Category Archives: Wellness

Health & Wellness

Yummy or Yucky: from Halloween to Thanksgiving – by Deborah Levine

Every year, we struggle to resist the temptation minute to minute to sugar ourselves.  It begins with Halloween candy and proceeds to Thanksgiving dinner, exploding with holiday eating extravaganzas with the year’s tastiest foods. By the New Year, the scale shows our over-indulgence. It’s no coincidence that 12% of gym members join in January.

Given COVID, I suspect that the number of Americans  suffering from the obesity-related disease of diabetes will surpass the 30 million when I first wrote this 3 years ago.  Did you know that the ten states with the highest rates of type 2 diabetes were here in the South? The same region where COVID vaccinations are so often rejected.

Continue reading Yummy or Yucky: from Halloween to Thanksgiving – by Deborah Levine

Ode to Breast Cancer Awareness Month – by Deborah Levine

Both my mother and brother had breast cancer that spread and was joined by other cancers. During Breast Cancer Month, I am compelled to write about  the loss of these loved ones. I often stress the breast cancer that  my brother Joe experienced, because too many of us think that breast cancer is a women-only disease. So, this is an ode to Joe. Not only do I write for men with breast cancer, but for all those experiencing the loss of loved ones to cancer, especially the siblings with whom we expect to experience old age together.

Continue reading Ode to Breast Cancer Awareness Month – by Deborah Levine

Diversity and Speech Part 23: Health Equity – by Carlos E. Cortés and Adwoa Osei

In July, 2020, the two of us met for the first time as inaugural co-directors of the University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine’s new Health Equity, Social Justice, and Anti-Racism (HESJAR) curricular initiative.  The school handed us those six words.  The rest was up to us.

We started by looking and listening.  We looked at what other medical schools had done.  While we found some useful ideas, this strategy had built-in limitations.  No other medical school that we encountered had triangulated those three intersecting but disparate ideas: health equity; social justice; and anti-racism.  We had to address all three and integrate them into a coherent curriculum.
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 23: Health Equity – by Carlos E. Cortés and Adwoa Osei

Arts in Health Inspire Women – by Nicole Brown and Chyela Rowe

Arts in Health Program

Why create an Arts in Health program for Mother’s Day? According to the CDC, women caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Mothers have held such heavy weights this last year: from grieving losses to taking on more responsibilities such as managing work from home, additional hours for childcare, homeschooling, at-home nursing, coaching, offering tech support and much more. The presence of art and music in healthcare enhances the overall experience. It allows us to remove ourselves from whatever we’re battling to be motivated and inspired. 

Diverse partners joined together in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to inspire and support women and female artists for Mother’s Day and, most importantly, promote health and well-being through the Arts. The program included artwork by Alex Paul Loza, music by Shane Morrow and a presentation of new work from poet Erika Roberts in partnership with multiple organizations that will resonate with communities across the country.

Continue reading Arts in Health Inspire Women – by Nicole Brown and Chyela Rowe

Visiting the Covid-19 Homebound – by Terry Howard

The American Diversity Report’s theme focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on our community is as visionary as it is timely. It also opens up opportunities for contributors to offer insights tangential yet related impacts. What follows is a look at a peripheral issue; visiting those homebound because of the pandemic and other illnesses.

Two years ago, I fell off a 10-foot wall and broke three ribs. I ended up in the emergency room. The pain was excruciating.  Back home while holed up in my bedroom in recovery for over a month, and plying myself with pain medicine, I lost my appetite and close to 25 pounds. It was unnerving to steal a look at the barely recognizable person – me that is – in the bathroom mirror during that time.

Now although the last thing I wanted was visitors, quite a few well-meaning folks wanted to stop by. But the specter of being stared at like a car wreck on the side of the road was something I didn’t want and asking them not to visit proved more difficult than I could imagine.

