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Is Discrimination on the Basis of Health Widespread?

  1. Dec 20, 2006 #1
    The other day I had a cold slap in the face while speaking to a potential client for my consulting services in education. While shuffling my papers to find my calendar to set up this potential client's request for a meeting, I was asked how I obtained my neuroscience training. After sharing that my education and expertise came courtesy of a 1992 brain injury and CNS shunt placement, and that I am published and recognized, the woman politely stated she would have to call be back as her calendar was not in front of her (which didn't add up as minutes earlier she was ready to schedule).

    Needless to say, this prospective client never called back. She was obviously unfomfortable with the "brain shunt thing." Was this discrimination? Probably. Is it lawful? Probably, at least in non governmental business to business dealings. Is there a broader issue of "health discrimination" occuring in America??? I am told YES. But it is hard to discern from people you meet.

    I suspected other prospective companies/clients were not engaging in business with me upon learning of my "brain shunt adventure." But, it and related works account for much of my last 14 years of expertise. You would never suspect I have the CNS shunt unless you spent a lot of time around me. I'm a former actor and current musician, still somewhat athletic, and well spoken. I choose to "disclose" it as I felt it "best explains" my last 14 years of work experience. Maybe - I'm wrong!

    Is there a recommended way to disclose such things? (Note: this is not an employer/employee matter)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2006 #2


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    It could be that they weren't satisfied that you had no formal education, it sounds like you are self taught due to investigating your injury?

    Sounds more like a lack of academic credentials. You will find that a lot of clients will expect that.
  4. Dec 20, 2006 #3


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    It sounds like your client was an academic institution or some such. I think they usually have strict and arbitrary requirements about who they get to speak. If you don't fit the pattern, they aren't interested.

    Of course it's discrimination, they don't think independently. No doubt there are policies and such rubbish which justify that they tow the line they do.
  5. Dec 20, 2006 #4


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    First appearances to a 'potential client' are important. Stick to what's relevant to the work. After someone gets to know and trust one, then one may with discretion disclose certain personal information.

    Some discrimination is always present.

    A potential client is under no obligation.
  6. Dec 20, 2006 #5
    This client runs her own special ed school for autism, and I have some pretty rare research of using music to help these children. I don't believe my only having a BS by degree was the problem. And I understand when people like her in this instance have a PhD, they tend to be critical of others. But there was no rule or standard that any provider to them have a post graduate degree. If there were any such requirement, she would have been wise to say so - as her quick about face appeared unjustified, and if she's not careful, she will get caught someday in a mess.
  7. Dec 20, 2006 #6
    Thank you Astronuc. Very well said. I've said for several years - all I need is 1 big news story on what I'm working on - and my phone will ring off the hook. For now, I guess I need to blow more BULL SH, and disclose less fact. People seem to like the BULL and fluff.
  8. Dec 20, 2006 #7
    "and I have some pretty rare research of using music to help these children"

    Music therapy for Autism has been around sense the mid 70's. Many published reports/findings on the subject, mostly written by Doctors or Phd's. There is even a National Association for Music Therapy.
    I don't think its the handicap of the shunt, rather the lack of formal education.
    I personally enjoy learning from self tought people, the perspective is generally bright and fresh. I wish you the best.:smile:
  9. Dec 20, 2006 #8
    Not music therapy. "Audible rhythm," as a prompting mechanism for self- initiation of speech and action.

    Self taught! That's hardly an appropriate description. I undertake what the "experts" were unwilling to explore, then I educate them!
  10. Dec 20, 2006 #9


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    Regardless of how well you view yourself, you don't have any formal training in the subject, and that means you are self-taught. It will necessarily limit your audience. If you don't like it, perhaps you should consider pursuing formal training.

    - Warren
  11. Dec 21, 2006 #10
    Trust me. It's not about the abscence of a formal doctorate. I am not doing work that requires a doctorate. It's all about the appearance of "greatness," or lack therof. Having a CNS shunt is viewed by most as a defect. I view it as a challenge and lessons to greatness.

    If I took the time to write a book, lecture, or found an avenue to generate lots of recognition, that would be more valuable to me than a PhD. If I became wealthy, I'd similarly have more business than I can shake a stick at.

    It's flat out discrimination! I'll just have to find a way to counter it.
  12. Dec 21, 2006 #11
    Well you might not appreciate my opinion, but I think that a potential client should have the right to refuse your business for whatever reason. It is the freedom of not to do something for whatever reason. What are you going to do sue them for thinking not politically correct?

    Discrimination? Well, to me the word discrimination is not all negative. We discriminate all the time, in fact the ability to discriminate is an important part of what we call intelligence.

    On the other hand I realize that we live in a time where there are people who would want nothing better than to make "undesirable thinking" illegal.

    Anyway just my own opinion, I am sure many will completely disagree with me.
  13. Dec 21, 2006 #12


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    Can you place your research within the greater body? If you wanted to, could you write a 50 page survey of the field?
  14. Dec 21, 2006 #13
    Yes, I could. Musical percussion (audible rhythm) is fundamental to our human language and non-verbal communication. It further moves brain (chemically), the body, and spirit to action. It is the brain boost researchers had wrote abote 30 years ago. It is a mechanism to further intelligence! In the end, however, any endeavor such as this must make MONEY.
  15. Dec 21, 2006 #14
    I agree with you. So you, nor any or your colleagues or friends, would not take offense if others did it to you. I am writing about it as it has happened a LOT, and I guess I kept downplaying it. Now that I can acknowledge that discrimination has entered into the equation, I will adjust my strategy.

    Any who later seek my consultation as I become more established will pay a much higher FEE. Also, when I am playing on stage in front of hundreds or thousands, I plan to just walk off stage in the middle of a set. That should make a statement!
  16. Dec 21, 2006 #15


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    This sounds unscientific to me...
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