Category: Health Articles
June 18, 2015
We, as black people, have to watch our every move now. The levels of anxiety and mental stress we endure in our own homes and communities will have everlasting effects on us. I’m conscious on what I wear, what I say, what I do in public, and just my overall image. It’s sad to say, but this isn’t a world where I can be myself outside of my room.
If it wasn’t for Michael Brown, I would have never heard of Ferguson, Missouri. If you’ve been living under a rock or choose to deliberately not hear the story, here it is. A 19 year old black young man was shot and killed in the middle of the street by law enforcement. Not only was the boy unarmed, but was shot at 12 times. They levels of unanswered questions surrounding the case are baffling. After Brown’s death, Darren Wilson, the officer who murdered Brown, somehow went into hiding. Darren WIlson wasn’t indicted. The transcript was published on the internet and his description of Michael Brown was horrendous. Eric Garner’s murder wasn’t indicted either. The Supreme Court decided not to indict Eric Garner’s murder after video evidence of the officer using an illegal chokehold.
There have now been protests around the WORLD in support of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson, not forgetting all the other wrongfully slain brothers and sister in the recent days and even years. Then, there is Baltimore with the media commentaries depicting the community in ways that only causes even more stress.
Why do we have to die so young? Why do I have to feel like a suspect when I’m just walking around from place to place? Why are there people that don’t understand that there’s something to understand about race issues in America. It’s scientifically proven that ignoring race issues don’t make them disappear. That’s doesn’t even make sense when you think about it. You can’t ignore your work and expect to get it done. Can you? You can’t ignore your hunger and expect to be full?
June 09, 2015
The key to maintaining a long relationship is keeping it healthy. Think of it as the same way you would treat a plant. You have to water it, nurture it, and give it some room to grow. Growth being the most important. Your significant other should complement your growth and you should do the same for them. This means encouraging one another to pursue those dreams and maintain high goals.
From my personal experience, it can be somewhat challenging if those dreams take your significant other to another side of the country. At the end of the day you have to put yourself in their shoes and realize that you would like the same support in that situation.
Relationships can be hard; that’s no secret. However, recognizing how the growth of the relationship affects the individuals is amazing. Growing as one and yet still two individuals is the best part of it all.
Psychology Today gives a couple healthy nuggets to maintaining a healthy relationship. I’ll leave you all with a couple that resonated with me:
- Give what you want to get.
- Successful relationships take work.
- Find a way to become and stay best friends.
May 03, 2015
As you can see below, both rising stars and professional athletes are dying from heart disease each and everyday! This interactive infographic shows the fate of athletes who died, retired or was forced to have surgery as a result of their heart condition. It's really disheartening because a lot these professionals died early on affecting not just fans but their families. Let's not only remember the names on the back of a jerseys but also use their story to identify heart diesase in young athletes and prevent misdiagnosis from so many lives short.
Tweet us @myhealthimpact to let us know if any of the players on this shocked you!
April 30, 2015
When we are young we are told and reminded of the importance of exercise and why we need to remain active. My parents were sure to emphasize the benefits of physical activity and to this day, continue to do so. This is why it often surprises me when I hear of professional athletes passing away from heart attacks and cardiovascular related health issues. These are people whose career is centered on remaining active and physically fit, but there is no certainty that these habits remained after they’re playing careers came to an end. More striking however is the seemingly prevalent occurrence of young athletes, at the high school and college age, who have suddenly passed due to cardiac arrest. It is estimated by the American Academy of Pediatrics that “2,000 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac arrest in the United States every year.” This is a striking figure because this encompasses a group of young adults who generally, are at the peak of their physical fitness.
Perhaps one of the more prominent stories in the last year is the story of Isaiah Austin. Austin, a former basketball player at Baylor University, declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft last year. After the plethora of tests conducted by the National Basketball Association it was discovered that he could never play competitive basketball again, four days before the draft. Isaiah Austin suffered from Marfan syndrome, which caused an enlargement of his aorta. The combination of aortic enlargement and extreme physical exertion, as he would be subject to as a professional basketball player, made him susceptible to a rupture of his heart. This was the exact fate of Flo Hyman, an Olympic volleyball player, who passed away on the court due to a rupture of her aorta in 1986.
The story of Isaiah Austin generated some, but not a lot of conversation about the health of young athletes. Austin had been living with this condition and could have met his fate at any point during his athletic career at Baylor University. Fortunately this did not happen, but many student-athletes do not have the same luck. Every year there are stories of high school and college students who collapse on the athletic field, and most of these cases of sudden cardiac arrest are due to structural defects of the heart. This begs many to ask the question, should we increase the testing of our amateur athletes before they can play? Had it not been for the depth at which the National Basketball Association looks into the health of their players, the discovery of Isaiah Austin’s aortic enlargement may not have come until it was too late.
