It’s Holiday Party Time: Are You and Your Guests Safe?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412This month many of us will enjoy festive holiday parties.  Maybe you will be the one hosting the party.   You’ve probably got an image in your head about what the party looks like, who is there and what you will serve.  Perhaps champagne toasts or eggnog will be involved.  Maybe you know that some of your guests will even share a couple of joints. Have you thought about how people will get home safely after your party?  In addition to all of the holiday events in December, there will also be nearly 30 deaths due to alcohol or drug related car crashes every day.

While you may not be the one driving home from your party impaired by alcohol or drugs, your gathering could become one of the statistics and, unintentionally, part of the problem.  News and coverage about alcohol related or drug related accidents focus, rightly, on the victims whose lives are irrevocably changed and the loss their family members suffer.  But how would you feel if you were in any way responsible for a death or severe injury?  What if you were the one driving the car home from someone else’s party?  Would you be able to forgive yourself?  I don’t think I would.  Unfortunately, the victims probably wouldn’t be able to forgive you either. (more…)

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Addiction and the Different Types of the Treatment Programs

ECalhounHeadshot 2October may have officially been named Substance Abuse Prevention month, but addiction treatment is an ongoing battle that lasts throughout the entire year. Recognizing the signs of addiction and knowing where and when to get help are vital tools that everyone should keep in their arsenal. Unfortunately, few people recognize the signs of addiction or know where to get help, which in turn can prolong the amount of time an addict may go without addressing such a serious problem.

So how does one define addiction? Addiction is the inability to resist something that makes an individual feel positively or helps an individual forget stressors and depression. People can be addicted to a multitude of things; some of it is alcohol or drug related, some addictions are action based (such as gambling or controlling body image), and others have addictions to food. Addiction is a very personal problem, and no two individuals have the same story. (more…)

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  • December 1st, 2014 Shining a Light on the Social Nature of Health Behavior
    By Glenna Crooks
  • November 3rd, 2014 Change for CDC? Change for CDC!
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse: Are You Doing Your Part?

    Terri Prof Headshot 0412Do you know what your teen is up to when you’re not looking?  What about your spouse, your parents and your friends?  Hopefully they aren’t rummaging through your medicine cabinet to find something they can take to get high. Many of us would never think to use a prescription drug for something other than its intended purpose, or to take something that wasn’t prescribed for us and absolutely necessary.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who not only consider this, but act on the impulse to misuse and abuse prescription drugs.  Sometimes they work the system and see a doctor, or multiple doctors, and get the prescription for themselves, but often, they are looking through your medicine cabinet when you’re in the other room, getting them for free from friends or buying them online or from dealers.

    Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem; according to the Centers for Disease Control it is an epidemic.  Just like any addiction, it can ultimately ruin or even end someone’s life.  (more…)

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    Vaccine Injury Stories: the Sacred Cows of the Internet?

    When I first started looking into vaccines, I had no idea that an anti-vaccine movement even existed. I came across claims that the vaccines were toxic and dangerous; the diseases, it was claimed, were not. I have some background in science, so I was able to dismiss those claims as inaccurate, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by tragic, angry and deeply personal stories from parents who claimed their children were harmed by vaccines.

    I dared not question them, but I still couldn’t understand…

    If vaccine injuries were occurring on a scale like this, why wasn’t anybody doing anything about  it?  And why wasn’t the media reporting on them?

    I wanted to know more about these vaccine injury stories but worried it would be insensitive to probe or question their accuracy. I could hurt their feelings or worse, insult their child’s memory. After all, while I (more…)

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    Iowa Accountability Program’s Judicial Training Institute Aims at Improving the Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

    iapDomestic violence is an epidemic that impacts an estimated 6,000 Iowans each year. While many view domestic violence as a private issue, Kimberly Baxter, Director of the Iowa Accountability Program, identifies how domestic violence is truly a community concern: “Domestic violence affects everyone from service providers to families and the community at large. We need to address domestic violence as a community. Brutality behind closed doors is not only real, but also taboo. It is not something we want to discuss, but if we cannot discuss it, how can we address it? How can we mitigate it?” For nearly ten years the Iowa Accountability Program (IAP) has worked to assist victims of domestic violence and the communities in Iowa that support them. This year, the IAP aims to strengthen its impact through its new Judicial Training Institute. (more…)

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    “Give me your tired, your poor…”

    Laura JacobsonThe rapid influx of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the last few months has spurred a national conversation regarding the United States’ role in offering refuge to these children, the majority of whom are fleeing widespread gang violence and delinquency in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. A key talking point for some in the debate has become the supposed threat to public health that these children pose. (more…)

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    Lava Mae

    The United Nations states that access to sanitation is a basic human right.  Yet, in the United States the homeless are often forced to go without access to showers. San Francisco is a prime example of this deficit where there are only 16-20 showers to service an estimated 4,500 homeless person population. Today, DW interviews Donnice Sandoval, creator of Lava Mae, a sustainable mobile shower for the homeless in San Francisco. She shows us that sometimes it truly is the simple things that are the most disruptive. 

