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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Voter Registration

In the nights preceding The Walking Gallery, I was frantically painting.  In those last two weeks I was functioning on 3-4 hours of sleep each night.  One the evening of June 5th, I received a phone call.  Now, I don’t get many phone calls.  I communicate mostly by email, Facebook, Twitter and Text.  I answered the phone with paintbrush in hand. On the line was a voice that said, “ Hi, I am Matthew and I am organizing help for upcoming events with Organizing For America and we would love it if you would be able to volunteer.”  

Once upon a time I did phone solicitation, so I was not going to brush off Matthew.  A cold call is a really hard thing to do. But I was kind of busy, so I said, “I would love to help out but I am painting non-stop for a gallery show in less than two days.  Could you call me back?”  Mathew said he would.  Then I asked Matthew, “Would you come to the Gallery Show?  It will be from 6:00-9:00 Tuesday night in the new Kaiser Center for Total Health near Union Station.”   He said he would try and I hung up and went back to painting.

The gallery show was a smashing success.  Mid-way through the evening, a tall thin young man I did not recognize came up to me. 
2011 The Walking Gallery 2650
He said “Hi, I am Matthew Metz from Organizing for America, we talked on the phone the other night…  This is so great I am glad I came! I absolutely loved your art exhibit! I have been to a lot of exhibits, but never before have I been to an exhibit as meaningful as yours. Your speech incredible, the art was amazing, and I loved the interactive wall!  I would love the chance to learn more about your artwork!  Thank you so much for telling me about your exhibit, I really had a great time! My parents started an art museum in Burlington, VT. I told them about what I saw and they were so jealous!”

I was so happy.  There were a lot of people I was happy to see at the Gallery, and I met many for the first time.  But Matthew took a leap of faith.  He had cold called me, and was willing to listen to my request and not just stick to a pitch.
Matthew Metz at OFA_DC
So yesterday, I volunteered with Organizing for America to register voters in Virginia.  I met a lot of dedicated volunteers and staffers like Matthew Metz and Kouri C. Marshall, who was recognized in 2009 by EnVest Foundation as one of the top "40 under 40"leaders in The DC area.
Kouri at OFA_DC

Mathew told me we would be riding with Jon Mandel.  We took a very winding and slightly confused path trying to navigate the interstate and the massive road construction.  The great thing about the trip was its circuitous nature allowed for wide-ranging discussion.  Because of this, I found out Jon works for Ketchum and is part of the PR push for consumer awareness of Electronic Health Records and their great potential for improving medicine.  We then left Matthew somewhat behind in conversation as we talked about Lygeia Ricciardi , Josh Seidman, Ted Smith and Farzad Mostashari.  Matthew joined back in when he began describing patient stories within his family.  I promptly followed both Matthew and Jon on Twitter so we could continue this conversation online.
Jon Mandel
We finally arrived at the rally point to encourage Virginian’s to register to vote.  The Virginia Fairfax DNC folks wanted us to drive to the Vienna Metro to register folks.  We were rather upset by this.  Why had we had driven such a long way to drive to a metro?  We could have used metro to participate.  Then I looked at the forms we using, they were all available online.  We could have printed these out at home or at the DNC in Washington and spent more time registering people.  We finally ended up trying to register voters at a local mall.  We did our best, but Matthew was the clear winner in getting the most forms filed out.

On the way back to DC, I checked my email and I saw another vote was happening online.  Modern was hosting a vote for the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.  I was very excited to see many of the names on the list.  But alas you can only vote for 5 of those listed.  As I looked through the list I was happy to see Don Berwick, Maureen Bisignono, Carolyn Clancy, Charles Denham, Lucian Leape, and Farzad Mostashari.  But as I began checking through the list of 300 plus names, I saw very few of them had accounts on Twitter.  I decided to start sending out tweets in support of voting for Farzad and Chuck because they are really cool and understand the patient voice.  But also they are embracing social media and the give and take relationship that mode of communication requires.

I created a Wordle of all the names of those nominated with their titles.  Do think this is an image of what influences us in Healthcare? 
Modern Health Care Wordle
I think we are on the cusp of great change within healthcare.  A top down influence paradigm is changing into one of connectedness.  As we travel father down this path of shared decision-making, social media in healthcare, and the Partnership with Patients, we will all need people to consider embracing new titles and tools to truly influence healthier decisions.

Please consider voting for Farzad Mostashari and Charles Denham as 2 of the most influential people in healthcare, because they tweet.  Because they talk to all of us and like my new friends Jon and Matthew, they are meeting with us where we are.   

Go here. You can vote until June 24th  for the 100 Most Influential

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of Matthew! I was fortunate to meet him at his college (where I am employed) and was his transportation last fall to see our President in person on the campus of The Ohio State University. Matthew is indeed a wonderful guy and I love hearing how he is using his talents to further the good things happening in the Democratic party.