I write about health, illness, and health care, informed by scientific research. As an experienced medical writer, I’ve done many kinds of writing, including
- feature articles for newspapers, newsletters, and websites read by laypeople
- magazine articles
- research news stories in newsletters and websites for clinicians and researchers
- brochures and website text for medical practices
- conference reporting.
I launched the White Coats, Paper Gowns blog to add my own evidence-based viewpoint to the debate over health care. I see doctor-patient communication, patient satisfaction, medical decision-making, and other medical matters through the lens of psychological research. I believe that fixing health care requires understanding the people who give and receive it. Many voices are speaking out about how to improve health care, but passion cannot substitute for evidence.
Being a psychologist, I’ve written a lot about mental illness. For four years, I covered research news for Schizophrenia Research Forum. There I also conducted interviews published in Q and A form, reported on conferences, and helped spur discussion online. Eventually, I added consulting news editor to my duties: When my editor was traveling, I identified story ideas, assigned them to writers, and edited their drafts.
Before that, I regularly contributed feature articles to The Brown University Geriatric Psychopharmacology Update and The Brown University Psychopharmacology Update. With me as lead medical writer, the latter earned a 2006 Apex Award for Publication Excellence in Newsletter Writing.
Some of my favorite projects involved reporting on health, mind-body interactions, and health care for The Providence Journal. For instance, I investigated the lack of accessible health care for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. A New Hampshire advisory committee cited my article in its written testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
My other work includes covering new research for Medicine@Yale, mental health research for NARSAD, and women’s issues for the Rhode Island National Organization for Women newsletter. It ranges from medical book chapters to a humor piece in The Saturday Evening Post, from scientific journal articles and policy pieces to published poetry. It includes writing patient brochures and website text for the Rhode Island Neurosurgical Institute and the Neurosurgery Foundation. Furthermore, I co-edited two volumes on psychiatry for the Textbook of Military Medicine series.
I couldn’t help but choose a career focused on health and medicine. You see, I grew up next to a hospital—actually, in houses owned by the hospital next door. I volunteered there until I became old enough to work for pay in the hospital coffee shop.
After I earned a graduate certificate in gerontology, I worked as an administrative intern at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. There I rewrote the hospital policy and procedures manual, in some cases identifying a need for new policy and meeting with hospital leaders to formulate it. For example, I led the hospital to develop a policy on reporting suspected elder abuse.
After that, I moved to the Washington, DC, area, where I got what will surely be my only chance to receive applause while on stage at the Kennedy Center. That’s where I graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences with a doctorate in medical psychology. As a graduate student, I had carried out a study on medical decision-making and taught heart patients about healthy living. In addition, I worked at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, editing psychiatry manuscripts and writing a book chapter on job burnout.
While pursuing my degree, I’d forged my own path to study aging. Wanting more, I became a postdoctoral fellow in aging at Yale Medical School. There I found psychological factors that help older people recover from a stroke, heart attack, or broken hip. Later, as a faculty member at Brown University, I continued doing research, some of it by teaming up with physicians at the hospital where I had a joint appointment. We studied how doctors take care of their own health. Much of my other research focused on disabilities, an interest that led me to serve six years on the Rhode Island Governor’s Commission on Disabilities.
To see samples of my work, please visit my Portfolio page.