Dora Wang, M.D., is a psychiatrist and Penguin/Riverhead Books author of "The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist's Reflections on Healing in a Changing World". Look for new blog at DearDrDora.com.
Blog Post List
February 13, 2017
In a landmark act of medical leadership, the American Psychiatric Association in January released guidelines to help patients and their clinicians evaluate specific apps. The American Medical Association has announced it will soon follow suit. Over 250,000 health apps are currently available with over 10,000 devoted to mental health. These apps claim to offer emotional support, reminders to take medication, psychotherapy, and even cures for mental illness. Whereas medications and medical devices must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, health care apps are virtually unregulated...
Childcare & Early Education Families & The Federal Budget Family Economic Security Realistic & Fair Wages
January 9, 2017
America has become two separate and unequal societies, especially when it comes to opportunities for our children. Yet this can and must be reversed, for hope to be restored, and for America to keep its place in the global economy. These themes were conveyed by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, advisor to three US Presidents, who gave a series of lectures in New Mexico, one of the nation’s poorest states, on January 5, 2017. Putnam is the author of two landmark books on America’s changing social landscape, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” (Simon and Schuster, 2016), and “Bowling Alone...
October 11, 2016
Why are teenagers so much more impulsive and more emotional, than adults? “It’s all about the brain,” said Chandler Todd, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, to an audience of parents at the Albuquerque Academy preparatory school in New Mexico, Oct. 5, 2016. Teens undergo growing pains in their brains, more than their bodies. Understanding these changes can help parents be more patient with their teens, and more helpful. Todd, the mother of two said, “I am seriously outgunned by my teenaged daughter.” Nerve cells in the teenaged brain grow four to five times...
July 10, 2015
Could 2015 be Congress’ Year of the Caregiver? At an AARP Forum on Family Caregiving in Washington, DC, on July 8, 2015, lawmakers recognized the hard work of caregiving. They spoke of bills that would provide funds to help millions across the nation in need of caregiving. The forum was attending by leaders in the employment, health care, and advocacy sectors. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) spoke on a panel moderated by Washington Post syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary. Grisham, Ayotte and Bennet, along with...
April 23, 2015
Vivek Murthy, MD, sworn in as the nation's 19th Surgeon General, calls for a Great American Community focused on pedestrian lifestyles, smoke-free campuses, mental health awareness, and citizen involvement to end domestic violence.
January 30, 2013
The Newtown, Tucson and Virginia Tech “shooters” all chose guns over mental health care. So we debate gun control. But a true solution must involve a serious examination of our mental health system. Even if Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and Seung-hui Cho had no access to guns, they still would have been seriously mentally unstable and dangerous. From the time of asylums, safety has been a primary purpose of psychiatric institutions. Treatment of mental illness was secondary, as antipsychotic and antidepressant medications were not invented until the 1950’s. Why is our psychiatric system now...
November 11, 2011
Can deep trauma or life-long angst heal quickly, in just a few psychotherapy sessions, or even one session? Yes, according to Patricia Coughlin, Ph.D., a proponent of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), and co-author, with David Malan, of Lives Transformed: A Revolutionary Method of Dynamic Psychotherapy (Karnac, 2007). Dr. Coughlin spoke in Albuquerque, at the University of New Mexico IDEAS in Psychiatry Program, on Nov. 11, 2011. Most brief psychotherapies aim to reduce symptoms such as anxiety or depression. ISTDP, however, delivers the deep insights and healing...
March 31, 2011
Here’s a book recommendation for MomsRising readers. “Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank,”(W.W. Norton, $15.95 paperback) by Randi Hutter-Epstein, M.D., is a witty, entertaining work of medical history that also provides practical information that new mothers will find valuable. Dr. Hutter-Epstein is not only a physician and medical journalist, but she’s the mom of four kids. “Get Me Out” is full of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales. To get pregnant, Catherine de Medici, France’s sixteenth-century queen, was advised to drink mare’s urine, and to...
March 22, 2011
Something is missing in health care reform, even if the one year old Affordable Care Act is landmark progress. According to a recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, 53 percent of Americans remain confused about the ACA, and 46 percent view the act unfavorably. Health insurance premiums continue to rise, while health care isn’t obviously better. True, the ACA isn’t fully implemented. But with Republicans intent on repealing the act, and judges ruling against its constitutionality, the ACA’s future hangs. Could it be that health care reform needs moms? Indeed, when it comes to the public’s health...
January 12, 2011
Our current epidemic of mass shootings is but a symptom of our nation’s broken health care system.
January 10, 2011
While Washington fusses and grandstands about health care reform, we as individuals can vote with our actions and dollars. In America’s free market economy, our collective choices will significantly impact the nation’s health care system. Here are five actions each of us can take today, thanks to new benefits made available by the landmark Affordable Care Act. 1. Pick up the phone and schedule a free annual exam, and routine preventive tests for your age group (such as mammograms and colonoscopies). Under the ACA, preventive care is now free of charge or soon will be, without co-pays or...
November 11, 2010
Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, called for American medical schools to lead a transformation of American medicine, during a speech given at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine convention, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 in Marco Island, Florida. “This isn’t working anymore,” he said of the U.S. medical system. He also remarked that the nation’s efforts toward health care reform were “whittled” so that “we passed a health insurance bill, not a health reform bill.” He noted that the Affordable Care Act is heavily modeled on health reform already...
October 7, 2010
Must health reform discussions always be so unhealthy? U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (D-NM) met with Albuquerque physicians Saturday, October 2, for a luncheon of local organic produce and a discussion of health care reform.
September 24, 2010
It’s a landmark day for health reform, with many laws in the Affordable Care Act taking effect. As we celebrate, it’s a good time to pause, and to remember the larger purpose of our health care system, and of medical care. Medicine has always been grounded in humanitarian ideals, as reflected in codes of ethics as ancient as the Oath of Hippocrates. The very word “hospital” derives from a medieval French term meaning “shelter for the needy.” The humanitarian roots of American medicine are evident in our many hospitals named for saints. The nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, was...
September 22, 2010
As mothers, daughters, wives and leaders of households, women often steer the health care choices of families. Thus in the coming years, women will also be a major force toward implementing health care reform and the landmark Affordable Care Act. Whenever we enroll a child into newly available health insurance, whenever we convince parents to get mammograms or colonoscopies that will be free under Medicare in 2011, each time we appeal an insurance company’s denial of care, or when we choose health insurance in new marketplaces beginning in 2014 — we will be helping to shape the future of...