Author: Brian Ahier

Today’s Ada Lovelace

For Ada Lovelace Day I wanted to promote the amazing work of Jennifer Pahlka and Code for America. I first met Jennifer at the Gov 2.0 Summit last year after following her for a while on Twitter and reading her blog PahlkaDot. Jennifer has always impressed me with her passion for making the world a better place and her brilliant mind. I can’t think of anyone better for drawing attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.

Jennifer transitioned from her role as co-chair and general manager of the Web 2.0 Expos for TechWeb, working with O’Reilly Media, to become Executive Director of Code for America. Previously she chaired Enterprise 2.0, and before that was the director of the Game Group at CMP. During her tenure in the games business, she oversaw the dramatic growth of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) from 1995 to 2003 and launched a number of notable programs, including the Independent Games Festival, known as the Sundance of the game industry, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. Her roles included publisher of Game Developer magazine and, the premiere web site for game developers, and executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), an independent non-profit association serving game developers around the world. She has served on the advisory boards of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and the GDC and held a board of directors position on the IGDA for three years. She graduated cum laude from Yale University. Besides this quite impressive history, Jennifer is a mother and truly wants to have an impact and leave this world in better shape for her daughter’s generation.

Being a mom seems to have had a profound impact on Jennifer. She said, “Being a parent makes me realize that time on this planet is precious and should be well spent.” As any parent knows balancing the responsibilities of family, work and social activities can be a challenge. But Jennifer believes, “Being a mom actually helps me focus my work efforts. If I’m going to spend time away from my daughter every second is precious. You can’t do everything so you make choices on what’s important.”

Code for America began as an idea inspired in part by Teach for America. CFA wants to connect Web developers with city officials who want to improve connectivity and transparency then be shared and rolled out more broadly to cities across America. At the Gov 2.0 Summit Tim O’Reilly had mentioned to Jennifer that it would be great for an action oriented program to spring from from the event. Then Jennifer and her friend Andrew Greenhill, a CFA Board Member and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the City of Tucson, were chatting and she said “There should be a kind of Teach for America for the web industry.” And thus was born Code for America…

Eleven cities and agencies have applied for web-project help from CFA. The applicants each proposed up to three projects that the Code for America fellows would build for them if their city is chosen. “After we choose which cities and projects, then we can begin effective fellow recruitment,” Jennifer said. Over the next six weeks is going to be a busy time at CFA as they choose cities and projects and then there will be a time of intensive fellow recruitment. If you have a desire and interest in helping, email Jennifer at

Here is a great interview from which will help you get to know Jennifer better:

Social Media Flu Fighters

Centers for Disease ControlOriginal post: Social Media Flu Fighters

One of the aspects of Gov 2.0 that I think is making excellent progress is in the area of healthcare and social media. Not only are private healthcare organizations beginning to embrace this technology, but government agencies are also beginning to make use of these powerful tools.

Efforts to distribute accurate information about the dangers of swine flu and the importance of vaccination are hampered by the sheer complexity of the message. Social media tools are being utilized to assist in this effort. Using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs, the government is actively engaged in social media to harness the power of this platform to reach a new audience and provide real time information. Social media is a powerful new method of healthy communication.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been working together to provide consumers and partners with social media tools that provide information about the ongoing 2009 novel influenza A (H1N1) outbreak. Widgets, mobile information, online videos and other tools reinforce and personalize messages, reach new audiences, and build a communication infrastructure based on open information exchange.

The primary portals for information about H1N1 are at Flu.Gov, the Public Health Matters blog, the CDC Facebook Fan page, and the HHS YouTube page.

This widget can be added to any web page. You can copy this code below to add the widget to your page:

CDC is also encouraging the strategic use of Twitter to effectively and inexpensively reach individuals and partners with timely health and safety information. You can follow updates from CDC on Twitter at:

Flu.Gov on Twitter for H1N1 updates – For real time updates on the latest information

CDC’s Twitter profile for social media updates – For health professionals interested in staying up-to-date with CDC’s social media activities

CDC’s Twitter profile for emergency information – Emergency preparedness and response information from CDC and partner agencies.

CDC’s Twitter profile for flu updates – Updated information related to novel H1N1 flu, seasonal flu, and general influenza information.

CDC is actually using social media to inform on a variety of subjects besides flu. CDC is also home to a number of blogs on topics ranging from occupational health to HIV prevention and control. CDC blogs allow programs to share information in a way that encourages readers to comment and engage with the content:

The HHS Center for New Media promotes and supports strategic, mission-oriented implementation of new and social media. Their mission is to provide new media trainings, guidance, coordination, and evaluation across HHS, and to encourage and participate in the utilization and facilitation of new media communications throughout the federal government. Their work is under continuous development as the site grows with the expanding HHS new media activities. Follow Andrew Wilson of the HHS social media team on Twitter to keep updated on all the happenings.

