Tag Archives: healthcare

Mental Health Cops Help Reweave Social Safety Net In San Antonio

Mental Health Cops Help Reweave Social Safety Net In San Antonio

“San Antonio diverts people with serious mental illness out of jail and into treatment instead — an effort that has saved the city and county $50 million over the past five years.”

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Colleen Clark’s Body Image Comic Reminds Us That Our Bodies Don’t Define Us

Colleen Clark’s Body Image Comic Reminds Us That Our Bodies Don’t Define Us

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/24/2013 5:07 pm EDT  |  Updated: 10/01/2013 11:15 am EDT

“We struggle with it every day: the conflict between our belief that women should celebrate their bodies and the constant public criticism of women’s appearances that communicates the exact opposite message.

So when we came across this incredible comic drawn by Colleen Clark that deals with that ongoing battle, we had to share it.

Clark, a 20-year-old Illustration student at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, completed the comic over a 16-week semester. “I love the phrase ‘write what you know,’ so I chose to write about what I know best: feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and hateful of my body,” Clark told the Huffington Post in an email.

Clark found the second page of the comic particularly hard to draw. “That giant naked woman is a representation of my own body and how I see it,” she said. “I knew people would be disgusted by that drawing, but I look a lot more like that woman than the women in the thousands of ads I see every day. I needed to draw it for me and for the majority of women in the world who look more like her than supermodels.”

Weight stigma is currently very common in the U.S. Fat-shaming is practiced publicly, and overweight and obese Americans are often treated like second-class citizens, subjected to prejudice from employers and healthcare professionals. A 2011 study found that women feel vulnerable to weight stigma in their everyday interactions and relationships, and in 2012, 46 percent of participants in a fat-bias study said they would rather give up one year of life than be obese. Thirty percent said they would rather be divorced than obese.

“[I]t has been difficult to draw and to talk about, because of how close this topic is to my heart,” Clark wrote on her Tumblr. “I really hope people can relate to it at the very least, and that it can help someone think of their bodies a little differently at the most.”

colleen clark body image comic

colleen clark body image comic

colleen clark body image comic

colleen clark body image comic

All images belong to Colleen Mary Clark and are reproduced here with her permission.”

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The case for free tampons

The case for free tampons

The cost of a product that half the world’s population needs multiple times a day, every month for approximately 30 years, is simply too much

Monday 11 August 2014 07.30 EDT

tampons
Do you ever think about how much money you spend not bleeding on yourself or other people? Photograph: Linda Nylind / The Guardian

“When I got my first period, I was in the most embarrassing place my then-11-year-old self could have imagined: my grandparents’ house. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just put on extra pairs of underwear and threw them away one-by-one, scrunched at the bottom of the bathroom trash bin, as I bled through them. Finally, with nary a pair of panties in sight, I was forced to tell my mother. I have never been so thankful for pantyliners as I was for the ones she gave me.

But what if I’d been in school that day, like so many other girls are – without an extra pair of underwear or a quarter in my pocket to plug into the vending machine? Or what if my family’s weekly budget hadn’t been able to stretch far enough to accommodate replacing a few blood-soaked undergarments and those pantyliners?

I was lucky. For too many girls, the products that mark “becoming a woman” are luxuries, not givens. And for young women worldwide, getting your period means new expenses, days away from school and risking regular infections. All because too many governments don’t recognize feminine hygiene as a health issue.

We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time.

Sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example, have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights. Earlier this year, Jyoti Sanghera, chief of the UN Human Rights Office on Economic and Social Issues, called the stigma around menstrual hygiene “a violation of several human rights, most importantly the right to human dignity”.

In countries where sanitary products are inaccessible or unaffordable, menstruation can mean missed school for girls (UNICEF estimates 10% of African girls don’t attend school during their periods) and an increased dropout rate, missed work for women and repeated vaginal infections because of unsanitary menstrual products. One study showed that in Bangladesh, 73% of female factory workers miss an average of six days – and six days of pay – every month because of their periods.

(Charities have picked up some of the slack in rural communities across the world – companies like LunaPads, for example, launched Pads4Girls, a program that provides in-kind donations of menstrual products. The organization She helps women start business to create and sell affordable pads, and in some countries like India, local innovators have come up with cheaper alternatives to store-bought products.)

In the United States, access to tampons and pads for low-income women is a real problem, too: food stamps don’t cover feminine hygiene products, so some women resort to selling their food stamps in order to pay for “luxuries” like tampons. Women in prison often don’t have access to sanitary products at all, and the high cost of a product that half the population needs multiple times a day, every month for approximately 30 years, is simply, well, bullshit.

Women in the UK are fighting to axe the 5% tax on tampons (it used to be taxed at 17.5%!), which are considered “luxuries” while men’s razors, for some baffling reason, are not. And in the US, though breast pumps, vasectomies and artificial teeth are sales tax-exempt and tax-deductiblemedical care, tampons are not even exempted from sales tax in some states (including California and New York, two of the most populous states).

