Museo building to merge medicine and modern design in the Museum District

The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed construction in Houston, as concrete trucks traverse the freeways and cranes add layers to the Jengalike structures that ultimately become midrise and high-rise buildings.

There’s one underway now on Fannin Street next to the Mann Eye Institute at the point where Midtown gives way to the Museum District. Dr. Mike Mann goes to work each day and keeps track of the building — his latest project — by looking out his window.

From a conference room in his medical office building, Mann talks about his dream for a three-building complex that will include a new medical office building — the 10-story Museo, which broke ground earlier this year and has an anticipated price tag of $77 million — and, someday, a five-star hotel and then a residential high-rise, all centered around a parklike setting.

The three-story main office for his ophthalmology practice was built in 1979 and was likely thought of as sleek and stylish back then. But architecture has been taken up a notch in recent years, with modern design gaining traction in residential, commercial and hospitality sectors.

Marko Dasigenis, who once worked with architect Philip Johnson in New York and also worked in what is now the PJMD architecture offices in Houston, is the lead designer for Mann’s trio of buildings.

Mann sees Museo — and potentially the whole complex — as creating a beautiful new gateway to what lies beyond: Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Asia Society, Holocaust Museum and other cultural sites within walking distance. Newish modern residential buildings, the 24-story Southmore and the 8-story Mond, both are nearby as well.

On the surface, Museo’s architecture is strictly modern, with panels of blue-green glass for the exterior and, for the interior, slabs of pure white marble that Mann, Dasigenis and architectural colorist Carl Black flew to Macedonia in Greece to personally select. On the environmental side, the building will be Class A LEED certified.

“I love to restore vision, it is a passion. But I have always had a thing for real estate … and I like art,” said Mann, who started his medical practice 43 years ago. “My life has been wonderful, that I can practice ophthalmology and build the practice and now have a place where other people can practice medicine.”

The Mann Eye Institute will occupy the 10th floor of Museo, and the remaining space will be leased to other medical practices. Mann envisions the first floor as having a variety of uses intended to draw in the public.

Dasigenis said that the beauty of designing and constructing a medical office building now is that they’re able to accommodate the new, high-tech future that lies ahead. The formula of a building with 25,000 square feet per floor and a boxy exterior are a thing of the past.

Although Museo is the first of Mann’s ideas to be built, Dasigenis actually first designed the potential residential high-rise and established its design vocabulary based on analytical cubism,

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How Cook navigated route to historic gold in Australia combining medicine and modern pentathlon


While male pentathletes have competed at every Olympic Games since Stockholm 1912, Steph Cook became the first women’s Olympic modern pentathlon champion 88 years later, at the Sydney 2000 Games. The Great Britain star talks us through how she combined a hectic life as a doctor with going for gold – and how her fascinating sport, rooted in Olympic history, has evolved in the modern world.

Junior doctors in British hospitals are famously, perhaps notoriously, overworked. So the idea of pulling 15-hour shifts while also putting in the amount of training required to become an Olympian might seem physically impossible. Steph Cook, however, somehow managed it, and in a sport consisting of five disciplines – fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting and running.

“It was crazy,” Cook said with a laugh, reflecting on her years before becoming the first women’s Olympic modern pentathlon champion. “I was studying medicine at Oxford, which is where I’d taken up modern pentathlon, and once I graduated I knew I needed to make a decision.

“Was I going to continue with sport or become a junior doctor? I decided I’d try to do both. I was doing up to 100 hours a week in the hospital while still training and competing. I remember coming off a night shift and flying straight to Poland for a World Cup. Somehow I kept going.”

Getty Images

Combining saving lives with creeping up the world rankings, Cook was clearly a multi-tasker of the highest calibre. No wonder the Olympic sport conceived to find the best all-round athletes appealed to her.

