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Collaborative Care Needs a Theme Song

Posted By Randall Reitz, Monday, August 31, 2009
Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011

Music amplifies and animates our experience. Who can think of Rocky without hearing the theme song Gonna Fly Now? Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis’ horizontal silhouettes from Top Gun will forever excite my mind with Take My Breathe Away beat-beating in the background. An Irish rock band provided healing to my American heart after 9/11.

Most couples can identify "their” song—a song that stirred their emotions during limerence or that was powerfully present during a "DTR” moment in their coupling (reference the boombox scene in Say Anything).

Similarly, music provides a context and a narrative to the political, cultural, and philosophical movements of our time. People who made it through the hippy era (and ended up as the founding fathers and mothers of the collaborative care movement—you know who you are) have a number of anthems from the era: Blowin’ in the Wind, Love the One You’re With, Turn Turn Turn. The feminist and gay pride movements both embrace "We are Family”. Lee Greenwood’s retirement comfort is made possible by the revival of "Proud to be an American” whenever our courageous soldiers defend us in war.

And, of course, recent political campaigns have linked themselves to music. Can you name which candidates used which songs?

1. Barack Obama                       A. You and I

2. John McCain                          B. Signed, Sealed, Delivered

3. Sarah Palin                            C. You Can Call Me Al

4. Al Gore                                    D. Barricuda

5. Bill Clinton                              E. Don't Stop

6. Hillary Clinton                         F. Take a Chance on Me

The denizens of collaborative care world don’t have a theme song. Perhaps someone who was present at the first CFHA conference in 1995 in Washington DC can tell me if a song crystallized the moment for them, but I’m not aware of it.

This is to our detriment. We need a rallying cry to blast at our national conferences, to boost our steps as we scurry between exam rooms, to wail over beer when healthcare reform evaporates in the August heat, and to chant in the boardrooms of the powerful interests. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the perfect song has come to mind yet, so I’m asking for your recommendations.

In the absence of a serious option, here are a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions:

Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby, the only song to successfully incorporate the word collaborate in it’s lyrics ("Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!")

My kids suggest that if we’d just replace the word "Wonderpets” with "Collaborate” in their favorite cartoon’s theme song, we’d have a great possibility that embodies our underdog spirit ("What’s gonna work? Teamwork! Collaborate! Collaborate! We're on our way, To help a friend and save the day. We're not too big and we're not too tough, but when we work together we've got the right stuff. Go, collaborate, yeah!”)

And, of course, you can never go wrong with John Lennon ("You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us and the world will be as one.”)

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Comments on this post...

Ben Miller says...
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011
Theme songs are great, but thats assuming we have a unified name which to call our band. I would advocate for us to get our band name straight and then sing in unison a theme song of collaboration! While I prefer the name collaborative care others may enjoy integrated care more.
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Peter Fifield says...
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011
I think we should make up our own lyrics to our anthem and put them to the music of Carly Simon’s “You’re so Vain”. Also there is a song called “Integrate” by Rino Cerrone.

On a different note…this might warrant a separate discussion on its own. My self and others in a “collaborative” recently have been attempting to name a local initiative here on the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. We settled on Seacoast Integrated Network for Care for many reasons but one of them was due to the fact that collaboration to us seemed more like an entity with a philosophy of providing care than with integration as the act of providing that care. Webster has the following to say:

Integrate (transitive verb) requires both a direct subject and one or more objects:

1: to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole: unite (this rings true for our movement)

2 a : to unite with something else b : to incorporate into a larger unit (we could say this is in line with our mission)

Collaborate: (intransitive verb) does not take an object

1: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor (this sounds good)

2 : to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one's country and especially an occupying force (not so useful for us!)

3: to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected (this we definitely strive for)

Best wishes
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Ben Miller says...
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011
Peter - your logic cannot be disagreed with - yet you raise such a fundamental question: are we talking about describing what we do or defining the construct for a new field (MH in PC)? There are bits and pieces to both, but I argue that we have yet to define the field, which is why we cannot come to an agreed use of any one term. This is part of the reason we are defining the lexicon at our national CCRN conference prior to CFHA. Those interested in this discussion should definitely follow the CCRN blog (coming Saturday), and come to the Friday (OCtober 23rd) CCRN social at CFHA!
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Randall Reitz says...
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011
Pete, You're so vain is an interesting choice. Do you like it because "collaborate" sounds like "you're so vain"? Or, leaving the title as is, it could be used against the comeuppance of behaviorists in primary care settings: "You're so vain, you probably think primary care is about you..."

And as for the thread jack, I think this would be an excellent post. There are a number of definitions that are yet to be worked out in primary care settings: Integrated care vs. collaborative care, should mental health specialists who work in primary care settings continue to use their guild title (i.e. psychologist, social worker, MFT), or should we consolidate around a new label (i.e. behaviorists).

I personally don't have a preference for integrated care vs. collaborative care. I started out using CC while in grad school but moved to IC in the last few years. Based on the classic 5-levels model, it seems like collaboration is a stopping point along the way to integration. But, now that I've met Ben, he has persuaded me to go back to CC in hopes of unifying the field.
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