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Monday, June 15, 2015

Last Day to Comment on Stage 2 Meaningful Use

It is the last day for comment on Stage 2 Meaningful Use!  Here is mine if you need inspiration:

"On July 13, 2010 I shared the stage with Kathleen Sebelius, then Secretary of Health and Human Services, David Blumenthal, then National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, Don Berwick then Administrator of CMS and Regina Benjamin, then Surgeon General.  That day I was honored to represent the patients’ voice on stage at HHS headquarters during the unveiling of Meaningful Use Stage One.  Those of us in the patient community had testified for a year about the importance of timely patient access to the electronic medical record.  We were very happy that HHS included patient access as a core measure.  We looked forward to further inclusion as we entered stage two.

On May 20, 2015, I hosted a protest in front of the same institution that once welcomed me and the other patient data rights activists with open arms.  CMS was considering reducing the requirement of stage 2 Meaningful Use from a requirement that 5% of patients must view, download or transmit in a reporting period to literally only one patient.  This is a slap in the face to all of the patients who have fought so hard for greater inclusion these past five years.

I urge you to reinstate the 5% threshold.  There have been great strides in the last five years in better population health outcomes through patient engagement.  Concurrent legislation from this administration has at its core a belief that access to care is a must for all citizens of our great nation.  Through such access patients can begin to control their own health destiny both economically and physically.    

On July 13, 2010, I stood on stage and represented all of the patients that depend on the data access rights granted in Meaningful Use.

You invited me to be their representative.  With that mantle still in place these many years later, I must insist you reinstate the 5% threshold.

Thank You,
Regina Holliday,
The Voice of the Patients and founder of The Walking Gallery"

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Let Freedom Ring

This winter was hard for me. Winter always is.  In my mind, I walk through yesteryears and live through the months I lost my husband Fred. 

I had a bad cough in January and February just like I had in 2009.  My cough was pertussis this time, not a chest cold.  This time it was my ribs that broke from explosive coughs, instead from metastasis as Fred’s had.

This winter I felt I had to finish my memoir, so while coughed I wrote.  I tied together the story that I have been working on for five years.  This past week it became available on Amazon and it is called The Writing on the Wall.   I had wondered why I felt so frantic about quickly finishing my book on the importance of patient data access, but I have learned not to question such feelings.  I just act on them.

Then I went to HIMSS15 in Chicago.  Then I heard CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) was considering cutting a key measure that affected patients in Meaningful Use Stage 2.  Facilities and Providers complained that they were not able to ensure 5% of patients would view, download or transmit their data in the Meaningful Use Stage 2 reporting window.  Anyway, they assured CMS, patients did not want access anyway.  So CMS proposed gutting the legislation, removing the 5% requirement and replacing it with literally “1” patient.  

That is a slap in the face to patient rights and all the advocates who have fought so hard to ensure patients could access their data.  That is a slap in the face to projects like Open Notes, a study that proved that patients have better engagement when they can read their records.   

We must act swiftly to counteract the belief that patients do not wish to access the information that is by rights is theirs. 

1.  I am asking everyone to comment on the federal register Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program-Modifications to Meaningful Use in 2015 through 2017 before June 15, 2015:

Here is what is proposed: 

 "Patient Action To View, Download, or Transmit Health Information

++ Remove the 5 percent threshold for Measure 2 from the EP Stage 2 Patient Electronic Access (VDT) objective. Instead require that at least 1 patient seen by the provider during the EHR reporting period views, downloads, or transmits his or her health information to a third party. This would demonstrate the capability is fully enabled and workflows to support the action have been established by the provider.
    + Remove the 5 percent threshold for Measure 2 from the eligible hospital and CAH Stage 2 Patient Electronic Access (VDT) objective. Instead require that at least 1 patient discharged from the hospital during the EHR reporting period views, downloads, or transmits his or her health information to a third party. This would demonstrate the capability is fully enabled and workflows to support the action have been established by the provider."
You need to let CMS know that patients do care and we do want to use our portals or access Blue Button.  We do want to be a partner in our care and that starts with access. might find it scary to write a comment, but fear not.  I just self-published a book as a dyslexic person suffering dysgraphia, I swear I did my best but my work is filled with spelling and grammar errors.  Even so, the beauty and purity of story shines through.  Tell your story too and explain why it is so very vital that patients be able to go online and read their information in a timely fashion.  If it is challenging to use your portal let the vender know and let the provider know.  If you need help getting logged on let your doctor and their staff know.  We will not make the system better if we do not use it and improve it. 

