Welcome & What's with that Goofy Name?

if we haven’t met yet, come find me @HealthyGenMel or better yet come find me in person at our Science of HOPE Conference in April!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of my new blog. Wondering what the point is? Let’s see if I can articulate that…

Merriam-Webster defines convergence as “the act of converging.” Well, that’s not too helpful; what the heck does “converging” mean? Our friends at M-W reply: “to move toward one point and join together; to come together and meet; to meet or come together to form a crowd or group; to come together and have one interest, purpose, or goal.”

M-W defines emergence as “the act of becoming known or coming into view.”

Over the years I have regularly experienced a flow of information, thoughts, ideas, new and old research findings from many seemingly unrelated disciplines, shared insights from people’s personal experiences. People who know me well know I am a ceaseless seeker of this input as I am always hoping to learn more. I know you all experience this flow too. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s a bit more of an onslaught really, a fire hose rather than a more charming and manageable drinking fountain. (excuse me, hydration station!)

In the last three years, since I came to Healthy Gen, I have been blessed with an unusually rich and exciting fire hose of learning and perspectives.

What gets me really excited is that sensation of a pattern emerging from all that data input, a synchronicity, sometimes fully discernible and other times more a felt, intuitive sense just at the edge of my periphery. You know what I mean, I know you’ve had this feeling too. That feeling before the “aha!” It’s been happening to me a lot in the past couple of years in particular.

And if I work to create some space for that intuitive sensation to just float around and not be scared off by frenetic seeking activity or grasping too tightly, if I just be still long enough, often something really interesting emerges that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access.

I think my own personal experience is mirroring that of our evolving field of health equity. So, convergence-emergence is my effort at starting a conversation with you about what is coming together organically along with what we want to intentionally bring together because we sense that what will emerge when we do is what we need to create enduring health equity.

We need a bigger conversation that is focused on health equity and draws from both the wisdom of the academy and scientific research and the equally valuable wisdom of lived experience. We need more people aware of and contributing to this conversation. In fact, to put it in American “movie speak” (an important cultural dialect), we need a bigger boat!

Will you join me in this conversation? Will you join me in helping us build a bigger boat? If you will, shout out at me @HealthyGenMel with #biggerboat4healthequity and let’s get it going!

I’ll leave you with the glorious and righteous words of young spoken word poet Sarah Kay to her future daughter that my teenage daughter, Emily, has recreated and hung up in our home as a daily boost:

This life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry. So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself, because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal…

There’ll be days like this, my momma said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the wind in win some, lose some. You will put the star in starting over, and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.
— Sarah Kay

If you haven’t already seen her TED talk, go watch it now and be prepared to cry in the best way possible. I guarantee that if you were wavering before, after that you’ll be all in to build a #biggerboat4healthequity!
Let’s get this party started!