December 22, 2013

Behold The Gift of Forgiveness

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” —Nelson Mandela

It was a wintery mix of storms where accumulations mounted beyond expectations. New York City and most of the Northeast was at a standstill.  When I was preparing to travel to South Africa for the first time almost every plan I had to shop was derailed by epic snowfall. It was also due to a cancellation in the group I was traveling with that I received an invitation to go, but had less than 72 hours to prepare for the journey. I gathered myself to travel to a region making remarkable historic progress in the fight against apartheid working then with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission  aim of national unity. This visit opened my world-view with a first-hand global experience of fellowship, faith and social justice.

Traveling teaches you about patience. We experienced significant delays that some would see as a setback, but I was overwhelmed by joy and excitement we were on a journey. We spent 14 hours in the airport so I bought and read Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. I had intriguing conversations with others traveling as well as strangers and yes, I prayed for strength on the journey.   By the time we boarded the plane leaving snow on the ground for a more than 16-hour flight to land in the summer climate of South Africa with a 7-hour time difference, I was ready for what was to be an unforgettable time.

As I reflect on this season of Advent in the wake of the death Nelson Mandela, I remember this trip that shaped my understanding of the empowering gift of forgiveness, which enables healing and reconciliation.  As you gather to exchange presents, share meals and fellowship consider the work of giving and receiving forgiveness with those in your life. In the spirit of Advent with prayer, hope and expectation note the following:

·      Reconciliation begins with self-examination.
·      Repairing broken relationships is not an easy work, but worthwhile for wellbeing within families, communities and ourselves.
·      Those who practice forgiveness will experience reward. 
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13
Let us pray for empowering relationships that enable love while relieving pain and suffering in a world where we all need forgiveness to work in our lives.

Repost at "This Is Your Wake Up Call" with Bishop Vashti McKenzie. 

November 25, 2013

Innovation in the Era of the Affordable Care Act

From the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University

Join us! Today Monday, November 25th at 4pm Eastern Time for a live-streaming video conversation with Dr. Nirav Shah, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health and Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Secretary of Health for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for a video Expert Panel organized by Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation. Panelists will discuss public health innovation on a state level and how we should move forward in the era of the Affordable Care Act. There will be opportunities to ask questions and engage with examples from your institutions and communities. We'll also be sharing key points from the discussion on Twitter (@ghdonline and @HC_TheJournal) using the hashtag #ghdinnovation.

Listen and participate in the #ghdinnovation conversation here in the comments section and Twitter.

September 24, 2013

Mobilizing for Impact @ CGI 2013

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is mobilizing for impact by moving more partners in commitments to address the world's most pressing challenges. It's the implementation of innovative strategies on the ground in places near and far. This afternoon:

Healthier Futures, Prioritizing Prevention
How can we disrupt the global spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? What are some economical measures applied to address NCDs? Are there new insights for the field of behavioral economics to prevent disease? and for health?

Watch and review the webcast here:

Join the conversation. #CGI2013

September 20, 2013

TED City 2.0 a lens for the future and health

What's your take on city life and health today and for the future? TED City2.0 pushes the conversation to examine far-reaching and practical lessons future. In case you missed it review the sessions here: 

The urban mix of New York City has been been my stomping ground for a life time. While my family has lived in Queens for five generations I've gone to school, worked and lived all over Manhattan and the boroughs as well as in the Caribbean and southern Africa. My work in community development involved creating public-private philanthropic relationships with community-based organizations tackling the challenges of city life from the unique lens of their communities. This experience helped me appreciate that what moves people and community often differs in each neighborhood, but common ground is a reasonable expectation when working broadly at efforts like diversity and inclusion, creating opportunities for young people and vulnerable populations to thrive or even to define the health of cities by a walkability index.  

Cities draw crowds of people from all over the world who come with their dreams, but when you show up its the urban vibe that will inform your life creating new opportunities as well as challenges. What you see and experience in art and culture can move your imagination whether you are in Bogota, Mogadishu or Atlanta urban experiences push creativity that shape cities. Those who work in policy, architecture in urban planning must use cross talk to build places of resiliency where growing populations in cities around the world have urgent and complex needs for housing, education, health care and public works like safety and sanitation to work for entrepreneurs, artists, everyday working folks and their families and communities. Cities have communities -- a well kept secret. For example, New York City has 59 communities and hundreds of distinct neighborhoods. It takes leadership as well as the ingenuity of the people to address the formidable population boom occurring in cities all around the world.

