Some Unconventional Approaches to Stress: Pioneering Ideas Podcast Episode 7

Jan 29, 2015, 7:00 PM, Posted by Lori Melichar

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A man asking for money on the subway this week told me how Hurricane Sandy led to a series of events that left him stressed out by the challenges of putting food on the table for his children.

Recessions, hurricanes, violence—how many ways can we count that add stress to our lives? Whether dealing with economic stress, the stress of caring for an aging parent, or even the stress of keeping up with email, research shows that all of it affects our health. As Alexandra Drane, a guest in the latest episode of RWJF’s Pioneering Ideas podcast, puts it: “When life goes wrong, health goes wrong.”

This episode of the Pioneering Ideas podcast explores unconventional approaches to tackling stress­—and other health problems—with energizing possibilities that could also transform health and health care. From monitoring electricity use as a way of helping the elderly stay in their homes, to measuring the indirect health effects of social services (what if heating assistance led to greater medication adherence?), these conversations offer cutting-edge ideas for building a Culture of Health.

In this episode:

  • Cutting-Edge Approaches to Helping the Elderly Age in Place: How can tracking electricity usage help senior citizens age in place—and reduce stress for caregivers? Listen in as my colleague Paul Tarini and Paul Tang, MD, MS, of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation talk about innovations coming out of the linkAges Connect program, which RWJF supports.
  • How Understanding Scarcity Can Help Build a Culture of Health: Harvard economist and TED speaker Sendhil Mullainathan chats with me about how the ideas in his book with co-author Eldar Shafir, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, apply to transforming health and health care.
  • Personal Essay: When Life Goes Wrong, Health Goes Wrong: “We need to formally acknowledge that helping someone survive a divorce is just as important as helping someone with their diabetes,” argues entrepreneur and speaker Alexandra Drane in her personal vision for building a Culture of Health.

Let me know what you think about the ideas in this episode. How do they relate to pioneering work you’re doing? What possibilities do they suggest to you? What questions do they inspire? Let’s keep the conversation going. Leave a comment below, or tweet me at @lorimelichar—you can use the hashtag #RWJFPodcast.

And if you’ve got a pioneering idea for building a Culture of Health, I encourage you to learn more and submit a proposal.