticizing their work, that they can go ahead and leverage to share more.
Karen Litzy: 30:13 Yeah, I thank you for all that great information. And hopefully the listeners can really take this in and understand that what we do on social media has ramifications one to our profession and two to the people we serve. So before we leave, I have a last question and normally I ask people, what advice would you give to yourself as a new Grad? But I'm going to ask you, what advice would you give to yourself as a new Grad physical therapist in light of fake news?
Jason Falvey: 30:50 Oh, that's a great question. Beyond the sentence I said of seek information not affirmation, which I think is helpful for research and beyond, I think one of the things I would tell myself as a new Grad physical therapist in this era is I would be incredibly thankful for my English education, my bachelor's degree in English, all of the humanities and critical thinking classes that I took and all of the writing that I did because trust me, I wrote enough papers as an undergraduate that probably could have qualified this fake news cause I didn't really read the books very carefully and really had some made up opinions about what I thought was happening. So I think I can recognize the difference in that writing now. And I would tell myself, be appreciative of the education in humanities and the historical context that you've gained and use those skills. Don't forget about them. They are valuable parts of your tool bag. They are not direct patient care skills, but there among the most critical soft skills you can obtain to really do a good service to your patients and teaching them how to use those skills and taking healthcare into their own hands.
Karen Litzy: 32:13 Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This was a great discussion. I'm glad we finally got to do this. Where can people find you if they want more info or to ask you questions?
Jason Falvey: 32:26 Yeah, so I am listed on the Yale site, I am not officially representing Yale now just to put that out there, but my email address is on the Yale division of geriatrics site. I'm also on Twitter at @JRayFalvey and I'm sure you'll put that in your show notes. Those are the two things. And hold me accountable. Do you see me sharing something that you think is not a great source of information? Tell me about it. Right. And I think holding each other accountable is part of this process and doing that in a professional way is all the better.
Karen Litzy: 33:07 Thanks again for coming on. And everyone, thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.
On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dr. Peter Fabricant on the show to discuss pediatric ACL injuries. Dr. Peter Fabricant is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in pediatric and adolescent orthopedic surgery. His clinical expertise is in sports medicine and trauma surgery of the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and ankle.
In this episode, we discuss:
-How to determine if a patient should have non-surgical treatment or surgical treatment following ACL injury
-Rehabilitation considerations following Physeal-Sparing ACL Reconstruction Surgery
-Setting realistic expectations for return to sport with the pediatric population
-And so much more!
For more information on Dr. Fabricant:
Dr. Peter Fabricant is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in pediatric and adolescent orthopedic surgery. His clinical expertise is in sports medicine and trauma surgery of the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and ankle.
Dr. Fabricant completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester, graduating with honors. He then attended Yale University School of Medicine. During his orthopedic surgery residency training at Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Fabricant earned a Master of Public Health Degree from Columbia University, and won several awards for excellence in patient care and innovation in patient safety.
Following residency, Dr. Fabricant completed two fellowships: first in pediatric orthopedic surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the second in sports medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. This afforded him the unique opportunity to study with renowned mentors at both institutions, including Dr. Lyle Micheli, Dr. Mininder Kocher, and Dr. Theodore Ganley, in order to compile additional subspecialty training uniquely focused on the care of children and adolescents with sports-related injuries. He has cared for athletes and performers at all levels, including the Boston Ballet, Babson College, the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships, and the Boston Marathon.
Dr. Fabricant is an accomplished researcher, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and 15 book chapters in circulation. He has received multiple institutional, national, and international awards for clinical research, including the Herodicus Award (AOSSM), the Excellence in Research Award (AOSSM), and the Promising Career Award (PRiSM Society), among others. Dr. Fabricant currently serves on several research and education committees in two international professional societies (POSNA and PRiSM). He is a member of several pediatric orthopedic and sports medicine research consortiums, through which he participates in cutting-edge multicenter clinical research studies with many of the most prolific researchers in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine.
He also serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR) and the Journal of ISAKOS, on the Peer Review Committee for the Orthopaedic Research and education Foundation (OREF), and as a reviewer for several academic orthopaedic journals including the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM), and the Bone & Joint Journal (BJJ).
