Speaking | Overview






To book Cathryn for a speaking engagement, contact:

BrightSight Group

(609) 924-3060



I studied theater in college, thinking that maybe I’d find my place on stage as an actor or a director. 

Obviously, I found a different way to tell stories. But all that exposure paid off, when Carved in Sand was published and suddenly, I was in demand on the lecture circuit. Fortunately, I love interacting with an audience, and if these responses are any indication, those folks also enjoyed spending time with me. With Crooked, I anticipate bringing important information to many groups, shedding light in an engaging and entertaining way.


    View Cathryn’s lecture at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, June 13, 2017


View Cathryn's lecture at the Trumbull Library in Trumbull, CT, November 29, 2017


Talking Points for Crooked 

Why there are so many ways to treat back pain – and so few of them are effective:  If you break an ankle, or sprain a wrist, health care providers know what to do for you. Low back pain is different – there are at least 22 conventional (and unproven) approaches to treating the same condition, which explains why patients engage in what experts call “serial ineffective therapies.” Give your audience the inside scoop on the realities of an industry where every stakeholder wants a piece of you.

Why health insurance providers will happily pay for a major operation, or a series of spinal injections, or for dangerous medication, but remain reluctant to pick up the tab for the right kind of intensive rehab – and how to convince them to do the right thing.

How opioid therapy for patients with back pain launched a public health crisis: Much has been written about “the opioid overdose epidemic,” but few people grasp the relationship between these deaths and what goes on in “pain management” practices. Roughly 75 percent of individuals who develop opioid-use disorders begin with prescribed drugs, and most of those prescriptions are written for patients with back pain. Help your audience understand how Purdue Pharma carefully targeted chronic back pain patients to build a market for OxyContin; the reality of “opioid-induced hyperalgesia,” (increased pain engendered by opioid use), the risk of overdose and death, and how patients who are dependent on physician-prescribed opioids can get help. Take a look at how Donald Trump’s cabinet selections may influence how painkiller manufacturers and the FDA will behave in the future.

You heard what he said. But what did your surgeon actually mean?  A spine surgeon might tell a patient that he or she “has the biggest disc herniation he’s ever seen,” or that “degenerative disc disease” is causing the pain; or that there is “spinal instability” - and  therefore, the only remaining alternative is surgery. Help your audience translate this mumbo-jumbo. 

What you need to know about those “safe, quick and bloodless” spine procedures you see advertised on TV, the web and even in the New York Times.  Get the rundown on what these "minimally-invasive" options are all about – and how they empty your wallet, while exposing you to unnecessary risks.

How back pain is treated in other parts of the world: Check out the remarkable work being done in Seoul, South Korea at Jaseng Hospital, where acupuncture, exercise and herbs are on the menu, and nobody has an operation.. See what goes on at an intensive rehab facility in Germany, and at Werner Keiser’s  back pain-focused specialty gyms all over Europe, Asia and Australia.  Check out Spain’s neuroreflexology clinics under the auspices of Francisco Kovacs, Brazil’s spiritual centers in the hands of John of God, and Ayurveda facilities in many locations in South India.

Why you are likely to be taken for a ride if you buy an “ergonomic” desk chair. Will a new $1,200 desk chair make a difference? What about a standing desk? How about a $3,000 treadmill desk? Give your audience valuable insight into what is marketing hype, and what is really useful – and why the very notion of “perfect sitting posture” at the computer is the result of a  misunderstanding.

Why workers’ compensation costs are sky-high for business owners:  Find out how back pain disability claims influence those costs, and how insurers, chiropractors, lawyers, physicians, hospitals and administrative law judges scheme to make sure employees don’t get back to work, while the corporate bottom line suffers.

Why that old saw about getting 150 minutes of exercise each week is outdated:  Important new research shows that even this commitment to exercise won’t keep you healthy, or back pain-free, if you still sit for eight or more hours a day.  How  to behave responsibly and still have a life? Discover how thoughtful office design and corporate policy can influence health, while positively affecting productivity and profits in the workplace.