June 09, 2013

Show and tell

I've been posting a selection of my meals and food choices as I'm trying new dishes and rethinking old favorites.  It's my take on a digital food diary and yes, there is probably an app for that my collection is on Facebook where feedback is a shared experience.
Dinner also included a scenic seaside view.

I admit dining out has been a challenge, but I've been doing some "mental rehearsing" trying plan ahead as well as think through my ideas about healthier choices before I sit down to the table. I also found the article "Health Eating While Dining With Others" helpful. The stress of sharing meals with family, friends and/or colleagues can be emotional when trying to eat healthier even in a mix of good company. Last weekend was a good example, I went out with friends to a very popular burger place, but ordered chicken. It wasn't well-prepared so I sent it back to the kitchen and had grilled brussel sprouts and a selection of seafood later on in evening that I prepared.

Another aspect of my healthier living plan involves moving more and also joined the GirlTrek of Healthy Black Women and Girls .  Here are my newest badges.
Nike+ Running app!
From Girl Trek


Earlier this week, I also found my way (yes, I wander walk) to the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in New York City.  I was struck by the broken chains in the rear section of the statue, such historical symbolism sheds contemporary "shackles" that we face for our health and healing within ourselves, families and communities.  

Share you thoughts.

May 27, 2013

In mixed company

This weekend is a good time to reflect and share memories with friends and families. I’m sharing meals and memories with family and friends. My plans also include a search for a stretching routine, strength training, and a closer look at the popular “Scientific 7-Minute Workout” to work up a sweat.

Food for Thought

I’ve also been following The Beckford Formula: Lose the Fat for Good by Drs. Ian and Rita Beckford. They have written a practical plan to follow based on their personal, family and clinical experiences with patients. I’ve shared the book with my mom and others. You’ll also find Facebook my posts and tweets.  Social media has been an inspiring and fun place to connect and share folks from all over the place on the fundamentals for improving lifestyles that healthier eating and more physical activity. 

Our family BBQ plan is taking shape and so I may get to share a little movie clip.  What’s on your table for health? 

  • Plan for breakfast. A smoothie can be a great start to a day and more economical if you mix it yourself, also leave some whole fruit chunks tokeep some of the fiber.  I like having one deviled egg on a piece of whole wheat toast. It's spring so berries a are ripe, sweet and sweeter with sale prices.
  • Portion control works to keep your favorites in reach.  As your read labels take note of serving sizes for the calorie count.  A serving of steak (or other protein) is 4 oz.
  •  A new healthier take on a favorite dish can help keep the flavor, while reducing the calories.  I'm making a Hoppin'John salad without the rice.
  • Put veggies and fruits on the grill.  Encourage folks to try new dishes even with tried and true favorites within reach.
  • Sip water or seltzer. Add lemon, lime and/or mint for flavor.
Take a Closer Look

Worth watching with family and friends:  The Soul Food Junkies documentary by Byron Hurt offers a glimpse of culture from generations of African Americans at dinner tables and holiday celebrations. Rethinking lifestyle choices is a personal, family and community challenge.

Notes from My Table

Friday night I had a celebration with mom on her last day of class with seafood. On Saturday, I had brunch with a friend: salad, a view of Central Park and good company was a winning combination.  After brunch I did a few miles of walking and had a portion-controlled fish fry for dinner with my folks.  The Sunday dinner table menu included bakesd turkey wings, rice, gravy and a mix of greens. We had fresh strawberries and ice cream. I ran a few miles after dinner.

Is there room for everyone (and their needs) at your table?  Sensible and sensitive menu choices make it possible for all to enjoy the day. 

Have a great holiday weekend! 

April 15, 2013

Equity Drives Global Health: Turning the World Upside Down

Let's start a conversation.

Where are the new international relationships for health and development?

You can watch the live webcast or review later:

Also follow the #ttwudlaunch hashtag on Twitter.

