underserved communities

“I work for Waukegan Public Library in Waukegan, IL. My department provides education and literacy for this underserved community including low literacy levels, low computer skills, low English language skills, low graduation rates, low socioeconomic levels. I have the pleasure of witnessing success stories of our patrons who attend the digital literacy programs that I coordinate.  The most recent one involves a man who was working as a temporary employee at a local business.  He found out that in order to be hired permanently he needed computer skills.  He signed up for our 6-week basic computer class.  He gained the skills to prove to his supervisor that he was qualified to become a permanent employee.  Along with getting hired, he received a $2/hour raise!  While he is continuing to take additional computer classes at our library, he is working towards his GED.  He has become a computer helper to the other students in his GED class based on the skills he obtained at our library’s digital literacy classes.  These types of programs are crucial in helping to bridge the digital divide that continues to increase daily between our underserved community members and those who are more fortunate.”

— Kim Lunt, Digital Literacy Coordinator, Waukegan Public Library

Tell us your library story.

The Integrity of Medical School

I’ve been in medical school for a little over a semester and I have become very disillusioned with medical school as an institution. I’m glad I’m in medical school and I know how lucky I am to be in medical school, however, I’m struggling with the ethics of medical school as an institution.

It took me six years to get into medical school. In that time I got a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree, I worked full-time and volunteered nearly 20 hours a week. I took the MCAT and went on interviews and paid for my applications. In that time, I also probably spent well over 30 thousand dollars trying to get into medical school, not including the student loans I had to take out to pay for my pre-med and graduate classes. The cost of my applications, alone, was 5 thousand dollars. And that was the second time I applied. The cost of my interviews were also easily 5 thousand dollars as well. 

When I got into medical school I was excited to become a doctor. I was proud of myself and felt vindicated that all of my hard work paid off. I was ready to start learning how to be a doctor. My first semester was absolutely miserable. The morale of my class was extremely low. We go to a school that heavily emphasizes wellness but a slew of new changes based on feedback from students ahead of us created a schedule that was unsustainable and didn’t leave time for any self-care practice or wellness at all. The idea of wellness became a running inside joke in our class where people would proudly state that they participated in self-care by taking a shower for the first time in two days or by sleeping in past 7am on a Saturday.

But we got through that first semester, propelled by second year students telling us that it would be all downhill after that and that once we started organ systems second semester, we’d be so much happier and have so much time to take care of ourselves and study (because our schedule was so jam-packed that it left very little time to study and our attendance in class is required). We had third year medical students telling us how they would rather repeat their entire third year of medical school and all the crazy rotations that go with it than repeat their first semester. And so we took all of our finals and set off for winter break looking forward to next semester.

Our second semester started a little over three weeks ago. News that we lost six of our classmates spread through the class. They chose to leave or weren’t allowed to come back by the administration. It was an elephant in the room that none of us can talk about because of privacy rules. Still, morale is higher when we start up our organs systems classes.

And that is when I realized what a money scam medical school is. I am required to go to class if I want my class rank to be high not because our classes actually teach us information but because your grade is connected to your attendance, so poor attendance = a poor grade = a lower class rank. I sit in class for up to 9 hours a day and have clinicians read powerpoint slides word-for-word to me, none of which are interesting or helpful to my actual learning and all of which I could have read to myself at home. I am told by our academic administrators to buy resources like First Aid to study for Step 1, they bought us a Q bank but we have to pay for everything else. $900 later, I have subscriptions to Pathoma, RX, Sketchy, and Firecracker. I wanted to buy a set of clinical case books recommended to us but the price on Amazon was $653. By the time I take Step 1 I will have taken out 150 THOUSAND dollars in student loans ON TOP OF the student loans I already have from two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree. 

