Page 1

MARCH 2013









letter from the publisher

Masthead publisher DAVID MILLER ceo NATALIE COLE production & art director JOSE TORRES

In this month’s issue of Healthier You our cover story by Managing Editor Cynthia E. Griffin introduces an important figure in African American history as well as in medicine—Dr. Charles R. Drew. As a boy, Drew was an unlikely medical school prospect—a budding businessman, yes; a great athlete, yes. But a doctor, no. In fact, although he grew up in the early 1900s in a middleclass Washington, D.C., home that emphasized both church and academics, Drew was not a good student. He got acceptance at Amherst College on an athletic scholarship. Two events helped turn him toward medicine—an injury on the football field and the death of his sister from tuberculosis. He did well enough to be accepted as a medical student at McGill University in Montreal, a city in Quebec, Canada. That’s where his brilliance began to show through. At Montreal General Hospital, where he interned and did his residency, he began his pioneering work with blood that would eventually influence the world. As always, Healthier You is chock-full of good information on how to preserve—or help recover—your health. Healthier You articles run the gamut from nutrition to exercise; from the value of various medical exams to new treatments, from the latest studies to medical breakthroughs. In the current issue we offer help for men, women, seniors, teens and children, and there is even a book review on the devastation that can be caused by the effects of rabies. The article on low-sugar fruits includes most of our beloved snacks, including apples, melons, berries, oranges, peaches, nectarines, and the list continues. Even prunes are included. Also included is an important article on how exposure to pesticides can damage the health of children. A good article for teen deals with healthy eating while on the go. And there is fine article for seniors dealing with knowing your Medicare rights. For men, we offer the top five indications that a grooming problem could be a medical concern. There is something in every issue on various aspects of life, no matter what your age. Enjoy this issue of Healthier You, and share it with someone you love.

2 | March 2013 |

layout artist MARTHA E. GOMEZ graphic artist BRANDON NORWOOD editor STANLEY O. WILLIFORD managing editor CYNTHIA E. GRIFFIN assistant managing editor JULIANA D. NORWOOD advertising sales MICHELLE DORSEY, TRAVIS NORWOOD, STEVE WILLIS distribution director JACK ARNOLD accounting/human resources BONITA FINNEY


LOS ANGELES HEADQUARTERS 8732 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90047 contact: telephone (323) 905-1300 comments editorial production sales Editorial submissions and correspondence should be addressed to: Healthier You, 8732 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90047

VOL. 4 NO. 1 MARCH 2013

Copyright 2013 by OurWeekly Los Angeles/Healthier You, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from OurWeekly Los Angeles/Healthier You, LLC. Submissions, art, and photos will become the property of OurWeekly Los Angeles/Healthier You, LLC and will not be returned. The opinions, commentaries and articles written and expressed by the individuals, contributors and authors do not necessarily represent the views of OurWeekly Los Angeles/Healthier You, LLC. Although the content of the articles published in this magazine have been checked for accuracy, OurWeekly Los Angeles/Healthier You, LLC takes no responsibility for the accuracy or currency of the information provided herein. Subscriptions $40 annually.

CONTENTS // Healthier Living pg.4 Low-sugar fruits without the glucose high Know your medicare rights ‘Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus’ Diabetes could be reversed by your own bone marrow The benefits of watermelon Great Beginnings for Black Babies offers benefits for the whole family Remove bitterness and enjoy a healthier life

Healthier Children pg.14 States warned to expand access to dental care for poor children

COVER STORY Charles Drew


Healthier Teens pg.15 Healthy eating while on the go

Healthier Women pg.16 Early menopause may double heart disease risk, study says HIV/AIDS and Black women

Healthier Men pg.18 Top 5 indications a grooming problem might be a medical concern














healthier living // Low-sugar fruits without the glucose high From apples to berries, from cantaloupes to cherries Fruit plays an integral role in the composition of a healthy diet. However, while fruits are rich in nutrients and vitamins, many types are also dense with carbohydrates and high in sugar. Consequently, despite being all natural, some fruits can actually hinder a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, and, in the case of people with blood sugar imbalances like diabetes, be detrimental to the regulation of desirable glucose levels. There are, however, many low sugar fruits that maintain a high nutritional value. Apples. In addition to being low in sugar, apples also contain vitamin C, and are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that facilitates the elimination of toxins from the body, and aids in management of cholesterol levels. Apricots. An excellent source of vitamin A, apricots also provide vitamin C and calcium. Berries. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are all low-sugar fruits. As a bonus, blackberries and blueberries, in particular, have been recognized as abundant sources of antioxidants which help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Compared to other types of fruit, berries are also low in carbohydrates per serving. Cherries. After years in the shadow of other fruit, tart cherries are emerging as a major super fruit. A substantial and growing body of scientific research has linked tart cherries to anti-inflammatory benefits, reduced pain from gout and arthritis and an extensive list of heart health benefits. Recent studies even suggest tart cherries can help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain. Available dried, frozen and in juice and concentrate the two main types of tart cherries are Montmorency and Balaton. Montmorency— the most commonly grown tart cherry in the U.S.—contains a unique package of antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, the pigments that give cherries their bright red color. There are now more than 50 studies specifically on tart cherries, and scientists continue to uncover new and important benefits of this fruit. Watermelon. With 18 grams of sugar, watermelon is a great way to curb a sugar craving. Watermelon nutrition facts reveal this fruit as a jack of all trades; providing healthy amounts of virtually all essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and C are available in high quantities in just 1 wedge of watermelon, providing 33 and 39 percent of your daily value. Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and thiamin are also provided in