Here's the schedule:

2.00 Welcome and introductions
Lord Nigel Crisp, independent crossbench member of the House of Lords, former NHS Chief Executive
Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of Kings Health Partners 

2.15 New international relationships for health and development
Professor Paul Farmer, Professor of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, co-founder of Partners in Health

2.30 Discussion of proposals put forward by guests and audience to our panel
Chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp
Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-chief, BMJ
Maureen Bisognano, President/CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
Charles Alessi, Chairman, National Association of Primary Care & Chairman, NHS Clinical Commissioners
Professor Paul Farmer, Professor of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, co-founder of Partners in Health

3.50 Concluding remarks

4.00 Finish

More details are also at

April 13, 2013

A World House Community: TEDMED #SoMe 2013

“So much of modern life can be summarized in that suggestive phrase of Thoreau:  ‘Improved means to an unimproved end’...This does not mean we must turn back the clock of scientific progress. No one can overlook the wonders that science (and the advancement of medicine) has wrought for our lives.”  

—Martin Luther King, Jr., from “The World House” in Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community

During the next week I will stream and also join TEDMED in person in Washington, D.C.  to consider great challenges for a better future in health and medicine through a social media (SoMe) lens.  As a plan and prepare for next week, here are some of my reflections for your consideration.

“At its core, TEDMED is a celebration of human achievement and the power of connecting the unconnected in creative ways to change our world in health and medicine.”       TEDMED

TED (as in TED Talks) means technology, entertainment and design and offers a conceptual framework for the TEDMED community experience. While MED is about health care, health and medicine, I say there’s also an (ED) as education is a thread in TEDM(ED) where there are unique opportunities to learn, share and for connection.

Innovators and leaders also known as delegates along with a growing simulcast crowd (follow #TEDMEDLive) of institutions and organizations from around the world will take hold of live presentations from a themed schedule of speakers starting on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Session 1: Seeing with a Broader Lens speakers include Kishi Bashi (E), John Maeda (D), Danny Hillis (T), America Bracho(M), Harvey Fineberg (M), Rafael Yuste, Afro Blue(E).  TEDMED speakers will also reach beyond obvious themes for new connections.

The Hive is a novel simultaneous physical platform space to see, touch, hear, sniff and talk about startup and entrepreneurial innovation available in Washington, D.C. so that you can wonder and wander while at TEDMED. There’s lots of excitement about The SmartPhone Physical, which opens up new medical diagnostic tools in medicine using technology.  The Hive is also set to have mobile health (#mhealth) tools available to help with physical activity, nutrition and managing chronic diseases like high blood pressure and obesity.  FitBit is testing TEDMED delegates to walk collectively around the world.

On Friday, The Great Challenges Day will use the power of storytelling to enable dialogue to consider intersectorial interdiscplinary innovative solutions within and beyond the realm of health care. The aim is to connect more ideas to the complicated and complex problems in medicine and health care for a healthier nation through provocation.

It’s noteworthy that power of diversity holds many forms at TEDMED. It’s another layer, yet often missed opportunity in problem solving and decision making.

“We are powerful as individuals, but ultimately what we can see, do, and impact on our own is limited relative to what we can accomplish through collaboration, especially with people of common values but different experiences.  Our participation serves to stretch our minds, create new possibilities, stir our imaginations and prepare us for our own personal moments of genius.”       TEDMED

When we use scientific progress to advance medicine there a big questions that involve costs, bioethical questions and often public skepticism.  We must examine our vulnerabilities and the most vulnerable for a healthier world community.

We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together...a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace...all inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors.” 

                                                     —Martin Luther King, Jr., from “The World House” in         
                                                        Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community 

I looking forward to seeing great ideas to move our nation and the world to a healthier place in the future.  Social media opens another lens to shape and experience TEDMED.

You can follow me @katellington and @WorldHouseMD. 

Follow the hashtag #TEDMED and #TEDMEDLive to listen and chat during and beyond the experience next week.  

Look for more posts here next week. 

Katherine Ellington

World House Medicine 
TEDMED #SoMe 2013

March 10, 2013

Walk and Live Well

Today is a big day for movement as many will gather to walk together in their neighborhoods, communities and across the nation in honor of the 100th birthday of Harriet Tubman. I’m also taking GirlTrek steps with this initiative encouraging healthy black women and girls.
The work of health and well being for your life is an ongoing challenge and opportunity.  I'm starting with 100 minutes of walking moving for a more robust and rigorous plan to move the scale as well as provide more balance in my own life. My ongoing plan includes 30 minutes of movement at least once of day everyday with 60 minutes or more at least three days a week adding core strength and stamina training.

Achieving a more active lifestyle can be challenged by every day schedules.  I’m looking for creative ways to keep moving forward.  Here's a Vine clip of my walk through Times Square in a Friday night crowd.