Dr. Fabricant understands the physical and emotional complexities of injuries in youth and adolescent athletes. Sports and recreational activities provide social, emotional, and physical development, leadership skills, and encouragement for children to work as a part of a team with their peers. Dr. Fabricant has dedicated himself to addressing sports injuries in the context of all of these important issues and strives to return his patients back to their sports and activities as quickly and as safely possible, while minimizing the risk of future injury and prioritizing their long-term health and well-being.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy: 00:00 Hi Dr. Fabricant Welcome to the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast. I am so excited to have you on today to talk about pediatric ACL injuries.
Karen Litzy: 00:13 So we're just going to kind of jump right into it because I know our time is limited here so the reason that I wanted to do this is because I have a patient now with an ACL tear who had surgery and there seemed to be a lot of questions in the rehab world around this population. So after a confirmed ACL tear in a pediatric patient can you take us through your decision making process as to whether or not that patient will have non-surgical treatment which would mean high quality rehab or ACL reconstruction plus rehab.
Dr. Fabricant: 00:53 Yeah that's a really great question. So historically kids who still had you know growth remaining who had open growth plates would kind of be held off until they were fully grown and then have an ACL reconstruction then. But we know that that's not the ideal thing to do just because they have an unstable knee they can develop cartilage and meniscus injuries that might not be repairable once they reach the maturity but there are a subset of patients who tend to do pretty well without surgery and with high quality rehab alone. And so typically when I'm evaluating a patient the ones that tend to do well with high quality rehab alone would be typically younger patients. So kids who are like under 14 years old and kids who have non full thickness ACL tear. So like a partial ACL tear like a 50 percent tear.
Dr. Fabricant: 01:49 And so kids who are young and who have you know a 50 percent partial tear their ACL who have rotational stability of their knee so their knee doesn't kind of rotate during things like a pivot shift examination. Those are kids who tend to do pretty well without surgery with a period of protected weight bearing bracing and high quality rehab. When I'm seeing kids who are either older and or have a full thickness ACL tear with a really unstable knee those tend to be the kids who we recommend surgery for especially if they're involved in cutting or pivoting sports jumping or landing sports things like that. So that's basically how I approach it in general.
Karen Litzy: 02:34 And so let's talk about the surgical procedures because there are several surgical procedures one can do on a pediatric ACL patient taking into account the growth plate damage. How do you decide which surgical procedure to do with this population?
Dr. Fabricant: 02:57 I think that's a great question too. So I kind of think about these kids in three groups.
Dr. Fabricant: 03:04 Let's go from kind of oldest to youngest so the oldest type of kid is the kid who either has growth plates that are closed or near closed or they have very little growth remaining let's say like less than six months of growth remaining. Those are kids that I kind of think about a little more like adults. But then within that within kind of specific to your question the kids who have open growth plates. The question I ask myself are kind of are these kind of the youngest kids like prepubescent kids. So those are kids with greater than 2 years of growth remaining. In girls, those who haven't had started having their periods yet. In boys and girls kids who really haven't had a growth spurt or who are kind of prepubescent.
Dr. Fabricant: 03:53 There's kind of that group and then there's the pubescent kids who are between let's say two years of growth remaining and six months of growth remaining you know in girls let's say they've had their periods for a year, in boys they may have already showed some signs of puberty or of their growth spurt. So those are kind of the pubescent kids even though they have growth remaining and so in thinking about a reconstruction technique I try to figure out are they in the prepubescent group or the pubescent group. And then there are a couple of different described surgical procedures in each but in broad generalities the prepubescent group you need to really avoid the growth plate completely and so that can be done either with techniques where you do drill tunnels in the bone but you confine it to the epiphysis of the bone or the area that's kind of away from the growth plate or you can do a procedure where you're not drilling any tunnels which would be like the IT Band ACL procedure and that those both can protect the growth plate and they're both been well described and then in the kids who are pubescent who have growth remaining but maybe not so much growth remaining those kids you typically can drill tunnels in the bone but you just need to use a graft that's made of soft tissue because if you take let's say a bone plug from a graft and fix it across the growth plate that can inhibit their growth and cause a limb length deformity limb length discrepancy or like an angular deformity of the limb.
Dr. Fabricant: 05:31 So that's kind of how I think about the two groups that still have growth remaining and taking surgical procedures.
Karen Litzy: And does the activity of the child come into play when deciding on which procedure to do or is it really just their kind of bony anatomy and age.
Dr. Fabricant: Yeah it's mostly their age and skeletal maturity and their developmental maturity. The sports sometimes come into play when you're deciding whether or not to do a reconstruction but once you kind of made the decision to do a reconstruction you know which technique you choose is typically chosen based on their skeletal maturity.