4 | March 2013 |

significant amounts. Aside from sodium, one wedge of watermelon can give you at least 2 percent of your daily value of all minerals. Potassium, magnesium and manganese are provided in the highest amounts, with other minerals in much smaller amounts. Prunes are low in sugar and high in vitamin A and C. This is the dried version of plums. A versatile fruit that is enjoyed fresh, baked in pastries, or dried in the form of prunes, which recent studies of found enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron. Nectarines. Low in sugar while offering a generous serving of vitamin C, nectarines also have beta-carotene, a natural source of vitamin A, which is beneficial to maintaining strong bones and good vision. Here is the laundry list of low-sugar fruits. Apple (sliced) Apricot (4 oz.) Blackberry Blueberry Boysenberry Cantaloupe Cherry (sour, sweet, 10 medium) Coconut meat (1 oz. or 1 cup shredded/grated, not packed) Coconut milk Currant (red, black, white) Elderberry Gooseberry Grape (10 medium) Honeydew melon Kiwi fruit (1 medium) Kumquat (1 medium) Lemon/Lime (2 inch diameter) Lemon/Lime Juice (1 oz) Mulberry Orange (sections, without membrane) Peach (1 medium, 4 oz.) Persimmon (American, Japanese, 1 medium) Pineapple (1 oz) Plum Raspberry Strawberry Tangelo (1 medium) Tangerine (1 medium) Watermelon Except where noted, all have less than 10 gm carbs in a half cup serving. Read more:

healthier living

Know your medicare rights DAVID SAYEN

As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections. And it’s worth knowing what they are. You have rights whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare–in which you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare– or Medicare Advantage, in which you get care within a network of healthcare providers. Such networks are run by private companies approved by Medicare. Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination. You also have the right to get information in a way you understand from Medicare, your healthcare providers, and, under certain circumstances, Medicare contractors. This includes information about what Medicare covers, what it pays, how much you have to pay, and how to file a complaint or appeal. Moreover, you’re entitled to learn about your treatment choices in clear language that you can understand, and to participate in treatment decisions. One very important right is to get emergency care when and where you need it—anywhere in the United States. If you have Medicare Advantage, your plan materials describe how to get emergency care. You don’t need permission from your primarycare doctor (the doctor you see first for health problems) before you get emergency care. If you’re admitted to the hospital, you, a family member, or your primary-care doctor should contact your plan as soon as possible. If you get emergency care, you’ll have to pay your regular share of the cost, or copayment. Then your plan will pay its share. If your plan doesn’t pay its share, you have the right to appeal. In fact, whenever a claim is filed for your care, you’ll get a notice from Medicare or your Medicare Advantage plan letting you know what will and won’t be covered. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal. For more information on appeals, you can read our booklet “Medicare Appeals,” available at Or call us, toll free, at 1(800)MEDICARE. You can also file a complaint about services you got from a hospital or other provider. If you’re concerned about the quality of the care you’re getting, call the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in your state to file a complaint. A QIO is a group of doctors and other healthcare experts who check on and improve the care given to people with Medicare. You can get your QIO’s phone number at www. or by calling 1(800)MEDICARE. Many people with Original Medicare also enroll in Medicare prescription drug plans. Here, too, you have certain rights. For example, if your pharmacist tells you that your drug plan won’t cover a drug you think should be covered, or it will cover the drug at a higher cost than you think you’re required to pay, you can request a coverage determination.

You also have the right to get information in a way you understand from Medicare…

If the decision isn’t in your favor, you can appeal. You can ask for an exception if you, your doctor, or your pharmacist believe you need a drug that isn’t on your drug plan’s list of covered medications, also known as a formulary. You don’t need a lawyer to appeal in most cases, and filing an appeal is free. You won’t be penalized in any way for challenging a decision by Medicare or your health or drug plan. And many people who file appeals wind up with a favorable outcome. This is a brief overview of your Medicare rights. For more details, read our booklet, “Medicare Rights and Protections,” at http://www. David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 1(800)633-4227). | March 2013 | 5

healthier living

‘Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus’ TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