I will need to pay the fees for the Step exams on my own. I am expected to join various professional societies and pay their yearly fees because it will make my residency application look better even though joining those professional societies has no impact on what kind of physician I will be, how much I care about others, or my Step 1 score. And, of course, those professional societies are so generous and give you a discount because you’re a medical student, so instead of paying $500 you’re asked to only pay $150. But isn’t it worth it to add some fake prestige to your residency application by saying you went to the AMA conference one year? The AMA that endorsed Tom Price for HHS secretary? The AMA that endorsed someone who wants to remove the ACA and condemn 43,000 additional people to death due to lack of insurance every year. Sign me the fuck up, right?

I am disgusted with the cost of medical school. I knew it would be expensive but I feel it is unethical to ask students to spend so much money applying to medical school and taking the MCAT and then asking them to pay EVEN MORE. Especially when there was so much hand-wringing from the AAMC and NBME about how to make medical school more affordable and how to increase the diversity among students and increase the number of first generation physicians (since studies show that children of doctors tend to be worse doctors than their first generation peers). I have an idea:

Get rid of the first two years of medical school. Make Step 1 the admissions exam for students. Get rid of application fees and the MCAT altogether. Start students up in January, give them a ten week course in gross anatomy, followed by a two week intensive clinical skills course and a first aid/CPR certification, and start them up on wards in April, a full 2 to 3 months earlier than most schools. This gives students 5 to 6 months to explore specialties after their required rotations instead of 2 to 3 which aren’t even really used for students to explore since those are the rotations they need to do in order to get the letters of rec they need for their residency applications (may be the lack of time to explore specialty options is why 60-90% of physicians hate their fucking jobs). 

And then, of course, you have to spend thousands of dollars on your residency applications and travel for interviews, which are not factored in to your student loan awards. 

This will never happen, though, because the AAMC makes billions of dollars in application fees, MCAT fees, and official test prep materials. The NBME makes billions of dollars off the backs of students paying for their exams and the LCME makes just as much. None of the organizations that could change the system have the incentive to do so because they are too busy milking medical students for all the money they have.

I know it sounds like I’m too money focused. The truth is, I’m not. I gave up hope of ever paying off my student loans years ago. I will never pay them back and I didn’t want to be a doctor because of the salary. My disillusionment with medical school as an institution is due to the ethics of it all. When I was applying to medical school there was a huge push to improve medical class diversity and encourage more minority and lower class students to apply. You can get fee waivers and financial assistance to cover the cost of your MCAT fees. But that doesn’t go far enough. Those application fee waivers don’t make booking flights for interviews any cheaper, they don’t lower the cost of having to rent a car or buy a suit for an interview. 

How can we expect students living in poverty to drop 5 grand on interview costs just to get in to medical school? How can we expect students living in underserved communities to afford the cost of Step 2 and the price of travel to and from the 6 locations in the country you can take it? Underserved communities NEED students who understand what living in those communities is like to go back and be their doctors. And, yes, there are scholarships and small-scale help, but I’m arguing that the entire system, right now, is designed to keep students who can’t afford to pay for medical school admittance out. Is a student whose family is on food stamps really going to have $150 to pay for the MCAT? No. 

I look around at the people in my class, which to my school’s credit is exceedingly diverse in race and religious background, however almost everyone in my class comes from a family that was middle class or above. Half of my classmates have parents who can afford to pay for their tuition and living expenses. I am part of the other class that has to take out loans. But when I was applying to medical school and there was a mix up with my teaching assistant stipend that lead to it being delayed, my dad was able to loan me the $2500 I needed to submit my AMCAS application on time. If I had not had a full-time job as a graduate student, though, I would not have been able to afford the cost of interviewing, and a third of the interviews I went on were local. 

In class, we are asked to think about treatment plans for patients and discuss them with each other. The girl sitting next to me says she thinks this ethics class is a waste of our time. The patient is an overweight child who we need to counsel, she lives in a run down part of a large city. We work together on her treatment plan and my partner comes up with a list of groceries to buy. I point out that the patient in question is a minor and likely not in charge of her food and that the education needs to be directed towards the parent and the patient. I also point out that due to the income level of the area they live in, the patient’s mother is likely relying on food stamps. I go over the grocery list and not a single thing is realistic. I point out that food stamps cannot be used to buy milk. My partner is shocked, her eyes widen; when I tell her how food stamps in my state can’t be used to buy rice, her entire world is turned upside down. I voice this in class when we are invited to share. A male classmate who is openly gay and voted for Trump comes up to me and asks me to explain why food stamps can’t be used to buy milk. I do and he doesn’t know what to say.

