Homelessness: A 3-Part Series on Facing Deeper Questions about this Complex & Global Issue-Introduction

By Lori Austin, LCSW

Recently I decided to raise money for a charity I have passion for, Back on My Feet.  This organization utilizes my favorite sport of running to motivate members who struggle with homelessness to motivate  themselves to move forward.  I don’t think too deeply into the actual homeless term. As I begin to fundraise I am asking deeper questions as well as being asked deeper questions about my thoughts about the enormity of this complex issue. I am overwhelmed.  It seems easier to just try to feel good about myself in running a marathon and raising money and call it a day.

This is not the case. Not only am I a runner, but a social worker.  As well in recent years I have had opportunities to work and travel abroad.  I see through a lens now of these experiences also including the perspective as a 45 yr old woman who grew up in a lovely suburban town in PA in a ranch home given all my needs of shelter, food and warmth.  You might call me a do-gooder who has never ever had to sleep out in the cold on the street. I am grateful for being born into having a home and I would like to take this time to call upon more of my compassion.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will share a few things from this perspective about those that experience homelessness globally and those who are trying to eradicate and prevent it.

In this introduction, it seems fitting to note that it is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and that it is positioned every year right before the week of Thanksgiving. If we, and I include myself here, are willing to look deeply,  we may be challenged by the dichotomy between the haves and the have nots and a nudge to check in with our own compassion.

You might call me a do-gooder who has never ever had to sleep out in the cold on the street. Click To Tweet

In this three part series we’ll explore:

  • Who are the homeless globally which will be broken down into the several subgroups inclusive of adults,  adolescents and other targeted populations -women, LGBT, and mentally ill?
  • A few examples of evidence based practices.
  • The compassion that some organizations are showing that help eradicate and prevent homelessness.

A few helping organizations showing compassion that I will highlight include:

  • Homeless World Cup in Brazil
  • Robin Hood Restaurant in Madrid
  • Community Solutions Inc.
  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Back on My Feet.

These highlights will bring further to light the complexity of this worldly problem that impacts all of us but, particularly, those who are cold, hungry, lonely and without a sense of safety – without a home.

Author Bio

Lori Austin, LCSW,  is a 2000 graduate of  Boston College with joint Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Pastoral Ministry. Lori has worked in a variety of clinical social work settings primarily with children and families. Most recently, Lori worked as a Military and Family Life Counselor in the United States and has traveled overseas working in Asia and the United Kingdom.  She provided brief solution focused counseling to military families and children.  In her free time Lori likes to run, drink coffee, laugh and make others laugh and help make the world a better place. She hopes you will consider a donation to Back on My Feet or other effort to eradicate homelessness. 

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Medical Improv Presentations-Who, What, & Where!

There is a growing interest in using theater improv strategies to build skills associated with emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, and leadership.  In general this is referred to as ‘applied improv’ and has been around for many years.  The subspecialty that is emerging in healthcare is referred to as Medical Improv.  There is much potential for using this teaching tool because the skills are critical for patient safey, patient experience, workforce health, and cost-effectiveness.  Scroll down to check out latest presentations.

I’ll be talking about my new Medical Improv train-the-trainer book on 11/21 via Health Tech Reads on Twitter at 9;30 pm EST.

  • Medical Improv:  An Effective Strategy for Developing Critical Interpersonal Skills November,  2017, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
  • Medical Improv: An experiential teaching strategy for developing critical interpersonal skills associated with patient safety, patient experience, workforce health, & cost-effectiveness! Endnote for National Aging Services Risk Management Annual Conference, October,  2017.
  • Medical Improv: An Exciting Way to Improve Communication, New England Holistic Nursing 7th Annual Conference, September 14, 2017.
  • Medical Improv:  A New Way to Develop Emotional Intelligence, Promote Patient-centered Care, & Build Positive Inter-professional Relationships. International Nursing Symposium, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  April 10 & 11, 2017.
  • Introducing Medical Improv:  An Experiential Teaching Method for Improving Communication, Collaboration, & Leadership, Rutgers Medical School, December, 8, 2016.
  • Medical Improv to Improve Healthcare Communication & Collaboration, General Session for 26th Annual New England Regional Healthcare Risk Management Conference, May 1, 2016.

Contact beth@bethboynton.com for more info.

