Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Taste of History

This past week has been one where it has been possible to touch and even taste history while also working on the cutting edge of technology.

Last week I was in New York for the Web 2.0 Expo. It was great to meet up with people.

I held a HealthCampNy session while I was there, including a Birds of a Feather session that took place on Wednesday evening at the Hudson Hotel. Over 20 people came along for a discussion on Health 2.0. The contacts made at the session, and during the Web 2.Open un-conference event were great.

After the event I stayed up in New York for a day and was lucky enough to get a ticket to the last Saturday afternoon game to be held at Yankee Stadium. Since the New York Yankees were playing my hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, how could I miss it! A great game lived up to the importance of the event - The penultimate game of the 1923 Stadium that has been home to some of the greats in Baseball.

Yankee Stadium - The Last Saturday Afternoon

You could taste the sense of history, the nostalgia of the fans was just amazing. At the end of the game no one wanted to leave.

After getting back from New York it was good to swim a few lengths of the local pool as part of my effort to stay fit. While ploughing up and down the lengths of the pool, trying not to inhale the chlorinated water, I remembered what a friend had noted: This week is the 100 year anniversary of when Jersey City became the first city to routinely add chlorine to drinking water. Within a few years over a thousand other US cities adopted the practice and saw a dramatic reduction in the impact of infectious diseases.

This simple step is seen as one of the most significant health advancements in the past one hundred years. It is a sobering thought that something relatively minor can have a dramatic effect on so many people. It is something to keep in mind as we think through the transformation of HealthCare as part of the HealthCamp series of un-conferences. Finding solutions to encourage health and wellness may do more to achieve results and contain health care costs than expensive medications and complex treatments. As the chlorination of drinking water demonstrates - prevention is far more effective than a cure.

If you want to learn more about the use of chlorine in our drinking water check out the American Chemistry Council web site that celebrates 100 years of chlorinated drinking water.

Next time you are in the kitchen, raise a glass of the clear stuff to those forward thinking leaders of Jersey City and other progressive cities around America that took the step to improve our quality of life.

We should not take clean drinking water for granted. There are still over 1.1B people around the world with no access to clean, safe drinking water. This results in the death of around 2 million people, mainly young children, each year.

1 comment:

  1. Francis Bruce10:18 AM

    Great post here. I do some work with the American Chemistry Council, so thank you for mentioning the 100 year milestone! It's a vitally important chemical in the effort to make all water safe and usable for drink and play, and I don't think its importance can be overstated.