jump to navigation

Sarah Palin’s Exception or Family Guy’s Acceptance? February 22, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Blogging, Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention.
add a comment

With the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) the United States government took huge strides to facilitate acceptance of persons with disabilities into typical American life.  No longer would curbs or steps block entry into society. And with mainstreaming in schools and the workplace disabled Americans can fulfill their American Dreams and contribute, rather than burden society. Families and teachers work hard to incorporate children just as employers, mass transit, and architects have adapted.

So when disabled Americans join the entertainment industry and characters are portrayed as real life people, with real disabilities and real senses of humor – in spite of their limitations, shouldn’t they jump for joy at their inclusive acceptance? Special interest groups from commercial Coca Cola to advocates for public safety position themselves for subtle and not-so-subtle product placement to increase awareness.

Sarah Palin doesn’t agree.  She want exceptions made for her and for Trig, the former governor’s son, born with Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disability with a numerous potential limitations of varying severity. Palin criticised the comedy show for being ‘cruel and cold-hearted” and “not really funny” on the cable show O’Reilly Factor, although she makes exception for Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word retard because he used “satire.”

The front page New York Times Feb 20, 2010 headline read Family Guy vs. Palin: Can Disability Be Funny?” The article fairly portrays the inherent tension between making exceptions for the disabled and accepting the disabled as a part of society, including being teased, poked fun at, laughed at… and laughed with! Furthermore, the article presents the facts; readers easily see the hypocrisy.

read on…

(more…)

Advertisements

Research for Blogging February 4, 2010

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
1 comment so far

There are lots of useful sources of information besides newspapers and journals. Here are few examples of data sources:

RegInfo.gov
Regulations.gov
Thomas.gov
Government Accountability Office reports
EPA AirData
FDA MAUDE Database (reports of adverse events involving medical devices)
Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall announcements
Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org
Center for Public Integrity’s Superfund project
Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch
DC Crime Map
Testimony from a hearing held by a House or Senate committee

And Effect Measure explains the use and value of the CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System.

Why do you run? January 29, 2010

Posted by Renee in Blogging, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention, Wellness.
2 comments

Why do I run? I get asked this all the time.  There are lots of different reasons I run and I’m never really sure how to answer the question, but I started out running for me.  Not in a selfish way, but in a survival sort of way.  It is “me” time, it is my way of coping with life.  I am almost always in a better mood when I get back from a run.  When I run I am just alone in my head, whether I am with a group or running by myself.  Sometimes I clear my head and other times I think about anything and everything.  And I love to be outside, the fresh air is amazing and running makes it so I spend time outside all year round.  Also, I’m actually convinced the treadmill is a torture device.  I know that physical activity is good for me and all of my running has definitely made me healthier, but that was never my big motivator.  Now that’s just me.  There are a lot of people out there who run for a greater purpose, run for a cause.

Take for example, Sarah Stanley, a local DC runner, who released her 2010 project Run Ride Inspire on Friday January 22, 2010.  She has decided to run or ride (or a combination of the two) 50 miles in all 50 states during a five-month period to raise awareness for childhood obesity and the nonprofit Fitness Forward, based in San Francisco, CA.  According to Sarah’s website, Run Ride Inspire, her challenge will begin on March 8, 2010 in California and end sometime in August back in DC.

Keep reading to learn more about the staggering childhood obesity statistics that inspire Sarah’s Run Ride Inspire project: (more…)

Housing = Prevention. Housing Saves Lives January 21, 2010

Posted by Anita Balan in Blogging, Environmental Health, Mental Health, Prevention, Wellness.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

If you are resident of Metro Washington, and interested in DC’s health issues, you would have come across a series of expose articles in Washington Post entitled – Wasting Away: The Squandering of D.C. AIDS dollars. Washington D.C has the nation’s highest prevalence of HIV at 3%. Currently there are over 440 homeless people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the district. These people are on the waitlist of Housing Opportunities for People with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program – a federal program that was introduced in 1992 that allocates funds for subsidizing temporary and long-term stable housing for PLWHA. Affected people and their families could wait for several years before they are given a voucher. The waiting time is much longer for those who pursue public housing accommodations through section 8.  The expose articles were followed by a series of tug-of-war between the D.C. City Council, the Mayor’s office and federal department of Housing and Urban Development which manages the HOPWA program. HUD which initially threatened to withhold all of D.C. 12.2 million dollars, until D.C. got its act together, has now withdrawn its threat. But in the midst of this heated debate, what was absent was raising awareness and sharing the importance of HIV and Housing.