Catch the fire! You can join my “Soul Power GirlTrek team" where we post notes of inspiration and progress with walking.


Physical activity helps control weight, but it has other benefits. Physical activity such as walking can help improve health even without weight loss. People who are physically active live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. Improving spaces and having safe places to walk can help more people become physically active.  Aerobic activities like brisk walking, running, swimming and bicycling make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier.   (source: CDC)
Walk for
better health.

This is the first of a series of posts. 

February 16, 2013

Meetup with health in the kitchen

TEDx Manhattan:  Changing the Way You Eat

“Last time I checked my textbooks the specific therapy for malnutrition was, in fact, food.”    
                                                                                                       —Dr. Jack Geiger, 1965

You can watch/review via livestream, today.  Leave comments and share your idea, successes and challenges here. Hear from experts and share your expertise and stories of food and health.

A healthy day starts a good breakfast.  I'm making 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars a recipe inspired by theKitchn that includes bananas, oats, dates and nuts... I made them for the first time this morning. 

What's on your plate for health this weekend?

January 22, 2013

A Clearing for Healthier Living

Just in case you need to declutter and reorganize your physical environment, here's a recent Huff Post live provocative discussion with Marc Lamont Hill and Justin Klosky, founder and creative director of O.C.D. (as in organize, create, discipline), he does has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Klosky is channeling the energy of his condition to help those in need, find a healthy clearing in their lives.  The segment offers a candid view of what clutter looks like in real-time exploring the overspill into our lives and relationships. Take a look at the clip:

I need to work through "organized chaos" syndrome meaning I have too many unnecessary things in my life that I have packed away, but can find easily. I'm tenacious so I tend to hold on instead of letting go. I'm also eager to adopt "purge events" in my schedule as psychologist and organizational expert Dr. Melissa Gratias described in the segment.  I'm starting now with the "100 Thing Challenge" by getting rid of 100 old, unused and/or not worth keeping items. I'm starting with stuff that I can put out on the trash in time for this week's garbage collection or in some cases donate.

Finding order in your own life can be overwhelming.  Demanding schedules can move us away from routines that actually make our lives more efficient. Sometimes you may feel like you are waiting for someone else to come along and clean up the daily mess and disorder you make at home, work, in the car, inside a purse, gym bag or knapsack.  Unfinished projects can leave books and papers waiting to be put away.  A quick change of clothes for an evening venue leaves pants, shoes or accessories in a tumble spread across a room.  Who makes their own bed? What does that do? There's an emotional reward to coming home after a long day to order, to sitting down to write at a clear desk, to cooking breakfast in a clean kitchen, to finding items in an organized closet, which like the garage, basement or home office could be stand alone weekend project.

Furthermore, cleaning up in the aftermath of natural disasters (like super storm Sandy), recovering from an illness, transitions and life disruptions can create a new opportunity to declutter and organize your space as well as transform your life.

One of my desktop workspaces on a cleaner day.
"Detecting the Discomforts in Your LIfe" is another strategy to consider, organizational expert Brook Palmer pushes life questions to help remove clutter and disorder by searching for the uncomfortable places and spaces where change can means better living.  His books, the Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back (New World Library, 2009) and Clutter Busting Your Life: Clearing Physical and Emotional Clutter to Reconnect With Yourself and Others (New World Library, 2012) may offer more insight. 

What's your take? Are you organizing your space? Our lives do need some order, we do work better and live healthier in clean and clear spaces.  You'll have to decide what to address every day, weekly, monthly and other intervals on your calender. Try adding 10-15 minutes to your every day schedule to take out the trash, put clothes away, and/or clear up your desktop. Regular clean up intervals can over time add to your sense well-being whatever your organizational approach. Also be sure to get creative, have fun, play some good music and get it done.
Talk is cheap so look for my update by the end of the week. In getting rid of the old! I am making making room for the new and also hope to find a few of my favorite things.  My effort will begin with my physical space(s), next phase will be cleaning up my digital life.  Let me know what's working (or not working) in your environment.

                                                                                                         Again, happy new year.

January 15, 2013

ICYMI: Soul Food Junkies

There is a national dialogue about the persistent health struggles and growing epidemic of obesity across America.  "Soul Food Junkies" offers a provocative glimpse of culture from generations of African Americans at dinner tables and other feasts as well as every day food choices.  Join the conversation/weigh-in.

Watch here:

Watch Soul Food Junkies on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.