“Sock Drawer Stories: Portraits of Hope & Healing”

This week on White Coat, Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldstein, Teresa Coulter shares her unique project “Sock Drawer Stories”, inspired by the traumatic stress effects on first responders. Teresa has over 14 years of experience on the front-lines and  “learned to cram away” her traumatic experiences, like many of her colleagues. When she reached her breaking point, Teresa turned to her artistic nature to express her feelings and process her traumatic experiences. She has since helped other first reponders to tell their stories through her painting.

“Over the years, Teresa has had many calls to respond and function in a brutal and horrific setting.  Like many of her colleagues, she learned to cram these experiences away. Her friend, Calgary paramedic Rob Gladney told her he did the same thing — he called it stuffing the bad socks into the back of the sock drawer. Both of them experienced an incident caused the entire sock drawer to spill out, forcing them to confront long-buried feelings.

For Teresa, it triggered a period of introspection and also kindled in her a desire to paint her feelings.  It was then that she got the idea to recruit and paint the portraits of fellow first responders with PTSD.  And Rob’s image of that over-stuffed sock drawer gave the project it’s name. The 12 portraits she painted – men and women from the front lines of health care – form the backbone of an art exhibit entitled Sock Drawer Stories. It garnered rave reviews when it was shown at the University of Calgary in June and has since been shown in Edmonton.” – Dr. Goldstein

Click here to check out this amazing project, listen to the podcast and read Teresa’s story.

How long will you live? The link between Poverty and Health

Does it make sense to prescribe diaper cream to a baby with a chronic rash, when the real cause of the problem is that his mother can’t afford to buy diapers and change him regularly?

This is a fascinating show on the connection between poverty, health and life expectancy on CBC’s “Project Money”.  It features Dr Gary Bloch, a family doctor with St. Michael’s  Hospital in Toronto who is also the chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Committee on Poverty and Health.

Click here for the podcast

Dr Bloch is also the author of a March 20, 2013 Globe and Mail article entitled: “As a doctor, here’s why I’m prescribing tax returns. Seriously”

In this piece, Dr Bloch writes: “The link between health and income is solid and consistent – almost every major health condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness, occurs more often and has worse outcomes among people who live at lower income. As people improve their income, their health improves. It follows that improving my patients’ income should improve their health.”

This is an important discussion that we all need to be part of. It also suggests that front line workers, physicians, nurses, social workers etc. should always ask about a patient’s financial situation and become more aware of the resources available in the community.

Dr Bloch also believes in advocating for larger scale societal changes: “As doctors we need to, and we can, prescribe income while advocating for real, effective policies to combat poverty.”

How refreshing and inspiring!

Virtual Book Launch: Audio and Webinar recordings

Here is the audio recording of the Virtual Book Launch held on April 16 2012 of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook.

Thank you to those who attended the live webcast! I was very touched by your emails and your feedback.

Please remember that the book draw, referred to in the audio file was only for the live event and is now closed. If you wish to purchase a copy of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, you can go to our Store and follow the links.

Thanks! I hope to offer more webinars in the future.

Update: The winner of the book draw is Rhonda Leblanc from Nova Scotia. Thank you to everyone who participated.