The message of remaining healthy and maintaining regular exercise is important and effective. We must also include the message to be aware and responsible for our health. School systems, colleges, and doctor’s offices should encourage student athletes and their families to become aware of their health. The opportunity to curtail the sudden death of student-athletes is available. These institutions have the ability to provide families with a stronger understanding of their health, and it should be capitalized on. Follow @myHealthimpact for more on #Health #Tech #Culture and views of #youngPeople. See us on YouTube, and follow us on Tumblr.
April 09, 2015
It was in elementary school that we had our first sexual education course. It was either 5th or 6th grade that we marched into my Science Teacher’s room to hear the real truth about the birds and the bees. Of course, our parents had to sign a permission slip in order for us to get the life lesson. The funny thing is I barely remember anything about that class. All I remember is that we sat down we talked about different types of condoms, pregnancy, and maybe chromosomes. My parents never had ‘The Talk’ with my siblings, and I so this class was the closest thing to it.
It wasn’t until I had a Sex Education class my ninth grade year in High School that I had to witness the miracle of child birth. In this class, we watched videos and talked about the entire sexual reproductive system. After that, there were no other topics on that until I got to college.
From a very young age, I was made aware that there were differences between “boys” and “girls”. I faintly remember a time in second or third grade where they took each student in the class and pointed to two dolls, mentioning there were differences and that it was inappropriate to touch certain areas of each doll. But this was not a true introduction to human sexuality. I took had a 5th grade class where we learning about family living, ethical behavior, and human sexuality. It was here that I learned of abstinence and its importance in remaining healthy. When I entered high school, I finally learned about contraception, STDs and STIs, but for many this is much too late.
I have the great fortune of having a psychotherapist as a mother. She has worked with adolescents for a long majority of her career, and has always been very open with my brother and me about what is and is not appropriate. My sexual education may have begun earlier than many, but my mother’s experience with adolescents who had experienced sexual violence or had committed acts of sexual violence against others forced her hand. My brother and I were taught early on about our bodies, respecting ourselves, and showing the utmost respect for others.
I remember going to my PE class in the fourth grade excited to finally let off some steam and play with my friends. It was Friday which meant free day aka everyone grab a basketball and find the nearest hoop. However, today would be different as my PE teacher split up the group into boys and girls. The girls were taken to another classroom while the boys were instructed to sit on the gymnasium floor. Up above was a rolling TV cart and my PE Teacher explaining to the boys group that he forgot to mention during the last class that he had to teach us about how our bodies change as we get older. Naturally, we weren’t trying to hear it, but we sat and listened hoping we would get just 5 minutes at the end of class to throw up a few baskets.
We ended up watching a long and boring film that never spoke about how our bodies changed over time but rather depicted various sex organs, including their scientific name, while narrated in a robotic tone. Thinking back to the actual footage, I cannot understand how something so incredibly stale could be shown to fourth graders! At a time where young students gravitate towards shows on Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and other children focused networks, it’s mind boggling to note this film as my introduction into the sexual reproduction cycle. I am not alone on this issue as sex education is anything but standardized. At present, only 22 states require sex education in schools, and only 19 require that sex education is medically, technically or factually accurate. With those numbers, I wonder if sex education is meant to teach young minds about sexual health or just a course with a checkbox?
March 30, 2015
When I was younger the month of March filled me with extreme amounts of joy. I was able to look forward to the birthdays of my paternal grandmother, my cousin, my aunt, my father, and even myself, all in the same month. Recently, this sentiment has changed. I still feel joy and excitement during this month, but accompanied with these emotions has come reflection. A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 21st birthday, and of course, it was celebrated with the fanfare one would expect for such a milestone. Even with the celebrating, I spent a significant amount of time to myself, thinking about where I was, the company I was with, and the influences on my life to this point.
The summer after my freshman year at NC State, I was awarded a grant to spend five weeks in Haiti, through the Park Scholarships. In the grant I explained that I wanted to gain experience in the administration of healthcare in a developing country, but to also experience significant cultural immersion in my father’s country of birth. My aunt at the time was still living in Haiti, and assisted with my in-country arrangements. My family accompanied me for the first week, and my father spent an additional week in the country before returning to North Carolina. The last three weeks of my time in Haiti I spent learning, intensively. The experience I gained from the hospital was tremendous, but the wealth of knowledge I gained from my aunt was priceless.
