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Archive for February, 2014

Help Studio B on IndieGogo, Por Favor

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Raising money is hard.

Raising money for projects when passion, rather than profit is the primary motive is even harder.

Thus enters the story of my friend, NaShara, who is trying to raise money for her new Studio and coworking space in Indianapolis as a center for education and support of entrepreneurs in the city of Indianapolis, and in particular for women.

She has launched a campaign on IndieGogo.  Please check it out and consider donating, as it is absolutely CRITICAL that we support our entrepreneurs and creative spirits in the Indianapolis community, and NaShara is trying to create space that fosters this activity and these souls who dare to create new and exciting products and services for all.


Bringing Out Your InterProfessional

Monday, February 24th, 2014

So, had a meeting with a few of my favorite professors today.  We’re serving as faculty mentors on interdisciplinary projects (children’s books) at Butler University.  We’re actually collectively presenting at a national teaching educators’ conference in Indianapolis in a couple of weeks (which, BTW, I think is super cool to present to other higher educators outside of my own disciplines).

We were talking today about who would present which part(s) of the presentation, but as I was thinking about it, there’s no rocket science to any of this.

If you want to start interprofessional projects at your university, school, college or campus, here’s the trick: just start.  Reach out and find one creative, like-minded professor peer in another college or discipline that’s willing to go out of the box with you, and then recruit some students in each respective college to throw together on a project. Build on the success of the first project, and repeat it again with a bigger N, with different professors and disciplines involved.  Admit right out of the gate that you don’t have the answers (because, you don’t and won’t – that’s part of the fun).

That’s it.  It’s just that simple.

Sometimes, you’ll reach out and hit a brick wall.  But, just keep trying.  There are other interprofessional souls out there–sometimes, you just have to keep on trying and asking until you find one.  Then two, then 3.  Next thing you know, you’ve got an an amazing cadre of faculty who are ready to rock interprofessional and interdisciplinary projects that benefit learning and strengthen the entire campus experience.



Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

I went shopping today.  Not so much because I NEEDED stuff.  But moreso because I WANTED something: some springspiration.

Let’s face it: it’s been a hard, cold, long winter.  Coupled with that, I’ve been asked to give the Keynote at Techfest in Ft. Wayne in a couple of weeks, along with a “For Girls Only” breakout session. Both talks are to “inspire” 300ish high school students to rock, be awesome, follow their dreams, etc.

When I got to the store, the Springspiration rack was totally empty.  Bummer.  But, here are some general first thoughts on how get your seasonal mojo back on, even if the weather is still resisting the next iteration of the year:

1.  Don’t grow up. It’s a scam.  Seriously – don’t do it.  Stay young.  Stay foolish.  Take a risk or two. Be OK with failure–because trust me, it’s coming.  But that’s OK.  I’d rather you see some failure then think everything is perfect.  Because there is no perfection.  Perfection is booooring anyway. Next!

2.  There is no perfection.  As I said in #1, “perfect” is just like “growing up” – both are a scam. There is no perfection.  The good is the enemy of perfect.  If you wait for perfection, you’re going to be waiting a long, long time.  Deal with good enough, and move forward.

3.  Stay in school for as long as you can.  I’ve got a PhD or two in the school of hard knocks.  I got those in the university of the “real world.” You don’t have to go to Harvard, Stanford or MIT to keep on learning throughout your life.  There’s now this really cool thing (that you’re ironically on right now) called the “internet” where you can learn cool stuff for FREE.  If you keep learning, you keep growing.

4.  Welcome the haters.  I’ve said it before here, I’ll say it again: if you’ve got the haters coming out in full force against you, you’re doing something right.  Welcome them, because without them, no one would be paying attention.  Obviously, you’re doing something right to polarize peeps–carry on.

5.  Don’t be a watered down version of y-o-u.  This is kind of along the lines of #4…but this is the era of authenticity.  You need to be the most authentic version of you.  Otherwise, you’re not only doing a disservice to yourself, but your aren’t serving the universe in your best capacity either – which means your calling or purpose could be diluted (and we are all each here for a reason).  Don’t be your mom’s version of you, or your teacher’s, or your preacher’s.  Be YOUR best version of you, and don’t forget it.

I need a few more rules here to live by in order to “follow thy dream” – what are they? I don’t know.  The rack is empty right now.  But hopefully, another 5 ideas will pop up soon….

The Wonderful World of Tech Wellness: WHO Owns it in Healthcare?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

The more I think about this idea, the more I scratch my head.

Why is there no healthcare organization owning tech wellness?

First off, what do I mean by that?  Two things, mainly:

1. Wearable wellness tech – Fitbit, as you’ve heard me cry here before about the wonders of it in keeping me at the treadmill.

2. Apps for wellness – mainly for smartphones and iPads.  Can these little gadgets really change behavior?  After hearing that the makers of Candy Crush saga have already earned $2B (yes, with a B) and are putting out an IPO, I think I already have the answer to this.  I’ll even go lower tech tech here and say stuff like CaringBridge or Patients Like Me are portals that healthcare pros should know about for their patients.