Sotomayor and (Supreme) Court TV

The historic swearing in of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor is significant not only in the fact that she is the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court, but also this is the first time that cameras have been allowed in the court for this ceremony. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore Sotomayor in twice, the first in a private ceremony as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution and a second time before television cameras, friends and family, a first in Supreme Court history.

The various Justices have held differing opinions on whether camers in the courtroom are appropriate. While he was still Supreme Court justice, David Souter (who is replaced by Sonia Sotomayor) discouraged any attempts to broadcast Supreme Court proceedings. He used the “camel’s nose” theory fearing that once they had even the slightest amount of access, the media would soon gain full access to Court proceedings. Justice Souter once told a House Appropriations subcommittee, “that I can tell you the day you see a camera come into our courtroom, it’s going to roll over my dead body.” Justice Sotomayor is of a different opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts has signaled that he may not oppose televised court proceedings. Roberts said during his confirmation hearings that he had an open mind about the issue of cameras in the Supreme Court, a statement that gave advocates new hope after the late Chief Justice Warren Burger’s “over my dead body” opposition and his successor William Rehnquist’s less vehement but still unyielding distaste for the idea.

“Justice Souter going off the court means a vocal opponent is gone,” said C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb, adding that Chief Justice John Roberts may not have wanted to press the issue with Souter there. C-SPAN has long wanted to broadcast proceedings of the court and they may some day now get their wish. “The chief justice who has his hand on the gavel can control any kind of rambunctiousness in which lawyers might want to show off. The public would benefit by seeing this isn’t ‘Judge Judy,’” Lamb said. “The process of writing opinions will never be public. All we’re asking for is the public discussion for one hour. It’s in a public forum, and there’s only 80 of those a year.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, when questioned by Rep. John Culberson (who filmed the statement himself) during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.“On the one hand, of course it would help people see how in some of these difficult issues we struggle with them, as do you.” On the other hand, he continued, “would they know that this is 2 percent of the matter, what they’re seeing, and would they, in fact, understand that most of what we do does not involve the two people in front of us, the lawyers on either side? It involves the 300 million people who are not there physically in the courtroom.” At the Aspen Ideas Festival Justice Stephen Breyer responded to a question about televising oral arguments at the Supreme Court (see video below). He spelled out the two sides position on the issue without giving any support to either position.

I think we will see the Supreme Court televised one day. I look forward to that day…

50 must-follow #Health20 heroes on Twitter

Healthcare workers and advocates are bridging social media, technology tools and healthcare to work towards meaningful healthcare reform and the development of an Electronic Health Record and National Health Information Exchange. This list is by no means comprehensive so please add more. I would like to eventually categorize into groups, but you can get an idea by search under hashtags #healthcare, #hcsm, #hcmktg and #hcreform (please share other hashtags being used).

Here are 50 #Health20 heroes to follow on Twitter (alpha by Twittername:

1samadams@1samadams: Cat Herder Extraordinairre

2healthguru@2healthguru: recovering X-managed care executive, converted health system reformer, student of SM apps

AbbieCitron@AbbieCitron: Legal nurse consultant working with attorneys on medically related cases. Delicious food and wine, family, friends, and my dogs

Anthony_Guerra@Anthony_Guerra: Professionally trained journalist who loves C-suite level healthcare IT issues.

brown2020@brown2020: Co-founder & CEO of 3banana, mobile semantic data capture startup. Former founder and CEO of Health Hero Network (now Robert Bosch Healthcare).

Carrie_Vaughan@Carrie_Vaughan: Technology editor with HealthLeaders Media print and online. Interests: technology, leadership, strategy

Cascadia@Cascadia: Community eHealth Advocate creating the space where participatory health care, collective intelligence, and community converge.

ChristineKraft@ChristineKraft: People, not patients. Fresh air, clean water; Health 2.0 and beyond…

cindythroop@cindythroop: Social science researcher, data nerd, and policy wonk.

crgonzalez@crgonzalez: Activist, Citizen At Large, Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Strategist, Proposal Writer, Social Media Maven, proud INTJ, and occasional scamp

danamlewis@danamlewis: Creator and moderator of #hcsm | health communications | May 2010 @ UofAlabama | lover of life, social media, diet soda, travel, and staying busy!

DaphneLeigh@DaphneLeigh: Healthcare marketing and communications

DirkStanley@DirkStanley: CMIO and Hospitalist and Father, into Healthcare IT

donshep@donshep: Technology Executive and follower of all things geek! Tweeting about #HIT, Sci-Fi, TV, you name it.