2.  I am asking you to stand with me, to paint with me, at noon on May 20, 2015 in front of the Health Human Services Headquarters Building at 200 Independence Ave, SW in Washington, DC.  Let’s show that we care in this very public way.  Even if we are just artists, even if we are just regular people, we care about getting access to data.  Lets paint about core measures and blue buttons on a concrete field.  Lets gather The Walking Gallery and show HHS we care.   I ask you to do this on May 20th, the day my husband entered hospice in 2009. 

3. Please SIGN this petitionTODAY and share far & wide with your moms, family, friends, colleagues and networks.  Be part of a movement of individuals working toward greater patient access. 

Hashtag: #MyData

·         PETITION:  (Bitly:
·         FACT SHEETWhat Health IT Means for Women (National Partnership for Women & Families)

4.  On July 4th let’s declare a Data Independence Day!   That day we should all go on our patient portals, send our doctor an email, schedule an appointment and download or view our health information.  I know it is a national holiday and the doctor’s office is closed.  That is one of the reasons we patients want portals and Blue Button access.  We want to access information in a timely fashion day or night, whether it is a holiday or not. 

And God forbid something dreadful happen on a holiday.  It did in my small town last year. A local third grade boy was burnt on the Fourth of July.  A sparkler ignited his clothes. Most of his body was burnt and he is still having skin graft surgeries.  He is exactly why we must have access.  Illness and injury happen regardless of holiday schedules; and the internet never sleeps.

Have you listened to that song by Martina Mcbride?  It is called “Independence Day.”

“Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of reckoning.
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day.”

In that song abuse is described.  Independence Day is the day abuse could no longer be tolerated.  I suffered through 17 years of child abuse and I can tell you being stuck in a hospital without access to information hurts your heart and soul, as assuredly as any belt or switch ever hurts your skin.  If CMS guts this measure, the welt they will create will become an insurmountable ridge separating us from our data.

This year Mother’s day falls on my birthday again.  Just like it did in 2009.  This year my husband will not give me a birthday gift or a Mother’s Day gift.  He died too soon, partly due to poor access to data.  You are still here and can give the most amazing gift. 

You can publicly ask for your data, you can paint with me or demand a day of action.   

It is your choice.  You can help make a better future for us all.    

Friday, May 1, 2015

#Cinderblocks2: Our agenda as it grows in real time.

Cinderblocks2 June 4-6, 
2015 Grantsville: Our agenda as it grows in real time.

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” ~John Wesley

(This agenda will keep getting bigger and better so keep coming back to learn more!)

You can register to attend this event #Cinderblocks2 

Thank You to our sponsors for helping make this event a reality. 

Diamond Cinderblock Sponsor: Lilly Clinical Innovation

Golden Cinderblock Sponsor: Lifetime Health Diary
Silver Cinderblock Sponsor:
Kanter Family Foundation

From 12-12:45 June 4 at the event we will be doing transatlantic interviews with attendees at Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris, France.  Thank you Spruce Artisan Village for offering wifi to support that endeavor! 

Conference Day 1
On June 4th we will meet at 8:00 am at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast.

