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Category: Stigma Articles

by Marcel Souffrant

February 24, 2015

We’re on TV too

I appreciate the presence of diversity in media.  It is important to have people who represent different backgrounds, experiences, and ideologies for public display.  Not only does this diversity provide a wealth culture and knowledge to the platform, but it also provides those who have not typically found people “like them” in prominent roles to see examples of men and women with their own stage for expression.  In regards to sports, I always enjoyed the fusion of sports and society Stuart Scott brought to the screen at ESPN, the depth the Gumbel brothers brought to their respective reporting, and the intimacy Ahmad Rashad was able to evoke in his interviews.  The opportunity to see images of men as leaders, who reflected characteristics of myself, was powerful for my growth.  Although these men are seen as leaders in their field, the image portrayed of black men is not always a positive one.  There is a clear hypocrisy and discrepancy in the language used when referencing the actions of the typical “other groups” of our society.

During the Super Bowl there were two noteworthy events that took place.  The Seattle Seahawks decided to throw the ball inside the 1 yard line, a call almost everyone acknowledges as terrible.  The other event was the skirmish that occurred following the interception from this 1 yard pass attempt.  Tempers flared following the clear mishap of the Seahawks coaching staff, resulting in several players on Seattle’s defense throwing punches and wrestling with Patriots players.  From the video it is clear that the instigation was on the side of the Seahawks, and the postgame reporting did a great job conveying this.  They did not however accurately detail the role several New England Patriots players had.  The article posted directly after the game on was seemingly deliberate in outing a specific Seahawks player, Bruce Irvin, for a “hit to the face” while chalking Rob Gronkowski’s involvement to “tossing aside one Seahawk with a shove to the head before getting hit.”  The duality of the language used is astounding especially considering Gronkowski was on Jimmy Kimmel’s Late Night show the following evening and described his involvement as “throwing some haymakers.”

Throwing a haymaker and delivering a shove to the head are two drastically different actions.  A “haymaker” is known to be a wild punch intending to knock out the reciprocant.  Unfortunately this type of duality is not limited to this writer.  Following the NCAA National Championship football game, students of The Ohio State University took to the city to celebrate.  In their celebration they produced damage similar to those of looters and rioters, yet were continuously referred to as being “rowdy”, “revelers” and “unruly”, but were not seen as “thugs” and “savages” for destroying their respective communities.  Jameis Winston in particular has been under this same type of scrutiny during the past couple of months and specifically this week.  As the NFL draft is approaching Jameis is seen to be the top contender to be selected first overall, but this is not without doubters.  It has not been until this past week that crowds of people have taken a step back from the perception widely accepted of Winston.  The young star was accused of sexual assault last year, and was suspended for two separate incidents following the accusation.  His character has been at question as he has traversed these obstacles, all while being a Heisman Trophy winner and undefeated until his last college football game. 

The most interesting part of this saga was the reaction following his loss to this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, and runner up in the NCAA National Championship, Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.  Jameis Winston ran across the field to shake hands and congratulate his opposition, an act fairly uncommon in college football.  Although some noted Winston’s act, most were quick to call the rest of the FSU players “classless”, a term that was failed to be used when describing the lack of congratulations done by the numerous other losers of the playoff games, like the Alabama Crimson Tide.  This language, although seemingly unconscious, takes a toll on the young minds.  The danger is that we, as youth, will ignore these differences and see them as the norm, creating a dichotomy in our own minds on what it means when different groups produce similar actions.

As the oldest child of a philosophy professor and practicing psychotherapist, it has always been important to my parents that I am deliberate and aware of my language when speaking, especially with my younger brother.  We should all be aware of the language we use, because intent and impact are not always synonymous.  This is why I attempt to use my words deliberately, but also understand the diction of others.  I hope as the diversity of the images we see increases, people will subsequently be held accountable for the language they use, whether intentional or not.

Follow @myhealthimpact where young college students voice our opinions on issues impacting health, culture and tech.




by Denae Ford

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.



by KaMar Galloway

February 12, 2015

We’re on TV

According to, 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.


by Denae Ford

January 28, 2015

The REAL Empire

On Wednesday, January 7th, Empire made it’s big debut. This show stars the incredibly, mesmerizing duo of Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard which is what is believed to make the show such a hit. This may be the show to take Fox out of this American Idol ditch that it has found so comfortable these past couple years.

Fox is trying to grab the attention of a new audience; the one that loves powerful black figures. There's no denying that this is a completely different change of pace for Fox. The storyline seems to pick up where the 2005 movie “Hustle & Flow” left off, which I think will draw in a different type of audience for Fox. ABC definitely started the trend with shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. This past season they added Blackish and How to get Away with Murder to their resumes. Fox followed suit with Gotham and Sleepy Hollow last season. Empire has a different feel than these shows with all the main characters being people of color and power and facing different internal conflicts. In the show, Henson is recently released from prison for selling drugs with her husband, played by Howard. Howard’s character is suffering from ALS; Smollett is gay, and his father, Howard, is still homophobic, Gray is the youngest son trying to live up to Dad’s expectations,  and Byers is the eldest son who is college educated and a white woman.