I look at my classmates who do not understand what poverty looks like in reality and I think about the people I know in rural towns who blew their entire savings trying to get into medical school only to be told when they didn’t get in that they needed to go take the MCAT again because the 29 they got wasn’t good enough, they needed a 30. The people suggesting this to my friend recommend taking an MCAT course not realizing the closest one would be two hours away and that the nearly 3 grand the course costs makes that impossible, not to mention the cost of taking the test again. It doesn’t matter, though, because she wouldn’t be able to afford all of the resources for Step 1 let alone the cost of THAT exam once she got into medical school. She works as a CNA in a nursing home.

How can we put such a financial burden on students applying to medical school? How can we ask medical students to pay so much money for residency applications, licensing exams, and tuition? How can we do that and then ask them to enter a profession that requires them to get permission from insurance providers and hospital administrators to order a damn chest CT? How can we ask them to pay so much money and then ignore the fact that there aren’t enough residency spots available for all of them to train in? How can we ask pre-med and medical students to pay so much money when the health care system is in shambles and the only people making money are hospital CEOs and insurance companies? How can we expect medical students to pay back their massive student loans in a system like that? Why are institutions like the AAMC so comfortable setting so many medical students up for failure?

Because my school emphasizes wellness, we have mandatory wellness classes we have to attend. Because, in medical school, giving students time to practice self-care isn’t as important as requiring them to attend a four hour class telling them they need to practice self-care and get lots of sleep, all while requiring them to be at school by 8am and making us sit in class until 5pm, giving us five hours of the day to study before we do it all again. And, of course, in those five hours of study time we also need to fit in time to exercise, feed ourselves, and maybe speak with our loved ones for five minutes to make sure they are still alive. Because self-care!

I wouldn’t say I’m jaded about medical school this early on but I am questioning why this system is in place. Why pay for two years of medical school when everyone just uses First Aid and Step resources to get a good score? I think medicine, as an institution, is really stuck in this idea of “well, I had to do it so you do, too” which I think is a really dangerous way of thinking. I think if medical students have extremely high rates of depression and anxiety (myself included, however mine was with me long before medical school) and it just gets worse through residency and becoming an attending there’s something wrong with the system. And if something isn’t working, why shouldn’t it be fixed? “Because I went through it and you should, too” isn’t a good enough answer for me. It’s also not accurate, right? The doctors who are saying that bullshit excuse went to medical school in a different time, where they could actually make decisions about patient care without having to call an insurance company for permission first. They went through medical school when it was actually affordable. They went through medical school when the idea of a woman being a doctor was either not allowed, unheard of, or looked down on, because who would take care of their kids at home while they went through residency if their wife was in medical school? 

So, yeah, they went through medical school and worked all of these hours and paid for medical school but the context was different, so I still want to know why such an archaic system that is already financially unattainable for people we NEED to be doctors and is quickly becoming financially unattainable for anyone who doesn’t have a trust fund is allowed to exist. I want to know why a 60-90% dissatisfaction rate is considered acceptable among physicians without any examination of the system that makes them into physicians.

Parents, mentors, curiosity inspire passion for science

For Black History Month, we asked NSF Graduate Research fellows “Why a career in science?” Here are more of their answers.

“I study new technologies for making fertilizers and disinfectants from human urine. Why? Because making value out of urine can avoid water pollution and increase access to toilets. I use electrochemistry and ion exchange to capture nitrogen in useful forms. Science has always been exciting to me because of the model of asking and figuring out how to answer questions. I am thankful for lots of mentors and opportunities that pointed me to where I am today: combining my love for problem solving with improving the health of overlooked people and our environment.”