General session begin in Penn Alps

8:30 Opening remarks are by Regina Holliday, Patient Rights Artist and Lynn Lais, Potter
9:00 Paul Edwards, Garrett County Commissioner, will present an overview of the area.
9:30  C.W., Edmondson, DDS from Pampered Smiles, Dental Day Spa
10:00 Mountain Laurel Medical Center Presentation by Lisa Skipper 
10:30 Break
10:45 Colin Hung, Co-Founder of Healthcare Leader chat 
11:00 Mark Boucot, CEO, will present on the work of the staff and leadership of Garret County Memorial Hospital.

During presentations easels will line the back of the space for those attendees who wish to paint while they listen. 

Lunch is at noon.  Our luncheon presentation in the Alpine room will be "The Diary: Charting lifetimes of Data." 
Presented by Kirk Saunders, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Diary Corporation.

Also during lunch some attendees will be doing interviews with attendees at Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris, France. Interviews will be hosted by the amazing Gregg Masters.  

The Dunbar Room will have lounging seats for any attendees who need to rest during or between sessions. Nora Reno, registered massage therapist, will be offering 7 minute massage sessions 12-1pm and 3-4pm in the Dunbar Room. 

Alpine Room

1:00-1:50 Changing the Treatment in Mental Health
Matt Keener , MD, from BlackBird Health will present on his innovative work in Pittsburg working in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult behavioral health using a therapeutic recreation approach.  He will stress the need social support and a peer moderated approach. 

2:00-2:50 Care Transitions: Who is falling in through the cracks?
This panel will address concerns in elder care, living on disability funds and special needs populations.
Mary Anne Sterling, President of Sterling Health IT will speak about the use of technology to aid transitions, especially focusing on elder care.
Melissa Hardy will provide the patient and caregiver voice.
Susan Thatcher will present in light with her work at Salem's Children Trust and her work with special needs student populations.  

3:00-3:45 Hospice: A conversation we need to have.
This hospice panel presentation will talk about the awareness and use of hospice care in Maryland and beyond.
Donna Jo Brenneman, Executive Director of Garrett County Hospice will talk about care transitions as they pertain to hospice and talk about the larger picture of safety net services for the entire family during this time of stress. 
Courtney Mazza will talk about her role in the Threshold Choir. 

Edelweiss Room

1:00- 2:00 Fracking and the Affect on Public Health
This presentation will be given by Nadine Grabinia and Annie Bristow. They will focus on public health in light of water quality and environmental concerns.  This subject is very timely as Garrett County moves forward with an economic impact study of fracking. 

1:10-1:50 Crystal Therapy Workshop
Artist and photographer Shannon Shine will lecture on crystal therapy and integrating arts into health.  

2:00-2:50  Guided Meditation
A guided meditation session by Christopher Selomon Closson

3:00-3:45 Gather for a walking meeting hosted by Ranger Julia Wieners in Casselman River Bridge State Park   Julia will provide a presentation highlighting the history of Casselman River Bridge State Park, and speaking on the health benefits that state parks and public lands can provide.

The Big Tent

2:00-2:50 Courtney Mazza will demonstrate painting techniques for the Walking Gallery
3:00-3:50  Aaron Smith will host short presentation and a how to hula hoop workshop.

General Session Alpine Room

4:00 The Patient Voice
A Presentation by Kym Martin.

4:30 Closing comments for the day. 
Regina Holliday closes the traditional conference days with a request to return in the evening for the art performances.

Traditional conference sessions end.  Feel free to explore the grounds, rest and grab a bite to eat before the evening program begins.

The Walking Gallery Gathers 7:00-10:00pm 

At 7:00 pm we will at the Casselman Resturant and Inn for a group shot of The Walking Gallery and the conference attendees.   We will then walk across the historic Casselman Bridge to the Little Crossings field by Spruce Artisan Village.   

There we will have our evening event under the big tent; this portion of the conference event is open to the public and does not require tickets. 

Ross Martin, MD will sing several of his songs focused on healthcare. 

