University of Houston’s Dr. Lovell Jones Talks STEM in 2010 video

Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing some work with the Intercultural Cancer Council, who is having their Biennial Symposium in Houston June 26-July 1.  The symposium will focus on Minorities, The Medically Underserved and Health Equity.

I want to start by introducing you to Lovell Jones, PhD., founding co-chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council who launched the conference 25 years ago. Dr. Jones is a professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson.

Take a look at this video where he talks about the importance of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education and getting children involved at a young age.

CVS Encourages African Americans To Protect Themselves With A Flu Shot

Dallas South Wire

cvs-logos-10This holiday season, CVS/pharmacy encourages African Americans to give the gift of good health to yourself, your family and your community by getting your seasonal flu shot.  African-Americans have lower influenza and pneumococcal immunization rates compared to the rest of the population and 67%percent of whites received flu shots in the past year compared to 48% of African Americans and 55% of Hispanics.  The CVS/pharmacy “all-in-one” flu shot protects against three of this season’s flu viruses, including H1N1 and the new strain H3N2.  With the majority of influenza cases that can be prevented by receiving the flu vaccine, it is best to get a flu vaccination as early as possible.  The CVS/pharmacy “all-in-one” flu shots are $29.95 and are covered by many insurance plans.
African Americans have many misconceptions about getting the flu shot and do not realize that the seasonal flu can be unpredictable and even healthy people can get seriously ill from the flu.  Approximately 75% of all influenza and pneumonia deaths in African Americans occur among those 65 and over.  Many African Americans also believe that if they get the flu shot, they will get seriously ill.  It is even thought among African Americans that the flu shot administered in retail settings is not of the same quality and standard as the flu shot from their doctor’s office.  None of these myths are true.

“CDC’s new universal recommendation was expanded this year to encourage anyone 6 months of age or older to get a flu shot,” explains well-known medical expert, Dr. Ian Smith and CVS/pharmacy spokesperson.  “The CVS/pharmacy ‘all-in-one’ flu shot is a convenient was to get protected against the flu and a great gift this holiday season to yourself and your loved ones.  It is administered by licensed CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and it is the same flu shot that you would get from your doctor.”

CVS/pharmacy is also offering flu shot gift cards, which is another a great way to give the gift of good health to your loved ones and your community this holiday season.  Flu shot gift cards are $29.95.

Every CVS/pharmacy, as well as all MinuteClinic locations, is providing flu vaccinations this holiday season.  CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,100 stores across the country and there are approximately 500 MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. For more information on the CVS/pharmacy “all-in-one” flu shot or to find a CVS/pharmacy near you, visit

Awareness of Lupus increases among women reported by the U.S. Ad Council

DSN Newswire (Office of Public Health and Science Communications)

Twenty-two percent of 18-44 year old women in the United States reported hearing more about lupus compared to a year ago, according to a national online survey released today by the Ad Council. In an effort to further engage minority women, who are at the greatest risk for lupus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and The Advertising Council are distributing new radio public service advertisements (PSAs) in time for  World Lupus Day (May 10).

Lupus affects minority women three times more than white women. Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s own healthy cells and tissue. It strikes adult women 10 to 15 times more frequently than adult men. Symptoms of the disease include fatigue, hair loss, painful or swollen joints, fever, skin rashes and kidney problems.

Launched in March 2009, The “Could I Have Lupus?” PSA campaign targets young, minority women of childbearing age, 18 to 44, who are at greatest risk for lupus. The objective is to help these women understand the disease, its effects, and identify early warning signs so that they can request a medical evaluation from their doctor or community health center.

“When we started this campaign, we faced a very limited awareness and knowledge about lupus among women at greatest risk,” said Frances E. Ashe-Goins RN, MPH, acting director of OWH at HHS. “Through our work with the Ad Council, we are significantly increasing awareness and providing women with the opportunity for an early diagnosis, which will reduce the number of lupus related deaths.”

The Ad Council’s national survey found that 22 percent of women surveyed said they had seen or heard the campaign advertising. Additionally, 15 percent reported they have recently heard, seen or read something about lupus, compared to 10 percent in 2009. Notably, one year after campaign launch, 14 percent of women surveyed reported having visited a website for more information about lupus compared to 9 percent of women surveyed a year ago.

“The exposure this campaign is receiving in the media is translating into action,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are looking forward to continuing our work with the Office on Women’s Health to develop essential communications tools that will further educate women about lupus and its symptoms.”