According to ABCNews, Lee Daniels, who also directed “Precious” and “The Butler”, aims for the show to tackle homophobia, particularly in the African-American community and hip hop world, by drawing on his own experiences. This show has ample ways it can address the community, and that’s what makes people want to watch.

Nevertheless, there has been a great increase of color on primetime television that has not gone unnoticed. ABC and Fox have used it to their advantage, and I am not complaining. I’m hoping this is a trend that catches on more and not just a colorful cashcow phase.

Find more pictures and details about  the show on instagram: @EmpireFox

These and other images impact how our others view our community and how we often view ourselves.  Follow us @myhealthimpact for more on what impacts us in 2015.



by Marcel Souffrant

January 22, 2015

Breaking the Silence

With the new sense of hypervigilance, particularly in relation to domestic violence, I hope that we as a community can come together in active support of survivors of abuse.  It must be clear that violence towards others in any form should not to be accepted, regardless of profession.  I hope to see advancements with the NO MORE PSA campaigns, Purple Purse, and the NFL, realizing their goals of decreased rates of domestic violence and increased support of the victims.


In recent months there has been significant media coverage concerning the lives, specifically the legal matters, of professional athletes.  The abuse perpetrated by Ray Rice was seen by many outside of the sports world, and was the first of many noteworthy incidents involving his colleagues of the National Football League.  Since Rice’s arrest, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, and Adrian Peterson have been in the news for their respective criminal acts.  Athletes breaking the law is nothing new.  In the past, fans have often been aware of the personal lives of athletes, even with minimal media coverage, but there seems to be a shift regarding the awareness.  It is no longer solely fans who hear about the incidents, the coverage by major news outlets has increased the audience.

USA Today compiled a database of all NFL player arrests since 2000, citing 85 of the 713 arrests were made regarding situations of domestic violence.  Being that domestic violence is the one of the most underreported crimes, it is reasonable to assume that these numbers are not completely representative of the truth.  The difficulty to speak about domestic violence is highlighted in the “Speechless” series of NO MORE PSA.  The commercials have aired in recent weeks showing celebrities, as well as current and former NFL players sitting in silence as they attempt to speak on domestic violence. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is another group bringing domestic violence, and financial abuse in particular, to the forefront.  Allstate Foundation reports that financial abuse occurs in 98% of domestic violence cases.  This staggering number has prompted Purple Purse to make it “fashionable” to speak about domestic violence through fundraising to support survivors.

As we have seen, the issues faced by athletes are mirroring the societal issues we are facing today.  The question of corporal punishment, the prevalence of substance abuse, the charges of domestic violence, and even the statements of solidarity displayed following the killings in Ferguson and Staten Island, in relation to the athletes of the NFL, have all led to further questions addressing all people, instead of athletes exclusively. We must continue to recognize that as contributing members of society we have a responsibility to treat ourselves, and each other, with respect and dignity at all times.

Continue to follow @myhealthimpact on the latest news regarding domestic violence and your health!


by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

January 09, 2015

It’s 2015: Tech-Social Activism was Big in 2014…It will continue

2014 included many social, political, global, business, technology and economic events that influence society.  All of which has implications, consequences, and rooted issues related to health. Society took to @Twitter and other social media channels in a show of social activism.  Here are a handful (and we note only a handful) of the 2014 leading hashtags.

One may ask what are the health implications.  There are many: women’s health, men’s health, sexual health, mental health, health disparities, global health, workforce diversity, health policy, stigma, health economics, health law, social policy, and race/ethnicity.

As we continue to work to shape the health + tech discourse, we would like to hear your voices of these issues.  Follow us at @myhealthimpact.  Visit us on the web.  Follow us on Tumblr.  Read and comment on this and other blogs on our site. Tag us at #myhealthimpact.


by Denae Ford

December 11, 2014

Kitchen Beautician

I spent this weekend being a beauty stylist. I colored and straightened my sister’s hair, colored my friend’s dreadlocks, wash and straightened my hair, and tried another hair project that was completely new for me. My sister and I tried our hand at wig making!  We watched a couple YouTube videos and decided, “Hey, Let’s do it!”