You’ve been robbed. Robbed of a clean yard because you put your trash out last night, and when you woke up, it was strewn all over. You were robbed of a good mood, too. Thing is, you could easily pick the culprit out of a lineup, even though he always wears a mask. You’d go out and shoo that raccoon away if you could, but you doubt you’d ever catch him. And after reading “Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus” by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy (c.2012, Viking, $25.95 / $27.50 Canada, 275 pages, including index), you’ll be glad for that. Hidden inside some of history’s oldest, most important writings are clues that a scourge has plagued mankind for eons: “lyssa” is casually mentioned in “The Iliad.” The Code of Hammurabi proscribes punishment for the owner of an animal with it. Ancient Indian texts describe rabies and its symptoms and, perhaps not surprisingly, most sources blame the virus on the dog. The rabies virus itself is shaped like a bullet, the tip of which carries “a malevolent payload of . . . RNA.” Once the virus enters the body, it does what very few other viruses do: it avoids the bloodstream, instead “creeping” up the nervous system at an average of two centimeters a day, on its way to the brain. It moves so slowly, in fact, that it could take months for symptoms to appear. By that time, sufferers may not remember having been bitten by the animal that transmitted the virus. Throughout history, various methods have been used in the “cure” of rabies. Ancient Sumerians proscribed magical water for the patient to drink; an interesting treatment in light of the infection’s most infamous (hydrophobic) hallmark. Fifteenth-century English literature recommended using a rooster’s hind-end to “suck forth the poison.” Bleeding was once considered curative, as was more sex, but it wasn’t until Louis Pasteur’s then-risky vaccine that rabies was treatable and not until this century that full-blown, totally symptomatic cases have been survivable by humans. Today, the World Health Organization estimates that 55,000 people—mostly in Asia and Africa—die of rabies each year. And the poor dog? Since the virus is “perfectly matched to the dog as host,” he’s definitely a carrier, but probably not the most dangerous one. On this continent, bats, raccoons, and other wild animals give Fido a run for his money . . . . With a good mix of history and science, blended with literature and myth-busting, authors Wasik and Murphy give readers a chilling look at a disease that Westerners only think about when it’s time to take pets to the vets.

6 | March 2013 |

Ancient Indian texts describe rabies and its symptoms and, perhaps not surprisingly, most sources blame the virus on the dog. That’s good. What you’ll want to remember, however, is that when they say “rabid” is “not for the squeamish or weak-kneed,” they’re not exaggerating. Pet lovers, especially, need to know that while there’s great information here, there are also parts that will turn your stomach. Still, “Rabid” is lively, often borders on amusing, and is otherwise enjoyable, despite truly cringe-worthy parts. If you’re feeling brave and want to read something unusual, it’s a book to steal away with.

healthier living

Diabetes could be reversed by your own bone marrow CITY NEWS SERVICE

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute have found that a blood vessel-building gene boosts the ability of human bone marrow stem cells to support pancreatic recovery in laboratory mice with insulin-dependent diabetes. The findings, published in a PLoS ONE article of the Public Library of Science, offer new insights on mechanisms involved in regeneration of insulin-producing cells and provide new evidence that a diabetic’s own bone marrow one day may be a source of treatment, according to a Cedars-Sinai statement. Scientists began studying bone marrow-derived stem cells for pancreatic regeneration a decade ago. Recent studies involving several pancreas-related genes and delivery methods—transplantation into the organ or injection into the blood—have shown that bone marrow stem cell therapy could reverse or improve diabetes in some aboratory mice, according to the statement. But little had been know about how stem cells affect beta cells—pancreas cells that produce insulin—or how scientists could promote sustained beta cell renewal and insulin production.


Planned Parenthood: Keeping Women and Girls Healthy In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles reminds you that women comprise close to 25 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S., with a disproportionate number of those cases specifically impacting African American women. As the leading provider of reproductive healthcare in Los Angeles, Planned Parenthood can provide you with the tools you need to stay informed and safe. Planned Parenthood Los Angeles can help you prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) through testing, treatment, health education and counseling. We offer a full range of confidential, nonjudgmental sexual healthcare, including: life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, preventive education, health counseling, and abortion.

When the Cedars-Sinai researchers modified bone marrow stem cells to express a certain gene (vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF), “pancreatic recovery was sustained as mouse pancreases were able to generate new beta cells,” the statement said. “Our study is the first to show that VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), contributes to revascularization and recovery after pancreatic injury. It demonstrates the possible clinical benefits of using bone marrow-derived stem cells, modified to express that gene, for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Dr. John S. Yu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai and senior author of the journal article. Diabetes was reversed in five of nine mice treated with the injection of VEGF-modified cells, and near-normal blood sugar levels were maintained through the remainder of the six-week study period, according to Cedars-Sinai.

Visit Planned Parenthood today! Our doors are open to anyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, because we believe that every person deserves high-quality, affordable medical care. Planned Parenthood has four convenient locations serving South Los Angeles. To schedule an appointment, please call (888) 633-0433 or visit www. Dorothy Hecht Health Center 8520 South Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90003 Planned Parenthood Basics - Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Health Center 3637 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90016 S. Mark Taper Foundation Center for Medical Training 400 West 30th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007 Stoller-Filer Health Center 11722 S. Wilmington Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90059 | March 2013 | 7

healthier living

The benefits of watermelon Seeds of good health The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings. Just one cup of watermelon meets 20 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C. That same cup contains 18 percent of vitamin A, 2 percent iron and even 1 percent calcium. You’ll also find potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. The list goes on and on, but what you won’t find is a lot of sodium or any saturated fat.

