You may not talk to your relatives all the time, but that’s family. When you see each other during the holidays or at a big family event/gathering, then it’s all love right? So don’t let that precious time go to waste by talking about the weather, or your new job, etc. As family, more than ever, we need to make sure that each one of our family members is doing well in all aspects of their life.
So, talking to you now, here are questions we need to ask our relatives when we see them, talk to them on the phone, text, or skype. These questions help determine where they are at and what they need to do.
1. When was the last time you went to the doctor and what did he/she say? A lot of family members will say that they indeed have gone to the doctor, but it’s been awhile. If they only answer with, they said that I’m fine. Then ask the name of their doctor and give that doctor a call to see what they really said. If the family member can’t remember the name of their doctor, it’s likely they didn’t go, so you can have them make an appointment right then and there.
2. What’s your blood pressure? With heart disease being the number one cause of death in African Americans, high blood pressure is a first indication. So be sure to see what your loved one’s blood pressure is. If he/she does not know then more than likely, there is a Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or other drugstore close to you because many of them have blood pressure monitors that you can administer yourself. It’s a small price to pay for piece of mind, knowing that your relatives are okay.
3. Who in the family suffers from a major illness (including mental)? That’s a family health history question that goes unanswered in many households. It’s important to know who and what side of the family has had what disease like cancer, stroke, etc so you know if you or your children may be affected. Don’t just settle for answers about physical illnesses, be sure to ask who in the family suffered from mental illness too. Catching it early or before it has a chance to hit you is key to changing your family health history for good!
4. How often do you get out to exercise? Even if it’s just walking, making sure your family members are doing something–ANYTHING–to get their bodies moving is a must. If you can tell they don’t get out much then suggest they take at least one day out of the week to do 15 minutes or just walk around the block, walk inside of the mall, go swimming, play their favorite sport, etc. Physical activity is key in living a longer life.
5. Do you have someone to talk to when you are feeling down? Sometimes, just knowing that a person is available to talk to is enough to make people feel at ease. I know it’s hard sometimes to always be available for that begging cousin or that needy uncle who seems to be always trying to start a business, but they are family and there’s a way you can still talk to them while not feeding into the negative. Don’t ignore their calls and just make sure there is someone they can confide in, even if it’s not you.
That’s family y’all. And family is all we have. Thanks for listening.
I’m rather passionate about this topic and won’t say “they” when referring to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). I will say “we!” Before I go on, Can I keep it real?
Our institutions and alumni have the tools to contextualize the numbers to a narrative of defeating structural racism. Many of the Black nurses, doctors and pharmacists come from HBCUs. The cultural pride and institutional excellence we take from our schools guide how we treat our patients. HBCUs train burgeoning researchers how to think critically and execute flawlessly in a world that is satisfied with mediocre. Who is asking those “research” questions that characterize the non-adherent Black patient? Who generalizes these massive disparities to genetic predisposition when they don’t even account for anything genetic in their methodology? Out of touch researchers—that’s who!
A quick glance at health and healthcare disparities research headlines suggests that we continue to publish work that highlights disparities between Black and White patients with little evidence that addresses the solutions to structural inequities. At the macro level, HBCUs produce the most Black researchers and medical practitioners, but are disproportionately left out of the federal funding cycles. At the researcher level, as of 2009, Black people were lead investigators on 1.2% of the National Institutes of Health federally funded grants. This fiscal lockout mutes the voices of the people who are likely most closely affected by the health and healthcare disparities. The continued fight to get our research and institutions funded at an equitable rate allows a whitewashed perspective on the lazy Black patient.
People get so caught up in the historical conversations about Black colleges that we forget that Meharry Medical College and Howard University are STILL the number one producers of Black physicians. Did I mention Florida A&M University’s pharmacy program cranking out the largest number of Black pharmacists EVERY year? Winston-Salem State University is North Carolina’s third largest supplier of nurses. I love our history but we have….
