Here are a few of our favorite books, movies, and podcasts from the last few months
After months of quarantine and social distancing, many regions of the world are returning to a sense of normalcy. Still others are resuming lockdowns and implementing precautions in anticipation of a second wave.
Whether you anticipate staying home in the next few weeks due to local government guidelines or are just hoping for some down time during the upcoming winter (or summer, depending on your hemisphere!), we thought we’d share some things that have helped us pass the time during the pandemic.
Members of the World Spine Care staff and board of directors have shared their favorite books, podcasts, TV shows, or movies that they have read/watched/listened to over the past few months. While most of these are not directly related to spine care, each person shares how it inspires their involvement with World Spine Care.
Vincent Sinclair, Member of the Board of Directors, World Spine Care Canada
Documentary – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
World Spine Care Canada board member, Vincent Sinclair, called this documentary “An opportunity to educate about community and family life. It’s about the perils and struggle of farming and the economic impact. [The story] diverts our attention away from the poverty and strife of underdeveloped communities to a story of hope and inspiration.”
This movie is a great reminder for any charitable organization that stories that focus struggle, famine, and pain tend to instill guilt, while stories of hope and success inspire action. It’s for this reason that we strive to use photos of healthy, able-bodied individuals and share patient success stories like Ramshikore and Gasebomo.
Mufudzi Chihambakwe, Clinical Supervisor, Botswana
As a recent clinical supervisor in Botswana, and a “Many middle-class Africans are skeptical of the work done by NGOs in Africa as it is often unclear if the outcomes are really helping those in need or only helping boost the status of the organisation in the world of aid.”
Another book that is helpful to understand historically how NGOs have played out in Africa is Africa, Altered States, Ordinary Miracles by the British war journalist Richard Dowden. This helps map out how various local and international actors helped shape the fortunes and misfortunes of several African states and throughout talks about the hate-love relationship between African governments, aid agencies and the international community.
Evelina Elmgren, Clinical Supervisor, Dominican Republic
Evelina Elmgren was a volunteer at our Moca, Dominican Republic clinic until COVID-19 forced her to return home to Sweden.
TV Series – Din Hjärna (Your Brain)
A Swedish documentary and book by Dr. Anders Hansen about how exercise and training strengthen your body and mind, and makes you smarter, happier, healthier. What does stress do to us and how is the brain affected by digitalisation? How can physical activity rejuvenate the brain and why are so many of our brains used to be social? This is what the doctor and author Anders Hansen is investigating in the series Your brain. Available on www.SVTplay.se.
Book – Running Rewired by Jay Dicherry
Evelina says the author “describes the cooperation between joints, muscles and the nervous system. They are all corners of the triangle, need each other, and will affect each other.”
Podcast – Sleep for a Better Career
Evelina has also been using sleep to improve her leadership skills, with the Danish language podcast, “Sov dig til en bedre karriere” (Sleep for a Better Career). It highlights “the importance of sleep in health, performance, and physiology.”
Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Kait Graham, Director of Operations, Volunteer Recruitment
Movie – A United Kingdom
Dr. Kait Graham previously volunteered as a clinic supervisor in our Botswana clinic. While there, she and another volunteer were cast as extras in a feature length film about the forbidden love between the King of Botswana and a white English woman in the 1940s.
She says, “it gives people a real view of Botswana, the landscape, the people and the culture.”
Watch A United Kingdom on Amazon Prime Video
Get the DVD on Amazon.ca
Stefanie Ince, Fundraising Committee Chair
Book – Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry, by Joan Ryan
As the former Executive Director and current chair of the Fundraising Committee for World Spine Care, Stefanie spends much of her time getting team members to work together. She recently read the book Intangibles and found herself “very interested in archetypes and their contributions to team chemistry.”
From the publisher: Ryan identifies seven archetypes that can lead to a team’s success (among them “The Warrior” and “The Jester”), and real-life players who embody the qualities of each, including “Super-Carrier” Gomes, who possessed a blue-collar toughness and an earnest desire to improve his play. However, Ryan notes, games are still played by people who need to be fully invested and fine-tuned: “There are so many interdependent parts that a change in one can cause a web-like cascade of changes throughout the whole system.”
Nathan Cashion, Director of Digital Communications
Article – Beyera GK, O’Brien J, Campbell S. Determinants of healthcare utilisation for low back pain: A population‐based study in Ethiopia. Health Soc Care Community. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2020 May;28(3):1058–70.
This research article in Health and Social Care in the Community provides another illustration of the burden of low back pain in Africa and the growing awareness of the problem WSC is trying to solve. The data reveal inadequate adherence to clinical guidelines, overuse of medication, and the disparity between urban and rural access to healthcare. From the conclusion, “[I]t may be prudent for the Ethiopian healthcare policy makers to develop the necessary strategies to meet the health needs of both urban and rural populations with LBP.”
Documentary – The Heart of Nuba
Altogether heartbreaking and inspiring, this documentary from 2016 tells the story of a lone doctor, Tom Catena, in the heart of the war-torn Sudan mountains. Nathan says, “Think Doctors Without Borders meets Hacksaw Ridge – not for the faint of heart (or young kids). Low-key reminder that I could never work in an ER.”
Available on Amazon Prime Video
Audiobook – The Life You Can Save
Around the same time Nathan learned about World Spine Care as a chiropractic student, he also became aware of the Effective Altruism movement. “I’ve since read just about everything I can on this philosophy of giving to the charities that have the greatest impact.”
The Life You Can Save is written by Peter Singer, one of the philosophers who inspired this movement. To celebrate the 10th year anniversary of its publication, the namesake non-profit organization has released an updated version of the book for free in various formats (Kindle, ePub), including an audiobook narrated by well-known celebrities.
Nathan says, “Each time I read this, I am inspired with new ideas for pushing the work of World Spine Care forward, aware of the need to continue collecting data to demonstrate our effectiveness.”
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