– William A. Tarpeh,  Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

“Early in my scientific career, the NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supported my research project at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) identifying pharmacological regulators of cilia length. This experience inspired me to join the Physiology program at Yale, which allows me to pursue similar interests and apply my basic science training to a medically relevant disease.”

– Lindsey Stavola, Ph.D. candidate, Yale School of Medicine

Keep reading

Cuba-Trained Doctors Head to Standing Rock

A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to “serve in solidarity.”

Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a graduate of ELAM, said in a post on Facebook, “We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.” The delegation will work in collaboration with the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the U.S.,” the statement continued.

On Wednesday, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – which has been providing emergency and chronic health care services to the thousands of water protectors gathered at Standing Rock – issued a warning about the grave health and safety threats posed by escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff’s Department and Dakota Access Pipeline security personnel, whom they described as creating “war-like conditions.”

The Latin American School of Medicine was created in 1999 by the Cuban government and is one of the largest medical schools in the world, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries. All students receive a full scholarship, including room and board, and preferential treatment is given to applicants from marginalized groups who intend to return and practice in their own communities. The school plays a key part in Cuba’s widely-hailed medical internationalism, which has seen the socialist country send over 80,000 health care workers to over 94 countries to provide treatment and assistance to impoverished or underprivileged populations.

Hi! My name is Kyra Nicole!

I want to share my story. I was born & raised in south central Los Angeles. I was born on Friday the 13th, on a day that many saw fit to label me as a “bad luck baby”. I went to some of the lowest performing traditional public elementary, middle & high schools in LAUSD because they were in walking distance from my home. My working parents could not afford private school nor time to send me to a predominantly-white valley school. Regardless, with a thirst for knowledge I succeeded in everything I could get my hands on or my brain into, especially if it allowed my creative side to excel! With a 4.2 GPA, I became a first-generation college student at UCLA. I double-majored in Political Science & African-American Studies/Sociology with a minor in Labor & Workplace Studies. With the help of scholarships & working my butt off (sometimes 3 jobs at one time), I graduated in 4.5 years with no loans.

I continued to work in educational nonprofits that fostered the college access & retention of minority students from underserved communities. I started my own business from a hobby I developed in college (only because the surrounding area wouldn’t meet my hair/skin needs) & had no idea it would turn into a successful natural hair & skincare business that you all know as @KyraSheaMedleys ! My boyfriend John, who is my COO & Marketing Director believed in me, in us & somehow knew we would succeed. I am still awe-struck by it all since it has only been a year & 8 months today to be exact. God has truly played His part in every aspect of my life & I am so grateful.

At 26, I am the woman my parents have raised me to be. I am a growing daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, friend, girlfriend, mentor, artist, educator, CEO & business owner. I want my life to always reflect my values of love, perseverance & faith, so that everyone who knows or sees my journey will share in them. I cannot say where else this path is leading me, but I know I am going in the right direction. I will continue to praise & Thank God every step of the way.

- Kyra Nicole, CEO

www/Kyra’s Shea Medleys.com 

[C]ertain fields in the humanities (e.g., English and Philosophy) place increased value on single-authored scholarship versus collaborative work. This practice may seem at first glance to prioritize (in a nondiscriminatory manner) scholarship that makes it easier to evaluate individual merit. However, this ‘pragmatic’ valuing of single-authored scholarship risks distorting a central feature of the *politics* of producing new knowledge—that is, new forms of inquiry often require new institutions of validation (e.g., feminist presses, new journals) and new forms of collective research and action (e.g., interdisciplinarity and participatory action research). The value given to single-authored scholarship distorts the ways in which collective work is often the only route toward changing academic norms and dominant values, and better attending to the needs of underserved communities (e.g., low income and racial-ethnic minority communities). For instance, edited collections, such as anthologies in feminist and ethnic studies, are rarely valued as significant, promotion- or tenure-worthy contributions by research universities. Yet they constitute one of the most important methods minority intellectuals have pursued for establishing new fields of inquiry and for challenging the status quo. Valuing single-authored publications or peer-reviewed journal articles in high-ranking journals, in other words, is not an unbiased preference for 'high standards,’ since it has historically marginalized new forms of knowledge production (Antonio, 2002).
—  Stephanie A. Fryberg and Ernesto Javier Martínez, “Constructed Strugglers: The Impact of Diversity Narratives on Junior Faculty of Color,” in The Truly Diverse Faculty: New Dialogues in American Higher Education, eds. Fryberg and Martínez (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Today ten health organizations and community groups filed a legal amicus brief in support of NYC’s proposed sugary drink portion cap rule. The rule, proposed by the New York City Board of Health, limits the size of sugary drinks sold to 16 ounces or less.

