The Karla Booker Interview

Thanks to Karla Booker, MD for being my guest on Episode 334 of the Mike Sevilla Radio Program recorded January 26, 2015 (I said 2014 in the podcast - sheesh). She serves at Gwinnett Medical Center's Director of Women's Health Education.

In a previous blog post, I shared how I became interested in the Karla and Kent story. It was a love story 40 years in the making. In the first part of the interview, Karla describes how they knew each other in their teens and twenties. In 2013, they became reacquainted through social media - specifically Facebook and Skype.

"He's the one who said, 'I Love You' first, and that was important to me," Karla said. As their courtship continued, they were on the track to getting married, when Kent became ill. The diagnosis was cancer, and the immediate future was unclear as more testing was done. The findings were more ominous, as it was found that the cancer had spread.

In the course of this early treatment, there seemed to be mild improvement, and this was the opportunity for the marriage ceremony to take place. Karla's voice lit up during this part of the interview as she described the wedding.

In the weeks following the wedding, Kent's cancer treatments were found to be unsuccessful, and the decision was made for hospice care. Karla describes a kind of "at peace" feeling that she and Kent had, as they knew his life was coming to a close. She was not there for his last breath, and she as ok with this, as she describes in this interview.

Karla and I then talk about Kent's love of butter pecan Haagen Dazs ice cream, as this was one of the only foods that Kent really desired towards the end. Karla challenged her friends to change their FB cover photos and profile photos to the Haagen Dazs ice cream. She also challenged her friends to post pictures to the FB Haagen Dazs page. Karla then challenged the company to make a donation to the American Lung Association, which was ultimately done.

The best part of the interview is the last 30 minutes, which you have to listen to. Karla and I have never met before, and as usual for me, it took me an hour of conversation until to really dive into things. I asked Karla if she had any regrets. I asked Karla what kind of "call to action" does she have to those familiar with her story. And, I asked Karla what she thought Kent's reaction to all of this would be. You'll have to listen to find out what she said.

Towards the end of the interview, we had a great conversation about self care as a caregiver, and self care as a physician. I really believe that self care as a physician is not something that is talked about enough. And, I hope to have more online and offline conversations with Karla about the topic of self care, because I think that it is an important to talk about more.

Thanks again to Karla for being on the program tonight. Thanks to everyone who listened live and who will listened to the archived podcast above. You can also click this link and listen and/or download the podcast. I really need to find the time to podcast more, and hopefully, I'll be able to go that soon...

Posted on January 26, 2015 .

TedxYoungstown 2015 Preview

Welcome to those of you who are visiting my website for the first time because of the TedxYoungstown 2015 event taking place January 23, 2015 on the campus of Youngstown State University.

A speaker's Dress Rehearsal is going to take place today. And, I'm very nervous about this. I have to tell you that this Tedx talk is the most difficult presentation that I have ever had to prepare. One reason is the time limitation. I have been given 12 minutes to share the best points about Social Media and Medicine. So, condensing my usual 60-90 minute remarks, was challenging, yet fun for me.

The night before the main event will be the Kickoff dinner where the organizers, the sponsors, and the speakers gather. I very much appreciate all the sponsors for the 2015 TedxYoungstown event. I encourage you to check out the sponsors page and show them some love.

Friday's TedxYoungstown 2015 event will be available via live video stream at this link. There were some technical struggles last year, but I know that they have been working on this. And, I think their use of the livestream platform will do them well.

For my fans out there, I'm scheduled to speak at 3pm Eastern Time on Friday, and you can check that out at the live video link. I challenged myself to use zero slides, and I have been able to do that. We'll see how that works out.

I'll be posting to my various social media accounts, like this website, twitter (including my almost 20,000 followers), Facebook, and instagram. I'll be using the twitter hashtag #TedXYo and also follow the TedXYoungstown twitter account and Facebook accounts for updates before, during, and following the main event!

TedxYoungstown will be held January 23, 2015 on the campus of Youngstown State University. Tickets and more information at - The 2015 theme is "Breaking Boundaries."

Posted on January 22, 2015 .