But, on the healthcare side, WHO is owning this?

Doctors don’t have time.  While I’ve seen pharmacists wearing them more and more for their own health, I don’t see any pharmacy chain owning this space.  The Apple store has wearables, but there’s no one at the store to consult with on healthcare, specifically.  Sporting goods stores may have them, but again – do they have an actual healthcare professional on staff at every store to help patients find the BEST solution for monitoring their wellness?

I’ll leave you with this to ponder.  But before I go, one last bit–LegalForce.  This bookstore/legal advice shop has me wondering, again.  Could we actually have a “LegalForce” retail store for pharmacy?  Instead of selling drugs (or just drugs) what if we also could sell blocks of time for advice?  What if we could sell books on health and wellness?  What if we could take time to help patients set up apps and wearables to monitor their wellness?



Sunday, February 16th, 2014

While I’m a closet/drawer/file hot mess (admittedly at this forum before, several times), I am careful about really precious paperwork.  So, I had a few docs to put in a super safe place today and headed to that special corner in my office, when I was digging through the files and stumbled on a sealed envelope marked, simply:


It’s in my handwriting.  But I honestly for the life of me cannot remember what I put inside that envelope!

The burning question is: should I open it?

On one hand, I may die tomorrow, and I’ll never know what I sealed in that envelope in my precious pile if I don’t.  It could unlock a mystery, cure cancer, or be the next Holy Grail!

On other hand, it’s marked 2018 for a reason, like, the year 2018, which probably meant, “Hey, Albert, don’t open this until 2018.”  But, I put it in the safe important pile, which means I didn’t want to lose it.

Does anyone else out there have this problem, or just me?

What to do…other than hope I don’t have early stage Alzheimer’s…

The Train to Awesometown Goes Through Suckville, But Maybe They’re Suburbs of the Same City

Saturday, February 15th, 2014


awesometownCharles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (I mean, I think he wrote that in A Tale of Two Cities–yes? I haven’t read that since high school, and that’s been a minute or two ago.)

Such was the case for me this past week.

It was full of mind-numbing, painful moments, like tax preparation (I took ‘the box’ of my 2013 life into my CPA), exam writing (multiple choice exams are probably the least fun part about teaching for me).  I would have also had my 18th wedding anniversary this week had I still been married (glad I’m not, but still not thrilled every year when that memory of an epic failure in my life rolls around).

I lost one of my two lucky pearl earrings this morning.  And, of course, it snowed, AGAIN, more than DOUBLE what was forecasted, and ruined some plans I had for weeks previously set. (Someone REALLY PO’d Mother Nature this year.  If it was you, kindly make up with her so we can please all move on to spring.)

However, on the other hand, I also had a great week.  A guest speaker in one of my classes gave us all (including myself) a good pep talk on big picture things that matter, like legacy, and life purpose–thank you for the lesson, Kelly!  I also had another guest speaker who managed to make it out of Washington D.C. in order to lecture to class this week, even though Mother Nature foisted her rage onto the east coast earlier.  And, above all, I managed to pick up a 15th fan of this here tiny blog (thank you, Magellan).  Last but not least, my personalized mug with my favorite quote of my own showed up in the mail today – see above (and then be green with envy).

After this week, and thinking about Chuck Dickens, I’m starting to wonder if Awesometown and Suckville might just happen to be two suburbs of one major city.  Lifeville?  Universalcity?  Worldburg? Journeytown?  I don’t know.  But I find that sometimes, while certain parts of your life roll downward to some of the lowest ebbs, where you’re just ready to hit the wall and reach for that final straw and it bends, it can also be at the exact same time of the highest highs, where you have a glimmer of hope, a fleeting sparkly moment, that maybe, just maybe, everything will turn out even better than you ever imagined.

That’s as deep as it gets here this weekend.  I’m off to brew a cup of tea in my awesome new cup…and ponder this for a bit longer.

An Open Letter to CVS/Caremark

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Dear CVS/Caremark:

First off, disclaimer time! I used to work for you- it was my last community practice pharmacy gig right before I made the insane decision to enter law school.  So, take my post with a little bias, most likely.  (And I LOVE ALL PHARMACIES – not just yours!)

Second, PROPS to YOU for having the guts to get rid of tobacco products from your stores.  While I’m certain the decision wasn’t easy, it was the RIGHT decision, if pharmacies like yours really want to be known as hubs of wellness and preventative healthcare measures.  I saw this article and thought you were right on track.

But, I was thinking about this today, and it was brought up in class – what are you going to do with all that behind the counter space now that tobacco is going bye bye?!?

I have a suggestion for you, which is an opportunity that NO ONE is really owning in the healthcare space right now.  Ready?

I’d respectfully request that you consider adding a wearables section to your store, right behind the counter.  Yup – I’d love to see Fitbit, Nike’s wearable, even stuff like Google glass down the road!  Why?

Because I think wearables can positively change our behaviors and decisions – when we eat, when we exercise, and how long we eat and exercise every day.