The brief recognizes the importance of taking action to stem obesity and chronic diseases, particularly for underserved racial and ethnic communities. It is directed at overconsumption of sugary drinks, a key driver of the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics.

The Institute of Medicine has identified sugary drinks as “the single largest contributor of calories and added sugars to the American diet.”  The rate of sugary drinks consumption is significantly higher among Hispanics and African-Americans. In New York City neighborhoods with the highest levels of obesity, residents are four times as likely to drink four or more sugary drinks a day as residents of neighborhoods with the lowest obesity rates. As a result, African Americans and Hispanics suffer from higher rates of chronic disease and obesity.

The consumption of sugary drinks by African-American and Hispanic youth, in particular, has been fostered by racially and ethnically targeted marketing by beverage companies. Ads for sugary drinks are more frequently present in magazines and television shows that target African Americans and Hispanics. Lower-income black and Latino neighborhoods also contain more outdoor ads for sugary drinks than do white and higher-income neighborhoods.

The brief points out that larger default portion size has led to increased consumption. By reducing standard sugary drink portion size to less than 16 ounces, NYC can move towards stopping the twin epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Read the full brief here to learn more about the effects of sugary drinks on American, and read NYC Health Commissioner Mary T Bassett’s statement in support of the brief here.

Thank you to the following organization for supporting this important policy by joining to file the brief: National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Association of Black Cardiologists, Harlem health Promotion Center, New York State American Academy of Pediatricians, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park, Harlem Children’s Zone, The Children’s Aid Society, National Congress of Black Women, Montefiore Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Health System.

Cuba: Where Real Human Rights are the Foundation of Society

The whole world reacted to the death of Cuba’s historic leader Fidel Castro. For most of us there was sorrow; respect for a life well lived. The revolutionary process he unleashed created measurable improvements to the lives of many ordinary people on every continent.

But there was another reaction, too. Pres.-elect Donald Trump declared he wanted a “better deal,” demanded that Cuba release political prisoners that don’t actually exist and rolled out slanderous code words “dictator,” “tyrant.” In a little more than a month, the president-elect will lead a country where police kill Black and Latin people – men, women, children, transgender – with impunity. Yet he is quoted by the Washington Post saying that Fidel’s legacy is the denial of human rights.

With International Human Rights Day around the corner, the National Network on Cuba will not let this slander go unanswered. Without going into all 30 articles of the Declaration adopted Dec. 10, 1948, the first sentence of the preamble says that recognition of “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all member of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

As winter begins to bite in the Northern Hemisphere, over 500,000 will be sleeping on U.S. streets, under bridges, families with children will be living in cars. Not in Cuba. One mural in Cuba says, “300 million children will sleep in the street tonight, not one of them is Cuban.”

The average U.S. 2016 college graduate owes $37,172 in student loans. Not in Cuba.

In the U.S. millions are being evicted from their homes because of sky rocketing rents and mortgages. Not in Cuba

According to a Kaiser Family foundation survey, the average 2016 family insurance premium costs $18,412 per year.  In 2016, 83% of workers have a deductible — an amount that they have to pay themselves for medical care before insurance covers it — with an average of $1,478. For the first time since 1999, more than half of workers must pay more than $1000 in medical costs before insurance coverage begins. Not in Cuba.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy in an April 2016 study, 14 percent or 32 million adults can’t read in this country. Not in Cuba.