To give you an idea of my hair, I am a naturalista with shoulder length hair. I have the opportunity to try a lot of styles with my hair and that’s what I love about it. One day my hair can be bone straight and the next day I can have a bushy twist out.  I LOVE THIS FLEXIBILITY! However, playing with all the flexibility of my hair does have a down side. The constant manipulation of my hair can lead to hair damage. This is why wigs and wearing tracks(hair extensions) is so amazing. In addition, I really want to see my hair in a short pixie style but I’m honestly not ready to cut my real hair yet.


Wigs often get the connotation of being only for those who are suffering from hair loss related diseases or the inability to grow hair, but wigs offer so much more than that. They are a fun way of expressing yourself and I challenge you all not to knock it until you have tried it. With extensions, you can keep your real hair in a low maintenance style such as cornrows and on top sew in some weave or wear a ‘hair hat’ to try a different look. One of the most beautiful things about being a black woman is the choice to have versatility with your hair. So why not explore that versatility? If things don’t come out the way you want it’s not the end of the world. It’s just hair, and certainly, I do not let hair dictate my workouts.  


#Images #Self-Expression #Health #Hair

Follow @myhealthimpact for more on self-expression.


by Denae Ford

November 19, 2014

Spoon Full of Sugar

The hottest topic in the news now is EBOLA. So naturally it makes sense that people have taken to their social media sites to share their opinion on the pandemic. They say that humor is the best way to sooth the soul, but the real question is how much is too much?

             Source: Instagram

There are many memes circulating on Instagram and Twitter poking fun at Ebola. It makes you wonder whether or not people understand how serious this disease is. I think it’s the fact the people haven’t had a personal example with ebola. People never realize how serious something is until it happens to someone near and dear to them. I’m sure that the family of the Thomas Eric Duncan would not find these memes as hilarious. Thomas Eric Duncan was the first case of the ebola virus in the United States. Duncan unfortunately passed away last week in Texas due to the disease.


I guess it honestly really does come down to health literacy and how social media sprinkles sugar on situations so that they are easier to swallow. Allowing things to not appear as they truly are. The reasoning behind this could be that people are too afraid of the truth. They choose to hide their fears, especially on social media where it’s the easiest place to do that.


How would you feel if you knew someone who contracted Ebola? Would you repost these memes?




by Victor Ajewole

November 06, 2014

Finding STEAM not STEM

I recently found out about STEAM in my entrepreneurship class, and my mentor mentioned it not to long after. So, what is STEAM? STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering,  ARTS and Math. I got to thinking, “Am I lacking artistic influences in my life?”  I had to list out all the “artsy” things that influence me, such as listening to music,  reading the fashion sections of online magazines, and even my following a lot of independent visual artists on Instagram. 

With the inclusion of arts, we, as students and young people, can retain some of our divergent thinking abilities we tend to lose. Divergent thinking is really just another way of saying thinking out the box.
One thing  I’ve noticed about myself through all this STEAM talk is that I’m not that creative. I can draw pretty well, but that’s only when I look at a picture. I have artistic abilities, but not as creative.

Why are the arts and creativity important? We need creativity in all STEM fields. Creative ideas lead to creative solutions.  The more unique and creative a solution is, the more ideas people can build on and from that one solution. You have to admit that whoever had the idea of creating a 3D printer must have had been on a another level of divergent thinking.


We even have an initiative that was start here on campus by one of my friends and PhD Civil Engineering Student, Nehemiah Mabry. His initiative is STEMedia, where he tries to use poetry, visual arts, and other art methods to keep students within STEM.  @myHealthImpact supported STEMedia earlier this year in an effort to bridge STEM+Arts.  Here’s my attempt at reciting some STEM poetry.


Follow us @myhealthimpact on creative Health Meets Tech.


by Julian Cobb

October 15, 2014

More Than Just Intercourse

For some people, the word sexuality only means intercourse between two individuals. To others, it may be a term that refers to just sexual orientation. Regardless to any interpretation of the word, sexuality is more than just intercourse. According to the World Health Organization, sexuality is a “central aspect of being human throughout life, which encompasses sex, gender identity and role, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction” (Source: WHO, 2010, p. 10).


Sexuality can be experienced in more than just one way. Not always is the attention geared towards the physical. Having strong mental and intellectual capabilities have to potential to stimulate and foster one’s interest. There is no particular “right way” to fully encompass and express all of the dimensions that play into sexuality. The Sexuality Wheel also suggests that sexuality is widespread, consisting of many components. These components include: personality, values, communication, self-image, gender, socialization, physical expression, and body image. Examining this from the @myHealthImpact perspective, we encourage individuals to look at themselves from a holistic mindset. If these components of sexuality are not properly managed, it could lead to physical and mental issues. We help spread awareness so that our community has the intellectual capacity to go and inform others. Look outside of the box and you will see sexuality is definitely more than just intercourse.

Follow us at @myHealthImpact as we continue to discuss important topics relating to sexual, physical and emotional health.



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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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