“Growing up, I’d done a bit of riding and was a good runner, and at university I thought I’d give pentathlon a go,” she said. “I really just wanted to get back on a horse again, but I also fancied the idea of trying some new sports. I had never shot or fenced before, and my swimming was ropey. I couldn’t even do tumble turns.

“Initially it was just fun. In 1994, when I started, the women’s sport wasn’t even at the Olympics. But I watched the men with interest at Atlanta 1996, and there was a campaign to get the women’s sport included.

“I got selected for the 1997 European Championships, but it clashed with my final medical exams and I couldn’t go. When the UK lottery funding came in, and the Olympics started to look more likely, I was offered a research position by a doctor in Oxford. It meant I could still study but also fit in more training. And then we got the National Training Centre in Bath. From November 1999, I trained full time.”

Steph Cook Getty Images

Having been in the sport for only six years, Steph was still under the radar in terms of becoming a potential medallist. But the unique nature of her sport gave her a chance. “Riding and running were my strengths, but they reckon it takes 10 years to get to international level in fencing,” she said. “I

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When modern medicine flounders, should traditional healers fill the void?

A practitioner of traditional healing dries medicinal plants and herbs in her courtyard. Photo by: Bioversity International / B. Sthapit / CC BY-NC-ND

KATHMANDU, Nepal — In 2004, Dr. Robin Basnet was the first medical doctor to be stationed at a remote health care center in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal where Mt. Everest stands tall.

A civil war was still raging across the country as Basnet arrived by foot in a community where the only source of communication was a single solar telephone line.

“When I first arrived, I was taken as an alien by the community. I tried to teach them the importance of modern medicine, but they didn’t believe in me,” said Basnet, who is now chief urosurgeon consultant for the Nepal government.

“While I was only seeing a few patients per day at the health center, the local faith healers would be busy all day. After trying for a few months in vain, I learned I would not be able to change society and their beliefs.”

COVID-19 and the limits of modern medicine

Fast-forward to 2020 and the world is grappling with a pandemic that has infected more than 42 million and killed over 1 million. As communities try their best to protect themselves from the virus and scientists scramble to develop a vaccine, poignant questions have been raised about how medically trained health care workers can better work with traditional healers, and how alternative knowledge and practices can be incorporated into the mainstream system.

Biases in health care affect workers everywhere

Modern medicine inherits a long history of racism, the effects of which can still be felt today. Why are global health norms still too white?

Can traditional healers and health care workers come together to help limit the spread of COVID-19? More broadly, how can they work together to deliver modern public health interventions that respect culture, beliefs, and traditions? How can communities’ trust in traditional healers be leveraged to tackle other pressing public health problems?

Basnet knew that if he was going to bring modern medicine to the community he would have to work with the faith healers themselves. He needed to gain their trust and respect and, in doing so, the community’s. He explained to the faith healers he was not there to steal their bread and butter nor was he there to quell their important work; rather, he wanted them to all work together with the same goal in mind: to improve people’s health.

“I somehow convinced them to carry on with their practice, but along with that, that they could help distribute oral rehydration solution, or ORS, to patients with diarrhea, deworm the children, help with immunization programs and inform pregnant women to visit the health center for antenatal check-ups,” he said. “Luckily I got support from them and slowly started getting patients to the health center.”

“While I was only seeing a few patients per day at the health center, the local faith healers would be busy all day.

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Indigenous mobile health unit combines traditional and modern medicine for treatment

TORONTO —
A mobile health unit in Toronto is combining traditional Indigenous treatments and modern medicine to help care for the city’s homeless and most vulnerable people.

Anishnawbe Health Toronto developed its mobile health unit after witnessing a rise in homelessness and overdoses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nurses, doctors and social workers tour the city’s homeless encampments and other areas to test and treat people in need of medical attention.

“We are providing COVID testing and for people that are homeless, transient and living rough, and also primary health care,” Jane Harrison with the Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mobile Unit told CTV News.

The system allows the health unit to track and care for the people who are experiencing homelessness and may have contracted COVID-19, while also affording them the ability to travel to where they’re needed most.