Trump openly advocates water boarding and other forms of torture. From the more than 800 U.S. military installations around the world people have been “renditioned” to torture sites. Since 2002, torture has been taking place in Cuba, BUT ONLY in the territory illegally occupied by the US military base in Guantanamo.

We assert that the Cuban Revolution is an excellent example of the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today. Cuba is a small island country, with development hampered by centuries of colonialism and slavery, and despite having to endure to this day an economic, financial and commercial blockade that has lasted for over 56 years – one designed to impose hunger and privation on its people, the island remains a bright example of humanity to the world.  

The full resources of Cuba are used to develop each individual Cuban to their fullest potential. Universal health care, free education through university, the right to employment, to housing – to dignity is not only guaranteed but implemented.

Over $4 billion was wasted this year on the presidential campaign in the U.S. Just imagine for a moment what that money could have been spent on in terms of social improvements. Meanwhile the people of Cuba enjoy free and fair elections untainted by financial influence. Every Cuban is registered to vote on their 16th birthday. Every vote is counted under the honest and watchful eyes of children. In addition to representation, the Cuban people are directly consulted about the direction of their society through community, union, women’s, agricultural, youth and other organizations. Their views are heeded. Transgender individuals have been elected to represent their area.

So when we hear about Human Rights Day on Saturday, December 10, remember the fundamental human rights enjoyed in Cuba where the 1959 Revolution converted military barracks into schools. One of them is the Latin American School of Medicine where youth from underserved communities around the world – including some from the U.S. – learn to be doctors for free, then go home to serve the people.

Yes, that is real human rights.

Co-Chairs, National Network on Cuba

Alicia Jrapko

Banbose Shango

Cheryl LaBash

Greg Klave

Nalda Vigezzi

anonymous asked:

Hey! Just wondering if you had any Stanford!Sam and/or Sam/Brady (as friends or a couple idc) headcanons? Just in a Stanford!Sam mood and was wondering :) :) :)

Goodness yes! Ask and you shall receive, beautiful anon.

  • I have so many heart-breaking, angsty-as-hell headcanons about the first time Sam gets sick away from home. Fevered Sam asking for Dean and confusing his roommate. I have oodles of feelings about this.
  • Brady is the first person Sam really talks to, a day or two into orientation. They meet, and Brady first thinks Sam is shy and stuck-up, but he says or does something that hits one of Sam’s buttons and earns a tirade + bitchface combo. That’s when he knows they’ll be great friends.
  • (And they are.)
  • Brady is not immune to the puppy eyes. No one is immune. Sam doesn’t actually know when he’s using them, though.
  • Brady was the son of a single working mother who was adopted by rich AF relatives when his mother passed and you can’t convince me otherwise. 
  • I love the idea of both Brady and Sam occupying a space they don’t really feel comfortable or confident in, of Brady longing for the simplicity and closeness he had as a poor kid with his Mom and Sam longing for the sort of middle-class one-home-for-life-with-a-two-car-garage-and-a-dog-and-freaking-holiday-dinners life he’s only read about. Both of them see it in the other but also understand that sense of displacement and get along like wildfire after a questionable first meeting. Ugh, I’ve pretty much headcanoned out their entire friendship right up to that fateful Thanksgiving Break when Brady came back demon-possessed.
  • Brady finds himself weirdly protective of Sam, who is sometimes reckless to the point of self-endangerment.
  • Sam feels guilty that he has no pocket change to spend on outings and tries to earn money where he can.
  • Yep. Did anyone ever wonder how Sam got so freaking good at poker that he won against a centuries-old witch in season 5?
  • But when Sam can’t pay, Brady brushes it off with a joke about making Sam carry his books or something and covers Sam.
  • Brady and Sam definitely tried to have at least one gen-ed class together per semester and were dangerously competitive when they did. It was great for their GPAs.
  • Brady went into pre-med with big dreams. He saw how working so hard and having no medical care to speak of wore his mother down, and he wants to be a doctor in underserved communities. He wants to give his services instead of taking, and it’s all tied up with a little guilt. Probably why he got along so well with Sam. 
  • They talk about their respective pasts while they’re drunk one night after midterms in their sophomore year; we know how Sam is when he’s drunk. Brady thinks Sam means ‘demons’ and ‘ghosts’ in some really deep symbolic way. If only he knew.
  • Sam definitely went on at least one hunt while at Stanford. Probably something simple like a vengeful spirit. Something he thought he could do with his eyes closed. I’m thinking pre-Jess. Probably Freshman year, when he’s still sort of lost and having trouble meeting people, questioning himself and his decisions. So maybe, just the once, he reverts to old behaviors and gets thrown headfirst into a claw-legged old-fashioned bathtub and has a nasty concussion, misses two days of classes (and knows no one well enough to ask for notes and also feels shaky and inferior at the idea of talking to his professors), but manages to get rid of the ghost. Job well done, but he’s never doing it again. 
  • Sam tried hard to be normal and be worth the attention and care of the people around him. After Brady went off the rails, he wondered if it was his fault, or if someone else would have been able to help Brady get better.
  • After that, Sam sort of went through the motions with friends like Zach and Rebecca Warren, and he enjoyed their company and they enjoyed his, but he never really tried to open up again.
  • (Not until Jess.)
  • Brady took Sam home for Christmas in their Freshman year because he absolutely refused to accept that Sam planned to find part-time work through Winter break and spent the holidays in his dorm room alone. Jess took Sam on a road trip for Spring Break of his senior year.
  • *quiet sobbing* Someone stop me or this will never end.

