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A Custody Battle that Nearly Took Justina’s Life

Hospital (Photo credit: morrissey)

Earlier this year, in her New Life Support Debate blog post, Julia shared the plight of a pregnant woman who was forced to stay on life support in order to keep her baby alive, a decision that would cost the family additional pain, and rendered her baby so unhealthy that he eventually died. The story that I will comment on does by no means depict the same circumstances, but it mirrors similar concerns of those outlined in post: The New Life Support Debate.

This month, 15-year-old Justina will be returning to the care of Tufts …read more

Solutions Needed: A Small Habit With A Lifetime Of Consequences

English: Herbal Cigarettes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While in college, I once asked my professor how he had stopped smoking cigarettes. In his English accent he answered, “Well, when I went to buy cigarettes I would find myself at the shop counter asking for Marl-bor-lo, Marl borrow, Marlbro…I eventually just gave up!” I know my professor was kidding…but I really do wish smoking habits could be so easily dropped. Smoking tobacco is extremely addictive, and starting at a young age can cause detrimental health effects in the future.

I am not illustrating my own opinions about Senator Jennie M Forehand’s …read more

Unlocking Children’s Well-Being

Sesame Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The percentage of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80% since 1980, yet few resources exist to support the 2.7 million children who have a parent in state or federal prison. Recognizing that children need tools to express emotions around an incarcerated parent, Sesame Street addressed this issue head-on by creating a toolkit within their Little Children, Big Challenges program and adding Alex, a Muppet whose parent is incarcerated, to the cast.

The Little Children, Big Challenges program strives to provide adults and children with coping strategies and emotional resources to feel …read more

Resolve to be Healthy and ‘Well’thy

New Years Eve in Central Park (Photo credit: Hans J. Hansen)

Exercise regularly.

Run a marathon.

Eat less red meat.

If you are like me and millions of other Americans, a variation of one of the above statements probably at one time or another have been included in your “New Year’s” resolutions.

Why do we often wait until the end of one year to resolve to live healthier and ‘well’thier next year?

I think that we feel safe in making resolutions because we do not hold ourselves accountable – our resolutions become a part of our personal “wish” list …read more

Fortunate Food

I recently came across “Share Shelf,” a simple, yet ingenious way to support community members.

Similar to “Take a Penny, Leave a Penny,” where store patrons place unwanted pennies in a designated dish for customers who need a penny to avoid breaking a higher-denomination coin or bill, Share Shelf is a way for people who have too much to share their excess.

Debuting in Los Angeles, CA, Share Shelf is a little square shelf attached to parking signs on streets with ample foot traffic, a number of restaurants and a high volume of homelessness. Restaurant-goers can place their leftovers on …read more

Poverty Brain Drain

In American society, we have certain negative associations linked with our poorest citizens. A few sentiments that I’ve heard people say out loud:

“If they try harder, they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps” “No one deserves to live off of welfare” “If I could get out of my bad situation, they can too.”

Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University explains that there is a blame-the-victim mentality, where many Americans believe that poor people continue to be poor because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp.

In reality, just the opposite is true – poverty saps brainpower. …read more

Bringing Health Care to a New Generation

In order for the new healthcare law (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare) to make health care affordable for all, people of every age and level of health must buy in. Young, healthy consumers must balance out the cost of chronically ill consumers, ensuring that health insurance premiums don’t skyrocket for everyone who has purchased the plans.

However, health reform advocates foresee a challenge in convincing young, healthy people to purchase health insurance – particularly if they are already strapped for money. To persuade this group to buy health insurance, it will be necessary to emphasize the benefits of …read more

50th Anniversary of the March for Jobs and Freedom: Honoring How Far We’ve Come and Acknowledging How Far We Have Yet to Go

English: Demonstrator at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the “March for Jobs and Freedom” on August 28, 1963, where nearly 300,000 people descended on Washington, D.C. in support of civil and economic rights for African Americans. This march is widely credited with influencing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965, and culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Greg Kaufmann’s article, The Unfinished March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, articulates that most Americans associate …read more

Trimming Childhood Obesity in the U.S.

Imagine this scenario:

You are a single parent with two young children to support. Your last five dollar bill is in your pocket and pay day is tomorrow. There are two locations where you can purchase food in your neighborhood – a liquor store that sells packaged goods, and a Burger King. Your kids are hungry.

What would you do?

Many people placed in this situation would (and do) opt for the less expensive food options in their neighborhood, when forced to weigh availability and cost against nutrition. These, and many other factors, have amplified America’s obesity epidemic among low-income …read more

Birthing in Baltimore, Part II

Childbirth (Photo credit: popularpatty)

Continued from Birthing in Baltimore, Part I …

As Shannon McGarry was preparing for last week’s post, Pushing Forward Childbirth in America, which examines the US’ approach to maternal healthcare, she asked me about my own experience – specifically if I had given birth in a hospital (yes) and if I had a positive experience (yes). Her inquiries and more specifically, her post got me thinking … what choices are women making to ensure wellness for themselves and their babies as they start and continue their families?

The following are real life accounts of maternal …read more