Furthermore, while this is going to cost you a little extra $$, I’d like to see you have one or two people in your stores become experts at wearables.  That means, training people how to hook up smartphone apps to all these gadgets so we can all start tracking and monitoring our behavior.  That could be a pharmacy student, a tech, or even a pharmacist at your stores.  Or, you could even go crazy and bring in a smart phone provider to help people stay healthy with technology!

Case in point? Yours truly.  I bought myself a Fitbit Flex for Christmas, and as my loyal fans already know, I’ve been raving about getting my dupa on the treadmill pretty much each and every day since then to get moving.  While I haven’t lost a ton of weight, I have lost some, and I’d like to lose more.  Thanks to my handy dandy Fitbit, I know when I get home from work how much to hit the treadmill.

I want to see pharmacy. Own. Wellness!  Docs have crushing time constraints, and someone really needs to step up and own this in healthcare – WHY NOT PHARMACY!?!

Respectfully submitted,

Erin L. Albert

Is it Live, MOOC, Memorex, or Smiab?

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Forgive me for what I’m about to discuss, but it’s something that I read about today, when applied to another context, kind of starts to make sense…although, some if it is still missing when I attempt to connect the dots.

I read this morning in the NY Times about Smiabs – or Soul Mates in a Box – or people forming strong virtual relationships with others online.  But, it turns out that when Smiabs actually meet in the real world, nothing seems to be the same.  There’s something missing.  They no longer click.  They no longer have that rush of soul-matedness.

The context that I’ve also been pondering around this idea of live vs. online for several years now is the classroom setting.  (Not soulmates.)  But, what’s the true difference and value of a class meeting live, with a professor in the flesh, vs. the students just receiving information through a MOOC (or massive open online course), or just a recorded lecture?

We love to trumpet that smaller classroom sizes in colleges and universities are an advantage to learning, although, I’m not sure if there’s actually data to back that up.  But, I can tell you that as a professor, I can learn about students and what drives them in a class of 10 vs. 140 a lot more easily.  In the class of 140, I only can learn something about the ends of the curve – the rockstars and the envelope pushers.  Everyone in the middle tends to get lost.

What is this special sauce that is missing in the Smiab couples in the NY Times article, and what is the special sauce that is missing in the MOOC in the new online classroom?  Is it showing vulnerability? Imperfection?  Daring to show the entire flawed human (the significant other who is an introvert but a great writer online, or the professor who doesn’t have all the answers but appears to online)?

I don’t know.  But I can tell you that I’ve flipped one of my classes now for two years.  On the evals, I get two distinct camps: one camp loves it (and basically thanks me for treating them like adults), and the other camp hates it (but when I ask them why, the only reason they can come up with on paper is that they have to be self-accountable for their learning).  But, I think there is something else that is removed when a class goes from live to online or recorded–and that special sauce is the same thing missing from Smiabs.

Exactly what that is, I don’t know, yet.  But I’ll keep pondering it…

Stuck in the Netherworld of Writing

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Greetings from the Netherworld.

That is, the Netherworld of the writer.

What does that world appear as?

Well, I can tell you that it is the period of waiting…between writing, writing, writing and editing, editing and editing some more that book (or this time, books) that you FINALLY signed off on, but they are at the printer.  They’re cooking.  They’re being formed.  But, your part is kind of done until the physical book or two shows up at your door on a pallet.

I can’t really start another book yet, because I’m not free from the shackles of launching the new books yet.  And I can’t really launch the new books yet, until I have the books in my paws, and they are available to the masses.

While some people would view this as a good problem to have, it’s also purgatory for the writer in me.

I’ve been thinking about what books I should attempt next, but I then get stopped cold in my tracks by the work I will still need to do on the new books coming.  You know, the ones being formed at the printer.  The ones not done cooking yet.

If I only had a printing press.

Or some patience…

Vilentine’s Day

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Yes, I meant to spell this day this way.

If you’re a regular reader of this tiny blog (as all 14 of my fans are), you already know how I feel about Valentine’s Day.  Let’s put it this way: it’s not my favorite holiday, in case you were wondering.

I just recently read about the origins of Valentine’s Day too – the super sweet flogging of women by men with animal skins was included as part of the original VDay rituals.  (Yeah, this makes me love the holiday even more…not.) Ugh.  Nothing says I love you like being smacked by an an animal pelt.

So, my cynical standpoint (and ironically hopeless romantic viewpoint) on the holiday is this: if you’re really in love with someone, if you’re lucky enough to find that person and spend time with them, shouldn’t EVERY day be Valentine’s Day?  Furthermore, shouldn’t EVERYONE you love be included in the love fest, not just the significant other love?

I’m certain I’ll wear red this February 14 and blend in with the sea of temporarily love struck masses, as I know the only real way one can change the system is to infiltrate and change it from the inside out.  But really, being a hopeless romantic makes me shake my head at this animal skin originating vile day, as REAL Valentine’s Day, for ALL OF US, single, coupled up, or somewhere in between, should be 24-7-365, not just one day each year.  Maybe if we treated everyone we loved like every day was Valentine’s Day, our world would be a much better place.

That is all.