8 | March 2013 |

healthier living

Great Beginnings for Black Babies offers benefits for the whole family Seeking to eradicate infant mortality For more than 22 years, Great Beginnings for Black Babies Inc. has provided stellar services to its base clientele—pregnant and parenting women. Founded in 1990 to address skyrocketing infant mortality rates in the African American community, Great Beginnings set about the business of impacting those negative rates by encouraging women to live healthy lives devoid of tobacco, alcohol or drugs. When Great Beginnings was founded in 1990, 19 out of 1,000 Black babies did not live to see their first birthday. And, while infant death rates have improved, African American babies still are dying at two and sometimes three times the rate of babies of other ethnicities, with 13 out of 1,000 dying versus six per 1,000 in the Latino community, five per 1,000 Caucasian babies and three per 1,000 Asian babies. In addition, in recent years father absence Black Infant Health has had a detrimental impact on the quality of seeks to improve or life for our families and our communities. eradicate infant mortality Experience has shown, and data bears out a serious need to reincorporate fathers back into families to ensure the overall physical, mental, emotional, educational, economic and social health of all family members. Also, changing demographics, including the growth of other ethnic populations in geographic areas historically served by Great Beginnings, encouraged the expansion of programs that include all ethnicities. As a result, Great beginnings has expanded its programs to serve the entire family. Current programs include its Black Infant Health program where more than 500 African American women over 18 years of age with children 18 months old or less are empowered with the necessary tools to make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their families. Integrating the client, the community, and the healthcare provider, Black Infant Health seeks to improve or eradicate infant mortality, premature births, and low birth weight by encouraging early and continuous prenatal care and the embracing of healthy lifestyles. This effort is reinforced through monthly Social Support and Empowerment classes, as well as assistance in housing and job searches. Great Beginning’s Healthy Moms and Babies program mirrors Black Infant Health with the exception that mothers of all ages and ethnicities are served. Recognizing that a significant number of women who required services were not eligible under Black Infant see GREAT BEGINNINGS page 13 | March 2013 | 9

cover story

Blood brother How Charles R. Drew improved medicine CYNTHIA E. GRIFFIN

Imagine spending years going to medical school, and more years developing specialized skills but not being able to fully practice on patients because of one seemingly simple barrier? That was the situation Charles Richard Drew and other African American physicians faced in the late 1940s as they struggled to find a place in the American medical field. Drew and his Black colleagues could not obtain membership in the American Medical Association (AMA), and at that time membership in this national organization or county medical societies was increasingly a requirement in order to gain hospital privileges and specialized training. Local medical groups and AMA chapters often barred extending membership to Blacks. But while these were definitely obstacles, Drew did not let them stop him from achieving distinction. Drew was born in Washington, D.C., to Richard, a carpet layer and financial secretary of the Carpet, Linoleum and Soft-Tile Layers Union, and, Nora Burrell Drew, a graduate of Miner Normal School. This was a school for girls established in 1851 with the goal of training them to become teachers. Drew, who grew up in the integrated, middle-class D.C. neighborhood known as Foggy Bottom with his younger siblings— Joseph, Elsie and Nora—was an enterprising youngster who at age 12 became a paper boy, selling newspapers from a corner stand. Within a year, he had parlayed the position into a business where six other boys worked for him. Although he grew up in an household that emphasized academics and church attendance, Drew was not necessarily the best student. In fact, during his years at Dunbar High School, then noted as one of the best college-prep campuses in the nation for Black or White students, “Charlie,” as he was called, concentrated far more on athletics. He lettered in four sports. In fact, he graduated high school in 1922 and went to Amherst College in Massachusetts on an athletic scholarship. At Amherst, his achievements in football and track became legendary. It was Drew’s participation in football that was partly responsible for his decision to study medicine. He was hospitalized for a football injury, and that combined with the death of his sister Elsie (from tuberculosis complicated by influenza) spiked his interest in studying medicine. After graduating from Amherst in 1926, the D.C. native worked two years at Morgan College (now Morgan State University) in Baltimore as athletic director and a biology and chemistry instructor. He did this to earn money to attend medical school. But because of racial segregation, Drew could not attend Harvard University’s medical school as soon as he wanted to, although he had been accepted. He also could not get into Howard University because he lacked sufficient English credits.

Rather than defer his admission to Harvard for a year, as the school wanted, Drew applied and was accepted at McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Quebec, in Canada. He also had the opportunity there to play on its sports team. Once again, he became a star athlete. But at McGill, the doctor-in-training also became a serious student, winning fellowships and several key prizes. He graduated second in a class of 137 in 1933. After leaving McGill, it was during his internship and surgical residency at Montreal General Hospital that Drew began to study a subject that would make him famous—blood. At the hospital, he worked closely with bacteriology professor John Beattie, who was exploring ways to treat shock with transfusions and other fluid replacement. Unable to obtain a surgical residency at any major American hospital to extend his surgery training, Drew joined the faculty of Howard University in 1935 initially as a pathology instructor. This move would be a key part of one of Drew’s other goals—to train as many highly skilled African American physicians as possible. While at Howard, Drew would eventually become chief of surgery at Freedmen’s Hospital, the university’s teaching hospital. In addition, while working at Howard, Drew finally earned a fellowship to train with eminent surgeon Allen O. Whipple at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital. He would also simultaneously do doctoral studies at Columbia University. It was in New York that Drew continued his work with blood, this time with John Scudder, a physician who specialized in blood and who was studying treating shock, fluid balance, blood chemistry and preservation, and transfusion. Scudder’s project was an experimental blood bank and would give Drew part of the foundation for the creation of the first large-scale blood bank for which he became noted. After completing his fellowship and earning his doctorate in medical science from Columbia University (he became the first African American to earn such a degree from the university), Drew returned to Howard University to take up a post as assistant professor of surgery. Back at Howard, he was invited to direct the Blood for Britain project. This was an effort during World War II to collect and ship plasma to Britain, which was at the time under attack by Germany.