#FMRevolution Shows Love

“A brain tumor and cancer were no match for the couple’s wedding joy. Their love, 40 years in the making, would not be stopped by his diagnosis of a brain tumor and stage 4 lung cancer just four weeks earlier.” - Richmond Free Press, October 31, 2014

In a world where there seems like there is so much negativity out there (especially on social media), there are things that happen that gives you faith in the world again. Karla Booker is someone who I don't know very well, and maybe met a couple of times. She is the Director of Women's health education at Gwinnett Medical Center in the state of Georgia. She is also a member of our Family Medicine community called #FMRevolution. The quote above is from her wedding with Kent Smith. I encourage you to read the entire article, which is a beautiful story of love.

Last week, their story took a tragic turn with the death of Kent Smith only 14 weeks following his cancer diagnosis. In the wake of sadness, comes recognition and celebration. It was only from my friends in the Family Medicine social media community that I learned that Kent enjoyed Haagen-Dazs butter pecan ice cream. I learned because friends of Kent and Karla have been posting photos of them with Kent's favorite ice cream (see below). It even got to the point where the Facebook page from Haagen-Dazs USA made their cover photo butter pecan. In addition on twitter, people have been using the hashtag #HaagenDazs4Kent

So, as you go through this week, think about Karla and Kent, send them your thoughts and prayers, and have some Haagen-Dazs Butter Pecan...

Posted on January 11, 2015 .

Health Is Primary storms into #CES2015

“We will be participating on a panel at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show highlighting how we can reach out to that community of the people doing innovative technology, so that we can be a partner and collaborate with them in identifying and promoting those things that improve health” - Glen Stream, MD, Chair, Family Medicine For America’s Health

If you're intrigued by technology like I am, you may have already been inundated by reports from this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I always love hearing about the latest gadgets, and I'm always curious about any type of gadget applicable to health. However, this year, I am more curious because Family Medicine will also be at this year's show. They will be reaching out to the tech industry and hopefully partner with them on how to improve our nation's health.

About two months ago, in October 2014, I was fortunate to be at the press conference to announce the launch of the "Health Is Primary" campaign. This plan is also known as "Family Medicine For America's Health" where the eight leading Family Medicine organizations in the United States are collaborating to promote these seven strategies to improve the health of every American:

  1. Show the values and benefits of Primary Care
  2. Ensure every person will have a relationship with a trusted Family Physician or other primary care professional, in the context of a medical home
  3. Increase the Value of Primary Care
  4. Reduce health disparities
  5. Lead the continued evolution of the Patient Centered Medical Home
  6. Ensure a well-trained primary care workforce
  7. Improve payment for primary care by moving away from fee for service and towards comprehensive primary care payment

At the October launch, Dr. Glen Stream revealed at the end of the press conference (around 50 minutes at this video) that the "Health Is Primary" team will be participating in a panel at #CES2015 (see quote above). I believe this panel will be Tuesday, January 6, 2015. When I heard this in October, I was very excited, and I'm still excited about this panel. I wish I could be there, and I hope someone is recording this panel to share with all of us.

So, as you are overwhelmed with press releases from #CES2015, I hope that you also keep your eyes open from the "Health Is Primary" team, and their experience there. In addition, "Health Is Primary" messaging will be targeting patients this month in the areas of Nutrition and Exercise. So stay tuned for that. I'm excited to be helping to spread the message using blog posts like this and using the #HealthIsPrimary hashtag. Help #FMRevolution spread the word out there on social media!

For too long, our health care system has been out of balance. Now is the time to embrace the values that make people healthy-the values of family medicine. Join us and, together, let's make America a place where Health is Primary.

Posted on January 5, 2015 .

Influenza Case Study: Me

Even I am not immune to influenza. In Northeastern Ohio, there have been more hospitalizations and school closings this year from influenza. And, let me tell you, as a Family Physicians who also sees patients in the hospital and in the office, we have seen a lot more respiratory illnesses versus last year.

No, I'm not one of those Dr. Oz hypocrites who skip the influenza vaccine. We already know the credibility of what Dr. Oz says. I received my quadrivalent influenza vaccine back in October. But, as been covered in the news, this year's flu shot is less effective because of virus mutation.

There is definitely a difference between a "common cold" and a real influenza infection. Symptoms of influenza include muscle aches, fever, cough, headache, fatigue, and nasal congestion. I woke up yesterday morning with, what felt like, every single muscle in my body aching. You feel like you can't sit still, because you want to try get up and "walk it off." Yet, you feel so fatigued that you don't want to move.

