2017 in Review: Health Tips, Happy Endings and Tough Conversations

Lauren Davidson was a healthy, active 11-year-old until she began having joint pain and trouble breathing. At UVA, doctors quickly diagnosed her with a very rare disease: granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). After the diagnosis and a hospital stay, Lauren and her family learned to manage her condition, allowing her to again be an active tween.

I first heard Lauren’s story when her mom reached out to us through our UVA Health System Facebook page. I was so proud to hear about how our hospital helped Lauren. I feel that rush every time I see this video about Lauren’s GPA diagnosis, produced by my colleague Erica Gregory. As I think about 2017 in review, this just might be my favorite story.

Tough Conversations: Charlottesville Violence, LGBTQ Health, Teen Cutting

Most of us in Charlottesville will agree 2017 was challenging, to say the least, and sometimes terrible. In August, white supremacists held violent demonstrations in Charlottesville. In response, our pediatric psychologists wrote about helping your kids cope with frightening events. Sadly, the Charlottesville rallies weren’t the only time we shared it.

Barriers to LGBTQ Health

At the hospital, our clinicians have been discussing healthcare challenges, such as caring for the LGBTQ population. Many LGBTQ individuals are afraid to go to the doctor — afraid of assumptions, insensitive comments from other patients or clinicians, and rejection.

In this November post, writer Amy Sarah Marshall explains why this happens, how even well-meaning healthcare providers can get it wrong, and what UVA is doing to become more LGBT-inclusive. Read her story about UVA and LGBTQ health.

Teen Self-Harm: Advice for Parents

About 15 percent of teens intentionally cut themselves. Amy talked to teen health expert Dyan Aretakis, who explains why: Stress relief or a need to feel something, even pain.

Get more information about talking to your teen about cutting.

Health Tips: The Keto Diet, Preventing Liver Disease, Poisonous Mushrooms

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Our blog meetings tend to digress into our own health concerns and curiosities, which often become blog posts. Here are just a few examples from 2017:

I loved reading all these posts and learned a ton, particularly about various jobs at academic medical centers. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

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