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Face to Face with SHE — Insights from WPP Stream Health and TEDMED 2014

Two weeks ago I attended WPP Stream Health in Orlando, the “unconference” hosted by Grey Healthcare and ended in San Francisco at TEDMED 2014. The theme of both gatherings was unleashing imagination and collaboration to redesign our approach to building a healthier world.

I had a particular mission. As the Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Talent Innovation, I am leading a research project sponsored by leading bio-pharma, health solutions and managed care companies on “The Power of the Purse: The Implications of the SHEconomy on the Business and Talent Models in Healthcare.” Although it has been known for a while that women are estimated to make 85 percent of the health care decisions for their families and are the majority of patients, pharmacists, regulators, nurses and HC workers in the largest and fastest growing segment of most economies, these facts have not yet translated into broad ranging innovation in HC discoveries or delivery — much to the detriment of health outcomes for individuals, families, and society. Not to mention the health of the bottom line of companies.

In an industry that is still predominately product and disease-centric, I was on a search to meet and understand SHE — the women behind the stats. I wanted to put a face to and a voice on the women who are under-served, under-treated, under-heard and under-supported to better understand the pathways to a healthier future. This includes the patients, their caregivers, and the healthcare professionals who serve them.

Let me introduce a fraction of the SHEs that I met:

The Chief Medical Officer — At WPP Stream Health, a multidisciplinary group of physicians, marketers, digital technologists, regulators, consumer advocacy groups and bio-pharma scientists, redefined Mom as the CMO of the family and reimagined the power of elevating her to a position of respect and responsibility as a key member of the medical team. After all, the CMO is the chief nutritionist, lead diagnostician, statistician, caregiver and enforcer of adherence for her family, identifying early symptoms, creating guidelines of healthy eating, monitoring compliance and encouraging adherence. Think about the opportunity to support her with respect, blockbuster tools and transparent, trusted information so that she could do her job.

The Surgeon General – -At TEDMED, on Sept 11, we heard from the U.S. Army Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho. While acknowledging the approximately 3000 people who lost their lives when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and, again, on September 11th, she spoke of the 400,000 patients that die every year in US hospitals due to “preventable harm”. She called for doctors and hospital systems to become more courageous, honest and transparent about medical errors so that they can be understood, examined, measured and remediated.

The Nurses — In the Hive at TEDMED, a buzzing arena filled with innovative entrepreneurs experimenting with technology that will revolutionize health, I played a Virtual Reality game of Snowmen, presented by Howard Rose, the CEO of DeepstreamVR. This game is played by burn victims coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan as a pain management intervention during the treatment of their wounds in the burn unit. Howard explained that the Doctor-centered model that exists today underutilizes our ability to heal ourselves. DeepstreamVR’s targets are the nurses, who burn out in part due to the pain they impart during the treatment. Virtual reality as a pain management device allows the nurses to experience healing as opposed to hurting.

The Researchers — In the Hive at TEDMED, I met women researchers, like Rupal Patel, who were motivated to commercialize their research to answer the emotional suffering that comes from disease. Through her company, VOCALiD, Rupal is creating customized synthetic voices, not the standard issue voice that we associate with Stephen Hawking. Rupal’s technology combines sounds from “unheard” patients who are unable to speak clearly with “sound DNA” contributions from volunteers who contribute their voices to be digitally combined with the patients’. As a result, patients are able to type messages that are expressed with a unique vocal persona that engages and builds emotional connections. For all her ingenuity as an inventor and a woman entrepreneur, she is challenged in the male world of venture capital.

The Doctor - We heard from Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician who has received death threats for her decision to launch and the Total Transparency Manifesto imploring doctors to reveal who they really are — their values, their views on end of life, sexual orientation and reproductive rights, their conflicts of interest, and other humanizing facts that could help increase the trust and confidence of their patients.

The Patient – Through the inventor of an expert-system online protocol, I glimpsed into the world of women with headaches who go from doctor to doctor looking for relief and proper diagnosis without understanding that women are 3 times more likely to experience headaches due to their hormonal, kinetic and neurological makeup. And the women with heart disease who goes undiagnosed because her symptoms don’t include numbness and chest pain – making heart disease the largest killer of women in the US.