Now, the mobile health unit typically sees about 100 people per day.

“You can find 50 (to) 60 tents in some of these parks,” said Harvey Manning, director of Programs and Services at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. “What has happened is a lot of drop-in’s have closed. There’s fewer places for people to eat.”

Anishnawbe Health Toronto began in 1984 after its founder, Joe Sylvester, realized a “more comprehensive approach to health care” was needed among the Indigenous community in Toronto.

The health unit promotes traditional forms of Indigenous medicine and practices and offers its patients access to traditional healers, elders and medicine people, along with dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists. The health unit also helps people looking to “escape homelessness.”

“Anishnawbe Health has saved my life,” said Bonnie Gegwetch, a client of the organization.

For Gegwetch, having access to Anishnawbe Health Toronto has helped her to connect with her roots.

“I’m part of the 60s scoop,” she said. “This is my culture, this is where I found it.”

“Anishnawbe health has done an awesome job.”

The health unit is currently fundraising to put all of its services in one new building in downtown Toronto. Construction on the new facility is set to begin later this year.

Wiith files from CTV National News and Indigenous Circle reporter Donna Sound

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How Modern Medicine Has Been Fueled by Racism

There’s a dark side to medicine that involves the literal use of Black people.

Medical advances save lives and improve quality of life, but many of them have come at a high cost. There’s a dark side to medical advances — one that includes the literal use of Black people.

This dark history has reduced Black people to test subjects: bodies void of humanity.

Not only has racism fueled many modern medical advances, it continues to play a role in preventing Black people from seeking and receiving appropriate medical attention.

J. Marion Sims, credited for the invention of the vaginal speculum and repair of vesico-vaginal fistula, is referred to as the “father of gynecology.”

Starting in 1845, Sims experimented on Black women who were enslaved, performing surgical techniques without the use of anesthesia.

The women, considered the property of enslavers, were not permitted to give consent. Further, it was believed that Black people did not feel pain, and this myth continues to restrict Black people’s access to proper medical treatment.

The names of the Black women we know of who endured torturous experimentation at the hands of Sims are Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey. They were taken to Sims by enslavers who were focused on increasing their production yields.

This included the reproduction of enslaved people.

Anarcha was 17 years old and had gone through a difficult 3-day labor and stillbirth. After 30 surgeries with nothing but opium to ease her pain, Sims perfected his gynecological technique.

Anarcha Speaks: A History in Poems,” a poetry collection by Denver poet Dominique Christina, speaks from the perspectives of both Anarcha and Sims.

An etymologist, Christina was researching the origin of “anarchy” and came across Anarcha’s name with an asterisk.

Upon further research, Christina found that Anarcha was used in terrible experiments to aid in Sims’ scientific discoveries. While statues honor his legacy, Anarcha is a footnote.

“No Magic, No How” — Dominique Christina

right there

right there

when Massa-Doctor look

right past the

way i hurt

to say

she a tough ole gal,

can take a mighty lickin’

Healthline

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, commonly referred to as The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, is a fairly well-known experiment conducted by the United States Public Health Service over a 40-year period starting in 1932.

It involved about 600 Black men from Alabama who were between ages 25 and 60 and experiencing poverty.

The study included 400 Black men with untreated syphilis and around 200 who didn’t have the disease to act as a control group.

They were all told they were being treated for “bad blood” for 6 months. The study involved X-rays, blood tests, and painful spinal taps.

When participation waned, the researchers started providing transportation and hot meals, exploiting the participants’ lack of resources.

