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Category: Black Women Articles

by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

July 22, 2014

Black America’s Silent Epidemic – Outtake of @OWNTV @Lisaling – Our America

We watched the June 26, 2014 Our America series on OWN.  In this series, journalist Lisa Ling covered the HIV epidemic in Black America. Our team watched intently and followed the Twitter hashtag during the show.  What would be different about this coverage?  How would the Black community be portrayed? Would this be, yet, another depiction of all things wrong in and with the community?  How would it reach young people, the millennials?

Here are comments below from the research scholars (millennials) on the MyHealthImpact team and their thoughts on the series. Comments have been shorten for this blog post.

After watching the show, I realized that there are still more progress/action to be taken surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Especially, when it comes to church involvement, I was taken back when only “one” church had replied saying that they would allow the woman to speak/tell her story. I feel like the stigma and judgment still remains in the church. The fact that a church made an individual feel inferior baffled me. Also, from watching the episode, it’s important for people to get tested regular. Knowing you status, as well as, your partner’s status is important..  Overall, I enjoyed the episode and thought it was informative and did a great job of depicting several stories of people battling/dealing with HIV. I think we need more documentaries/programs like this, which educate and spread awareness on the issue.
 
I thought that HIV in the Black Community by Lisa Ling was a fantastic program. It was truly touching to hear African Americans open up to their personal battles with HIV. This goes to show that there is no one specific way that you can obtain the disease. Each person had their story, testimony proves that this is still a serious topic within our community. What really stuck out to me was the fact that people didn’t want to attend the free HIV testing event because of the stigma that the disease carries. This was very hurtful to hear because regardless to whatever [virus] any individual may have, it does not take away the face that they are still first and foremost a HUMAN. I can only imagine the stares, gossip and bickering that takes place when people find out that someone they know has HIV. This episode allowed me to see things from a different perspective. You never truly know what it feels like being in someone else’s shoes.


The program was really informative. The part that really stuck out the most to me was probably when one of the men stated he expects to only live to his mid-thirties. I was trying to think to how depressing that could be. Not only did he know he know that he is infected, but he has also gone untreated for a lengthy period of time. Also I’m not surprised that people didn’t show up to the free HIV event. No one wants their life to change; they want to be comfortable with their respective lifestyle without restrictions. This lifestyle is important to uphold, especially with your family. When one of the women shared with her family that she has HIV, I couldn’t imagine how her family felt. That’s like hearing if one of my siblings were infected. Of course they’re still going to be my siblings, but I would continually sympathize with them. Overall the program was good and the twitter response was very responsive as well.
 
This broadcast was really good and extremely informative. The broadcast was a good reminder of a lot of HIV facts and information that tend to get lost because we focus so much on the sexual transmission of the infection. We tend to overlook the fact that some people may be born with it or became infected through the use of needles. When I think about someone becoming infected, in my mind I automatically think about someone being promiscuous and not someone contracting it from her husband who she thought she could trust. The broadcast shed light on the situations that we fail to think about. I was completely tuned in locked on the screen. Sad to see the show end and really wishing that the broadcast was on a channel that could be seen by more of the masses because this was definitely one that everyone needed to see.

Follow us @myhealthimpact on Twitter.  See myhealthimpactnetwork.org for additional content and health information.

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by Ebony Baldwin

July 10, 2014

Road to Medical School

With less than one week until I take my MCAT, I’m starting to understand the importance of staying mentally sane and stress-free. My whole summer has been leading up to this point. Though my road to Medical School is far from over, performing well on this exam will make the process a little bit smoother. For the last week, I have made sure to take time out for myself. Though I have maintained the same study habits and schedule, I have made it an addition priority to take time to relax and not overwhelm myself with everything the MCAT entails.

               

Sometimes knowing all the information does not automatically mean you will do well. It means you are prepared with understanding the majority of the topics. As I reflect and count down the days, I continue to tell myself over and over again, that all things are possible through Christ. I continue to build confidence in myself and in my ability. If I continue to have a positive attitude, then I shall receive positive results. At the end of the day, there are going to be some concepts I may not fully understand or certain areas I may need to excel better in; either way, I have to remain confident and not allow those struggles to hinder my success.

                     

Nevertheless, I can honestly say that I have taken all the necessary steps to prepare for the MCAT. I’ve purchased review books, taken several practice tests, hired a tutor, improved my time management and study skills, and most importantly, asked for help when I needed it. At the end of the day, on July 12th, 2014, I am going to walk into my exam with confidence.  For anybody preparing for the MCAT and applying to Medical School, know that the journey is not easy. If it was easy, anybody could do it. Just remember that you have to stick to a schedule and a plan that works best for you. Seek help and advice when necessary, but DO NOT compare yourself to others. When you do that, you become more worried about others and how you compare to them, and not what you need to do to improve yourself. Remember that your happiness comes first. If you find yourself struggling or becoming overwhelmed, take a step back, refocus, and find what work best for you. Medical School and the MCAT are not going anywhere. Take all the time you need to prepare and build the confidence you well need to do well and be successful on your road to medical school.