You feel so fatigued, that you want to lie down and sleep, but then the cough and nasal congestion keep you from lying flat. So, you have to resort to sitting up to try to take a nap. In addition, to try to keep from getting dehydrated, I've been trying to drink as much water as I can.

As recent as one week ago, there were articles written about short term shortages in the prescription influenza medication called tamiflu. I know that our office have had to call multiple local pharmacies to find the medication. Fortunately, I was able to start the medication right away. Just so you know, tamiflu works most effectively if started within 48 hours of symptoms. Prescription influenza medications decrease symptoms by 1-2 days.

In case you didn't know, you can be contagious for 1-2 days before showing influenza symptoms. The duration of the influenza infection is about 3-4 days. If left untreated, influenza can lead to complications like pneumonia.

The influenza vaccine is not perfect, but it is the best protection that we have against infection. Even if you have not received your flu vaccine yet, it is not too late. Those at highest risk for influenza infection include older people and younger people, those with chronic illnesses, those with weakened immune systems, and of course, health care workers.

I wrote this first hand account of my influenza infection, so that you will never have to go through this. Much has been written about potential ebola epidemic, but you should be more worried about influenza infection, especially in Northeastern Ohio, where hospitalizations from flu have increased 162 percent over one year ago. According to the CDC, annual deaths from influenza have ranged from 3000 to 49000. How many deaths in the United States have there been from ebola?

When you recognize the symptoms early, get to your doctor right away. Better than that, know your risk of influenza infection, and get vaccinated. There is still time. Flu season sometimes goes all the way into the spring.

Posted on December 26, 2014 .

What Can The Surgeon General Really Do?

Earlier today, Vivek Murthy was confirmed to become the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. Much of the press in the past few hours have been celebrating the political victory over the GOP objections, particularly the National Rifle Association.

But does this mean anything for the health of America? Supporters site his medical credentials about being educated at the most prestigious institutions in the US. People also site his public health credentials, like his HIV/AIDS education program involving volunteers in India and the US.

But, when it comes down to it, what impact will this Surgeon General have on the health of America? What impact has any Surgeon General had on America? I have written in the past about my opinions on former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

Did you know that the Surgeon General is at least 2 bureaucratic layers down from the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell? The Surgeon General reports to the Assistant Secretary for Health. What?

In the graphic above, you see all the "organizations that report to the Assistant Secretary for Health." That's a lot of agencies with a lot of agendas in a big federal government bureaucracy. And, oh by the way, starting in January, to get any laws passed, you have to talk to the Republican controlled House of Representatives and Senate. I guess you could get around that by passing more federal agency regulations.

In this politically charged society we live in now, where demonizing and name calling supersedes real dialogue and discussion, I know that I'll take some heat from my friends for this post. Don't get me wrong, I support Vivek Murthy, and I certainly wish him well as the nation's Surgeon General.

But, I'll still ask questions. What impact can this Surgeon General, or any Surgeon General have on policy making, given the Washington political environment? How much impact can this Surgeon General, or any Surgeon General have on America's health? What can the Surgeon General really do?

Posted on December 16, 2014 .

Mike Sevilla Radio Program Episode 331

Finally, after a few months, I did a podcast tonight which was Episode 331 of the Mike Sevilla Radio Program. Hard to believe that the first podcast was way back in 2007. In tonight's show, I updated some things about me, and I talked about some current events news stories.

In the video below (and in the picture above), you'll see the first part of the show. To listen to the entire audio podcast, you can check out the audio player above, or you can click on this link and download the show, and listen at your convenience.

My plan is to get back doing audio podcasts, and some video Google hangouts again, as my schedule allows. I miss talking over the internet airwaves, informing/entertaining all of you, and sometimes having a guest to chat about stuff. We'll see what happens. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Opening of Mike Sevilla Radio Program Podcast Episode 331 recorded November 15, 2014. Download entire audio podcast at - Also check out
Posted on November 15, 2014 .

Welcome To My Website

Welcome to all of you who have read the article above from the Salem Regional Medical Center monthly newsletter or the SRMC Choices Community Newsletter. Thanks to everyone who have stopped me in the hall at the hospital, or come up and say Hi to me in the community, asking about social media and medicine.

It has been so much fun being involved with technology, social media, and medicine. As I have said in the past, everyone in the medical field needs to know that patients are finding information on the internet, and most of the information that is found on places like wikipedia is wrong!

