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REDUCING HEALTH DISPARITIES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY | CREATED FOR STUDENTS BY STUDENTS

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Category: Tips Articles

by KaMar Galloway

November 13, 2014

Giving Gladly But Cautiously Doing So

The Set-up:
A few weeks ago I opened my corporate inbox and saw an email asking to donate blood. I wasn’t really up to do it but I read the entire email anyway. Although the actual event was put on by the American Red Cross, the idea of walking onto a decorated bus dubbed the “Bloodmobile” and giving blood didn’t quite jive with me. After getting over my initial fear, I signed up and received my confirmation email.

        

The Build-Up:
Like any other email, it slipped my mind and I went through the days as my usual self. Not once did I think about the “Bloodmobile” coming onsite. Then, a few days before the actual event I received an email with the subject line “Blood Drive Reminder (Next Week)”. I didn’t even open the email before I could feel my heart pulsate slightly faster.

                        

The Event:
The day had arrived when the Bloodmobile and I would meet face-to-face. I was a bit cautious because I couldn’t picture the actual environment. Once on the Bloodmobile I was greeted by a lovely lady who briefed me on the pre and post process. It didn’t seem too bad beside the fact that giving blood would take nearly 45 MINUTES! After answering a nearly 100 question survey about my entire life, I started to second guess whether or not I really wanted to give blood.

  • What if something is wrong with me?
  • What if the physician can’t find a good vein?
  • What if the needle is infected?

Every scenario ran through my mind as I was trying to remain calm among my coworkers (who were also giving blood). When it was my turn, I sat in the left recliner (your choice based on the hand giving blood), formed a fist to activate my veins and closed my eyes. Forty-five minutes later and I had successfully donated blood. I was so relieved that it was all over. I grabbed a snack on the way out and made my way back to work.

              

The Analysis:
Now that it’s all set and done, I am so happy I followed my gut and donated blood to the American Red Cross. I will admit that it was scary at first but the onboard physicians made it a pleasant experience. I even received my blood type following the blood drive so now I can prevent the risk of receiving an incompatible blood type surgery.

Now it’s your turn to donate blood! Download the American Red Cross Blood App (App Store / Google Play) and continue to follow @myhealthimpact for more personal health stories!

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by Denae Ford

November 02, 2014

Let Your Voice Be Heard

            

There was an uproar amongst young people in the past 2 presidential elections. Many took to social media and endorsed their particular candidates. Unfortunately, after the last election many young people stopped following what’s going on.

On the radio, they are claiming that it is important to vote in your local elections, but why? It is your right as a citizen of the United States of America. America presents the opportunity for you to voice your opinion via mid-term, local and national elections. To finally have a say in the laws that are affecting your community, it is important to exercise your right to vote. The downside to this is that often times we millennials don’t know and frankly don’t care what is going in politics.

        

The goal of this piece is not to sway your vote in any way! The point is to get you to use your voice and get engaged to what is going on around you. Did you know that you have access to a sample ballot before you go to the polls? This is something that I didn’t know until I was walking up to the voting station. I was able to see what was on the ballot and have even look up the platforms of the candidate running. The big kicker to me was that there was a question of waiving a persons right to trial by jury here in North Carolina.

The ballot reads: “Constitutional amendment providing that a person accused of any criminal offense for which the State is not seeking a sentence of death in superior court may, in writing or on the record in court and with the consent of the trial judge, waive the person's right to a trial by jury”. For or Against.

       

I know that politics is one of the things you don’t normally bring about in conversation, but that is not what this is about. It doesn’t matter who you vote for. Just as long as you do it and know the issues.

Make sure to tell your friends that they cannot vote at Talley this election. And most importantly, make sure to tell your friends to vote!

          

Things to remember:

  • It is important to vote because people have died and fought for this right
  • It’s important to stay current on what’s affecting your neighborhood (health, education, jobs, etc.)
  • Despite what you may think. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

Local voting locations near NCSU:

  • Students that live in North Hall will vote at Brooks Avenue Church of Christ. The address for that location is 700 Brooks Ave. Raleigh, NC 27607
  • Most residence halls will be voting at Freedom Temple at 615 Royal St., Raleigh, NC 27607.

To find other station’s in your area check out https://www.ncsbe.gov/webapps/voter_search/

Follow us @myhealthimpact on Twitter.

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by Victor Ajewole

October 29, 2014

Killing Two Birds with One Pebble, Wearable Technology

Do you need a smartwatch? Probably not, but at the same time, we don’t really need cell phones either. Now what does a smart watch have that my cell phone can’t give me? Well, to be honest, nothing. I’m not here to give a sales pitch, but to give you a better visual on how I use my Pebble watch. Pebble watch you say?, the thing that came out last year? Yes. You mean that thing that only displays in black and white? Yes. You mean that watch that doesn’t even have a touch screen? YES!!!