In his role as director, Drew implemented uniform procedures and standards for collecting blood and processing plasma at the participating hospitals. This work led to Drew being appointed assistant director of a pilot program for a national blood banking system. Among the innovations he developed in conjunction with this system were mobile blood donation stations. These were used extensively during the war. Returning to Howard University, after Blood for Britain, Drew became chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of surgery at Freedmen’s Hospital. He also added another first to this resume—the first African American appointed an examiner for the American Board of Surgery. Among the honors he amassed during his short life was the J. Francis Williams Fellowship, which was based on a competitive examination given annually to the top five students in his graduating class at McGill. In 1941, he was appointed director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank, but resigned a year later after the U.S. government ruled that blood could be collected from African Americans but would be segregated. In 1944, the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal in recognition of his blood work for Britain and America. Drew died on April 1, 1950, in Burlington, N.C., from injuries received in a car accident while on his way to a conference. But contrary to some popular reports, he didn’t die because he was refused admittance at a nearby hospital or denied a transfusion. Instead, it was the result of his extensive injuries resulting from the crash. In addition to the many honors accorded him for his work, Drew also became the namesake of a medical university founded in 1971 in Watts-Willowbrook, Calif., which was then the heart of a historic African American community. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, medical and health sciences institution that offers certificate, graduate and postgraduate programs. The only dually-designated Historically Black Graduate Institution

and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU’s mission is to conduct education, research and clinical services in the context of community engagement to train health professionals who promote wellness, provide care with excellence and compassion, and transform the health of underserved communities. Charles Drew University has established a tradition of excellence in research on conditions that disproportionately affect ethnically and culturally diverse communities and provision of the highest quality clinical and community services. CDU focuses on helping society’s poorest communities, starting in the neighborhood surrounding its home base in South Los Angeles. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named “best performer” in the University of California system with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians, according to the Greenlining Institute. Additionally the university does the following: > Confers degrees and certificates in three colleges: the College of Science and Health; the College of Medicine; and the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing. > Graduated more than 550 physicians, 2,300 physician assistants, 2,500 physician specialist and numerous other health professionals since its first student enrollment in 1971. The California Wellness Foundation reports that CDU has trained one-third of Los Angeles County’s minority physicians. One independent study concluded that 40 percent of the healthcare professionals in South Los Angeles are CDU trained. > To address the growing demand for nurses who provide healthcare in South Los Angeles and similar communities across the nation and throughout the world, the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing opened in August 2010. It is the first ever in South Los Angeles and the only one in the nation dedicated to reducing health inequities. The school’s entry-level master of science in nursing program is designed for individuals from non-nursing backgrounds to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. see CHARLES DREW page 13

healthier living

Remove bitterness and enjoy a healthier life MILO EDWARDS

I’ve talked to a number of people on the subject of bitterness causing severe mental issues. It turned out to be more dangerous

and widespread than I thought. I won’t speak about particular incidents that were shared with me. I’m grateful for those who trusted me with such information and will always respect the confidentiality I promised. I’ve always been interested in what people think and how they function, as well as how they respond to any given situation. I’ve listened intently and thought in-depth concerning bitterness. I’m no authority on it, but I have sought the absolute truth, and here it is:

Bitterness can alienate you from people you care about

Every drag steals a moment.

Smoking steals 10 years from the life of a smoker. Ten years of moments never spent with children, grandchildren and loved ones. Don’t let the Tobacco Industry steal another moment of life! For free help to quit smoking, call: 1-800-NO BUTTS

Bitterness has become one of the major mental problems in our society and a clear showing of a fragmented life. Due to the failures and let-downs people have experienced, bitterness has consumed a large portion of their lives. There seems to be a fine line between bitterness, anger, wanting revenge and deep hurt. The problem area seems to be where people cross the line of rationality. Bitterness is never rational. It is a deeply rooted anger that eats away at you and becomes extremely painful and resentment-filled. Bitterness can alienate you from people you care about and who care about you, and can cut off new opportunities. Bitterness punishes families, friends and the public for things that have nothing to do with them. Eventually, they’ll tire of the nonsense and just leave you alone. This will create a gap, facilitate growing apart and the loss of any positive connection you had. Many times you don’t even realize bitterness has seeped into your life, creating a resentful attitude clear to everyone but you. Bitterness can and will put you in a bad place with the divine spirit. It causes the loss of your divine connection, which is the channel to receiving your blessings and the rewards the divine has in store for you. Bitterness causes you to be cruel, antagonistic, arrogant, vengeful, implacable, condescending, stubborn, grounded in selfpity and expressing hatred. Bitterness is the main cause of break-ups within a family and in marriage. It is difficult to maintain any type of relationship with a bitter person. They’re antisocial, inconsiderate, withdrawn and indifferent to normal social behaviors. Strangers avoid bitter people; they suck the air out of a room and no one can be happy around them.