In 1947, penicillin was shown to be effective in the treatment of syphilis, but it wasn’t administered to the men in the study. Instead, researchers were studying the progression of syphilis, allowing

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Role of Alternative Medicine in Modern Society

Typically, alternative medicine differs from traditional medicine in that alternative medicine is older and what we might call unconventional or non-Western medicine. Alternative medicine does not follow the traditional science and research that current medicines undergo. Alternative medicine could also be termed complementary or traditional medicine or the therapies that can be integrated into current medicine. The staff of the National Library of Medicine of the United States classified alternative medicine under the category of complementary therapies in their Medical Subjects Heading Section. This was done in the year 2002. The definition provided was that alternative medicine therapeutic practices were not considered as an integral part of the traditional allopathic medicine. Therapies like acupuncture, dieting, physical therapy like exercises or yoga, etc. are termed as alternative medicine. These therapies are called complementary when they are used along with conventional treatments. If they are done in place of conventional treatments, they are known as alternative treatments.

In April 1995, the panel of National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, worked on Definition & Description, CAM Research Methodology Conference, Office of Alternative Medicine. The panel defined alternative medicine and complementary medicine as those healing resources that encompass all health systems and practices that are different from the dominant health system of a particular society or culture. Usually, therapies like ayurveda, herbal medicine, folk medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy, diet practices, chiropractic, music therapy, massage, pranic healing, etc. are classified as alternative or complementary medicine. People who do not find a cure, remedy or success in allopathic medicine generally try alternative medicine. Such people generally suffer from cancer, arthritis, acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS), chronic back pain, etc. Therapies included under alternative medicine would cease to be included in that category once their efficacy is proven and they are considered safe and effective. They are then considered as part of traditional medicine. An example would be chiropractors. Twenty years ago insurance would not pay for them as they were considered "alternative and ineffective." Today thousands of people have been helped by chiropractors and they are now recognized in the medical community. A similar movement is underway in the nutritional supplement and nutraceutical industry.

Over the years, more and more people have been using alternative medicine because traditional medicine is not working for them. The 2004 survey by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine of the United States revealed that approximately 36% of Americans used alternative medicine in 2002. If alternative medicine is used in conjunction with traditional allopathic medicine, an integrative doctor is a person's best option. Some traditional doctors are adamantly against or simply do not believe in complementary medicine, even though research continues to show the benefits of many compounds. Your doctor should be informed about other approaches you may be using and if they are not comfortable with that then always feel free to choose another doctor. This would enable the doctor to foresee any possible complications or a better time in which to use a complementary therapy. The concern …

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Why Modern Medicine is the Greatest Threat to Health

There is the essential assumption that modernity translates into better health. A corollary of this logic is that we can live our lives pretty much as we want because we can always buy a repair. You know, the car won't start, the TV is broken, the telephone is dead – no problem. Just call in an expert, spend some money and all is well.

People carry this over to their thinking about health. Our ticker falters, joints creak or an unwanted growth pops up – no problem. Buy some modern medical care. If that doesn't work, it's a problem of money, better insurance, more hospital funding, more research for the "cure," more doctors, better equipment and more technology. Right?

Wrong.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the perpetrators themselves. The following is taken right from the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 26, 2000): "Of 13 countries in a recent (health) comparison, the United States (the most modern and advanced in the world) ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) … "

For example, the US ranks:

Last for low birth weight
Last for neonatal and infant mortality overall
11th for post neonatal mortality
· Last for years of potential life lost
11th for female life expectancy at one year, and next to last for males
· 10th for age adjusted mortality

The World Health Organization, using different indicators, ranked the US 15th among 25 industrialized nations. (If ranked against "primitive" cultures eating and living as humans were designed, the whole industrialized world would be at the bottom of the heap.)

Some might say these dismal results are because of smoking, alcohol, cholesterol, animal fats and poor penetration of medical care. Not so. Countries where these health risks are greater have better overall health according to epidemiological studies. It's also not due to lack of technology. The US is, for example, second only to Japan in the number of magnetic resonance imaging units (MRIs) and computed tomography scanners per unit of population. Neither can lack of medical personnel be blamed since the US has the greatest number of employees per hospital bed in the world.