New campaign PSAs launching today consist of :30 and :60 second English and Spanish radio spots. Created pro bono by Los Angeles-based ad agency Muse Communications, the PSAs feature the stories of real women and conclude with the tagline, “For answers. For support. For hope.” and direct women to visit or, or call a toll-free number (1-800-994-9662) to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options for lupus and access local resources.

“Our sincere hope is that the work we have done and will continue to do contributes to the call to action for women of color,” says Shelley Yamane, president and chief strategic officer of Muse. “We believe if we can significantly increase awareness to the symptoms of this dreaded disease, we can contribute to the early diagnosis and successful treatment of Lupus for thousands of American women,” she added.
Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will run and air in advertising time that is donated by the media. To date, the Lupus Awareness campaign, has received more than $27 million worth of donated media since its launch in March 2009.

The online survey was commissioned by the Ad Council and HHS and conducted in partnership with Greenfield Online/Toluna from March 30 to April 7, 2010. The sample consisted of 404 women between the ages of 18 and 44 who have never been diagnosed or treated for lupus. Respondents were part of households that are members of a large national opt-in panel managed by Greenfield Online/Toluna, or were recruited via Real-Time Sampling™ which invites adults to complete a survey without asking them for any commitment to join a market research panel. Preset sampling specifications were set to ensure a nationally representative sample of women, reflecting a range of demographic groups.

Methodist Health System Joint Academy Offers Education to Speed Healing for Hips, Knees and Shoulders

From the Dallas South News Wire (Methodist Health System)

The Methodist Health System Joint Academy offers vital help in preparing both mentally and physically for joint replacement surgery while offering some of the latest minimally invasive techniques to restore mobility and quality of life with less pain and faster recovery time. Reports indicate that pre-surgical education directly involving patients and answering their questions helps speed recovery and achieves enhanced outcomes.

After scheduling hip or knee replacement surgery with an independently practicing orthopedic surgeon on the Methodist medical staff, joint replacement patients are invited to participate in the free Methodist Joint Academy. In the Academy, patients receive a two-hour course from caring, expert Methodist staff members who give them a preview and overview of what to expect – step-by-step – before, during, and after surgery. Patients are invited to bring along a family member or friend.

“This works just like a seminar or workshop that allows our patients to gain a real feeling of comfort up front about the joint replacement process before it happens,” says Jennifer Tullis, orthopedic coordinator at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. “It gives us a chance to prepare our patients in every way possible so they feel at ease and informed about their treatment, get acquainted with the hospital where they’ll be, and meet some of the staff.”

Held on the hospital campus, the Joint Academy offers a comfortable learning environment with a handful of fellow patients. The one-day program includes:
·         A concierge to greet and guide patients to the classroom
·         Priority access to required pre-op testing (at Methodist Dallas)
·         Express registration to eliminate delays on the day of surgery
·         Engaging classroom instruction about what to expect from pre-op, joint replacement surgery, and recovery— taught by Methodist Joint Academy clinical specialists
·         A tour of the orthopedic floor, designed specifically for the needs and comfort of joint replacement surgery patients
·         Discussion with a small group of fellow joint replacement patients to build camaraderie and provide motivation and support after hip or knee surgery
·         A free “uniform”– t-shirt and shorts with the Methodist Joint Academy logo
·         Opportunity to meet some of the multidisciplinary health care professionals who will be involved in the patient’s care
·         Free validated parking

Reports indicate that such pre-surgical education directly involving patients and answering their questions helps speed recovery and also achieves enhanced outcomes. It’s all done in a comfortable classroom setting where patients become “students.” Methodist shows them how best to regain their movement and gives them personalized service in feeling at home and ease for their stay.

“We keep the class groups small so that our Joint Academy patients get great personal attention, and have a chance to share and support one another,” says Cherie James, orthopedic coordinator at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. “We give them a great start for a speedy recovery.”

Painful hip, knee, and shoulder joints can rob a person’s freedom of movement.  Methodist Health System offers complete care for patients needing surgery to replace joints damaged by injury, deformity, or degenerative diseases such as arthritis.

To learn more about the Methodist Joint Academy at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and Methodist Charlton Medical Center or find an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Methodist Health System, call 214-947-0044 or 1-866-584-8104, or visit

Watch and Learn: Watch these animations to learn more about orthopedic procedures

Statement from President Obama on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From the Office of the President

“Today we passed another critical milestone in the health reform effort with the release of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I was particularly pleased to see that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over the next ten years and as much as $650 billion in the decade following, saving hundreds of billions while extending coverage to 31 million more Americans.