see BITTERNESS page 17 ©2013 California Department of Public Health

12 | March 2013 |

healthier living

Charles Drew from COVER STORY page 11

> Outranks one-third of U.S. medical schools in research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), despite being the smallest. > Maintains an extensive educational pipeline program that prepares thousands of students (ages 4-18) in its Saturday Science Academy and other elementary-through-high school science programs to gain skills, knowledge and confidence to finish high school and succeed in college. > Provides HIV/AIDS testing and education to the greater Los Angeles area with the Charles R. Drew mobile HIV testing and outreach programs. CDU has a history of strong and consistent NIH-based research funding for basic, community-partnered, clinical and translational studies. The institution’s primary research focus includes cancer, cardio-metabolic and HIV/AIDS. In addition, it has very active research programs in diabetes, substance abuse and obesity. Its projects or centers also support original investigator initiated

research through pilot projects; provide access to core facilities both at CDU and UCLA; develop junior researchers across the university, which fosters an environment for faculty growth and expansion of the research areas as well as excellence in teaching and community service. The research centers also provide excellent opportunities for students from all colleges and schools to participate in health disparities research. Many complete a research thesis at the end of their training.

Great beginnings from COVER STORY page 9

Health, in 2008 Great Beginnings expanded under Healthy Moms and Babies to serve teen mothers, women with children up to age 5 and women of all ethnicities. For additional information on Great Beginnings for Black Babies, visit its website at or call (310)677-7995. | March 2013 | 13

healthier children // States warned to expand access to dental care for poor children Former Surgeon General David Satcher cites serious implications DAVID SATCHER, M.D. | AMERICA’S WIRE WRITERS GROUP

As states wrangle with whether or not to pursue Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, they should look carefully at the serious implications for oral health, especially for poor and minority children, if Medicaid services are not expanded as originally envisioned under the Affordable Care Act. Twelve years ago, as surgeon general of the United States, I issued a report calling attention to the profound disparities in oral healthcare across the country. I called it a silent epidemic. Twelve years later, some progress has been made, and it is no longer silent, but for many across the country, it is still a serious epidemic causing pain and harm to millions of poor and minority children. For instance, data from Georgia exemplifies the challenges that poor and minority children face in getting access to appropriate dental care. In 2008, 15.9 percent of Georgians did not have health insurance and almost half—41.5 percent—did not have dental insurance (Georgia Population Survey 2008). In 2007, visits to Georgia emergency rooms for preventable dental disease cost more than $23 million. The proportion of children with untreated tooth decay has dropped from 27 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011, but that still means that close to a fifth of children in the state suffer unnecessary pain and health risks for something that is truly preventable. The majority of these children are poor or minority or can’t see a dentist because of financial or geographic reasons. When I issued my report, tooth decay was the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma. It still is. There were striking disparities in dental disease across the country. There still are. Thirty-seven percent of African American children and 41 percent of Hispanic children have untreated tooth decay, compared with 25 percent of White children. More than 50 million Americans live in areas where dentists do not practice, and millions more can’t gain access due to cost reasons. It is time to get serious and pursue the framework for action that I set forth in my 2000 report. All healthcare professionals need to understand that good oral health means more than sound teeth. The mouth is really a window to the whole body. Oral health affects everything from the ability to speak, eat or smile. Poor oral health is linked to heart disease, stroke and other long-term illnesses. We need to engage other health professions in working to prevent oral disease.

14 | March 2013 |

tooth decay was the single most common chronic childhood disease As a country, we have made great strides in prevention, particularly with fluoride and sealants. But many do not have regular access to a dentist or school-based programs that offer some preventive care. That is why it is critical to expand access by seeking innovation on a number of fronts—in oral health policies, how we train our providers, exploring the creation of new dental providers, and building a cadre of ethnically diverse, culturally competent dental practitioners, as well as expanding the reach of the dental team with other healthcare professionals. The country has a great opportunity to increase access to dental care under the Affordable Care Act, which calls for extending oral health benefits to an additional 5 million children in 2014. Expansion of coverage, however, won’t translate into access to care if we don’t have enough providers to meet the need. Currently just 20 percent of practicing dentists treat Medicaid patients. How can we provide services to an additional 5 million children in 2014? States need to think about this now. States should explore all options that could expand access to care, including allowing midlevel dental providers such as dental therapists to practice. They are trained to provide routine services, freeing up dentists to attend to more complicated procedures. These practitioners already work in Alaska and Minnesota. And in just a number of years, they have been able to expand access in Alaska alone to an additional 35,000 people who could not get regular care in their own communities. It is imperative that everyone have access to the dental care they need. Different professionals can provide different, yet appropriate, levels of service. Our concern and approach to a solution ought to focus first on the patient, not the dental profession. We have an opportunity with the Affordable Care Act to expand access. Will the medical and dental communities be ready? David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., is a public health administrator, who served simultaneously as the 10th assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the 16th surgeon general of the United States. America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

healthier teens // Healthy eating while on the go Tips and suggestions You can hang out with your friends and still make healthy food choices. Try these tips when you are out and about: > Encourage your friends to make healthy choices with you. If you are all on the same page, it might be easier for you—and your friends—to avoid temptation. > Start every day with breakfast. Try a low-fat, whole-grain breakfast bar; fat-free or low-fat yogurt; or whole-grain toast or bagel spread with a little peanut butter, jam, or low-fat cream cheese. > Remember even take-out and high-fat foods can be part of a balanced diet, as long as you do not eat them every day and do not eat too much of them. Here are sensible serving sizes for some favorite foods—french fries: one small serving (equal to a child’s order); shrimp fried rice (as a main dish): 1 cup; cheese pizza: two small slices or 1 large slice. > Order vegetable toppings on pizza instead of salty, high-fat meats like pepperoni or sausage. > Order a plain hamburger (without sauce or mayonnaise) or a grilled (not fried) chicken sandwich. Skip the fries and try a salad with fat-free or low-fat dressing instead.