In closing, I leave you with this: 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

 

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by Keiara Morris

June 04, 2014

For Brown Girls

I’ve recently begun blogging and the story of Karyn Washington the creator of ‘For Brown Girls’ caught my eye and captured my heart. Washington reportedly committed suicide at the tender age of 22 after suffering from depression stemming from the loss of her mother. This hit my heart for two reasons. 1. She’s only a year older than me…a college student and 2. She’s a blogger that was interested in empowering and encouraging women to love themselves. These two things are practically I. I’m amazed at the fact that as she still desired to help others and while doing so, she was dealing with her own things.

           

Mental health is something serious. Did you know that depression is a mental illness? Let me make something really clear: you, we, she, he is not exempt. College students are not exempt. We (the black community) always seem to think that some things “aren’t what black people do”. Mental issues, mental health and stability have no face, color, socioeconomic status or background. Depression and suicide are things we deal with right in our own backyards…our own living rooms. We have to know and understand that there is nothing wrong with seeking help. You aren’t crazy for seeking help with coping with the loss of a parent or dealing with suicidal thoughts or even for being sad. Those sad thoughts may be more serious than you think if not tackled. To me and I don’t know how much my opinion counts to you but I truly admire those that are out to better themselves and are worried about their own well-being; self-love. I’ve noticed that the black community…it’s of our culture to believe that what happens in our home, stays in our home and that our issues will not be talked about and ridiculed among complete strangers or the Joneses’. Seeking help is saying I know I’m dealing with some things and recognizing the fact that all things aren’t able to be solved in the comfort of your own home but better on someone’s couch. We, yes WE must kill the stigma placed around seeking help. Did we think that these resources were put into place to hinder? We must kill our prides.

I’m sure committing suicide was the last thing on Karyn Washington’s mind at some point; let’s be real here her purpose was to help, promote self-love and seeing the beauty in which we are. I think it’s fair to say everyone can put on a façade but a façade can only be put on for so long. You never know what people are dealing with. Take the time to say something nice. Take the time to check on someone that you haven’t talked to in awhile. You never know what someone is going through and how much of a positive effect your nice words and thoughtful actions can be of help. Know that it is ok to seek help. Do not allow someone to talk you out of taking care of you.

See @myhealthimpact on Twitter, the web at myhealthimpactnetwork.org and on Tumblr for more information on mental health.

Gone too soon….

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by Keiara Morris

April 30, 2014

Empower Me and Health

Recently I started my own blog called ”Empower Me.”. My decision to start a blog came from having a need to just get it all out. Often times, I find it hard to verbalize what I need say but writing these things out seemed to be my way to vent. For the longest, I struggled with a blog name, the audience I wanted to reach, really even if I wanted to go forward with the whole thing, did I have time and would people really read what I have to say? I obviously put those things aside, stepped out on faith and onward I went. As my “about” states, “My goal is to empower and my purpose is to help. I’ve realized that as I pour myself into others, I’m doing nothing but helping myself. Empowering you as I empower myself; uplifting together”. If you can’t tell already, this blog is like my baby. Excuse me, as I get a little passionate. I’m still in the beginning phase of this and I haven’t written many posts but I believe this is the start of something great.

As of yet, I haven’t directly made a post about health and its importance but with my interest and own personal struggles with weight-loss, eating right etc., it isn’t far off. People tend to forget that mental health is a huge component of overall health. I’ve never really thought about it in this way, but I do believe that my blog caters to being mentally healthy; burden-free, honest, successful, stress-free, excited about life and happy. I’m promoting these behaviors because in my own personal opinion, it’s important to be this way. If you haven’t checked out my blog please do so and hopefully it will help you as much as it helps me. Uplifting together.

http://empoweredbykeiara.wordpress.com

 

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by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

March 20, 2014

College-Age Generation and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)

In February 2014, @myhealthimpact and @medicalmentors held a Twitter chat (#MedTechImpact) to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act (#ACA)for the college-aged population.  The chat included experts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Howard University, Booz Allen Hamilton and the Maryland County Department of Health and Human Services.

          

Topics included: common misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act; finding #ACA online information; why should college students and the college-age population have health care coverage; advantages and disadvantages of the Act.  We also discussed how the Act encourages workforce development diversity among medical and health providers as well as information and computing technologists.

