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Preview: Beth Bengtson's blog

Beth Bengtson's blog


Hale Celebrates Its First Anniversary: Women’s Rights, Health, Education and of Course…Mobile

Mon, 21 May 2012 19:16:41 +0000


This month, Beth and Zoe celebrate the official one-year anniversary of Hale Advisors, inc. – a partnership that stemmed from shared savvy business acumen and a similar vision for company growth and success.

As a way to commemorate, it was decided that a company off-site was in order.  And what better way for a women owned and operated business to celebrate than to attend the Women for Women International* Annual Luncheon in New York City?

The event kicked off with a warm welcome and expression of sincere gratitude for the generous corporate sponsor and private donor support.  Immediately following the introduction, Ngozi Eze, a WfWI country director from Nigeria took the stage. The focus of her talk was the tremendous role that mobile communication plays in developing countries around the world.

Working in the digital healthcare space, we’ve often heard how instrumental mobile is in helping populations of developing countries get access to proper healthcare.  It was affirming to hear first-hand information from the field about the universal need for people to stay in touch and communicate on a regular basis almost above all else.

Panel discussion between Isobel Coleman and James Wolfensohn

The afternoon panel was a discussion between Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy, and James Wolfensohn, Former President of the World Bank Group. The central topic of conversation was the connection between food and health; there are direct relationships between women’s rights, food production, and economic development.

For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has some the richest soil in the world, yet violence dominates the political landscape and most of the population is either malnourished or starving. WfWI provides education and support to women community leaders who also strive for betterment by teaching commercial organic farming skills for sustained income generation and food security. Local women learn crop and animal husbandry, as well as how to choose marketable products to grow and sell.

Our celebratory day inspired deeper thinking about how Hale Advisors, in addition to providing value for our clients, can provide scalable value to the community.  Which issues (women’s rights, food, health, education) contributing to the development of economic prosperity do we focus on?

How do we go about it?


Key learnings:

1) The power of mobile communications is largely untapped

2) Consulting as a more collaborative effort, inspiring change from within and providing value as a partner

3) Scale the issue of economic development and apply it within our local community – marketing and communications that can help add value to grassroots initiatives and developing businesses (especially women owned)

*Now in it’s 19th year, WfWI envisions a world where no one is abused, poor, illiterate or marginalized; where members of communities have full and equal participation in the processes that ensure their health, well-being and economic independence; and where everyone has the freedom to define the scope of their life, their future and strive to achieve their full potential.

Healthcare Makes Green Purchasing a Higher Priority

Thu, 10 May 2012 14:58:50 +0000

  The healthcare industry plays a vital role in both human health and the health of the planet. This message was the focus of this month’s CleanMed conference in Denver, Colorado presented by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading membership organization dedicated to sustainable healthcare. At the conference, leaders in healthcare sustainability came together to discuss the future of green healthcare and look for ways to reduce waste and curb carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. To move toward a more sustainable supply chain, one session focused on developing expertise in product lifecycle analysis. The Greener Product Innovation & Solutions for Healthcare Facilities Session featured Johnson & Johnson Senior Director, World Wide Health and Safety, Al Iannuzzi and Kimberly Clark’s David Spitzley. The Johnson & Johnson Earthwards® proprietary process for developing and marketing greener products, and Kimberly Clark’s EcoLogical, were featured as case studies to highlight the ways lifecycle analysis can be used to create greener products by taking a more holistic view of the environmental impact of a product. Suppliers’ green product programs go hand in hand with increased demand for sustainable purchasing. “A lot of hospitals want to purchase green products—ones with lower environmental impact—and suppliers are really listening,” says Lara Sutherland, an expert in sustainable product purchasing who serves as Director of Business Membership for Practice Greenhealth. In fact, new research confirms that environmental sustainability and green attributes rank high in the purchasing decisions of Institutional Delivery Networks (IDNs) and hospitals in the United States, Brazil, Germany, and Italy. A full 54% of respondents rated the impact of “green” on purchasing decisions for health care products and supplies—specifically, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and diagnostics—an 8 or higher on a 10-point scale, in research conducted by SK&A from January to March, 2012. “Such a high rating means they are emotionally attached, that they feel strongly about it,” explains Dave Bauer, Senior Market Research Consultant of SK&A, an independent research firm based in Irvine, Calif., that conducted the research on behalf of Medical Devices & Diagnostics Global Services LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company. The survey further found that nearly one-third of current requests for proposals for medical products include green attributes, while key decision makers expect nearly 40% of future requests for proposals to include green attributes. The green healthcare movement continues to grow, as evidenced in the sheer attendance at CleanMed and the membership in Practice Greenhealth. One of every 5 hospitals in the U.S. –almost 1,200 healthcare facilities, belong to Practice Greenhealth, up from zero in 2008, Sutherland points out. Disclaimer: Johnson & Johnson is a client of Hale Advisors This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work. Distributed with permission of the author.  [...]