DrJosephKim@DrJosephKim, MD, MPH: Physician, MIT engineer, technology advocate, blogger

Doctor_V@Doctor_V: Kids tummy doctor, father, writer and overall good guy

drval@drval: Physician, blogger, cartoonist, CEO – using both halves of my brain.

DrVes@DrVes: Board-certified Internist, Allergy/Immunology Fellow, Former Cleveland Clinic Assistant Professor of Medicine, NEJM Advisory Panel Member.

drwalker_rph@drwalker_rph: Pharmacist/consultant, PHR advocate, educator, cochlear implant recipient, volunteer, cyclist, geek learning to twitter

EdBennett@EdBennett: Manages Web sites for the Univ. of MD Medical System

ePatientDave@ePatientDave: Patient empowerment advocate, blogger

GraftFinder@GraftFinder: Simplifying the process of acquiring tissue grafts and biologics

healthblawg@healthblawg: Health Care Lawyer, Consultant, Blogger

irb123@irb123: ER doc, Writer, book How To Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit by Wiley-Blackwell to come out late fall.

lsaldanamd@lsaldanamd: Emergency Physician in N. TX; Medical Director IT/EHR-Clinical Decision Support– “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Einstein

JOSullivan@JOSullivan: Health Care Reform Advocate. Tweeting about HC reform, biobanking & software dev

janicemccallum@janicemccallum: Digital publishing veteran and product strategist; current focus on healthcare info. Tennis player.

jayparkinson@jayparkinson: Co-founder of Hello Health

 jbselz@jbselz: Entrepreneur and Innovator in Health Care and Social Media. Co-Founder & CEO of Ozmosis, Inc., The Trusted Physician’s Network.

jensmccabe@jensmccabe: CEO, Contagion Health. Consulting gig(s): Chief Patient Advocate @organizedwisdom. NextHealth cofounder (NL). Science/genetics geek. Stochastic.

jimmyweeks@jimmyweeks: CIO @ one of the 100 Most Wired hospitals in the U.S. & the 36th of 5k to be at Stage 6

john_chilmark@john_chilmark: IT analyst focusing on consumer-facing HIT. Fanatic cyclist, skier, happiest outdoors

_KathleenLeary@_KathleenLeary: Activist, Advocate, League of Women Voters, I may not be the voice, but I will be your megaphone

KentBottles@KentBottles: Physician at ICSI, reader of books, airplane traveler, speaker/writer/learner

kevinmd@kevinmd: Primary care doctor Kevin Pho, M.D. provides physician commentary on medicine, health, drugs, Medicare, healthcare reform and patient and hospital issues.

KristieTweets@KristieTweets: Social media mama, healthcare content analyst, Sharepoint designer/trainer, EMR trainer, writer, geek, marathoner, blogger

lizasisler@lizasisler: Wife, Mother, IT Consulting. Looking for a connected world with collaboration on diagnosis & prescribing where medical records are globally portable. Dreamer?

LeeAase@LeeAase: Chancellor, SMUG. Day job: Mayo Clinic social media manager. Opinions tweeted are solely my own, not my employer’s.

lostonroute66@lostonroute66: Biomedical informatics, patient safety, social media, user experience/interface design, Flex, Red Sox, music, and food

MedC2@MedC2: Looking for answers to questions I don’t know. Tech + People + Med = Hope EHR EMR OSS DoD Mil Learning-I follow back, PMP, CPHIMS, DHIMS

MeredithGould@MeredithGould: Create communication strategies & services to enhance healthcare. Write about faith, Jewish roots of Christian worship. Proud to practice applied Sociology!

mkmackey@mkmackey: Watching trends in Medical, Healthcare, and technology, niche marketer

nancyshute@nancyshute: Science and medical writer, blogger for US News & World Report, sometimes gardener.

nickdawson@nickdawson: From VA and many fine airports. Healthcare administration, foodie, music buff and fan of all things porcine

norskedoc@norskedoc: Chief Knowledge Officer at ICSI, Interested in almost everything, working on transforming health care.

PhilBaumann@PhilBaumann: RN | Pharma | Health Care

rilescat@rilescat: Director of Information Technology, hospital and many clinics. Blogger. Dedicated to Health Technologies advancements

SusannahFox@SusannahFox: Pew Internet Project researcher, contributor

theEHRGuy@theEHRGuy Healthcare Interoperability Consultant, Enterprise Architect for Healthcare IT, Standards Expert: HL7 DICOM, IHE, HITSP, CCHIT.

tstitt@tstitt: Writer | Strategist | Drupal Fan