So what is the problem? Here are some clues as revealed in the same journal cited above:
12,000 deaths per year from unnecessary surgery
· 7,000 deaths per year from medication errors in hospitals
20,000 deaths per year from other hospital errors
80,000 deaths per year from nosocomial (originating in a hospital) infections
106,000 deaths per year from adverse effects of medications

That totals 225,000 deaths per year, the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Another study – we're talking just hospital related deaths here – estimates 284,000 deaths per year. An analysis of outpatient care jumps these figures by 199,000 deaths for a new total of 483,000 medically related deaths per year. And this assumes doctors and hospitals eagerly report all their mistakes. Think so?

The poor health ranking in the US …

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Health Insurance Costs and Modern Medicine

It seems that the more insurance one has the higher go the fees. Doctors now earn substantially more than they did proportionally few years ago. While they know that their patients can recover most of the cost for their service they rarely get an argument from them. In Australia we have the Medicare system that covers everything for those without private health.

The previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, put this extra burden on people that they must have health insurance. Only the pensioners above 75 years are now covered by bulk billing. That is they are not charged and the government pays for them. Prior to the Abbot changes everyone had this type of benefit but the cost was unsustainable.

Because of that rise in fees the government is now looking for ways to cut it back even further. The increase in population from overseas migrants is putting an extra burden on the system. Some of these people will go to two or three doctors in the same day thinking they will get better quicker. Some are also getting extra drugs and selling them overseas.

Modern medicine is expensive and now the vets are also on a par with the medical profession as far as fees go. The debate that they do much the same amount of study is a logical claim but when one has no insurance against their bills it is rather tough for many to afford it. Pet ownership is suffering as a result.

We can’t go backwards to old systems because it becomes too complicated. Once people earn more it is hard to take it away again. This is yet another dilemma the government is dealing with as there appears to be no way they can force a decrease in the cost of the medical bills covered by their program. The cost of private insurance is also rising beyond what most and now afford.

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Shamanism – An Alternative to Modern Medicine?

The internet, television, and other news sources are sounding the alarm announcing new protocols for the treatment of diseases. These diseases range from Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes, MS, to Parkinson's. Within this shout-out is near condemnation of pharmaceuticals and praise for other approaches. The intent here is not to list these approaches or to specifically discuss all of them. One among the many does require attention.

There is a proliferation of shamanic healers and practitioners within the United States. Dozens of organizations offering advice, membership, seminars, and certification abound. A bulging gold mine lights up the horizon of possible candidates for healing.

At this point, it is helpful to define shamanism. There is no need to trace the etymological history of the word. Shamanism is not a cult nor is it a religion even though there is an abundance of evidence that suggests a belief in a divine power circumnavigating the universe. Shamanism is an ancient form of healing. A shaman, despite some attempt to label them as a priest, is simply a healer, that is, one who knows remedies for certain physical issues.

One of several significant markers that distinguish a shaman from a doctor is the recognition that illness may not be just physical, but emotion based. Treating the whole patient is a 40,000 year old approach that is catching on in the 21st Century. Another difference between a shaman and a modern physician is the division of reality into three realms: upper, middle, and lower. And that leads to a third difference: A shaman uses spirit guides as he or she treats a client.

The shaman has a wide knowledge of herbs; whereas, the modern doctor has a depth in what drugs to use. The shaman is nature based and the physician is most likely man-made chemically based. There is a sound movement to make more "drugs" natural based which from some quarters is praise worthy.

A fundamental issue arises from a cleverly clothed advertisement or testimonials praising the marvelous wonder of shamanic healing. Whenever a practitioner proposes a "cure" be very cautious. If you have a pain in your side a shaman may not know that it is appendicitis, indigestion, blocked bowel, or cancer. Accepting shamanic healing as an alternative to modern medicine is a grave mistake. And no pun is intended.

Alternative leaves a bad taste. It implies that there is a better way and that may not be the case. Supportive and interrogative medicine suggests treatment along with current medical practices.

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