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-Huff Post 50
Whatever happened to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Despite support for Medicare ― the nation’s health-care safety net for its senior population ― many tea-leaf readers are predicting that the Trump administration intends to destroy it.
What tea leaves are they looking at? These:
1) Paul Ryan says so.
Yes, he is just the Speaker of the House and Donald Trump is the President-elect. That said, Ryan, R-Wisc., and his merry band of Republicans have been hankering to blow up Medicare for years. Trump is seen as his conduit to the cannon.
In a post-election interview, Ryan said “Obamacare rewrote Medicare … so if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well.”
And this, too, fell from his lips: “What people don’t realize is that Medicare is going broke, that Medicare is going to have price controls.”
Not much of that appears to be true, according to fact-checkers. To start, the only part of Medicare that the government pays for is Part A ― the part that covers hospital care and short-term nursing home stays. And according to the 2016 report of Medicare’s trustees, the hospital insurance coverage plan is solvent through 2028. Even after that, incoming payroll taxes and other revenue will still be sufficient to pay 87 percent of Medicare’s hospital insurance costs.
Part A is primarily financed through payroll taxes of 1.45 percent on earnings paid both by workers and employers; self-employed people pay 2.9 percent. The money goes into a pay-as-you-go trust fund, which uses the revenue raised to pay the benefits of Medicare beneficiaries.
The other parts of Medicare ― Part B, which involves seeing a doctor, is paid out of general funds and premiums, as is Part D. Thus, if costs rise, premiums can be adjusted.
Medicare going broke? No, not hardly.
2) The GOP is engaging in semantics.
You say “to-ma-to and I say “to-ma-toh― let’s call the whole thing off.” Ah, if only it were that simple.
Trump’s website and Ryan are using pretty words to sugarcoat their plan to destroy Medicare. As columnist Mike Hiltzik wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “He intends to replace traditional Medicare, an efficient program offering guaranteed treatment and featuring rock-bottom administrative costs, with a privatized program. Seniors would get a federal voucher to help them pay premiums charged by commercial insurance plans. Ryan calls this system ‘premium support.’”
It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Problem, of course, is that the amount of those vouchers wouldn’t keep pace with the rate of healthcare inflation, so eventually an ever-larger share of the costs will fall to senior subscribers ― you know, the people on fixed incomes. The first time Ryan went down this road, the Kaiser Family Foundation calculated that by 2022, his plan would make healthcare spending consume roughly half of the typical 65-year-old’s Social Security check, compared to only 22 percent under the existing Medicare system.
What words would sugarcoat “fixed income means we don’t get raises and can’t afford this?”
And let’s look at Trump’s website for a minute, where the language for the pending massacre is even more delicate: “Modernize Medicare, so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation – and beyond.” Modernize Medicare, like how?
When I think “modernize,” I think of advances in tele-medicine, new systems to support caregivers, sharing of medical records to eliminate redundant tests.
Somehow, I suspect, that’s not what Washington has in mind.
3) All medical providers are not created equal, but let’s pretend they are.
You’ve heard the joke, right? “What do you call the guy who finishes last in his medical school class?” The answer is “You call him ‘doctor.’”
Washington would like you to conveniently forget that.
As the dean of retirement journalists Jack Kahn opined to The Huffington Post, Medicare Advantage plans are the most popular form of Medicare. I guess we could say, they are “hugely” popular since 30 percent of Medicare’s 55 million enrollees have them. The number of individuals and families using Medicare Advantage has tripled since 2004.
And what are they exactly? Basically they are something like the old HMOs when managed care was considered to be the cure to soaring health care costs about 20 years ago, said Kahn.
That’s because they limit the patient to a certain network of healthcare providers and hospitals. Medicare Advantage still requires the beneficiary to take Medicare parts A and B (and sometimes tacks on some extra costs). But it has a cap on how much the beneficiary pays in total out-of-pocket costs—which original Medicare lacks.
“That makes it unnecessary to get a Medicare supplement (Medigap) policy,” said Kahn, “and most Medicare Advantage plans include drug coverage,” making it unnecessary to buy a Part D (prescription drug coverage) policy.