         

Now the Pebble watch is not the latest tech in wearables but its still great. The biggest problems with wearable technology now, is the never ending questions, “why would someone want to wear this?” I can tell that the people who had to test the usability of this device knew what they were looking for. There are some key features that I truly love about this watch. Heres some key features:

Key Features

  • Read text
  • Haptic Feedback
  • Event reminders
  • Pedometer
  • Controls music (Soundcloud)
  • Battery Life (5-7 days)

           

Follow us at @myHealthImpact as we continue to discuss important topics around technology and your physical health.

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by Victor Ajewole

October 22, 2014

Cell Phone Fast

I know we all have that fear of our phones falling and hitting that exact spot that would stop all phone functionality. Welp that happened to me earlier this month. I always ask myself “What happens when technology fails?” This situation gave me the opportunity to try something new. I decided to go a week without my smartphone or any phone for that matter. I had no real expectations for what would happen, but I wanted to see how dependent I really was to my phone.

                

Day 1
Not bad, I can’t listen to music, but luckily I still had my reliable Zune from high school. Yeah it’s a zune, but it still worked with a ton of old songs I forgot I had. Bus rides were still tolerable, but not the same. With no apps, I relied on my computer and communicated through Google hangout and Facebook messages.

Day 2
Not that bad either and I realized when I didn’t have a computer near me, I really didn’t have to ‘answer’ to anyone: well anyone that wanted to contact me. I found out I made myself too available sometimes. This pseudo exclusivity I put myself in made feel important.

Day 3
Okay this is where things start to go astray. Monday was closely approaching and I used my phone as my alarm clock and I needed to find another one. Luckily I had received my pebble smartwatch in the mail and was able to set alarms on it. Also one of my earbuds stopped working which made those bus rides to class even worse.

Day 4 - 7
Ok so not answering people is great, but I couldn’t contact anyone else either. It really didn’t hit me until I had to complete some team assignments and no one in my groups could contact me. Well they could, but I couldn’t reply until I got to a nearby computer or pulled out my laptop. I ended up having to wait on people so they wouldn’t have to call me to find me. I had to have patience.

              

Overall I think the experience taught me a lot about myself. I didn’t realized how often I used my phone. There were even a few times where I thought I felt my pocket vibrate knowing good and well I didn’t have a phone. My phone had a mental hold on me. It helped get through the day and prepare for days to come. Since I didn’t have instant access to information, I didn’t get distracted as often during assignments. I wouldn’t say I become more productive, but my attention span was definitely better.

Follow us at @myHealthImpact as we continue to discuss important topics around technology and your mental health.

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by Denae Ford

October 13, 2014

Identity Crisis

Though I am half way into my first semester as a PhD student. I am still trying to figure out out my new identity. I was told before I started this journey that I will lose friends and my relationships will disintegrate but I never thought it would ever happen to me.

         

The biggest struggle for me would have to be that I am at the same institution that I was at for undergrad. There were so many activities and organizations that I was apart of that contributed to my identity but now all that has changed. The largest one would have to be running track. Since I have been a freshman in high school track has always been a major deal in my life. Between practicing, having injuries, traveling, bonding with my teammates, and learning life lessons from my coaches, track was something that enticed me. 

Track was an anchored structure in my life. All activities I did were based on my track schedule. There were times I would stay up late to do homework and the fear that I would miss practice if i went to sleep too late encouraged me to pull all-nighters. Times when I would not go out to a party with my “normie(non-athletes)” friends because I knew I would have a hard practice the next morning.  Track encouraged so many positive things in my life. It got me to be more mindful about my diet since it reflects my performance, teaching me that I could push my body to new limits beyond my wildest dreams.

        

Being apart of something that you actually enjoy for 8 years is an amazing commitment. The hardest part is letting it go; but here’s the kicker, you don’t have to! I’m learning how to redefine what running is to me. I would relate this transition to moving to the other side of the country, away from your best friend.  No, you won’t be able to see each other every day nor call every other week like you used to. However, it’s a mutual understanding; you can pick up the phone and talk for hours like the old days.  That’s the type of relationship that I am learning to be okay with.  It’s definitely a struggle at first, but it’s comforting to know that it’s always there for you when you need it.

I suppose redefining what these things mean in your life is a large part of this PhD journey. With new goals, come new commitments and with new commitments, come new relationships.

Follow us at @myhealthimpact as we continue to discuss important topics relating to heath and tech.