If you're visiting my site for the first time, welcome! In addition to this website, I invite you to check out my YouTube videos (which include my TV interviews with WKBN), my podcast, my twitter account, my instagram account, my Linked-In account, and my Google Plus page. If you enjoy what you read here, I encourage you to subscribe to this website.

Most recently, I was the featured speaker at the Salem Regional Medical Center Annual Diabetes Fair at Salem Community Center on September 6, 2014. My entire talk is on video at the bottom of this essay. In addition, I have included some pics below from the event. Thanks for stopping by!

Posted on November 11, 2014 .

The Vice Speaker Chronicles: #AAFP2014 Sunday

Sunday at #AAFP2014 was mostly about a travel day getting to Washington, DC. Driving the Pennsylvania turnpike is all about what the weather is like. Luckily for me, it was mostly sunny weather, so driving was not that much of a big deal. I shared some pics during my travels on my instragram account.

Naturally, when I arrived in the city, I took some wrong turns, but my GPS was able to get me re-routed back to the hotel. The subway metro is really close to the hotel that I'm staying at, so it was fun to ride the metro again in getting to the conference hotel.

The main event of the evening was a Town Hall Meeting in which the AAFP President, AAFP President-Elect, Board Chair, and EVP/CEO all take questions from the audience. This is always an interesting back and forth discussion, which sometimes gets into heated discussions. But, at other times, this gathering turns into a type of pep rally for Family Medicine, in which there is applauding and cheering in talking about our specialty.

Here are three random thoughts from Sunday's events:

  • The Family Medicine For America's Health Initiative is going to be HUGE: During the town hall meeting tonight, there was a lot of build-up to the announcement later this week. Falsely raising expectations? We'll see. If you haven't already, check out two sites talking about the initiative. is a site targeted at the Family Medicine audience. is targeted at audiences like patients. payors (like insurance companies), and legislators. A general description of the process can be found at the AAFP website.
  • Politics At The National Level Never Changes: I admit that I'm a political junkie sometimes at these AAFP meetings. Even before tonight's town meeting, you can see people "politicking" the candidate that they want elected to national office at this meeting. During tonight's town hall, you can tell which people went up to the microphone to make a speech, and which people actually had a question for AAFP leadership. Some people are always campaigning, and some people never change...
  • Time Management For State Chapter Responsibilities: Since I'm an officer in the state level organization, there are more responsibilities and expectations from a state perspective than I've had before at this meeting. And, I've noticed that some of my friends are going through the same challenges, which makes chatting and catching up with them a little more difficult. The "work" and "fun" balance has gotten a little more difficult, but we'll figure it out...
Posted on October 20, 2014 .

#AAFP2014: The Vice Speaker Chronicles


Two months ago, at the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) annual meeting, I was elected an officer of the organization. The Vice Speaker position is the entry level position on the road to president of the OAFP.

Tomorrow, I travel to Washington, DC to attend the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) annual meeting. The OAFP officers, along with OAFP general membership will be in attendance at the AAFP Congress of Delegates for the first part of the week, then the AAFP Assembly the second part of the week.

I look forward to this gathering because it's a great opportunity to catch up with long time friends and to meet new people. For the next few days, I will document my observations and opinions in my "Vice Speaker Chronicles."

Here are three observations as I think about tomorrow's commute to the Nation's Capitol:

  • First National Conference as OAFP Officer: This will be a different and new experience of the meeting being an officer and member of the OAFP Executive Committee. I'm very excited about these new roles and responsibilities.
  • #AAFP2014 Social Media Ambassador: As I have mentioned previously, I have volunteered to be what is called a "Social Media Ambassador" for this year's AAFP meeting. I'm very excited to be a part of this "Ambassador" team to raise the visibility for the meeting to those on social media. Even though #aafpCOD is the official hashtag for the Congress of Delegates part of the meeting, I will be using #AAFP2014 on twitter and instagram.
  • Starting The Conversation of the 2015 National Conference of Constituency Leaders: The Spring AAFP Leadership meeting has been renamed and re-imagined. I hope to get people thinking and talking about that during this week. If you haven't already seen the Star Trek themed promotional video, check it out below!
NCCL In May of 2015! Celebrating 25 years of American Academy of Family Physicians leadership.
Posted on October 18, 2014 .