Zika – news you can use

Finally a glimpse of hope in Zike related news! This BBC  article highlights the progress made towards a Zika vaccine and includes a 2018 release date. 

The question is why has this received so little coverage. I can see benefits on waiting to share this information until the vaccine is fully developed. It can be hard to properly disseminate highly technical information. You wouldn’t want people to think its not as serious as it is, or to give false hope.

If traveling, be sure to keep the bug spray handy this summer. Here is a great NPR article on the most effective insect repellants out there.

 

 

Local social determinants in action!

Since I’ve been on a social media kick, my goal was to find any effective social media happening locally here in NYC. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s tumblr caught my eye.

“Creating environments that make it easier and safer for communities to be physically active is a key health initiative for the Health Department.” I’m so happy to see NYC doing big things and really keeping social determinants of health as a guide in creating health programs. Here is a press release describing the event.

 

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Health on social

Since social media has been a big part of my internship search, I felt I really needed to start to learn who was doing it effectively. Below are some great findings.

Healthcare Influencer List

  • I had no idea that there were healthcare influencers! I’ve long been familiar with Johns Hopkins School of Public health, as it’s a top ranked MPH and med school. Here is there Twitter. It was actually a little different than I would think it would be. It was very informative, and personally being in the public health field I thought it was interesting. However, it was really only for public health professionals and those in the research world. It was very research heavy and even I had a hard time understanding their stand alone tweets. Its funny because this was one of the major reasons I passed on the MPH track. It’s all well and good to have interesting information, but if its not tied to strong intervention or communications, its effects are limited. However, I was really impressed with the CDC and APHA, but they have way less followers.

CDC Social media

  • The CDC had individual accounts for each health aliment which can be found here.  I really liked the eHealth and Diabetes accounts. My favorite initiative is the “Public Health Nerd.”  A great post is “ Suspect you are a public health nerd?” Very Creative! It doesn’t seem to be well maintained, and some of these posts are from 2013. When I checked Twitter for the#phnerd hashtag, there is a little activity, but very rarely is it linked back to the CDC. However, I’m glad I found it because people do seem to be really excited about public health. Using the hashtag I found some interesting public health Twitter accounts and organizations. There was one especially interesting organization called Lucky Iron Fish.

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  • Also worth checking out is the CDC’s instagram. I was impressed to see they have 200,000 followers! However, some posts were awkward pictures of their campaigns. I was not feeling the below pictures. They are a  bit cheesy and it took away from the other amazing posts. My favorite was about a local Ebola Campaign. There was entirely too much text, but I liked the overall idea. Another great example was an up close and personal shot of bacteria. 

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Lazy = driving to store and getting bacon

This is one of my favorite articles of all time. I am so happy I found it. I recognized it right away.

I remember reading this article and just having my mind bend by obstacles faced by the featured family.  I didn’t really ever think of how once one is financially unstable , how impossible it can be to change their situation. The article,” Waiting for the 8th” describes this perfectly.

Even though its been three years since I read this article, the part I remembered the most were the telling details. I remembered a slight variation of the following phrase, “Lazy would be getting in a car, turning on the heat, going to the grocery store and picking out some bacon.”

First, it reconfirms the importance of “telling details” and how this article is laced with factual information, but  it was the quote about how getting in your car and driving to get bacon is easy. I remembered it was about poverty and homelessness in DC, but it was this quote that stuck with me.

This was probably the first time I was really exposed to the idea of social determinants of health. The part of the story that is eye opening is how organized, and frugal the mother had to be just to be able to feed her children – a basic need. It  seemed like a part-time job organizing all the resources to ensure food was available. It makes perfect sense that these stressors were beginning to affect how she felt about herself and she reported,”stress, panic attacks, leg numbness and anxiety.”

 

Veggies shaken not stirred

Since I had three people ask me about my smoothie last Tuesday I figured I would post about it. I get the best smoothies from Nussbaum and Wu and they are super delish. I ask for kale, spinach, a whole banana, 4 pieces of mango, plain yogurt and blueberries. If I’m ever stressed or feel like snacking, I always pop in to get a smoothie. Its funny because when you are stressed your body craves unhealthy snacks, but what you actually need at that moment is something hyper healthful. I’ve read countless articles about nutrition, but here are a few of my favorite topics. Here are two great articles linking nutrition to mental health Huffington Post and Washington Post. Nutrition is probably the most important thing you can monitor every day and that can dictate much of your health status.

 

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John Oliver says ixnay on the “cray cray”

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love John Oliver. He is the ultimate story teller and oneof my favorite New Yorkers .Here he covers how mental health is portrayed in the media. He uses excellent visuals and evidence to support all of this claims.  His sources are fantastic as he is citing studies from Health and Human Services which can be considered reputable government studies.  A good thing to remind ourselves is health is much broader than physical health, mental health is just as important. One thing my mom once said once to me is if you don’t have your mental health, you don’t have anything. It truly is the great equalizer.  

He states 43.8 million adults in the US have mental health struggles, and 10 million have more serious and advanced issues.   He shows the headlines of the studies with short verbatim quotes from each piece. This is an excellent way to report on health studies, but also a great way to frame mental health.  There is too much stigma surrounding mental health, particularly if according to these numbers, 13% of the US population may suffer from it. Additionally, instead of just saying its a serious problem, he also works to remove stigma from those who suffer.

Here is SAMSHA’s direct site to get more information on various mental health issues or to find information on treatment options.

Parents can sneak in good eating habits

Another thing that surprised me about NYC was the number of young children and infants floating around the UWS. With the busy and hectic lives of NYC parents, I think that teaching strong eating behaviors is necessary. Living in a city that runs on convenience and has unhealthy food options everywhere,  children need to learn how to make the right choices. This is a great NPR article on creating consistency in a young child’s diet.

A second quick and easy read can be found on Wiki. This article highlights steps parents can take with children who are a bit older.