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Interview

03 Jun

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ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT | Other Side of the Stethoscope

June 3, 2013 | By |

Q&A with Korin Bhyat, Founder, Other Side of the Stethoscope

1. Tell us about your organization and the inspiration for it?

Other Side of the Stethoscope (OSTETH) was founded in honor of Korin Bhyat’s husband, Dr. Dan Bhyat, a Cleveland Clinic Resident and Howard Medical School Alum who was diagnosed with a rare form of Osteosarcoma in 2009. He braved numerous treatments, surgeries and medications, but unfortunately passed away after a hard-fought, three-year battle. Throughout it all, Dan remained optimistic and stayed committed to his work. As both a patient and a doctor, his work served as a daily distraction from his own prognosis and motivation to better serve his patients. No matter their condition, Dan supported his patients by prescribing a dose of humor and hope.

Through various initiatives and scholarships, OSTETH’s goal is to promote awareness about emotional support in the medical community. Physicians are on the front lines when it comes to keeping patients encouraged when dealing with health challenges. This organization seeks to reintroduce the human side of medicine. We aim to work with physicians early in their medical careers to develop a sense of empathy when dealing with patients. This will allow that compassion to translate into an exceptional bedside manner that positively impacts a patient’s state of mind and duration of life.

My inspiration to establish this nonprofit was not only to honor Dan, but as a wife and a care-taker along side his parents and siblings, who watched first-hand the physical, emotional, and mental challenges Dan faced in the hospital. When someone you love is facing a medical challenge, your only desire is to lessen their pain and suffering in any way that you can.

Throughout Dan’s battle with cancer, his family and I often felt helpless. The only thing we could do is be his advocate and keep him encouraged. We were exposed to physicians who continuously made Dan more scared than he already was and others that made him laugh and smile every time they walked in the room. This nonprofit aims to inspire more doctors who make the one’s we love laugh, smile, and hope.

2. What are the lessons you hope Dan’s life and legacy provides to young professionals of color?

I hope this nonprofit inspires future physicians of the world to follow their dreams and never lose sight of the fact that tomorrow is never promised. Dan was unique in so many instances being a biracial Canadian with a mother who was Catholic and a father was Muslim. I believe his diverse background, and open-minded upbringing from amazing parents, who were educators, gave him a truly revolutionary outlook on life. He never cast judgement on anyone and no matter how bad things got, he kept a smile on his face. I remember one time when Dan was on a clinical trial he said to me, “Maybe I have to go through all of this so that I can help find a cure for someone else down the line.” His selflessness and strength as he lived the last few years as both a physician and a patient encouraged those around him or who even knew his story to put things into perspective.

It’s amazing to see the number of people he inspired in and outside of medical field before he passed away at the young age of 30. I personally, believe it just goes to show that age, race, religion aren’t really a factor when you’re destined to change the world.

3. What has been the most difficult challenge and the greatest reward associated with establishing OSTETH?

The biggest challenge in establishing this non-profit was that it forced me to re-live a lot of the bad memories that made Dan so inspiring. I made the conscious decision to start his organization only a month after he passed without really factoring in all of the delays the mental grief process would cause for me. I just felt compelled to honor his legacy as soon as possible before I loss the strength to do it. Everything that this non profit stands for is built on on things we spoke about, he experienced and he believed in. Also, as someone with absolutely no experience starting a non profit, there was a steep learning curve for me along the way. Luckily my experiences with Dan and amazing support network allowed me to a lot of things along the way into perspective: most importantly …if it’s not life or death then it really isn’t that serious.

The greatest reward from establishing this organization is that it has the potential to impact a lot of lives in an amazing way while also upholding his legacy. I have no doubt he is proud of everything this organization aims to do.

Donations are more than welcomed via OSTETH’s website at: www.osteth.org

03 Jun

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INTERVIEW | Getting to Know the Moodie-Mills

June 3, 2013 | By |

Danielle & Aisha Moodie-Mills are a dynamic duo living and working in DC to eliminate the social, economic, and health disparities experienced by LGBT people of color.