So overall, people on Medicare Advantage can save significant money over original Medicare.
There’s just one problem: You have to stay within network or pay on your own to see out-of-network providers. That can be bad news if you have a serious medical condition and are hoping to be seen and treated by a top specialist or hospital.
Kahn thinks that in the grand scheme of things, there will be a gradual shift ― or pressure, depending on semantics again ― of people in the direction of Medicare Advantage instead of original Medicare.
As pundits have said, there’s really only one answer: Just don’t get sick.
Atlanta, GA — As the country focuses on men’s health by growing facial hair to draw attention to health issues during the month of November, also known as “Movember”, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) announces a nationwide expansion of its Prostate Cancer Registry. The registry galvanizes prostate cancer survivors to share their stories in an effort to reduce health disparities and improve the treatment, care and long term quality of life issues that affect African-American prostate cancer survivors most.
According the Centers for Disease Control, one in five African-American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It is the second most common cancer in American men and the second most common cause of death from cancer among most racial and ethnic groups.
“We are asking African-American men from around the nation to sign up with our Prostate Cancer Registry at pcregistry.cau.edu,” said Shafiq A. Khan, Ph.D., director of CCRTD, CAU. “While the causes of the health disparity for prostate cancer in African-American men remains unclear, we know for sure that early detection saves lives. The information privately gathered in the registry will help us learn from vast experiences, and develop better interventions earlier in order to help save more lives from the disease.”
Beginning this month, the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) at CAU, the largest cancer center focused on prostate cancer research within a historically black college or university, will begin collecting data from prostate cancer survivors from across the nation. Data collected through the Prostate Cancer Registry will capture relevant treatments, procedures, and interventions most commonly experienced throughout the prostate cancer continuum of care. Ultimately, the private insights and data will help guide early detection strategies, clinical practices and processes; and improve quality of patient care for African-American men, who face a disproportionately higher rate of prostate cancer incidence and mortality compared to other races.
“By December 2018, we are hoping to have more than 500 men enrolled in the registry, and we hope by getting the word out, people will register and share,” said Kimberly E. Davis, Ph.D., senior research scientist and community outreach director, CCRTD, CAU. “By sharing their experiences, we envision prostate cancer survivors working as one to build knowledge about the challenges they have faced. Our hope is that, through new research, individuals affected by prostate cancer can become more informed and active in making decisions. We hope to play a part in forming a supportive community that may possibly lead to improved quality of life and enhanced possibilities in survivorship.”
To learn more or to sign up for the Prostate Cancer Registry, prostate cancer survivors should visit www.pcregistry.cau.edu or click here. Participants will be asked to fill out a questionnaire chronicling their experience as a survivor. The questionnaire takes less than an hour to complete. The registry is open to any prostate cancer survivor over the age of 18. For more information, call CAU’s CCRTD at 404-880-6763 or e-mail [email protected]
“If you are a survivor or know of a survivor, please consider sharing and registering. Your input could help save a life, and at the very least, help improve the quality of life for future prostate cancer survivors,” said Davis.
The Prostate Cancer registry at Clark Atlanta University is a project of The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD), the largest cancer center focused on prostate cancer research within a historically black college or university. Established in 1999 with funds from the National Institutes of Health, the center’s mission is to alleviate health disparities among prostate cancer patients and survivors from racial and ethnic groups throughout the nation to today the Center continues to receive federal dollars, as well as funding from the Georgia Research Alliance, private sectors and Clark Atlanta University. Named a University Center of Excellence at Clark Atlanta University, CCRTD is now recognized as one of the nation’s top academic cancer research centers.
Parents often fail to recognize post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in young children, a new British study says.
“When people talk about PTSD they often think about soldiers returning from war zones. But children who experience traumatic events such as car accidents, assaults and natural disasters are also at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder,” said lead researcher Richard Meiser-Stedman, from Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia.
“Symptoms can include traumatic memories and nightmares, avoiding reminders of the trauma, and feeling like the world is very unsafe,” he explained in a university news release.