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by Victor Ajewole

October 08, 2014

iPhone 6 Hype

I’m not sure if you noticed, but the new iPhone just came out. What?!?! You never heard of the iPhone. It’s only the same phone Apple been selling to millions for the past couple of years.

Seriously, the iPhone 6 “dropped” last month, and people are just eating it up. Yes, I’m an android user, so my opinion may be a bit biased.  For Apple to be a company based on innovative design, they sure are conservative of the design aspects of the phone. I understand the iPhone is easy to use and popular, but why is it so popular?  If you compare the specs for the iPhone 6 (2014) and the specs of a Nexus 4 (2012), they’re not so different. Well actually, they’re almost completely identical. To make matters worse is the price between the two. The Nexus 4 is $199 with no contract while the iPhone 6 is $649.

            

With that said, why are people so quick to covet this new (old) device? Would it not be better just to save money and get the older Nexus 4. I understand there is a preference of operating systems, but c’mon and extra $400 in your pocket would be pretty nice. Does Apple have mind control of the people that buy it? Is the iPhone really that easy to use? What is Apple really selling? I know iTunes isn’t that great downloading that U2 album to everyones iTunes and all that. The name. Apple is selling the lifestyle, the popularity, and acceptance to the community of having a iPhone. Also the camera. Not to get technical, but the iPhone camera does set a new standard for the other various smartphones out there.

            

We, as young people, are addicted to having the latest and greatest of almost anything. I’m guilty myself. Millennials and digital setters were raised to have high expectations to what technology brings. We are raised to think ahead and continue to innovate. This addiction to the innovation and creation of new technology is our social driving force. We want to to relate to whatever is new and socially accepted as “in”.

People even waited in long lines just to have a chance to spend their money to get the phone. The video below is just a bit of humor to how serious some of these people can really get. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSALds9qpqk

Follow us at @myhealthimpact as we continue to discuss #techtalk that impacts health and health access.

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by Denae Ford

September 25, 2014

New PhD Student – Technical Writing Matters

Going straight from undergraduate to Ph.D. is a huge jump that I wish I was better prepared for. Technical writing is something that is very important as a Ph.D. student and wish I had more feedback on as an undergraduate who was interested in higher education.

As I approach my fifth week as a Ph.D. student, I can definitely say that this path has been more rigorous than I expected. The class work is a bit more intense but it is fine. My technical writing skills is what shakes me up; something that I definitely have to improve on. It is not stressed enough in undergraduate studies but is clearly something that needs to be polished as a PhD student. Writing to journals and conference proceedings is a right of passage and continues after graduation. Articles and publications need to be as easily understood as possible so that others can acknowledge the research. Weak papers will not be accepted in the scientific community. Personally, technical writing is a task that I have struggled with and have tried to ignore for so long. Unfortunately, now it’s time to face the reality of the matter.

            

Recently, I submitted a proposal for a class project and the professor acknowledged that my thoughts were all over the place and recommended that I read and do exercises out of the book, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams and Joseph Bizup. The hardest part about reading the feedback was the fact that I know I have a problem, but have not yet sought out the appropriate resources.  I’m just glad there are professors that care enough to help me to improve these skills and mentor me to success.

Now that I have the book and I am actually pretty curious to see how much it helps my writing style. In addition, there are writing services offered by the NC State University that I will most likely be taking advantage of. Currently, my personal goal is learning to accept the fact that there are skills I need to improve upon. This book is definitely step in the right direction for me.
As a new research scholar for MyHealthImpact Network I will be able to tell my sentiments in hopes that it will encourage others to not feel alone about the issues that I face. Communicating on this platform (myhealthimpactnetwork.org; @myhealthimpact) is a great way for me to connect with other students aspiring to pursue a PhD and those who are going through it with me. The best part of it all is that I’m telling my story and people are actually listening.

Follow @myhealthimpact for my blog posts on the process.  See how I write about what matters in health and my generation.

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by Victor Ajewole

September 18, 2014

Summer Weight Loss

So after a rough semester with some extremely bad eating habits during finals, I have the summer to rest. Come to find out that my brother had lost 15 pounds! Of course being the supportive older brother I am I was really proud of him.  I’m not home for a week when my brother starts nitpicking my eating habits. At first I was a little offended, but we both knew what he was telling me the truth.

He instated the rule “Stop eating after 9”. At first I didn’t think much of it, until 8:30 hit. Though not 9, 8:30 is still too late to take in calories. After around 2 weeks I got the hang of it. Now it was time to step it up.