> Share popcorn (and skip the added butter) at the movies instead of getting your own bag, or order the smallest size. You will save money too! > Choose bottled water instead of soda and other artificially sweetened beverages like punch or natural fruit juices. > Choose low-fat or fat-free milk instead of whole milk or a milkshake. > Munch on pretzels or vegetables at parties instead of fried chips or fatty dips. Source: The Weight-control Information Network (WIN), an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

DID YOU KNOW? > Top 10 causes of death for African American 1. Diseases of heart 2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer) 3. Cerebrovascular diseases (group of conditions that affect the circulation of blood to the brain) 4. Unintentional injuries 5. Homicide 6. Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period 7. Pneumonia and influenza 8. Diabetes mellitus 9. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 10. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis Source: Office of Minority Health, 2010 | March 2013 | 15

healthier women // HIV/AIDS and Black women Getting to the root of the problem I. JEAN DAVIS, PH.D. | HIV SPECIALIST

Women of color have been disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic since its beginning. That impact is growing. It is estimated that women of color account for more than eight in 10 new HIV infections occurring among women in the United States, a much greater proportion than their representation in the population overall. Higher mortality rates among this population are associated, in part, with poverty, low levels of health literacy, barriers to healthcare access and utilization of preventive and screening services, increased risk for HIV/AIDS co-morbidities, mental health problems and poor adherence to Highly Activated Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), thus reducing health outcomes and survival. Poor health among persons in poverty may also limit treatment options and decrease the chances of surviving the disease.

Women of color account for more than eight in 10 new HIV infections While Black women represent 13 percent of the U.S. female population, they account for 64 percent of female AIDS cases. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS is the third leading cause of death for Black women in the U.S. and the leading cause of death for Black women aged 24-34. In 2006, the rate of new infection in Black women was nearly 15 times that in White women at 55.7 infections versus 3.8 infections per 100,000 women, respectively. In addition, among

females, Blacks are the most likely to have an initial diagnosis of AIDS, thereby more likely to die due to AIDS-related complications. This population has lower rates of direct medical interventions at time of diagnosis and lower rates of retention in care. Multi-pronged, community-based efforts aimed at educating Black women about HIV risks and treatment options, motivating them to get tested, linking those who test positive to care and providing on-going support and follow-up to ensure that women remain in care. This type of effort requires collaboration among providers, grassroots socialservice organizations, the faith community, and other women serving agencies within the community. Formative assessment such as focus groups to re-evaluate community needs, involving consultation and advisement from key stakeholders to identify gaps in women’s knowledge is needed. This assessment would be the bases for the development and implementation of a curriculum to enhance community education messages that target women and stress the importance of HIV prevention, testing, early diagnosis and treatment. In addition, healthcare providers need to receive cultural competency training in order to identify personal and institutional biases that may affect care offered to Black women as it relates to prevention, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Also, due to the taboos around frank discussion of sex and body parts and functions, many Black women have little knowledge of HIV or other STDs and are not likely to seek or continue care when they are asymptomatic or not experiencing incapacitating symptoms. Therefore, providers need to be proactive in offering prevention and treatment service to those who otherwise may not request them. Providers must initiate patient education not only about HIV disease but also basic facts on reproductive biology and women’s health. The health of these women should include an understanding of not only physiological health, but also sexual and mental health. Culturally competent and responsive care for a Black female patient who is HIV-positive begins with collecting relevant information about her lifestyle and beliefs relative to HIV. Relevant information is any aspect of a patient’s life that could impact the efficacy of care that the provider proposes to deliver. For example, does the patient face competing life issues such as homelessness, domestic violence or substance abuse that would make it difficult for her to access and remain in care? It would be useful for providers prepare a few questions ahead of time that they could pose to patients to elicit the necessary information. Black women have long been the subject of stereotypes that have affected the way they are viewed by certain providers. For example, the image of Black women as being promiscuous and sexually precocious is widely propagated. Consciously or not, providers may allow stereotypical thinking to affect the treatment options they offer to female patients from this ethnic group. For example, they may make assumptions of risk status and subsequent treatment decisions based on the patient’s physical appearance. see BLACK WOMEN page 17

16 | March 2013 |

healthier women

Early menopause may double heart disease risk, study says Quitting smoking might help prolong menstruation, researchers suggest ROBERT PREIDT | JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICINE

Women who experience early menopause may face double the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study. This increased risk is true across different ethnic backgrounds and is independent of traditional heart disease and stroke risk factors, the researchers said. The study included more than 2,500 women, ages 45 to 84, who were followed for between six and eight years. Twentyeight percent of the women reported early menopause, which occurs before age 46. Women with early menopause had twice the risk of heart disease and stroke compared to other women. The overall number of women in the study who suffered heart attacks (50) and strokes (37) was small, however, the researchers noted.