But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such. But much in the same way insurance coverage or subsidies for birth control are mocked or met with outrage, the idea of women even getting small tax breaks for menstrual products provokes incredulousness because some people lack an incredible amount of empathy … and because it has something to do with vaginas. Affordable access to sanitary products is rarely talked about outside of NGOs – and when it is, it’s with shame or derision.

In 1986, Gloria Steinem wrote that if men got periods, they “would brag about how long and how much”: that boys would talk about their menstruation as the beginning of their manhood, that there would be “gifts, religious ceremonies” and sanitary supplies would be “federally funded and free”. I could live without the menstrual bragging – though mine is particularly impressive – and ceremonial parties, but seriously: Why aren’t tampons free?”

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Advice From a Vegan Cardiologist

Advice From a Vegan Cardiologist

“…Dr. Williams said he thought the research on the benefits of substituting nuts, beans and plant protein for meat was strong, but largely observational. But he was not arguing that the college of cardiology should promote veganism in its dietary guidelines. He said he would like to see large, extensive clinical trials of such diets “that pass muster” first.

Plenty of things that looked promising based on correlations that were identified in observational studies were later found to be problematic, he said, like vitamin E, hormone-replacement therapy, folic acid and, most recently, the HDL-raising drug niacin.

“There is a long list of things that, based on observational trials, we thought were beneficial, and then a randomized trial done for a long period of time showed that it wasn’t,” he said. “So I approach all of this with a sense of humility and an open mind.”

In the meantime, he said, he has made a habit of telling patients who are obese and plagued by metabolic problems like Type 2 diabetes to try exercising and eating less meat. And he discusses some of his favorite vegan foods with them.

“I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol,” he said. “And so I recommend it in all those conditions. Some patients are able to do it, and some are not.””

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One Man’s Hospital Bill Shows Just How Screwed Up America’s Health Care System Is

One Man’s Hospital Bill Shows Just How Screwed Up America’s Health Care System Is

The news: New Jersey man Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski recently found out the hard way that the cost of American medicine is totally out of control. Two days after slicing his finger open on the claw end of a hammer, Hanusz-Rajkowski sought medical attention at Bayonne Medical Center’s emergency room when the cut didn’t seem to be healing.

After a brisk visit in which Hanusz-Rajkowski did not see a doctor and did not receive stitches, he got a bill in the mail for $9,000. Essentially, Bayonne charged him months’ worth of pay for some gauze and a tetanus shot.

Here’s the breakdown:

– $8,200 for visiting the E.R.

– $180 for a tetanus shot

– $242 for “sterile supplies” (presumably, the bandage)

– $8 for antibacterial ointment

– Hundreds more for a few moments of the nurse practitioner’s time.

This is all after insurance…”

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Urban trees save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars each year in the U.S.

Urban trees save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars each year in the U.S.

“A new study by the USDA’s Forest Service tells us what all good treehuggers already knew; trees are good for you, especially if you live in a urban area. While it’s impossible to know exactly what benefits the urban trees bring us – including many psychological ones – the researchers have tried to estimate their impact using computer simulations. Results: About 850 lives are saved each year, the number of acute respiratory symptoms is lower by about 670,000 incidents each year, and the total health care savings attributed to pollution removal by trees is around $7 billion a year. Not bad!”

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Unauthorized Immigrants Paid $100 Billion Into Social Security Over Last Decade

Unauthorized Immigrants Paid $100 Billion Into Social Security Over Last Decade

By Roy Germano

August 4, 2014 | 1:50 pm

“Unauthorized workers are paying an estimated $13 billion a year in social security taxes and only getting around $1 billion back, according to a senior government statistician.

Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA), told VICE News that an estimated 7 million people are currently working in the US illegally. Of those, he estimates that about 3.1 million are using fake or expired social security numbers, yet also paying automatic payroll taxes. Goss believes that these workers pay an annual net contribution of $12 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund.

The SSA estimates that unauthorized workers have paid a whopping $100 billion into the fund over the past decade. Yet as these people are in the US illegally, it is unlikely that they will be able to benefit from their contributions later in life.

In the latest episode of Immigrant America, VICE News documented how most US dairy farms depend on the labor of unauthorized workers, as they simply can’t find enough Americans and don’t have a way of hiring foreign workers legally

Farmers claim that they’re following the law the best they can under the circumstances. Michael, a farm owner who asked for his last name to be withheld, argued that his unauthorized employees don’t get a free ride. He told VICE News that they pay taxes and are hired in accordance with the government’s I-9 requirement.

Unauthorized workers usually demonstrate their employment eligibility with fake IDs and fake social security numbers. Once hired, these “questionably documented” workers, as Michael calls them, end up on the payroll and have taxes automatically taken out of their checks, like any other employee. That money then goes to the federal treasury to fund programs like Social Security and Medicare.

You can read more about the SSA estimates of the unauthorized population’s contributions to the trust fund here.”

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