I started to watch a ton of YouTube videos, mainly the Hodge twins, about weight loss and lifting weights. After the videos and some extensive reading, I learned that to lose weight, I need to cut calories that I need to sustain my weight. I don’t know how many calories I regularly ate, but I did find out that I need more than 1500 calories a day after a day of light headedness.
To aid my calorie count, I downloaded a popular app myFitnesspal. This app is really useful for counting all the calories throughout your day. To start, you have to enter your current weight and then set your goal weight. It also inquires on how active you are during the day ranging from not very active to very active. It then gives you an estimate of how many calories you should be taking in. The most useful part of the app is the fact that you can scan foods using the barcode on the packaging. 

                                                                                    

So after around 2 straight weeks of meeting my caloric goals and going to the gym 2-3 times a week, I lost a total of 13 pounds. I also took creatine to help my gym performance. I would get more energy exercising while not putting on a lot of weight like taking protein. The days I didn’t go the gym, I would play basketball at my neighbor’s house.
I started to cook my own food, and since you can’t scan cooked food, my weight loss progression has slowed down. I currently stuck at 13 pounds loss, but I am still trying to lose more. Cooking your own food is much more enjoyable than scanning all of the prepackaged food that I was scanning, so I’m enjoying life a bit more. I’m still trying to find that right balance between overall healthy lifestyle while eating the food I want.

                                                                                                         

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by Keiara Morris

August 27, 2014

Graduate School Life

The program that I’m involved in is a year. So when (not if) I finish, I will have a master’s degree and a teaching license. I knew that this experience was going to be a little more difficult and different but nothing really could have prepared me for what I was about to endure. I absolutely love my program and new school…although it’s a lot of purple and gold and not red, I’m managing. I enjoy the subject matter, I look forward to going to class, meeting with my professors and working with my cohort. Please believe me when I tell you that graduate school is not undergrad. It’s definitely an adjustment. It’s a lot of reading and when I say a lot I mean just that. Everything is much more so application based. The professors want to make sure that we really know and understand the things taught. Being able to memorize and regurgitate concepts on a piece of paper? Yep, those days are over.

My program is set up in a cohort, which is basically like a family of everyone in your program in which you take all of the same classes at the same time. This has been so helpful. Use your resources. You could take option one and just wander away from the group and struggle on your own or take option two and realize that you aren’t in this by yourself and struggle together. I’ll take option two for $200 Alex! I see it as strength in numbers situation. It really feels like that we’re leaning on one another in this rough 5-week summer session. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.

I’ve had many sleepless nights, where food wasn’t even thought about, sticky notes everywhere and my planner looks like a bunch of hieroglyphics but I don’t mind. I’m assuming this is the feeling you get when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe.

My advice although limited in nature would be to find interesting ways to relieve stress and give yourself a break. As much as catching up on sleep would be the ideal thing to do, just taking a moment to breathe and enjoy your accomplishments thus far, re-organize and prioritize is a little more rewarding to me.

I’m still here. I’m making it. You can too!

 

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by Ebony Baldwin

August 13, 2014

“Selfies” and Mental Health Disorders

Experts including Dr. Lucie Hemmen and Dr. David Veal are beginning to consider a compulsion to take selfies as a serious mental health problem. Individuals can spend hours, even days taking hundreds of selfies in an attempt to capture the “perfect” photo (McKay). Taking selfies can lead to technology addiction and Body Dysmorphic Disorder — a chronic mental health condition in which the sufferer obsesses over perceived flaws with their body. In addition to that, it has been proven by multiple studies that taking selfies can be detrimental to a person’smental health, and it can be linked to narcissism, depression, and low self-esteem.

So how can we fix this problem? First, we have to realize that there is a deep denial about how dangerous it is to interact with screens without setting limits on how much time is spent doing so. With that said, it is hard to convince people that the effects of taking selfies are serious. Nevertheless, the common treatment of taking selfies is gradually learning how to go for longer periods of time without satisfying the urge to take a photograph, along with therapy to address the root cause of the problem. Thus, learning how to use selfies in moderation. Selfies, if used properly, can be a feel-good and often creative way, to chronicle one’s life and emotions and express one’s personality.

 

In conclusion, know this—According to clinical psychologist Lucie Hemmen there is a continuum of health and authenticity in what you shoot and post (McKay). A secure, mature person is going to post selfies that are spontaneous and not overly engineered or edited, and they're going to do it less often. A more insecure person is going to post staged or sexualized photos, and they're going to do it so much that they become consumed by it and the comments they receive. Let’s not let selfies control our mental health.

 

 

McKay, Tom. "A Psychiatric Study Reveals Selfies Are Far More Dangerous than You Think." PolicyMic. N.p., 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 June 2014. <http://www.policymic.com/articles/86287/a-psychiatric-study-reveals-selfies-are-far-more-dangerous-than-you-think>.

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