From day one, our goal has been to enact legislation that offers stability and security to those who have insurance and affordable coverage to those who don’t, and that lowers costs for families, businesses and governments across the country. Majority Leader Reid, Chairmen Baucus and Dodd, and countless Senators have worked tirelessly to craft legislation that meets those principles.

Just yesterday, a bipartisan group of more than 20 leading health economists released a letter urging passage of meaningful reform and praising four key provisions that are in the Senate legislation: a fee on insurance companies offering high-premium plans, the establishment of an independent Medicare commission, reforms to the health care delivery system, and overall deficit neutrality. The economists said that these provisions ‘will reduce long-term deficits, improve the quality of care, and put the nation on a firm fiscal footing.’ Those are precisely the goals we should be seeking to attain.

The challenges facing our health care system aren’t new – but if we fail to act they’ll surely get even worse, meaning higher premiums, skyrocketing costs, and deeper instability for those with coverage. Today, thanks to the Senate’s hard work, we’re closer than ever to enacting solutions to these problems. I look forward to working with the Senate and House to get a finished bill to my desk as soon as possible.”

White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes on healtcare reform: The stakes for African Americans

Melody Barnes, White House Domestic Policy Advisory has a couple of entries worth noting in the Health Insurance Reform Debate. First, a few excerpts from an Op-Ed for AOL Black Voices:

As with so many issues, if the state of our health care system is a crisis for America, it’s a catastrophe for black America. On average, African Americans spend a higher percentage of their income on health care costs than their white counterparts. Yet despite that spending, we also suffer from higher percentages of chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. That’s due, at least in part, to a lack of access to quality affordable care.
For too long, Washington has talked about fixing our broken health care system, only to allow the same old partisan politics and special interest lobbying to block change. But this isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican one – it’s a moral imperative. That’s why President Obama has put forth a health insurance reform plan that borrows good ideas from both sides of the aisle, even from his opponents in both the primary and general elections.

This plan does three basic things:

*If you have insurance it will provide you more stability and security.

*If you don’t have insurance, it will provide you affordable options.

*And it will slow the unsustainable cost of health care for American families, businesses, and taxpayers.

If you don’t have insurance – and one in five African Americans don’t – the President’s plan will provide you affordable options the same way Members of Congress get them: by creating an exchange where you can leverage the purchasing power of a large group to get reasonable prices and choose the option that’s best for you and your family. If you still can’t afford coverage, we will provide you a tax credit to help.

Barnes also participated in a BET News Special called “Critical Condition: What’s at Stake In Health Care Reform.” Below you can view the discussion hosted by Jeff Johnson.

Press Release: Doctors Sue KFC Over Dangerous Carcinogen in New Grilled Chicken Products

Laboratory Tests Show KFC Grilled Chicken Contains Cancer-Causing Substance; KFC Violating Law by Failing to Warn Consumers

WASHINGTON—A national physicians group is suing Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) under California law for failing to warn consumers that the chain’s new grilled chicken product contains a dangerous carcinogen.

Independent laboratory tests show that KFC’s grilled chicken contains PhIP, a chemical that can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer even if consumed in small amounts. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 23 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco.

“Grilled chicken can increase the risk of cancer, and KFC consumers deserve to know that this supposedly healthy product is actually just as bad for them as high-fat fried chicken,” says Neal D. Barnard, M.D., the president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). “KFC should post warnings because its aggressively marketed new product harbors a chemical that increases the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other forms of this lethal disease.”

A PCRM scientist visited six different KFC stores, obtained two samples from each location, and sent them to an independent testing laboratory. All 12 samples were found to contain PhIP, a chemical classified as a carcinogen by the federal government, the state of California, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. PhIP, part of a chemical family known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), has been linked to several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, in numerous scientific studies. No safe level of ingestion has been identified. Every sample also tested positive for at least one additional type of HCA.

KFC is clearly in violation of California’s public health law, known as Proposition 65. “In order to adequately comply with the requirements of Proposition 65, Defendant must conspicuously post specific warnings with respect to the carcinogenic dangers of the grilled chicken that it offers for sale,” says PCRM in its complaint. PCRM has already sued McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and five other national restaurant chains that sell grilled chicken containing PhIP.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.