Posted in Assertiveness, Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Healthy Workplaces, Listening, Medical Improv, Teambuilding, Workplace Bullying | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Infertility Choice – Egg Donation

By Heidi Hayes

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, you may have already tried fertility treatments like IUI and IVF without success. You might feel devastated, thinking your chance to conceive a child is over. Thankfully, there is still an opportunity available for you to experience the miracle of life – using egg donation. Below is a short guide explaining the process; if pursuing donor egg IVF interests you, you can read the “Definitive Guide to Egg Donation” 

Getting in Touch with Your Emotions

The decision to use donor eggs can stir up a plethora of emotions. You may grieve that your eggs are no longer viable to conceive a child – or feel anger and jealousy of others capable of having children without intervention. Additionally, coming to terms with the knowledge that you won’t share a genetic connection with your child is quite complicated. You may be struggling to decide whether to tell your child, family, or friends about your child’s origin, or even wondering if you’ve picked the right donor. These are all valid fears that need to be worked through before you continue your journey.

For couples planning to undergo donor egg IVF, it’s advisable to seek counseling for help in coping with these emotions throughout the process. Dedicated professionals are also available via your donor egg program to guide and assist you through any anxieties you may have.

Choosing the Donor

The first step of using donor egg IVF is to decide between using donor eggs from a friend, a family member, or an anonymous donor. If you choose an anonymous donor, you can find a donor through your fertility clinic or an egg donation agency. You may select your donor based on attributes like physical characteristics, economic and educational background, and occupation – just to name a few. The selection process is often compared to looking for a partner through a dating agency.

If using a known donor like a friend or family member, you both must undergo professional counseling about the medical and emotional impact of the donation, then sign a contract that defines the parental rights, financial obligations, and any future contact between parties.

Fresh or Frozen Donor Eggs?

To select the opportunity that best suits your situation, you should understand the methodology, pricing, timelines, and success rates of both fresh and frozen donor eggs.

Choosing Fresh Donor Egg IVF:

Synchronizing Cycles

When using fresh donor eggs, both you and the egg donor take medications to synchronize your cycles. The donor uses gonadotropin to stimulate her ovaries to develop multiple mature eggs, and you use estrogen and progesterone to prepare your uterus for pregnancy.

Gathering the Eggs

Once the eggs are mature, the donor’s physician retrieves them from her ovaries with a thin needle.

  Fertilization and Transfer

In a laboratory, an embryologist combines your partner’s (or male donor’s) sperm with the donor’s eggs. After three to six days, 1-2 embryos are transferred to your uterus by your doctor. Any remaining embryos may be cryopreserved for future use.


An IVF cycle using fresh donor eggs may be completed in 8 weeks, although the necessary donor pre-screening can take as long as 3 months. 


The expected total cost for an IVF cycle with fresh donor eggs may be between $27,000 to $40,000 depending on legal fees, donor and recipient expenses, etc.

Success Rate

Fresh donor egg IVF success is the highest of any assisted reproduction treatment, with a delivery rate of roughly 50% per transfer.

Choosing Frozen Donor Egg IVF:

No Cycle Synchronization

Fertility treatment with frozen donor eggs is much simpler than with fresh eggs, as no cycle synchronization with your donor is required. You will still need to prepare your uterus for pregnancy by following a strict regime of medication and hormones.

Thawing, Fertilization, and Transfer

Frozen donor eggs are first thawed, then fertilized with your partner’s or male donor’s sperm.  As with fresh donor egg IVF, three to six days after fertilization your doctor transfers one to two embryos to your uterus – remaining embryos are cryopreserved for future use.


With frozen donor eggs, completion of a donation cycle is about five weeks from start to finish.


Since frozen eggs are already retrieved and ready to use, the donor’s expenses are already factored into the price and the total cost can be as little as $13,000 to $24,000 for the entire process.

Success Rate

Frozen donor egg IVF success is comparable to fresh, with a delivery rate around 44% per transfer. Clinics with experience in thawing frozen eggs often mirror the success of fresh rates and may even exceed them.

Becoming a Parent Through Donor Egg IVF

Revitalize new hope for experiencing pregnancy through donor eggs. You are able to carry and feel your baby inside you, give birth, and breastfeed your own child just as any other mother. For couples who strive to conceive and don’t wish to give up on their dreams of pregnancy, it is a true blessing.

If you wish to undergo IVF using donor eggs, take the first step by enrolling in an egg donor program today – and look forward to your dreams of motherhood coming true!


Author Bio: Heidi Hayes is the Executive Vice President of Donor Egg Bank. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.

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