This will be the 4th large gathering of The Walking Gallery of Healthcare.  In this space we will get to hear people tell their powerful stories. We will get to hear singers and musicians who are doctors and informatics professionals.  We will watch those that dance with fire. Christopher Selomon Closson will dance a fire poi presentation. The Ilumiknights, Aaron Smith, Aaron Long and Brett Rapson will fire dance and light the bonfire.

We will embrace the spark within ourselves and remember those we lost as we endeavor to make this world a better place.  We will close in the spirit of Burning Man and walk away on an illuminated bridge crossing the chasm of care. 

Conference Day 2
On June 5th  another conference day begins!  At 8:00 am we meet at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast and our general session.  

Alpine Room

8:30 General session begins 
Opening remarks by Regina Holliday

8:45 ePatient Dave DeBronkart will give a keynote presentation 

10:00 Mark Scrimshire will present a discussion on Patient empowerment and Blue Button.

10:30 Break

11:00 I Got Your “1” Patient Here: Health Literacy, empowered patients and living life as a cautionary tale.  

In this panel patients will discuss the challenges inherent in the system. 
Robb Fulks from Reading, Pennsylvania
Casey Quinlan from Richmond, Virginia
Ben Merrion from Washington, DC

12:00 Lunch 

Alpine Room

1:00-1:45 Sharing Data and The Learning Health System
A presentation by Josh Rubin, Executive Program Officer for Research and Development of activities related to the Learning Health System, University of Michigan School of Information
1:50 to 2:30 Failed Medical Devices and Patient Safety 
A presentation by Joleen Chambers, Failed Implant Device Alliance

Big Tent General Session

2:30-4 Facilitated Art Project by the Lilly Clinical Innovation team

4:00 is the close of the traditional conference day.  Feel free to explore and enjoy. 

PechaKucha Night Vol. 3 110 Main Street, Accident, MD 8:20-10:00pm Moon

At 7:30 we will carpool to Accident MD for a PechaKucha Night
Two of our attendees will be performing at this event and we will love to support them!
Josh Rubin, The Learning Health System
Carly Medosch, Chronic Illness Patient Advocate 

Conference Day 3

June 6th at 8:00 am meet at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast and our general session.  This day we will break into small groups to work on mentoring and individual coaching sessions.  General Conference closes at noon.  The party bus will be in the Penn Alps parking lot at 12:45pm to drive back to DC.

9:30- 10:15 The Big Tent
Lucy Leitner with an Apocalyptic Fitness session 9:30-10:15 in the big tent

10:30 The Big Tent
Face Painting with Loran  
Dodge Ball with Yoga Balls in the big field

10:15 -11:30 The Edelweiss/Dunbar 
Small group discussions

11:45 Big Tent
Closing Remarks Regina Holliday

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A home at HIStalk

Early in the morning of Monday, April 13, I walked across the McCormick Center in Chicago.  I headed toward the exhibition floor.  I had an exhibitor’s pass, so even at that early hour I was allowed into the mammoth room. I passed glorious booth after glorious booth.  Many venues were filled with plush carpets, large flat screens, food kiosks and even fine art.  I walked through isle after isle until I arrived at the 5300’s.   Then I turned, dragging my art supply case behind me.  I walked up the isle toward the HIStalk booth. 

The HIStalk booth was modest in the extreme.  The booth itself was a 12-foot by 12-foot space.  The carpet thin, the back drapes were a simple white. Two standing panels explained that HIStalk was the site for up-to-date news in HIT and the place to build your brand.  In the center was a foam core cut out of the Tim’s avatar from HIStalk.  A table with one chair graced the entrance of the booth.  The booth may have seemed austere, but I assure you HIStalk spares no expense where it really matters.

I attended my fourth HIMSS conference April 12-15, 2015 because of HIStalk.  This conference is one of the largest in the field of healthcare.  Over four short years, I have seen it begin to transform.  I used to be one of the few self-described patient attendees.  Now there are many of us.  I almost did not attend this year due to costs, but HIStalk came to the rescue.