    How were you inspired to create Lava Mae?

    Homelessness is an issue I’ve cared about for a long time. I live in a neighborhood that was once predominately middle class African American families. The dramatic gentrification that has overtaken the city has changed that. We’ve watched too many of our neighbors move from their homes to their cars and then the street. I wracked my brain for what we could do but could never figure out how to end or stem the tide of rising homelessness. Then one day I passed a young woman on the street who was homeless and crying, feeling that she’d never be clean. (more…)

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    Delete Blood Cancer: What You May Not Know About Bone Marrow Donation

    Terri Prof Headshot 0412We all know about blood drives and the importance of blood and platelet donations to save lives. And millions of people are registered organ donors (usually when they get their driver’s license). But did you know that there is another renewable, life-saving resource you could give?  It’s your blood stem cells/bone marrow. Only 11 million Americans are registered with the National Marrow Donor Program to help save lives if their blood stem cells match a person fighting any one of 70 blood cancers and diseases. (more…)

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    June 2014 Man of the Month: Ron Goines

    In recognition of both National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month  and National HIV Testing Day, DW could not think of a better man to nominate for our June Man of the Month. Ron Goines is the Director at AIDS Foundation Houston and has committed himself to the fight against HIV/AIDS. He also currently sits on the Houston Steering Committee for The Human Rights Campaign and chairs its Houston Corporate Relations sub-committee. Ron’s various roles in service have allowed him to be a resource in the community. His advocacy has expanded to serve every segment of not just the LGBT community but the wider community as well. (more…)

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    Measles and Cancer: A Wake-Up Call

    Dr HaleyThe subject of vaccination is both a personal and a professional issue for me. After my daughter was born, there was never any question that we would vaccinate. Of course we worried about a rare adverse event, and seeing that sweet baby flesh poked by needles made us more upset than our daughter. As a physician, however, I understood the importance of vaccinations and the broader implications of public health and herd immunity.

    As an oncologist, I deal every day with cancer patients whose immune systems aren’t functioning properly, due either to the disease itself or from anti-cancer treatments. Even if these patients are properly vaccinated, their immune systems can’t mount an appropriate defense in response to an exposure. (more…)

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    Time in a Bottle: Protecting Kids against Pneumococcal Disease

    Picture 38In many ways, 1974 was the good old days. Jim Croce was saving time in a bottle and Connect Four sat under almost every Christmas tree. The speed limit was reduced to 55 mph, which was a good thing for me, because my primary seat belt was Mom’s arm.

    And parents weren’t subjected to Internet misinformation about immunization or false claims about vaccines and autism. They didn’t worry about how many vaccines their children received, only that they received them—and they were glad to protect their children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. After all, most parents of 1970s children were very familiar with those diseases: either they suffered from them as children or knew others who had. Our parents knew that not all children who got sick from these diseases survived them. Protecting their own children was a no-brainer. (more…)


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    A Community in Need: Public Health in America

    I have been a practicing RN for the past five years. I am also a consumer of public health services.  My experiences have taught me an important lesson: despite reform efforts, health care disparities continue to exist in urban populations. This is especially true amongst the underinsured and uninsured.

    As both a consumer and practitioner in free clinics and health centers in Philadelphia, I can attest to the  disparities in access and quality of care that continue to exist. I recently left an abusive relationship in Harrisburg, PA and am in the process of securing housing and health insurance for myself. To compound upon these issues, I require daily medications and treatments for chronic illnesses, which without I cannot live or function properly, let alone work.  I rely on public health services. (more…)

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    5 Things about Medicare or Medicaid you are too Embarrassed to Ask

    You’ve probably heard of Medicaid and Medicare, but you might not know what each one does. Both programs are social insurance programs managed by the government and provide health insurance coverage for those who meet certain minimum requirements. Usually, the programs are only available for those who are considered “seniors,” poor, or disabled. (more…)

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