A Sustainable Business for Social Good: G3BOX

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 20:54:57 +0000

As a socially conscience business, we believe it is important to promote sustainable practices throughout the healthcare and medical field. We were inspired by this story of four engineering students from ASU who turned a class project into a real world solution for social good by repurposing old and used shipping containers.

The assignment was to design a function for the numerous abandoned shipping containers at ports across the world. Due to the high cost of returning shipping containers, many companies desert them once they reach their destination. Gabrielle Palermo, a biomedical engineering student, and her team immediately decided they wanted to create a solution that could help people. Eventually, they came up with G3Box, a company that coverts steel shipping containers into low-cost, modular, and mobile medical clinics. The idea is to sell these transformed mobile units to nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations for use in developing nations. G3Box, which stands for “generating global good,” can be used by hospitals, organizations looking to expand their facilities, or as temporary clinics in disaster zones.

The containers come equipped with ventilation, insulation, power, water, and other services the customer may request and can cost between $12,000 and $18,000 to build. According the Palermo, the biggest need is for medical clinics, however the containers may be used for “any type of social work” including classrooms, food distribution units, dental offices, or whatever someone may need.

With the help of donations, prize money, and funding the team is currently working on deploying their first prototype to Kenya this summer, which will be used as a maternity clinic.  For every medical clinic sold, a portion of the profits goes towards providing clinics to organizations that work in developing communities addressing critical health care issues.

These guys meet the gold standard when it comes to being a socially responsible business.  We encourage anyone to check G3Box out on their website or on their Facebook page.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work. Distributed with permission of the author. 

Letting Food Be Your Medicine – Farmaceuticals

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 20:17:15 +0000

Each year we go through the same cycle regarding our health: we get sick, go to the doctor, he or she prescribes us medicine, and we get better in most cases.  This series of events is our idea of being treated for an illness.  In a way, the medicine is the quick fix to our health problems.  This modern approach to taking care of our health however neglects the other things we put inside of our bodies 365 days of the year, the food we eat.

Dr. Preston Maring of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center understands that diet is a critical aspect of one’s health and wellness.  He believes that doctors should make nutrition more prevalent in their treatment of patients.  In order to do so, doctors must also be educated in the growing, buying, cooking, and eating of food.  That is why he started a weekly farmers’ market in 2003, just right outside the doors of the medical center, where fresh and organic foods are sold to hospital staff and those just passing by.  This has now grown to 37 markets in the Kaiser system.  Dr. Maring also has a number of other healthy eating initiatives including a website, blog, and “culinary road show,” across health institutions around the country (1).  “Nothing is more important to people’s health than what they eat everyday,” says Dr. Preston Maring

Turns out he is not the only one with this belief.  This past summer one of our local farmers (Davenport Farms) came out with a “Farmaceuticals” T-Shirt complete with fair balance which we thought was brilliant.


Some user have experienced weight loss, health gains and increased energy.  Others report seeing more green in their landscapes after prolonged use.  Farmaceuticals taken with locally raised meats and dairy products may cause an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.  Always when planning any kind of Farmaceutcal regimen, consult your farmer.



Now this is a creative and fun approach to getting people to think more about what they are putting into their bodies.  Now let’s just hope the regulatory bodies do not stop the fun.


This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work.

Guest Post - PharmaCares™: An opportunity to reduce medical waste and do good for the pharmaceutical industry.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 18:24:44 +0000

Since we have been highlighting the issues around medical waste, we thought it was time to discuss some of the innovation approaches some organizations are taking to deal with the issue.  And the timing was perfect as friend of ours just launched PharmaCares™. With 36.1 million Americans in need of medicines they can’t afford and approximately 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste are created each year (1), we need to find some creative solutions.  So what does happen to drug samples and surpluses?  They are in many cases either being destroyed or sent overseas.  In 2005, U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers generated some $4.4 billion worth of short-dated products (2). So you ask what is PharmaCares™  and does PharmaCare, well we will find out in the coming year as this program gains ground.   In nutshell, PharmaCares™ is a web-based sample closet that makes short-dated or surplus pharmaceutical products available to healthcare providers and not-for-profit organizations and clinics.  This program focuses on bringing medicine to Americans who can’t afford the drugs they need to stay healthy.  This program creates a unique opportunity for manufacturers; maximize the prescription opportunity and donate any excess to those in need. PharmaCares works just like a doctor’s sample closet: It’s stocked with surplus prescription and over the-counter or soon-to-expire* products by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical supply companies.  PharmaCares offers healthcare companies an easy-to-use, easy-to-access outlet for donating their short-dated products, benefiting multiple customers including physicians, patients and health clinics.  Physician-led charities can access the secure PharmaCares™ online closet to order products, samples, vaccines, and medical supplies to help their organizations and the locations they serve. Some other examples of non-profits that have approached medical waste with innovative solutions are: Med-Eq, The Medical Equipment Donation Agency, a service that connects donors of medical equipment and supplies with registered non-profits receving charities. Medisend International, supports the distribution of life-saving medical supplies and biomedical equipment in long-term partnership and emergency relief programs. Medshare, redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to underserved healthcare facilities in developing countries. REMEDY, Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World, Recovery of unused medical supplies for the purpose of global aid, waste reduction, and cost-effectiveness. So far, the reception from the industry has been amazing.  Companies seem eager to help out and PharmaCares provides the perfect opportunity.  To find out more, or if you’d like to get involved, visit the PharmaCares website at 1 Jeff Donn, Martha Mendoza, Justin Pritchard, Associated Press. “Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year.” USA Today website (Flushed drugs). Posted September 14, 2008. 2 This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work. [...]