In the spring of 2014, I did an interview with Tim from Histalk.  In that interview I bemoaned the lack of patient representation at HIMSS and explained that few patients could afford to attend the event. Tim offered to help create a scholarship for patients.  This year I reached out to Tim so we could make that scholarship a reality.  Of the many patients who applied, five were chosen to receive scholarships.  HIStalk also offered me a scholarship to cover most of my air travel and most of my hotel costs. I was still homeless at HIMSS on Tuesday night, but Kourtney Govro from Sphere 3 Consulting came to my rescue (as she did in 2014) with a last minute room.  

When I arrived in that modest booth on April 13, 2015, I began to set up my easel and paint jackets for The Walking Gallery.  Every few minutes a vender would come by and thank HIStalk profusely for what it does.  I would explain that I was working with HIStalk on their scholarship campaign and would give the HIStalk team the messages.  I heard the phrase “We are your biggest fans!” at least a hundred times.  Almost every vender that came by left swag and small gifts for the HIStalk team to give away. 

Lori and Jenn from Histalk arrived around 11 and received many accolades and I continued to paint.  Soon the patient scholars began arriving.  There was Carly Medosch, who speaks on behalf of so many patients with chronic illness.  Tami Rich who advocates for both her aging parents and her son with a heart condition.  Melanie Peron who after loosing her life partner, created The Butterfly Effect: a social enterprise to improve care transitions using art, story telling, and technology.  Amanda Greene who advocates on behalf of the Lupus community. Kim Witczak was the final scholarship recipient, but sadly could not attend due a time conflict at home. 

As each fellow patient arrived we embraced in joy.  Then each patient began the exhausting process of going to vender booth after vender booth and talking about technology from the patient perspective.  I stayed in the HIStalk booth and painted.  I listened to the attendees praise the work of HIStalk as they eagerly spoke about the HIStalkapalooza party on that Monday night.

Of all the parties that happen at HIMSS, HIStalkapalooza is the golden ticket event.  Each year it has grown and grown.  This year it was hosted in the House of Blues. The event was standing room only.  I and the other patients attended the festivities and Melanie even wore a French couture ball gown!  I am not one for crowds, so I stood in a quiet corner by the bar and listened to Jonathan Bush, co-founder of Athena Health and Walking Gallery member, get a pie in the face.  Everyone in the room was so jolly.  It was a lovely evening and I thank HIStalk for inviting us.

On Tuesday, I painted Carly Medoch’s jacket “My Medicine.” In that painting pills that treat pain through chemicals morph into the bunnies that treat pain through cuddles within the swirling cacophony of Carly’s life.  I finished it in time for her to gather in the HIStalk with the other members of the Walking Gallery at HIMSS.

I also painted a canvas for HIStalk.  It is entitled “We are your biggest fans.”  It is painted with the bright hues of the House of Blues.  In the center of the painting is the pie that would soon adorn Jonathan Bush’s face.  A winning sash like a beauty contestant would wear falls from the ceiling emblazoned with the words: “We are your biggest fans.”

I’m not sure who is saying that phrase. Is it the hundreds of attendees that visited this nondescript booth in the hinterlands of the trade-show floor?  Or is it the staff of HIStalk who loves their readers and knows money invested in a fancy booth is money that is not spent on people, patients and parties where we all embrace each other. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sending the Card

Today is Valentine’s Day. 

As a child, I rather dreaded this day as would have to laboriously write 30 names of my fellow students on their cards.  I did however cherish the cards I received in return and still have some from 1983 in my memory box.   Cards can make you feel so very wanted and loved.

As I worked this year with my son Isaac on his Valentine’s cards for his third grade classmates, we discussed the many ways he could show his friends that he cared for them.  We also began a rather deep conversation about subtext.  We talked about the facing message that is obvious in a card but there is often a deeper subtle message underneath.