Face to face with SHE. And SHE has so many faces.

This is great news because by better relating and connecting to SHE, we can be on the road to recovery.


Categories: Carolyn Buck Luce, Health Care, Thought Leadership, and Women.

How the ‘SHEconomy’ Will Reshape the Private Sector

By Carolyn Buck Luce

Last week, I had the honor of being the MC for the event at the United Nations to celebrate International Women’s Day. Presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the UN Office for Partnerships, “Turning Inspiration into Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally” convened a cross-section of social empowerment heavy hitters, including Chelsea Clinton, Ambassador Melanie Verveer, and representatives from some of America’s biggest companies who make it their business to help women succeed.

Why should the private sector care? And why the UN? Today we are facing a new Emerging Market that will dwarf the size of both the population and GDPs of China and India. What is the Emerging Market that will redefine society and the world? Women. And there is a powerful business case for developing sustainable women’s economic empowerment programs, not just in the United States but also around the world.

In the next decade it is estimated that close to 1 billion women, mostly in the developing world, are going to enter the formal economy and become new economic contributors, as full-time workers and micro-entrepreneurs. The growing pace of urban migration, access to education, better health, mobile technologies and micro credit will continue to fuel this phenomenon.

This tidal wave of talent and new purchasing power joins the growing dominance of women in the developed world.

• In the U.S. and Europe, women account for the majority of college students, and this is trending towards 60 percent.

• Working women in the United States generate $4.3 trillion in earned income annually and now represent 50 percent of all workers in this country.

• Women contributed nearly 100 percent of the change in family income in the past decade in the U.S.

• They represent the fastest cohort of wealth accumulators — owning 75 percent of the nation’s wealth in the U.S. — and are estimated to inherit anywhere from $12-$40 trillion over the next 20 years.

• If women were working at the same rate men were global GDP would take off — for example, in Egypt, GDP could grow by 34 percent, 12 percent in the United Arab Emirates, in Japan by 9 percent, and in the United States by 5 percent.

• Globally women make 65 percent+ of all purchasing decisions, including cars, houses and health

In other words, the economy is turning into the “SHEconomy.”

At a time when country boundaries are hardening, creating challenges for multilateral and civil society organizations to fulfill their missions, there is good news. The private sector is growing in consciousness as it goes global in a shrinking world. The demographic, social, geopolitical, technology and economic realities are coming together to paint a vivid picture in the C-Suites — and executives are realizing that women are the greatest untapped and abundant natural resources left on the planet. And courageous private sector leaders understand that we are reaching a tipping point where companies will need to take a longer-term view and embrace the possibility that the private sector could be a unique engine of transformation for the world.

At the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), the New York think-tank where I serve as Executive-in-Residence and co-founder, women’s empowerment has been one of our core themes since the Center was founded ten years ago, and it remains central as we move into our next decade of amplifying the conversation on under-leveraged streams of talent around the world.

In fact, we are calling 2014 “The Year of the Woman” at CTI: We kicked off the year by launching “Athena Factor 2.0: Accelerating Female Talent in Science, Engineering and Technology.” We’re also producing in-depth, data-driven reports on “The Power of the Purse: The Implications of the SHEconomy for Health and Wealth” which examines the ways companies can leverage their business and talent models to capitalize on these demographic mega-trends. A subject near to my heart, we will also be launching “Women and Power,” which will illuminate how women differ from men in how they define power, what they want from it, how they “wear” it, and how their relationship with power and ambition contributes to their “stalling” at the threshold to executive positions.

In a panel discussion which I moderated at the UN event, four of our sponsors of these studies — Tupperware Brands, UBS Financial Services, Cardinal Health, and Grey Healthcare Group — had a thought-provoking conversation on the “SHEconomy” and the power of the female consumer in a growing middle class to effect change in all different sectors of the economy.

It’s a conversation that will spread to every corner office, cubicle and kitchen where a talented women is making decisions about how to invest her money, pay for her — and her family’s — healthcare, and progress in her career. I hope you’ll join in. I’d love to hear your comments.

Categories: Carolyn Buck Luce, Thought Leadership, and Women.