When a woman’s periods have stopped for a year, she has reached menopause. The study—which found an association between early menopause and heart risk, but not a cause-and-effect connection—appears in the journal Menopause. “If physicians know a patient has entered menopause before her 46th birthday, they can be extra vigilant in making recommendations and providing treatments to help prevent heart attacks and stroke,” study leader Dhananjay Vaidya, an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a university news release. “Our results suggest it is also important to avoid early menopause if at all possible,” Vaidya said. For example, smokers reach menopause an average of two years earlier than nonsmokers, so quitting smoking may delay menopause. Other factors that influence the onset of menopause include heredity, diet and exercise. The researchers also found that the increased risk of heart disease and stroke associated with early menopause was similar whether early menopause occurred naturally or because of surgical removal of reproductive organs. Vaidya noted that women who have a hysterectomy (uterus removal) often have their ovaries removed, which leads to rapid menopause. “Perhaps ovary removal can be avoided in more instances” in order to delay menopause and possibly protect patients from heart disease and stroke, Vaidya suggested. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Black women


from HEALTHIER WOMEN page 16


Cultural competency training can help providers recognize and eliminate biases that could negatively impact the quality of care they deliver. Women’s reproductive biology places them at a greater risk of contracting HIV than men. This risk increases among women with STDs. Blacks have high rate of gonorrhea among women with chlamydia, which in turn places them at higher risk for HIV. Black women are less likely than women of other ethnicities to get married because of the imbalance in the ratio of women to men; these women are also more likely to be in non-monogamous relationships. The nature of these relationships may make the women more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as not using a condom. This may also encourage younger women to enter into relationships with older men. If we, as a community, do not address these issues the rate of HIV and AIDS will continue to increase.

How do you get rid of bitterness? The first thing is to release it to the divine spirit and recognize it’s not yours. It’s God’s job to make things right. When you surrender it all to the Lord and truly let it go, you’ll feel the relief. It’s as simple as saying, “Lord, I surrender unto thee all that I have! The good, the bad and the ugly. Do with it as you see fit; it’s yours to handle!” When you say that, you have to mean it and let it go. Tell yourself the truth about what happened in your life, the role you played in the drama and surrender it. There’s nothing more you can do. Be thankful for all the good things in your life, concentrating on the boundless possibilities of positive things in the future. When people start talking to you about negative things, tell them you don’t want to go there; you’ve chosen the positive route. Milo Edwards can be reached at | March 2013 | 17

healthier men // Top 5 indications a grooming problem might be a medical concern A man’s basic grooming routine should include being mindful of any changes to his nails, hair or skin. BLACKNEWS.COM

Men’s typical grooming routines are quick and straightforward: a daily shower and shave, a comb through the hair, and a clipper to the nails when needed. However, according to Paul W. Wallace, M.D., a dermatologist specializing in ethnic skin care and the medical half of the Bump Patrol Smooth Crew, if a man notices a change to his nails, hair or skin, it should give him pause. Wallace, an attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and medical chairman of the National Psoriasis Foundation,

18 | March 2013 |

recommends that men make a special visit to their dermatologist beyond the recommended annual skin exam, if they notice any of these five skin, hair or nail issues: 1. When nails show a change in texture or shape, it could be an early sign of arthritis or dietary deficiency. A change in color, be it a small dot or change to the whole nail, could be a sign of a fungus, which should be addressed early to prevent nail-root involvement. It could also be a sign of melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease. For African American men, melanoma is found most often under the fingernail or toenail. 2. When hair unexpectedly changes in texture, color or rate of hair loss, it could indicate underlying medical issues. Hair can serve as a window to the general health of an individual and provide an early warning of medical problems, such as thyroid disease or vitiligo. 3. When the scalp feels tender to touch or grooming, it is not normal. If it becomes pink, red or white (depigmented), feels soft or lumpy, or develops bumps, pustules or sores, visit a dermatologist. 4. When the beard feels overly irritated, has unexpected hair loss or changes in texture, shaving might not be the cause. However, when bumps or whiteheads go untreated, shaving could exacerbate the problem. 5. When a mole changes size, color or shape, it could be a warning sign of evolving skin cancer. Also, when a mole experiences any trauma, bleeding, pain or constant itch, a dermatologist should examine it. Even the darkest-pigmented skin runs the risk of skin cancer. Aside from the obvious health advantages to early detection of diseases, early intervention could also save hair and nails and minimize scarring. While keeping these five signs in mind, Dr. Wallace suggests that men also reexamine their basic grooming routines and make simple adjustments where needed. For example, a proper shave—which includes everything from the direction of shaving to the aftershave used—can prevent irritation in the first place. He recommends products that calm and treat the skin with the help of anti-inflammatories, antiseptics, humectants and emollients. “Without irritation, there’s no inflammation,” he explains. “And without inflammation, there’s no threat of razor bumps that could become infected.” For more information on Dr. Wallace and proper shaving techniques, visit

Healthier You Magazine March 2013  

In this issue of Healthier You we cover Charles Drew and his advancements and studies on blood work.

Healthier You Magazine March 2013  

In this issue of Healthier You we cover Charles Drew and his advancements and studies on blood work.