My aunt and I spent countless hours talking about my life and hers, the places she’d traveled, the people she met, the beauty in simplicity, and what is important in our lives. We began to discuss my next visit to Haiti and how to establish a sustainable trip for students who are interested in the experience. Unfortunately, this would never come to fruition. My aunt passed away the following March, the day after my birthday and two days before hers, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. With my aunt’s passing came reflection and insight. The importance of love, to not take people for granted, and to crystallize the relationships I have while also fostering new ones, gradually came to me as integral parts of life. I thought of my maternal grandmother, who was present at each of her grandchildren’s births, and has never missed a birthday since, my paternal grandmother whose mannerisms and love I remember to this day, and my mother who reminded me just today that she “never misses a beat.” These relationships have played a powerful role in my growth, and continue to shape my life.
In recognition of Women’s History Month on this last day of March 2015, I celebrate these women. Their impact on me has yet to be fully realized, but it is already significant. The love I have for them is overwhelming, and I am thankful for that.
Follow us at @myhealthimpact.
February 21, 2015
“Is it just me or does not feel like Black History Month.” I posted a status like this on Facebook and got a lot of likes on it, so it makes it feel like I’m not the only person feeling like this. Ever since I came down to North Carolina, I have noticed that there is definitely a different vibe to Black History Month. It feels as though it gets swept under the rug as a nonsignificant time here.
I was raised in Prince Georges County, Maryland where there is a strong presence of successful black people. As a student of the public school system, I learned about black history facts from a young age. I grew up living behind one of the first public Black high schools in the county. I recall one time when I was in the third grade we had a big history project. We had to dress up like a prominent figure of our choosing and we could not be the usual Dr. King or Rosa Parks. I was Josephine Baker, the great entertainer, who at the time I knew nothing about, but that was the point. I was challenged to go out and learn about all the uncelebrated pioneers. The project made us know these individuals, and that’s something that I will never forget. Do children in elementary school do the same here in NC?
However, my learning did not stop in in the classroom, my church family celebrated history and culture as well. I've been a member of Ward Memorial A.M.E. Church since I was born. In Sunday School and other groups of the congregation we celebrated civil rights activist who were also key figures in founding the African Methodist Episcopal Church, such as Richard Allen. My church even hosts programs and recitals to celebrate the lives of those who paved paved the road for us. In addition to these programs throughout the year, we also have "African Attire" Sunday where everyone dresses up in their traditional African garments. My church is and has always been an active voice in the community. Are there many churches down here in NC that can say the same?
I grew up in a community where you reflected often on the accomplishments of African Americans in the community as a basis for the youth to take those advancements to the next level. What saddens me is that I don't see that here at my college. No one is talking about a black history fact of the day. No one is talking about who Garret Morgan, Mae Jemison, Duke Ellington, Benjamin Banneker, or even George Washington Carver has done. The worst part of it all is that some people don't even know who these people are, yet alone never heard their name. In my community there a schools, buildings, streets, and train stations named after these individuals. It is because of these individuals that I have even gotten as far as I have in life. Are there places like that named in after individuals in NC? How many?
I've been blessed to grow up in a community where I was taught to celebrate my heritage. Unfortunately, it's hard to find that same strong black community outside the DMV area. There's truly none other like it. The heritage, the culture is something that I didn’t appreciate until I got out of Maryland and I didn’t have it anymore. For that reason alone I could see myself returning to the area. Let's just say I grew up knowing my roots, and I plan on sticking to them.
I challenge my readers to go out and find an unsung hero in your community, and let us know what you learn about them. Black History doesn’t have to stop at the end of February ,so we encourage you to do this throughout the year! Tweet your findings to @DenaeFord and @myHealthImpact and let us know how cl using the hashtags #BecauseOfThemWECan, #BlackImpactMonth, or #myhealthimpact.
Follow @myHealthImpact on twitter for future updates on what’s going on in the community.
February 12, 2015
According to dictionary.com, a superstar is someone who enjoys wide recognition and is eagerly sought after for his or her services. For years, I’ve followed many athletes from basketball greats to gridiron legends. Whether it’s discussing the GOAT as young folk have now attributed or upcoming phenoms on the brink of stardom, I’ve always voiced strong sentiments. My love and passion for sports stems from a childhood filled with AAU practices, being the coach’s son on seasonal teams, and having an unmistakable brotherhood with my teammates. But when away from the game, I continued my coverage by tuning into shows dedicated to sports.
Ahmad Rashad was the first host on “NBA Inside Stuff” back when it aired on NBC. I would wake up every Saturday morning and look forward to what he and the beautiful Summer Sanders had to say. While athletes were praised by analysts for their competitive nature, Ahmad showed that they too had personality. His running commentary would capture these superstars on-court bloopers, off-camera interview clips, and local community involvement. Check out this vintage clip from “Rewind”, NBA Inside Stuff’s version of Basketball Twitter and Instagram before they officially came on the scene.