In February of 2013, I began a campaign on and on Twitter to encourage Hallmark to have a line of hospice cards.  The idea came out of a tweet chat that TedMed hosted that year.   Major media sites reported the campaign that spring.  Hallmark did consider my proposal and made their search engine a bit more user friendly for families looking for cards appropriate for hospice, but they did not create a hospice card.  A competitor, Greeting Card Universe, ended up making 24 different types of hospice cards in the spring of 2013.

When I attended HIMSS in Louisiana in March 2013, I brought materials to begin creating a large hospice card prototype for Hallmark.  So many people who attended the Patient Engagement Track signed the inset that would accompany the card. 

When The Walking Gallery gathered on June 2, 2013 in Washington, DC attendees from all over the nation signed the card insert we planed to give to Hallmark.

When I spoke at KUMC in Kansas City, Kansas in September 2013, I brought the card elements with me.  With help from the amazing folks at KUMC we assembled the card right there in Kansas only miles away from Hallmark Headquarters. 

My dear friend Jari Holland Buck, Walking Gallery Member and patient advocate took the over-sized card to the Hallmark Headquarters in September 2014.  We had tried to arrange an official hand-off in 2013 but were unsuccessful.

 At approximately 11:30 am Central time, September 5, 2014, Jari delivered the hospice card we assembled at KU Medical Center. Jari did try to find the “right” person to accept delivery of the card to no avail.  She hoped a spontaneous visit would net results.

Prior to arriving, Jari verified that they still lacked an identified presence in the hospice cards. Their website stated the following, "These cards are available within several different lines in any store that carries Hallmark products.  But because they haven't typically been displayed together, and because not every store offering Hallmark products carries every card we produce, these cards can be difficult to find. Late last year we began offering new displays to group these cards in a "tough times" zone with signs to help shoppers find them.  These new sections will be appearing in many Hallmark Gold Crown stores throughout 2013."

The front desk security guard asked Jari to leave the card as she was making an “unscheduled delivery.” Jari refused, saying that there was too much pain and too many people behind this gesture to simply pass this work to Hallmark anonymously.

 Jari suggested several possible recipients to the security guard. The security guard responded that she didn’t have the names or roles of department employees. Jari suggested that Media Relations might be a good direction.

Linda Odell, (whom responded to my initial request via several reporters in 2013) Manager of Media Relations, personally accepted delivery of the card.

This is what Jari told Ms. Odell:

“My name is Jari Holland Buck. I am a Patient Advocate and member of Regina Holliday’s Walking Gallery. I am here today on behalf of all hospice patients, past, present and future, as well as the family members who care about and the caregivers who care for them. Facing death is one of the most difficult challenges any of us will face, whether it is ours or that of someone else.

Hallmark has helped us with our inability to express the right message and continues to do so by offering cards that are “appropriate” for those in hospice. When I walk into a Hallmark store to purchase a hospice card, this is not a fun trip. I do not wish to search through the racks or be escorted by an employee who may or may not know where to source the appropriate card on the racks. This is hard enough for me to acknowledge and I just want to get in and get out.  Hallmark has neither clustered these cards in a meaningful way in the stores nor offered a line specifically dedicated to this painful experience.

On behalf of Regina Holliday, members of the Patient Advocacy Walking Gallery, our local community and caregivers throughout the US, please accept “our” card asking you to dedicate your time and attention to this issue.”

Ms. Odell responded that she was working on correspondence with for a co-branded line of cards.  She was working on this at the very moment she was contacted by the security guard and thought the timing was fortuitous. Jari asked if Ms. Odell if she was aware of my petition and she said, “Yes. Regina was the one who initiated the petition for hospice cards.”

Ms. Odell stated that hospice cards were still not grouped within Hallmark stores and was aware that there had been “issues” with shelf talkers / inserts that identified their presence within the racks.

Jari told Ms. Odell that she was serving as an advocate for a hospice patient. Jari knew, from personal experience, what it was like to visit a Hallmark store seeking these cards. Jari explained how awkward many of her client’s friends and family members felt expressing themselves to the dying patient.

