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Read/Watch/Listen/Follow: Content We’re Into (August 2016)

As content creators, we’re constantly on the hunt for interesting and inspiring stories from wherever we can find them—the internet, a podcast, television. This enables us not only to keep up with but to lead relevant conversations on the people, events, and discoveries that are impacting our world.

Here’s what we’ve been devouring lately.

Kadesha Thomas Smith, CareContentKadesha, Founder/CEO

Reading: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Mark Weissbluth. His tips for getting a newborn to sleep through the night were total lifesavers with our first child. So, I am reviewing his advice for our new baby, Kelis, who was born in May.

Watching: Lots of Sesame Street. My son, Josiah, is turning 2. They have about 50 remixes of the alphabet song—not more than 1 hour of screen time, though. We try to follow American Academy of Pediatric Guidelines.

Listening to: Audio Bible. Faith is very important to me, but I don’t have time to sit and read. So Audio Bible has been great.

Following: Our competitors, for obvious reasons.


Jennifer Martin, CareContentJennifer, Content Director

Reading: Einstein’s Dreams, a series of short stories about how time might behave in different universes. For example, in one story, time stands still and people cannot move beyond their past. Each story is an allegory for human thought.

Watching: Reruns of Star Trek: Voyager (1995). Believe it or not, there’s a healthcare angle here. Hit by an energy wave, a starship is stranded in a distant sector of space, its crew facing a 75-year journey home. The ship’s physician is killed in the accident. An emergency medical hologram (EMH) is activated to take his place. This “e-doctor” soon finds himself overwhelmed, understaffed, and barely able to keep up with the crew’s medical care. Sound familiar? Star Trek always was ahead of its time. Anyway, the hologram must “go beyond his programming” and get inventive with his practice. Pretty much the theme of this century’s medicine, too.

Listening to: Affiniti, a classical-crossover group from Ireland.

Following: Selah Freedom, a Florida-based nonprofit with a residential center for women who have escaped sex trafficking. They’re working to open a second center in Chicago.


Ros Lederman, CareContentRos, Web Content Specialist

Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (for the 298347th time), just because I felt like it.

Watching: So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, which pairs young dancers between the ages of 8 and 13 with all-star contestants from past seasons as they perform routines across different styles, from quickstep to hip hop. I watch SYTYCD every summer, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

Listening to: Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake, a catchy, upbeat song from the soundtrack for the upcoming DreamWorks movie Trolls. But if I’m being honest, I’m really listening to it because it’s JT, and he can do no wrong in my eyes.

Following: BuzzFeed’s coverage of Pokemon Go because the way this game has taken off in such a short amount of time (and gotten people moving and socializing in new ways) is blowing my mind.


Samantha Gassel, CareContentSammi, Web Content Specialist

Reading: Five Days at Memorial,” an account of the days at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans, right after Hurricane Katrina. It raises very interesting ethical questions about euthanasia, following medical protocols during emergencies, and being prepared for disasters.

Watching: Mr. Robot, a drama series about an internet hacking group.

Listening to: Next to Normal,” a Broadway musical about a woman suffering from mental illness, and how depression and illness can affect the whole family.

Following: Anyone who doesn’t play Pokemon Go.


Nicole Pegues Riepl, CareContentNicole, Multimedia Content Designer

Reading: Pregnant Zika Victim Alerted Officials to Florida Outbreak, an article from The Wall Street Journal highlights the challenges US health officials face in identifying and combating a budding outbreak.

Watching: Escape to the Country, a BBC series following homebuyers on their journey to purchase a tranquil piece of the British countryside (think House Hunters for idyllic cottages).

Listening to: “Federal Emergency Declaration Issued Over Flint’s Water To End Soon.” NPR talks with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about how state officials plan to move forward without the federal designation.

Following: Dave Pell on Twitter. He’s one of those true bloggers from back in the day (one of the first to have ever been invited to a political party’s convention in 2004), and his NextDraft newsletter highlighting current events in plain speak is awesome.


LaToya Outlaw, CareContentLaToya, Content Design Specialist

Reading: How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Chicago Youth, a book from DePaul’s creative writing students. They fanned out all over the city to interview people whose lives have been changed by the bloodshed in Chicago.

Watching: Power, which features Omari Hardwick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all but lives a double life as a drug kingpin.

Listening to: “The Color Purple” (2015 Broadway Cast Recording). The music is a great blend of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, and it chronicles main character Celie’s journey into adulthood, where she discovers the power of love and life.

Following: mentalhealthdaily on Instagram, inspirational quotes and relatable emotions about mental health and the stigma behind it.


Katie Brandt, CareContentKatie, Engagement and Analytics

Reading: Needles in the Cornfields,” a Chicago Health Magazine story that gives a face to the heroin epidemic in Illinois and breaks down what the state is (or isn’t) doing about it.

Watching: Stranger Things, an eerie, supernatural Netflix drama reminiscent of some of my favorite ’80s movies, like ET and Stand By Me.

Listening to: This American Life—Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde, which features Serial’s Sarah Koenig investigating why a family doctor with no criminal history likely strangled his own father.

Following: Joakim Noah on Twitter. He may have left the Bulls recently, but Joakim’s charity work with kids and his general life perspective are refreshing.

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