More after the jump

(more…)

A Sampling of Public Health Blogs January 8, 2010

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
add a comment

For our first class, here are examples of a few different types of blogs.

Political blogs: Daily Kos is a major left-wing blog, and it’s noteworthy having posts from the site’s official writers (the “front pagers”) as well as from users. (Registered users can post diaries, and the most-recommended diaries are featured in a Top Ten list.) Front-pager DemFromCT covers public health topics (as well as punditry) — see The Year of Health and Politics and Lessons Learned From the Pandemic (that would be the swine flu pandemic, which DemFromCT has been covering extensively). Advertising revenue supports the site.

Subject blogs: Many blogs cover a single topic, like healthcare or the environment. Gristmill, the blog portion of the nonprofit Grist, is an environmental blog featuring content from the organization’s staff and from a long list of contributors.  For a narrower topic, see Superbug, a blog run by a freelance writer and dedicated to the issue of antibiotic-resistant infections.

(more…)

The Chrianna Crisis:Let’s Take A Deeper Look February 26, 2009

Posted by Bobbett Plummer in Blogging, Mental Health, Prevention.
2 comments

Everyone who watches the news or listens to the radio has heard about Chris Brown and Rihanna (aka Chrianna).  On Sunday, February 7th, 2009, following Clive Davis’ Grammy Party, the pop-superstars got into a physical altercation.  Chris will be 20 years old in May and Rihanna recently turned 21 on February 20th.  Their story has remained at the forefront of news and gossip columns.  Yet, the media has failed to highlight the occurrence of teen and tween domestic violence.  Tween is a relatively new term that describes adolescents between the ages of 11-14. Chris and Rihanna are not that much older than the teens and tweens who adore them. (more…)

Nonprofit and Government Blogs February 21, 2009

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
add a comment

Here are a few different examples of nonprofit and government blogs:

Enviroblog – blog of the Environmental Working Group
Janelle’s Blog – blog of the founder and president of the National Breast Cancer Foundation
APHA Annual Meeting Blog – blog focusing on APHA’s annual meetings (currently with posts from 2007 and 2008 meetings)
USDA’s National Agriculture Library Blog
FEMA U.S. Fire Administration
AIDS.gov Blog – A blog about new media and policy
CDC’s Injury Center Blog
Walter Reed Army Medical Center Blog
Greenup County, Kentucky Health Department

What do you think these organizations and agencies are trying to accomplish with their blogs? Are they succeeding? Might some of them be better served with a website rather than a blog?

Critiquing Media Coverage of Public Health Issues February 9, 2009

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
add a comment

In a study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, University of Minnesota professor Gary Schwitzer reports on an evaluation of 500 US health news stories conducted by the nonprofit Health News Review. The findings don’t reflect well on our media:

… between 62%–77% of stories failed to adequately address costs, harms, benefits, the quality of the evidence, and the existence of other options when covering health care products and procedures.

For instance, a New York Times study on resveratrol (a compound found in red wine) was deemed to be insufficiently critical of claims about the substance; the review of the article noted, “There is an important difference between the results from a few research studies in animals and demonstration of efficacy in people.” A U.S. News & World Report piece on knee replacement surgery was criticized for providing insufficient discussion of the surgery’s pros and cons and described as feeling “more like a puff piece for a top-rated hospital than a balanced look at a medical problem.”

Schwitzer’s piece lays out the criteria used to evaluate health news. A good article:

(more…)

Digging up Dirt February 5, 2009

Posted by Target Population in Blogging.
add a comment

There are lots of useful sources of information besides newspapers and journals. Here are few examples of data sources:

RegInfo.gov
Regulations.gov
Thomas.gov
Government Accountability Office reports
EPA AirData
FDA MAUDE Database (reports of adverse events involving medical devices)
Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall announcements
Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org
Center for Public Integrity’s Superfund project
Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch
DC Crime Map
Testimony from a hearing held by a House or Senate committee

And Effect Measure explains the use and value of the CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System.

Health Departments Lacking Teeth February 3, 2009

Posted by Michael Valladares in Blogging, Environmental Health.
Tags: ,
add a comment

I just started working for a health department, and I’m surprised at the lack of and absence of power we have to enforce our Maryland food regulations. At best as a health inspector I can suspend or withhold a facility’s license until “compliance”. Now, compliance is a very gray area, subject to any interpretation and without validation.

Even after the fact a facility is ordered to close nothing prevents the food facility to open to the public other than a piece of paper and the threat of legal action. It surprises me the time and effort which is undertaken to try or better yet “beg” a facility to comply with food laws.
For example, if a food facility has a roach and vermin infestation the facility is given thirty days to correct the issue.

(more…)