Karen Litzy: 06:11 Got it got it. And then you sort of alluded to this a little bit earlier talking about the meniscus but why is the health of the meniscus so important in the pediatric ACL patients.
Karen Litzy: 06:22 So from what I've read it seems like if there is a bucket handle tear or other repairable meniscus injury surgery is really warranted. Why is that?
Dr. Fabricant: 06:42 So if there's the meniscus is pretty precious tissue and it's really the shock absorber of the knee but it also provides secondary stability to the knee, nourishment of the joint. It provides congruence between the femur and the tibia and so it's really important to try to save as much meniscal tissue as possible and then these kids obviously have quite a long life ahead of them and many have a long athletic career ahead of them. So you definitely want to save as much meniscus as possible so if there is a large unstable meniscus tear and the knee remains unstable it's likely to continue to degenerate whereas if you go and stabilize the knee and fix the meniscus you have the best chance at preserving that tissue and getting it to heal.
Karen Litzy: 07:20 Yeah that makes sense. And now for a lot of my listeners who are physical therapists this is sort of the money question right.
Karen Litzy: 07:27 What are the most important considerations for rehab after these physeal-sparing ACL reconstruction surgeries?
Dr. Fabricant: 07:36 So it's interesting there's not like a really strong evidence base about like specific things with rehab but I would tell you that kind of the way that I approach it and kind in in broad generalities typically the first six weeks are where there's the biggest difference depending on how the procedure goes. So if if it's let's say a procedure where you're drilling tunnels and fixing it with implants you know those kids can tend to weightbear relatively soon the implants tend to confer a lot of stability to the graft and allow the body to heal the graft. If there's a meniscus repair at the time of surgery, I tend to protect the weight bearing for a total of six weeks just to let the meniscus heal and in the kids who end up getting the IT Band ACL because there are no tunnels drilled in the bone and therefore there's no like screws holding the graft in place and the graft tends to be fixed to the periosteum of the bone or the skin around the bone with heavy duty suture.
Dr. Fabricant: 08:39 Those kids I tend to protect for six weeks regardless of if they've had a meniscus tear repaired just because I want to make sure they've started to have some biologic healing of the graft before I let them really bear full weight. So for me the first six weeks are kind of the most critical portion where if I've done a IT Band ACL and I'm kind of relying on suture for fixation I tend to protect their weight bearing a little longer but once they hit about six weeks for me at least the rehab tends to progress the same whereas essentially all kids are kind of started to wean off crutches by six weeks starting to work on strengthening and then for me I tend to let kids start to jog around 12 weeks and from there on it's pretty similar rehab to the adult rehab.
Karen Litzy: 09:24 So why with the ACL reconstruction using the IT band, why is no lunging a precaution with this population.
Dr. Fabricant: 09:37 When I was in training I had some of my mentors would say that they found that kids who load the knee from a flexed position after any ACL reconstruction tend to kind of flare the knee up especially in the early phase and so I tend to tell kids to avoid you know deep lunges and squats early on. So that's just something that I do I don't know that there's a lot of great evidence for that but it seems to have worked for some of my mentors and so I've kind of adopted it into my practice as well.
Karen Litzy: 10:13 Got it. Got it yeah. Because I read that out of Boston right. And OK so that makes a lot of sense because I often wondered.
Karen Litzy: 10:24 Well they can jog and run but they can't squat or they can't lunge. And is that obviously to protect the knee and is that also to maybe protect secondary problems like patellar tendinopathy or something like that.
Dr. Fabricant: 10:38 You know right after surgery there is a bit of inflammation going on in the knee and so certainly doing like deep squats and lunges can increase the risk of further inflammation.
Dr. Fabricant: 10:50 But I really do like squats like leg presses that go down to about 90 degrees of knee flexion. I really find it helps strengthen the knee without inflaming it too much. But you know the physical therapist that we work with tend to do that and the patients do pretty well and they end up building it pretty quickly.
Karen Litzy: 11:12 That makes sense. And now let's talk to a lot of these kids want to return to sport. I mean you're working with kids all the time as you know their attention spans are a little short and they're all really excited to get back to sport A.S.A.P. but according to the IOC consensus on pediatric ACL they recommend waiting twelve months to return to sport. So what is your thought on that?
Dr. Fabricant: 11:43 Yeah I would say the short answer is I agree with that completely. I typically mentally prepare kids for a year to return to play.