Aisha Moodie-Mills (above right) is a democratic strategist with over a decade of experience of politics and policy. She is currently an Advisor at the Center for American Progress, where she directs the FIRE Initiative. She also appears regularly as a political commentator on MSNBC and FOX News, among others.

Danielle Moodie-Mills (above left) is an advocacy and government affairs consultant. From the classroom to Capitol Hill, she’s spent her career promoting social justice and actively lobbies for inclusive policies that enhance the lives of all Americans. Her writings are frequently pubilshed in The Atlantic, Essence.com, and Huffington Post.

 

Tell us a little about the work you are doing today, and how you came to this point in your careers?

We are literally living, loving and laboring out loud together in our passions and politics, as our work has become as personal over the last few years as it is political.

We executive produce and co-host a weekly radio show called Politini where we serve politics and pop culture up with a twist!

We also currently serve as Advisors for LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress where Aisha runs the Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE) policy initiative that we launched together in 2010.  FIRE works to eliminate the social, health and economic disparities experience by LGBT people of color, issues we encountered first-hand—and were inspired to tackle—as we successfully campaigned for marriage equality in the District of Columbia.

While our LGBT policy work reflects who we are personally, it is ultimately just an extension of the social justice values that have grounded our careers as far back as we can remember.  In fact we both started out working to improve the quality of education for low-income and urban students.

Our work has always been about building equitable and sustainable communities and we actualize this vision each day through our policy, media, and advocacy work.

If you could give one piece of advice to young professionals of color, specifically those in the LGBT community, what would it be and why?

Be Visible, Be Fabulous.

We have done a lot of great policy work over the years that we hope has helped to enhance the lives of those who seldom have a place at the table.  But our greatest impact has been in just simply being visible—and living, loving and laboring openly and authentically—as a lesbian couple.

The power of visibility really sunk in for us when Essence magazine profiled our wedding as their first ever lesbian wedding.  By telling our story, we challenged stereotypes, demystified what it means to be black and gay, and touched the hearts and minds of more people than we could have ever reached through months of advocacy work.

But we have found that we are most successful, both professionally and personally when we lead from a place of authenticity, and allow our full selves to shine bright.

Our message to young professionals of all persuasions is to be bold and authentic as you move through the world, be a positive model, and inspire.  Shine, not just to be seen, shine so others can see the way.

 

What inspires you to be your best selves in both your personal and professional lives?  

We want to use our work and our lives as a lesson to people that hard work and perseverance do pay off.  Each day presents a clean slate and an opportunity to start over—so rather than be weighted down with regret and the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” of life, we choose to control what we can and leave the rest up to Universe.  Too often, black and brown people are viewed as the “have-nots”, and think of themselves through a deficit lens.  We think that it’s important to put as much positive energy out into the world in the hopes that others can glean a little bit of that energy rather than be discouraged by the stereotypes of LGBT people, particularly those of color, that persist.

Breaking down barriers and living in the spirit of the present is what keeps us going, and we hope inspires others to the same.  In the words of our late friend David Baldwin Barnes, you should aspire to be exceptional and shoot for a life that is nothing less than outstanding!

 

What is your latest venture? What should we know about your most recent work?  

This year we launched a radio show, Politini, which serves politics and pop culture up with a twist!.  Each week on the show we turn a critical eye on current events and ask “for better or for worse, is this the new normal?”

Our society is changing rapidly and our common humanity often gets lost among the banter. Politini provides a fun forum to dish about the happenings of the week and to discuss how current social and political debates permeate our social consciousness and shape the way that we view ourselves, each other, and the world.  Think Melissa Harris-Perry meets E! News.

We also continue to pen our lifestyle blog, Living, Loving & Laboring OUT Loud, or threeLOL.

 

How can young professionals of color connect with you?

 

Tweet us @threeLOL.

Listen to us on Politini ever Thursday from 8-9pm EST.

Subscribe to our Politini podcast.

Read our blog www.threeLOL.com