The doctor is in! ‘Doc McStuffins’ reveals changing face of medicine

Drs. Aletha Maybank, Naeemah Ghafur and Myiesha Taylor helped start a “We Are Doc McStuffins” movement.
By Geoffrey Cowley

As TV doctor dramas go, Doc McStuffins is no ER. The protagonist is a cartoon preschooler who provides primary health care for stuffed animals from a backyard play house. In a typical episode, she diagnoses her little brother’s teddy bear with acute “dusty musties” and prescribes a good laundering. The brave bear rides the waves and emerges from the washing machine clean enough to snuggle the boy without aggravating his allergies.

If you think this is generic kidstuff, think again. In the 11 months since Disney Junior launched Doc McStuffins, the show has become cable TV’s top-rated preschool series and, more important, the spark of social movement. Why are viewers, activists and health professionals heralding this sweet little show as the best thing since penicillin, or at least since the Huxtables?

Because McStuffins―black, female, roughly five years old―fills a void in popular culture and brightens a lonely corner of American health care. African-Americans make up 13% of the population, yet barely 4% of the nation’s doctors are black, and only 1.9% are black women. Our health care suffers for that lack of diversity, and so do thousands of black youth hungry for career opportunities.

“The country needs a health care system that reflects its own diversity,” says Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency physician based in Dallas. “You’d be surprised how many people still think ‘doctor’ means ‘old white guy.’ If we can build on what Doc McStuffins is doing, the next generation of patients will have a different view of the medical profession, and so will children of color.”

When she started raving about the show on her Facebook page, her posts struck a chord with other black women in medicine. Within a few weeks, Taylor had persuaded scores of them to add their portraits to a “We Are Doc McStuffins” collage, which she sent off to Disney as a gesture of thanks and support. And as the collage itself went viral, she saw the seeds of a movement. That’s how she came to found the Artemis Medical Society, a new organization devoted to drawing black women into medicine and supporting those who dare to crash the gates.

The society—named for the goddess of hunting, healing and childbirth—now boasts 2,500 members.

No one knows if any of this will change kids’ expectations, but there are good reasons to try. “Where are the real opportunities for kids from the hood?” Taylor asks. “They dream of making it in sports and entertainment, but there’s only one position for Beyoncé and there’s a huge unmet need for primary health care.”

The need will likely explode in coming years, as the Affordable Care Act draws millions of previously uninsured people into the health care system, and the nation needs a broader medical workforce to keep pace. Minority health professionals are more likely than others to practice in underserved communities, and they bring cultural competence as well as technical skills.