Dr. Fabricant: 11:53 I think that you know there's really three things you need in order to successfully return back to sports safely. So one is the anatomy which is really the job of the surgeon and reconstructing the anatomy. The other is you know strength and balance and coordination which is a team effort between the physical therapist and the patient and the surgeon as well. And then the third thing is just time. So it just takes about a year for the graft to incorporate and mature and remodel and kind of be biologically ready. And I think that's the hardest part about this surgery is really kind of keeping the kids engaged for a full year. I think kids sometimes hear about some professional athletes who get back to sports sooner than a year and so they feel like they want to get back sooner than a year.
Dr. Fabricant: 12:39 But I typically tell families you know a couple of things. First off the average time to return to sport, even in professional athletes like in the NFL is about eleven months. So even in pro athletes who have no job other than to rehab their knee you know they don't have chores and schoolwork and things like that that it's still about a year and that's an average. So while they might hear you know on the news about people who get back after six or eight months there's also people who don't get back for 14 or 16 or 18 months. And so even professional athletes it takes about a year and then the other thing is that kids are really even higher risk than professional athletes because typically you know if there's something about the child's anatomy or their physiology or how they're moving
Dr. Fabricant: 13:24 That puts them at such high risk that they're gonna tear their ACL when they're 11, 12, 13, 15 years old. They're at higher risk patient than the guy or gal who goes through you know high school and college and professional sports before tearing their ACL. They've made it through let's say 30 years of life before tearing their ACL. So I tend to try to kind of work with kids and families and say you know look you're a higher risk than a professional athlete for one and two you know all they do all day is rehab and it still takes them a year to get back to sports. So I tend to agree with the one year recommendation. I tend to let kids just because they're itching to get back. I tend to let them do some light practice with their team at the beginning of the following season. So for instance if a kid injures themselves midway through a soccer football season in the fall you know usually it's around nine or 10 months till the next beginning of the next season I say that they can do some kind of non contact practice with their team just so they can stay involved. But I do agree with the one year before they're really kind of on the field or the court competing with other kids.
Karen Litzy: 14:33 Yeah and I'm so glad that you brought up what they see on TV and what they hear or see on social media because that's something that's so pervasive amongst a lot of these kids and they think someone else did it. They should be able to do it too. So I thank you for that. And I think that advice to tell the parents and to keep reiterating that to the patient to the pediatric patient is so important because boy they just want to every day. Well when can I do this. Well when can I do that and being able to keep them like you said motivated but realistic expectations and being honest is a challenge.
Dr. Fabricant: 15:14 Yeah you're totally right. I think that even setting expectations before surgery you know they kind of forget you know when their knee starts feeling pretty good around three or six months but you know I think the other important thing is that you know what they hear on TV and in social media tends to be the exceptions to the rule rather than the average.
Dr. Fabricant: 15:31 So they hear about the person who gets back to sports at six or seven months but they don't necessarily hear about the people who take a year and a half to get back to sports in the pros or who don't make it back to sports in the pros. So I think you know also telling them they're probably getting a bit of a biased view when a lot of these kind of news outlets kind of sensationalize people who are getting that quickly they think it's the norm when actually it's the exception.
Karen Litzy: 15:54 Absolutely. I just had this conversation the other day about what a bell curve is and how some people are on one side some people are on the other but most people are in the middle.
Karen Litzy: 16:04 And to really keep that in mind when you see these big extremes so now is there anything else that you would like to add as far as let's say speaking to physical therapists or people who are going to be working with your patients. Anything else you would like to add as far as the pediatric ACL patient is concerned.
Dr. Fabricant: 16:27 Not not really. I think we really kind of touched upon all the important topics. I think it's just important to understand a lot of people are really beginning to realize that you know kids aren't just small adults and they have their own unique considerations both with the surgery and in the rehab and in the kind of mental preparedness for sports. And so I always really enjoy working with therapists who enjoy working with kids and engaging kids because it's not just that the surgery and even the exercises are different it's the whole kind of mindset and the approach. And so when the whole team is on the same page it's always really rewarding.
Karen Litzy: 17:09 Awesome well thank you so much for taking the time out. And where can people find more about you if they would like to know more about you and what you do and have any questions.
Dr. Fabricant: 17:18 Yes so I practice at the Hospital for Special Surgery so they can go to the hospital for special surgeries Web site which is a Hss.edu they can look me up on that Web site or they can Google search my name at HSS and we're here and happy to take care of our youth athletes who get injured.
Karen Litzy: 17:39 Awesome. Well thank you so much and everyone else. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy wealthy and smart.