The infographic below can be found on the myhealthimpactnetwork.org site and/or here directly and lists some key facts regarding the #ACA.  The word cloud shows the keywords from the chat including students, health, college, join, patient and tech.  As discussed during the Twitter chat and shown in the infographic, the #ACA will:

  • Enable young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
  • Provide coverage for preventive care.
  • Provide preventive care and screenings for #HIV, #depression, #diabetes and many others.
  • Provide care even for those with pre-existing conditions.

The final day to register for health coverage is March 31, 2014.  #GetCovered. Check out the details for yourself.  Inform. Educate and empower yourself.  See https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults/

 

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by Julian Cobb

March 09, 2014

Expectations for Women’s Empowerment

The name “Women’s Empowerment” alone implies that the event will consist of mainly women who aspire to be empowered by some sort. There are some men, including myself, who I’m sure will be attending and also would benefit from this experience. As the date gets closer, the anticipation draws near of what to expect at this well-known event.

Tyler Perry, an American director, screenwriter and actor is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for Women’s Empowerment. I am looking forward to hearing his words of wisdom and learning more about his personal success story. Due to the fact that I enjoy gospel music, I’m excited to hear artists such as Jessica Reedy, Byron Cage and the legendary Pastor John P Kee.  Along with the numerous seminars and workshops that are scheduled to take place, I’m ready to see how the fashion show will turn out. I have a friend who will be modeling in the show so it will definitely be great seeing him walk on the runway.

One of the concerns I have is being a male attending an event that is geared towards empowering women. Women’s Empowerment was established in commemoration of Women’s History Month. Therefore, the goal is to accentuate the lives of African American women by touching on issues that affect them holistically as women. I hope not to seem “out of place” amongst thousands of women as I’m sure that I will stand out. The fact that thousands of African American women will be unified together in positive light will be a wonderful sight to see. Overall, I’m greatly anticipating all of the things Women’s Empowerment has to offer. As I mentioned earlier, I’m sure that I will be able to benefit from this event, even as a male.

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by Keiara Morris

March 09, 2014

Initial Thoughts: Women’s Empowerment 2014

When I hear the word empowerment, I automatically think uplifting. I feel like I can accomplish absolutely anything. To add the word women beside empowerment, I think of black women…women in general feeling like we are on top of the world. I believe that in many areas and arenas, women are overlooked and cast down to being inferior to our male counterparts. Women are strong, hardworking, the wife, the mother, the sister, the friend, the businesswoman, the doctor, the lawyer; the person wearing many hats. 

I’m looking forward to sitting in the PNC Arena with thousands of women that wear these many hats that have the desire to be encouraged so that they can walk out into the world and do great things. I’m excited to hear the keynote speaker, Tyler Perry, hearing musical guests such as Chrisette Michele and just being in the number.

I’m hoping for Women’s Empowerment to live up to every aspect of its name. I would like to see Women’s Empowerment uplift, be a motivator to those needing motivation and refreshing to those that need to be reminded that they can be greater than just great.

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by Ebony Baldwin

March 06, 2014

The TURN UP: Spring Break Safety

With Spring Break literally around the corner, college students everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE are gearing up to travel to distance and tropical places to soak up some sun and jump in the water. While most students are only concentrating on getting that last minute workout in for washboards abs or purchasing their last minute wardrobe findings, I guarantee no one is thinking about STDs!

Instead, most college students are thinking about fun, alcohol and parties. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong with having fun and of course making lifetime memories, BUT be SMART about it! Don’t forget about your morals and values, or should I say “home training”. Have “responsible” fun.  Yes, spring break is about having a good time and getting away from the books, but don’t be naive. 

Drink Responsibly

Personally, do yourself a favor and party smart. Pace yourself if you choose to drink, and avoid hard alcohol if you can or other drinks that are powerful and have fast effects—cause drunks make for “easy targets”. 

According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, 75 percent of college males and 43 percent of females reported being intoxicated on a daily basis during spring break. Which brings me to another point of discussion; don’t let alcohol blur the lines of love! There is no such thing as “I want to get to know you” or “love at first sight” during spring break! Just lust, deceitful lies, and sexual transmitted diseases! So, be smart and not STUPID!

Stay Safe: Safe Sex, Know Your Facts and Know Your Status

The only 100% sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is by not having sex. If you choose to have sex with a stranger—which isn’t best idea—use something called   “condoms”. We are college students, so this should not be hard.  Stock up on protection before you leave home so you never find yourself in a compromised situation. If this isn’t enough for you, here are the facts:  Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men. Women who experience both sexual and physical abuse are significantly more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases. Take precautions and avoid situations or persons that may place you at risk for harm. Decide before even going on spring break what you’re willing to do, and then get to work setting your boundaries early and often. If you meet someone and decide to shack up, be up front with him or her if sex isn’t in the plan. Maybe something like, “Hey good lookin’. I’ve had fun this evening, but no sex tonight.” But seriously, don’t ever let anyone talk you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with. 