Ms. Odell acknowledged that the point “This is not a happy trip to the card store and I am not here to shop or laugh,” was a valid one and one not previously considered to her knowledge.

She also said she knew 15 people who needed to see the card. They were spread widely throughout the organization. Ms. Odell then asked for a copy of Jari’s explanation of the card, which Jari willingly provided.

Today is Valentine’s Day and Jari sent me a card.  I don’t get many cards on Valentines day and I thank Jari for being such a great friend.  Her card encouraged me to write this post today and report on the Hospice Card saga of the past 2 years.

Which encouraged me to think about subtext.

I realized that I began demanding cards for our loved ones who are dying in February the month of Valentine’s Day.

I am a Widow. This is a hard month for me.  My thoughts turn to love and loss.  My request to Hallmark is that same as it was two years ago.  Help make a time that is so very sad be filled with love.  I don’t want a memory box just filled with Valentines.  I want to see some hospice cards.

So I write this post today and will tag it with #HealthPolicyValentines.  

Be the change you wish to see.  Never forget you can change health policy with a simple greeting card. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This is February.  In a few days from now thousands of people will flock to New York for Toy Fair 2015.  These are the people who spend their year focused on the wants and needs of children.  There will be the store buyers who will look for new the toys that will make a child squeal with glee.  The manufacturers and the designers will listen closely to the buyers and think of the ways they will redesign in 2016.  Marketers will spend countless hours focused on informing Mommy bloggers about all the wonderful items that will educate and inspire the future generation.  In the bright and whirling cacophony of commerce, design and creation everyone will focus on the child.

While all of this transpires, I will take off my artist smock and for day go back to Barstons Child’s Play, the store I have worked in for over 16 years.  I will be a clerk again.  I will focus on children and joy.  I will help parents make the best choices for their little ones.  I will fly away from the sickness and sorrow that informs so much of my work, and I will be the one who helps a child.

Then March will come.  Thousands of people will flock to Austin, Texas for SXSW2015 (South by Southwest).  These are the people that spend their year focused on film, music and cutting edge technology.  There will be the storeowners looking for an edgy sound or the newest digital design.  There will be the venture capitalists and angel investors looking for the hot new medical device or mobile tech concept.  There will be marketers and entertainment bloggers looking for the hottest new act.  In this pulsing musical clamor of the arts and tech combined, very few people will focus on the child.

Within the sprawling venue there are three tracks: Film, Music and Interactive.  Within the Interactive track is an expo focused on health and innovation.  Within the expo there is a microcosm called Impact Pediatric:  HealthPitch Competition.

Here they will focus on the child and for them I created the painting “Flying”

I took their logo, a spiraling series of foreshortened dots and turned them into shields.  Behind the shields pediatric patients are flying like superheroes.

In the far distance three children fly with symbols of a teardrop for mental anguish, a question for innovation and gears for power of industry.

Closer in a child flies with an exclamation point shield representing patient safety, another child has the symbol of a die for gamification and closer yet a child flies with the symbol of a ribbon that represents all disease.

Along the top of the spiral a girl holds a shield with the medical cross representing institutional medicine.  To her right a toddler boy holds a shield emblazoned with the universal symbol for the infant and it represents prematurity.  To his right a girl proudly bears a shield with a double helix for the potential of applied genomics.

At the bottom of the spiral and closet to the viewer are the last two children.  A boy holds a shield with the pound symbol, the hashtag, representing all things social media. To his left a determined girl flies toward the viewer and upon her shield is the wifi symbol representing the power of interactive tech to spread a culture of health.

On Monday March 16, the finalists will present their interactive concepts that could help pediatric populations.  I hope this painting will inspire them.  I am glad that Brian Lang from Impact Pediatric asked for my help on this project. I am so very happy to return to my first passion and once again help a child.