Continue reading Visiting the Covid-19 Homebound – by Terry Howard

BIPOC, COVID-19, and Disparities in Health Care

Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)

They are traditionally marginalized across all social systems,  but it’s more apparent today than ever due to the devastating effects of COVID-19 on BIPOC communities.  In 2020, BIPOC account for 27.3% of the U.S. population (Census.gov, 2020), yet BIPOC account for 58.1% percent of all COVID-19 cases to-date (CDC.gov, 2020).  Researchers and social scientists point to structural disparities as the main cause of the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rate among BIPOC (Cantos & Rebolledo, 2020; Valenzuela et al., 2020).  The data shows that a consequential proportion of the BIPOC communities are essential or service-related workers with limited or no access to health care, lower socioeconomic and education status, overcrowded housing with limited ability to social distance, and limited or no access to personal protective equipment.  These realities have created conditions where COVID-19 affects every aspect of the BIPOC social constructs.    

Continue reading BIPOC, COVID-19, and Disparities in Health Care

Health Disparities and the Culture of Lack – by William Hicks

Health disparities, i.e., differences in outcomes from disease experiences, are well-described and documented. The statistics that tell us of the incidence and prevalence of diseases within our populations (epidemiology) are readily available. In large measure, the prevalence (the number of cases within a population at any given time of measurement) of heart disease/high blood pressure, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases (influenza, pneumonia) are all among the top ten causes of death for all population subgroups (source: Statistica.com).

Continue reading Health Disparities and the Culture of Lack – by William Hicks

Diversity and Speech Part 14: Health Equity – by Carlos Cortés, Adwoa Osei

Completing her second year as a pediatrics professor at the University of California, Riverside, Adwoa was focused on providing clinical training for her medical students.  A retired UCR history professor, Carlos had no way of imagining that he would soon be joining the staff of a medical school.  .

Then the UCR School of Medicine decided to establish a new required curricular thread on Health Equity, Social Justice, and Anti-Racism.  Shortly after that, the School asked Adwoa and Carlos to become co-directors of the thread in order to get it started.

It was decision time for the two of us.  Still at an early stage of her medical teaching career, Adwoa had numerous obligations.  Experienced in health care cultural competence training, Carlos had been giving annual workshops on that topic to UCR’s incoming medical students.  But establishing an entire curricular thread?  That was a challenge.  But also an opportunity.  We couldn’t turn it down.   Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 14: Health Equity – by Carlos Cortés, Adwoa Osei

Neurodiversity: An Organizational Asset – by Maureen Dunne, Cathy Schwallie Farmer

neurodiversityIntroduction

We make the case here that neurodivergent thinkers should be an important part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies because every organization stands to benefit from the inclusion of different cognitive perspectives in creating the organization’s culture.

This argument can be made from several different angles. For example, it can be made from the standpoint of a single organization, competing with other organizations in a commercial or industrial pursuit. It can also be made from the standpoint of the larger society, which stands to benefit from more innovative and equitable organizations.

Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in a world that values individuals for the skills and talents each of us uniquely possesses? Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in a world where seeming misfit pieces of the puzzle find a suitable home in the tapestry of the larger machine that is a 21st century economy?

Continue reading Neurodiversity: An Organizational Asset – by Maureen Dunne, Cathy Schwallie Farmer

The Surrender of the Medical Superhero – by Vishnu Unnithan

It was the first day of the new academic term and our batch was bubbling with excitement. Our surgery posting had finally dawned. Now was our chance to step into the operation theatre and watch first hand as surgeons washed up and dutifully, saved lives. When most medical students envision medicine as a career, prior to entering medical school, they more often than not dream about wearing scrubs and operating to the rhythmic beats of all the life support and monitoring machines. Without doubt, the first visit to the operation theatre is one of the most cherished memories of any medical student.

We were assigned to our units and were very warmly received by our senior consultants. Cases were allotted for observation and by rotation, we were even allowed to wash up and assist in the procedures. It was a thrilling experience as we got to take incisions and operate laparoscopic instruments under expert supervision and this led to the birth of an unextinguishable spark that caused many of my colleagues to decide upon surgery as a future career choice.

Continue reading The Surrender of the Medical Superhero – by Vishnu Unnithan