Guest Post-Finally a Sustainability/CSR Ratings Comparison Tool – a look at JustMeans Insights ™ and the Pharmaceutical Industry

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 20:12:45 +0000

Recently 3BLMedia/JustMeans launched JustMeans Insights ™, a data visualization platform for measuring, managing and comparing sustainability performance. The platform provides sustainability practitioners, media and investors with the ability to compare 100+ different environmental, social and governance (ESG) data points among peers and competitors. While there are other Indexs (see the list below) that are used by sustainability professional none of them give you the analytical and industry comparison information at your fingers tips. • Pacific Sustainability Index (PSI) • Dow Jones Sustainability Index • CR Magazine • CRRA • SAM Yearbook • CSR HUB • Newsweek Green Rankings • The Global 100 • FTSE4GOOD Now what makes JustMeans Insights ™ so exciting to me is the ability to be able to see the rankings from an industry vertical to start. So while this appears at first to just be another ranking – it is so much more and could be a great tool for sustainability professionals, investors, etc to gain a deeper understanding of a company’s efforts in the following areas by Key Performance Indicators: • Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs): Waste, Energy, Water, Emissions, Risk Mitigation • Social Performance Indicators (SPIs): Product Responsibility, Community, Human Rights, Diversity & Opportunity, Employment Quality • Governance Performance Indicators (GPIs): Board Functions, Board Structure, Compensation, Vision & Strategy, Shareholder Rights But what makes it even more interesting is their ability to dive deeper by topic and see how your company scores against your peers – what are the areas that are considered your strengths.  As you will see from the below graph about Human Rights Policy, I can see where a particular company compares to its peers.  This could be very valuable information for sustainability professionals to be able to quickly see where they stand in relation to others and aid in planning around issues.    In other words, this could be a great tool in helping set strategic direction for sustainability efforts and where you might be weak from a communications standpoint since it is populated with publicly available information. So if you are sustainability professional, I urge you to check out your company and ensure JustMeans has your information correct.  Then start thinking about how you can use this to generate awareness both inside and outside your company about your sustainability efforts.  What does your company want to be known for and where do you currently compare among your peers?  This is a great tool to supply you with the data to assess and determine your ESG strategy for the coming years. This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work. [...]

Guest Post - National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday October 29th 2011

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 21:10:13 +0000

As part of our recent post about How to Dispose of Unused Medications?,we want to highlight that there is a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, October 29thfrom 10am till 2pm (local time) for those who have unused, or unwanted medications and need a safe place for disposal. To find a collection site near you, click here.

On a national level, estimates point to upwards of 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste being generated each year (Pennsylvania Resources Counsel website).  This event is one of the few national initiatives where consumers can bring their medicine for proper disposal.  Another program, which many pharmacies have begun to incorporate, is the Sharps TakeAway Environmental System, where individuals can fill an envelope with their drugs and send them to Sharps treatment facility where the contents of the envelope are “processed” in the supervision of law enforcement.  The going rate for one envelope is $3.99 and with original packing considered, space is tight. This specific program also excludes the collection of controlled drugs (adderall, oxycontin, etc.) as well as applicators like syringes.

So what is one to do if no take back program is made available to them?  For incidences like so, the FDA offers these options as an alternative…

“If no medicine take-back program is available in your area, consumers can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

  • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
  • Throw the container in your household trash”

Or, for certain medications…

  • “…few medicines have specific disposal instructions that indicate they should be flushed down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed and when they cannot be disposed of through a drug take-back program.”
  • “…flushing these medicines down the sink or toilet is currently the best way to immediately and permanently remove the risk of harm from the home”

We still feel that more can be done in terms of drug take back and will highlight some of these in coming weeks but for now this is what exists.


This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work.