Researchers followed more than 100 children aged 2 to 10 who had been in a road collision involving a car crash, or being hit while walking, or getting knocked off their bicycle. All had been taken to the hospital with injuries such as bruising, fractures or loss of consciousness.
They were assessed for PTSD two to four weeks after the incident, and again at six months and then three years later.
The researchers found that those who showed signs of stress soon after the incident didn’t necessarily go on to suffer PTSD after three years, And, while some developed PTSD that persisted for years, this occurred only in a minority of cases. Most “bounce back” naturally in time, the study authors said.
Injury severity was associated with PTSD incidence up to six months after an incident, but not three years after.
However, the researchers added, most parents of children who still had PTSD after three years didn’t recognize their child’s symptoms. This finding suggests that relying on parent reports of PTSD in their children may not be adequate for identifying chronic PTSD in young children, the researchers said.
The researchers also found that children were more likely to suffer PTSD if their parents also suffered PTSD in the short- or long-term. But even these parents may not recognize their child’s PTSD.
“This study reveals some really interesting links between how children and their parents respond to a trauma,” Meiser-Stedman said.
Children may experience PTSD for years without their parents being aware of it. The researchers also found a strong link between parents having PTSD and their children having it as well, even years after the traumatic event.
“This could be because parental stress early on is worsened by their children’s symptoms, or because the child’s responses are shaped by their parents’ initial reactions — or a bit of both, leading to an amplification of symptoms for both parties,” he said.
“Interestingly, even in these cases, the parents were still unlikely to acknowledge their children’s suffering,” Meiser-Stedman added.
“This study strengthens the case for considering parental mental health, and providing support for both children and their parents in the aftermath of a trauma to reduce the long-term effects for both,” he concluded.
The study was published Nov. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
The U.S. National Center for PTSD has more on PTSD in children and teens.
American Heart Association News via Blackdoctor.org
Dr. Robin Williams raised her two sons to be healthy eaters in a household where the daily mantra was “no fast food,” “no soda,” and “not too much sugar, salt or fat.”
So when her eldest son Austin turned 16, learned to drive, and came home with fast food packaging strewn about the car, Williams was aghast.
“My eyes were huge,” she said. “I was totally floored, like I discovered he was on drugs or something.”
Four years later, she laughs about her over-reaction – but only a little. An outspoken advocate for healthy eating, Williams is using her passion for proper nutrition to help educate the African-American community in Dover, Delaware, including students at Delaware State University.
As the wife of the school’s president, Dr. Harry Williams, she’s the “first lady” of DSU, a historically black public university with nearly 4,000 students. She’s also a volunteer for Go Red For Women, an American Heart Association initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
Raised in a farming family in North Carolina, the 48-year-old Williams grew up eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. But her family also had a long history of heart disease. After her father died of a heart attack, she was inspired by Michelle Obama to encourage healthy eating among children.
Williams pushed Delaware State to offer healthier menu options and even set up her own section in a cafeteria where she served everything from grilled pesto chicken to sushi.
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Columbus, OH — HBCU Connect (www.hbcuconnect.com), the trusted source for community engagement and lifestyle information for the alumni of America’s historically black colleges & universities, recently announced a renewed partnership with innovative pharmaceutical company Merck (www.merck.com). The renewal will ensure the continuation of the successful health and wellness microsite, www.hbcuconnect.com/merckengage, which targets HBCU Connect’s 1.2 million educated African-American subscribers.
The health and wellness microsite was a breakout success, resulting in more than 49 million ad views and over 85,000 ad clicks driving traffic to MerckEngage.com. The success comes thanks to HBCU Connect’s influential standing in the community, driven by its social media presence, print publication and dedicated user base. The site includes co-branded content relevant to HBCUConnect.com subscribers while providing a wealth of useful health information and simultaneously offering MerckEngage a unique opportunity to engage this important customer segment. The partnership is designed to offer resources that can improve awareness and help better manage common health conditions prevalent in the African American community.
