DR. MATTHEW A. WEED
Helping good people do great things
I am totally blind and a very brittle type 1 diabetic. Partial blindness was diagnosed six weeks after I was born. My diabetes was discovered when I was not yet one year old. In spite of these challenges - which are many times harder to manage together than either is alone - I have completed degrees at Yale, Princeton and Harvard; overcome my father’s decline and ultimate death due to complications of poorly managed diabetes when I was 19; co-created technology that makes it easier for people with reading challenges to access printed text; helped launch a $150 million research center and several student community service programs; built consulting practices; and traveled around the world - twice. I did these things and more with help from experts, administrators and faculty members along with nearly a thousand student volunteers who assisted me with the blood glucose monitoring and insulin dosage measurements protocol my diabetes requires, and which my blindness makes very difficult for me to carry out safely and independently. These people are now health professionals, policy makers, business people, scientists, teachers, homemakers, and more. Many of my “med volunteers” as well as other amazing people I’ve met along the way have facilitated me in many of the diverse activities I enjoy today.
I believe they are the heroes of my story, not me. If you explore my site further, I think you’ll find we have touched each other's lives in many different ways, hopefully making ourselves, and the world, a little better in doing so.
Use my experience of working with hundreds of students to help others achieve their dreams by assisting them in finding, getting into, and completing college and graduate/professional school.
Consult on ways to improve health access, staff training, and outcomes for people with chronic health needs.
Work to build partnerships around the country intended to support innovative initiatives that should improve patient outcomes, strengthen health professions training, and save healthcare dollars.
Write occasional blogs on a variety of topics.
And enjoy helping good people discover ways to do great things in their communities—and the world as well.
If you’re planning to apply for college, graduate school, or for training in the health professions, many of the students with whom I have worked say knowing me has helped them find the right college or university and succeed once they got there. I’ve found, and collected, hundreds of pointers to resources on the web that may help you in your search and application processes.
I speak on a variety of topics: I enjoy motivating people to build better and stronger communities while helping them see that it's totally okay to ask for—and give—help to others. I also speak on the educational search process; on how managing bias in our healthcare system can improve outcomes for people with chronic health needs; on the importance of strengthening how we train health professions students about how patients manage (and yes, often struggle to manage) their health outside the clinical setting; and on the challenges our society faces in managing many kinds of controversial science.
A Harvard Medical School study shows people with disabilities die far more often from cancer and other treatable conditions than those who access healthcare easily. Data from the same senior faculty member says 82.4 percent of physicians think America’s 56 million people with US census defined “significant” disabilities have far lower qualities of life than their non-disabled peers. Unfortunately, in my experience, those negative attitudes, and limited awareness on the part of the healthcare system and health professionals alike, on how to help people with chronic health concerns (including disabilities) access care and manage our health concerns at home and work, often increase suffering, add to costs, and lead to unnecessarily poor outcomes for millions. As we spend more than 86% of our healthcare budget on chronic medical concerns; 80+% of physician appointments on managing chronic illness; and 99% of our time making decisions on our health outside the clinic, these training issues, attitudes, and barriers to access are major issues for the US.
My life experience and research as well as the academic literature say our healthcare system and health professionals are often not prepared to help patients, caregivers, and society achieve optimal outcomes. I’ve encountered good and bad systems and staff. Proper infrastructure and training can cost-effectively improve outcomes and experiences while reducing costs and conflicts. I consult and speak on these problems and have ways to ameliorate them.