Back when HBO gave free weekend previews and I think they still do, I stumbled on a show called “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” From the very first segment, I was captured by how Mr. Gumbel and his cast intertwined society and sports by doing investigative reports and interviews that went beyond box scores and statistics. This show was the first time I’d ever hear about the impact football collisions had on athletes after retiring from the very game they loved. Bryant Gumbel certainly pushed the envelope and continues to today with over 25 Sports Emmy Awards and a spark that led to the creation of other sports shows: On the Record with Bob Costas, Outside The Lines and E:60.
As oppose to Saturday mornings and monthly news magazines, ESPN Sportscenter served as my daily driver. Or better yet watching my mans, the holy grail of sports commentating, Stuart Scott tear it up on set. He would take hip-hop lyrics and eloquently embed them into sports clips almost seamlessly. It was so incredibly good that I had no clue that things had been different prior to his arrival at ESPN. After succumming to a lengthy battle with cancer, I read countless articles and watched tributes that explained the impact Coach Stu had on Urban America. Known for his catchphrases, Stuart Scott went on to become a sports broadcasting pioneer despite the flack he received for representing the hip-hop generation.
1. “Like gravy on a biscuit, it’s all good!”
Scott accompanies this quote with a player having a career day or when a player makes a smart play.
2. “And the Lord said you’ve got to rise up!”
Bryce Harper hits a homerun as a rookie, giving the Washington Nationals the lead after trailing the Atlanta Braves at home.
3. “See, what had happened was…”
This is amongst Stuart Scott’s popular references. During the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals between the Pistons and Pacers, he teased Rasheed Wallace after throwing up an air ball from the 3 point line.
4. “Vlade Daddi, he likes to party, he don’t cause trouble, he don’t bother nobody.”
From Slick Rick’s “Lodi Dodi” covered by Snoop Dogg from the Doggystyle album. Pertaining to any Vlade Divac play, it gave the Sacramento Kings Center some much needed respect as he was rearing towards the descent into basketball irrelevancy.
5. “You ain’t got to go home, but you got to get the heck up outta here.”
No shade, Stuart Scott just wants to let you know you either struck out, or you messed up for getting ejected from a game.
6. “He treats him like a dog. Sit. Stay.”
After Allen Iverson broke a defender’s ankles, Scott dropped this one on the poor guy.
7. “Just call him butter cuz he’s on a roll.”
You hear this when someone is straight up balling!
8. “As cool as the other side of the pillow.”
Synonymous with plays consisting of a high degree of difficulty and executed with ease, this one is Scott’s most popular phrase. It plays into his demeanor on and off the camera as we know Stuart Scott to be the calm, cool and collected anchor on Sportcenter.
9. “Call him carwash cuz he’s automatic.”
You can thank former University of Kansas guard Jacque Vaughn for this one. He was money from the foul line, so clutch and dependable that Scott compared his mechanical synchrony to a carwash.
10. “They call him the Windex Man cause he’s always cleaning the glass.”
We all love hustle. Stuart Scott used to drop this quote when someone was reeking havoc in the paint, grabbing rebounds left and right.
These shows helped shape my view on the sports world by not only showing highlights but by profiling athletes, investigating problems afflicting sports, and bringing Urban America into the fold. These brothers are the reason why I no longer define a sports superstar as solely being an athlete but by simply someone who changed the game.
Stay connected with @myhealthimpact to continue the sports conversation and the transformative nature of health and technology on today’s youth.
January 25, 2015
As smartphones have become more commonplace in today’s society, technologists have been in search of the next big thing. We’ve gone from adding touchscreens to everything (home appliances, car infotainment systems) to using gestures to interact with the world around us -- think the Minority Report.
After all, the future world we live in is just a guess or figment of the imagination. This magical nature of tomorrow is on display every year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) down in desert plaid Las Vegas. Where high rollers shell out tons of money on personal bets and invest in small start-ups that hail from all over the world. The comos surrounding CES has been a bit different the past few years, as more savvy players have introduced hardware at the center of their enterprise. Wearables, the heir to smartphones are slowly sweeping the conference floor. From recognizable names like Fitbit and Pebble to up and comers with Android Wear as their understudy -- every manufacturer has tossed their hat in the ring.
Besides telling the time, they all claim to do one thing well: help you reach your fitness goals.
- track steps
- take pulse
- measure blood pressure
- monitor heart rate
That was last year!
In 2015 the trend is now shifting towards real health applications:
- diagnose skin cancer
- examine menstrual cycle
- tell how well your lungs are working
- transmit physiological information to doctors
- treat depression
- and so much more…
With electronics and health care merging together ever so slightly, technologists will no longer have to ponder about what’s next. Wearables will cement the next revolution that is as fashion forward as it is helpful in quantifying your life.
Stay tuned to @myhealthimpact for more discoveries and technology driven solutions to a healthier future.
In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State
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