Taylor, who trained in Los Angeles, remembers how flummoxed she was when Latino patients would tell her their bones hurt. “I’d say, ‘How do you know? How can you tell it’s not your muscles?’ But I was missing the point. Anyone from the community would have known that was just a way of saying, ‘I’m really, really tired.’ If you know the community, you’re in a better position to provide good care.”

You’re also in a better position to gain people’s confidence. The scars of Tuskegee still run deep in black America, and so does mistrust of the medical establishment. In surveys, nearly a third of African-Americans agree that “AIDS was produced in a government laboratory” and up to 27% believe that the federal government created it “to kill and wipe out black people.” Vaccines and birth control foster similar suspicions, and the suspicions don’t die easily.

“When I talk to black patients, some start out thinking I’m part of the conspiracy,” Taylor says, “but I can usually break through.” Maybank, the New York City pediatrician, describes a similar dynamic. When patients resist mainstream health advice, she reminds them that a black man, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, performed the world’s first heart surgery. And as an African-American doctor, she has the standing to tell a skeptical parent that without vaccines, “our kids would still be dying of polio and smallpox.”

Maybank has come a long way from her cloistered childhood in Harrisburg, Penn. She attended Johns Hopkins as an undergraduate, got a medical degree at Temple University, and went on to study public health at Columbia. She now serves as an assistant commissioner for the New York City health department, running a district office in Brooklyn—and she works overtime as a role model for kids who want to emulate her. Last Saturday found her deep in the heart of the Bronx, wearing a bright red dress and a sleek leather jacket and wowing an auditorium full of teens and young adults from the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

“I don’t always see people of color in my profession,” she says, “so it’s great to see all of you in this room. We need to build each other up.” Over the next several hours, the students quiz Maybank and a lineup of mostly-minority health professionals about the fears and barriers they’ve overcome, the rewards of caring for people, and the qualities they’ll need to succeed.

If Holden and Taylor and Maybank and Ghafur achieve their goals, the McStuffins generation will include many more African American women, and the face of American medicine will become less monochromatic.


“I think one of the things that people are addressing in these conversations about representation and being able to enter the field of publishing if you are from a disadvantaged background is how important it is in finding those organizations that support specifically underserved communities. And not only that to foster the people in those communities like “you’ve benefited from those organizations” but now it’s your responsibility to carry the torch and help people get into the field.”

Discussing how one gets into the industry brings about so many variations in answers and Diana Pho’s was a unique one in a way as well but also one in which she remembers to also extend that help as a minority to other minorities.

Children of Color performing Shakespeare

Want to see more black and latino excellence? Love Shakespeare? Los Angeles Drama Club teaches underserved kids/communities Shakespeare and is the countries youngest Shakespeare troupe. We are a nonprofit that provides free classes to underprivileged kids.

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“In their time, they were the biggest hip-hop group in the world, and they managed to say what millions of kids in inner cities wished they could. Their music predicted what would happen if nothing was done about the tension between underserved communities and a too-aggressive police force. And those predictions are still coming true, which says a lot about N.W.A’s foresight, but not a lot about how much we listened.”

— Lizzie Plaugic, for The Verge

anonymous asked:

Yes I'm sure that anon is a PR expert that has been working for 20 years, and follows the movement on tumblr because it's so big, and not a teenage Clexa fan. Sounds so legit. 10000% true facts.

You guys are so scared that people in the industry are actually watching. You guys are terrified that people like that actually exist because that is confirmation that you’re on the wrong side of the argument….which for the record: you are. I have people I know face to face - and not an anon on this website - invested in this because they believe we can make a difference. You guys are here worried about a fucking fictional couple not happening while we’re trying to change the way media represents an underserved community. The anon may have been fake, sure. There’s always the possibility of that but the 10-15 people I can text right now that have very similar credentials and believe in what we’re doing are not. Go back to talking about crocs. You sound smarter when the topics aren’t challenging.