In addition to the microsite, HBCUConnect.com members have access to all of MerckEngage.com’s consumer offers which include disease management, fitness tips, healthy eating, recipes, and coupon offers by accessing the comprehensive website at www.MerckEngage.com. MerckEngage.com offers health information, tips, and tools website visitors can rely on every day.
“MerckEngage has proven to be an invaluable resource for our members, and with this renewed partnership, we’ll be able to continue providing them access to relevant health information dedicated to the HBCU community,” says Will Moss, CEO of HBCU Connect. “We’re honored to partner with a corporation of such great stature and look forward to a beneficial business relationship that will benefit both of our organizations as well as HBCUConnect.com’s website visitors.”
Conrod Kelly, US Marketing Lead, Chair of the EBRG Executive Council and HBCU Alum (FAMU) shares in the enthusiasm for the partnership. “Merck is pleased and proud to team up with HBCU to support healthy living, via www.merckengage.com. This is a multi-channel health and wellness platform, in English and Spanish, designed to help health care consumers achieve goals for living a healthier lifestyle.”
While its educated African American readership benefits from useful health and lifestyle resources from MerckEngage.com, HBCU Connect presents MerckEngage with a valuable marketing opportunity: the potential to reach more than 1 million monthly website visitors across HBCUConnect.com, and their network of African American targeted websites such as BlackNews.com, BlackHistory.com, BlackWomenConnect.com, and a huge social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Both brands recognize the value of connecting with the African-American community in such a personal way and look forward to continue bringing useful health and wellness content to such a crucial network.
HBCU Connect is the undisputed leader in uniting alumni of America’s foremost HBCUs with valuable resources for career development, community engagement and now even health and wellness.
About HBCU Connect
Founded in 1999, HBCU Connect (www.hbcuconnect.com) is the first and largest media outlet targeted towards the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) community. Boasting over 1.5 million registered members and encompassing a complete web portal, magazine, recruiting engine, social networking site, forums, blogs, news feeds and shopping, HBCUConnect.com serves the needs of HBCU aspirants, students, alumni, faculty and staff by providing a single destination and launching point for the entire diaspora. For more information, contact Will Moss at HBCU Connect, 614-416-5515.
Ruthie Hawkins, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
Instagram, arguably social media’s leading media sharing service, tackles mental healthnwith the swipe of a finger. That’s right, according to the ‘Gram, a new feature will allow users to anonymously flag a photo in the event they think someone needs help.
Once the image is flagged, the individual will receive a message prompting them to select an “option” to get help such as contacting a helpline — which will vary by the user’s location. “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help,” a message will read.
As for how Instagram plans to execute, according to reports, they’ve partnered with organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create effective, rather than invasive, messages – instrumental to the success of the tool.
“We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don’t know how best to reach out,” Instagram’s Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told Seventeen Magazine. “These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder.”
Additionally, users searching for a hashtag associated with self-harm will be directed to a support page. Though most dangerous hashtags have been banned, for those that are circulating, support options will be available.
The news goes hand-in-hand with Instagram’s announcement that they’ve partnered with Seventeen to launch National Body Confidence Day (Oct. 17) — aka #PerfectlyMe — highlighting “young women and men from the Instagram community who are rocking their self-confidence and embracing their own uniqueness,” the mag reads.
“#PerfectlyMe is a celebration of strength,” Levine says. “It’s about the strength of the support networks that we have seen grow steadily across Instagram, and the strength of individuals in these communities who are redefining beauty standards and building a culture of positivity.”
Though we seldom applaud the next big social media tool (as it seems like a new one drops every day), Instagram’s move to tackle mental health in such a capacity is definitely a game-changer! In addition to opening doors for entrepreneurs, and providing a space for people to connect across the globe, Instagram will likely soon be able to add “save lives” to their growing list of accomplishments!
In the meantime, for those in need of immediate help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. Although life may seem dark and dim right now, always remember, there’s a rainbow at the end of every storm.