Keep Safe and Hang With Your Friends

Lastly,  “if you go out with your friends, go home with your friends.” It’s one of those things that keeps you a whole lot safer, and eliminates the bad, ugly, and stupid drama. This way you can look out for one another, and get a friend home who is too intoxicated to be out. So this spring break, think a little bit before you act! I’m sure that one week of fun is not worth your life! Don’t turn up too much, so that you look like a fool!

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by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

March 04, 2014

Recline Vs. “Leaning In” Meaning for STEM Education & Careers?

What: Twitter Chat Moderator for Big Beacon #bigbeacon

When: March 5, 2014 at 8pm EST

Where: Follow us on Twitter @myhealthimpact and Dr. Payton's personal Twitter account @drfayonline.

See myhealthimpactnetwork.org on the web and follow on Twitter @myhealthimpact.  Follow Dr. Payton at her personal Twitter account @drfayonline.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has offered one perspective to address question of inclusive of women in the workplace.  Her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, speaks to family life and work balance.  I am still unsure about the term “balance”.  Rather, I see the notion as one of “integration” informed and/or influenced by intersectional dimensions of race, gender, class, first-generation, sexual orientation, etc. Yet, Lean In, also speaks to the need for women to take charge of their careers and push forward despite the “isms” that can and do exist.  If you need a brief summary of the book, see this Lean In blogspot.

Many have found Sandberg’s call as placing the burden of change on women, speaking to the privileged and failure to recognize the nuisances’ women of color in the discourse. As Rosa Brooks of The Washington Post stated in her February 25, 2014 article, Sandberg connects to those with the resources to navigate, as she says, “all this Leaning In”.  Brooks suggests that women should “recline” instead.

In STEM, I am interested to learn how can Lean In impact the education and career trajectories of those doing the leaning.  If the text is indeed focused on women, what are the roles of men in the workplace, both academic and industry?  This Twitter Chat links to the Big Beacon Manifesto: “The whole new engineer is authentically connected to with others”. Further, the manifesto encourages engineering education to embrace young people as whole-bodied and whole-brained individuals.  The status quo will not go easily, but go it must.”

Questions to consider for the Twitter Chat that makes for an interesting discussion:

  1. How do you view the “Lean In” concept?
  2. How have you encouraged underrepresented and female students to “Lean In”?
  3. How is STEM different that other fields, and how can this impact STEM educational leadership views of those who “Lean In”?
  4. What biases (if any) result when women and underrepresented minorities “Lean In”?
  5. What are the potential penalties and rewards of leaning in for women, women of color and underrepresented groups?
  6. How can STEM education and the workplace better foster a “Lean In” approach?
  7. How can this concept be use to foster and support STEM leadership roles among women and underrepresented groups?
  8. What are your thoughts on “reclining”?
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by Keiara Morris

March 02, 2014

Keiara’s Journey to Fit

This time around, I’m really staying focused and I’m truly committed to being healthy and losing a few extra pounds. I started out with a Dr. Oz detox  plan that lasted two weeks. After the first two weeks, I decided to keep myself on a modified diet. My diet consists of no fast food, lots of fruits and vegetables, no fried foods, monitoring my sugar and carbohydrate intake and if possible eating meat once a day. In observance of #meatlessMonday’s I definitely try my hardest to do so and go meatless. I’ve been using an app called MyFitnessPal to keep track of what I eat and caloric intake. Along with this, I have become extremely conscious of labels and serving sizes. If it has a label, I have read it! Along with eating right, exercising is an essential part of getting healthy and losing weight. Due to my hype of being completely committed, I decided to order Insanity and Black Girls Workout Too as an alternative to just going to the gym. These DVDs also come in handy when I just don’t feel like making moves to the gym or even leaving my apartment, I have zero excuses. To keep myself on schedule or to at least have a plan and to keep track of what I’ve done (or what I haven’t done), I have a workout calendar that denotes what I should do. With every completed workout, I place a check mark on that particular day. By far, my only issue is stepping on the scale every day. I’m addicted. Lol. I’m proud of myself for staying on track and I encourage others to do the same. If you’ve fallen off track, don’t wait until tomorrow, do it today! A huge misconception is that eating one bad thing will knock you off course, it won’t just don’t make it a continuous habit of eating bad things, overeating or skipping workouts (whatever you may struggle with).  I definitely wish everyone the best of luck…you aren’t in this alone!!

               

 

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In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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