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Health, Wellness and N HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / MAY 2012 H-1
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t Kaiser Permanente, we put a high priority on wellness – in our medical facilities and our communities. Our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We believe that good health belongs to everyone and that a community is healthy only when every person within the community reaps the benefits of access to excellent health care, fresh and affordable foods, clean and safe outdoor spaces, and equitable opportunity to live well.
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As part of our Community Benefit efforts, Kaiser Permanente makes financial, material, and human resource investments across the Mid-Atlantic region to directly address these issues.
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Our commitment to total health is deep and long-standing. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with communities and institutions everyday that share our vision and values related to health and wellness. In this special issue of the Washington Informer, you will learn more about Kaiser Permanente initiatives with our community partners that aim to make lives better.
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PUBLISHER Denise Rolark Barnes STAFF Floyd Nelson, Managing Editor Ron Burke, Advertising/ Marketing Director Victor Holt, Photo Editor Lafayette Barnes, IV, Assistant Photo Editor John E. De Freitas, Sports Photo Editor Dorothy Rowley, Online Editor Paul Trantham, Circulation Manager Brian Young, Design & Layout AssureTech /www.scsworks.com, Webmaster Mable Neville, Bookkeeper Mickey Thompson, Social Sightings columnist Stacey Palmer, Social Media Specialist REPORTERS Barrington Salmon, Eve Ferguson, James Wright PHOTOGRAPHERS John E. De Freitas, Roy Lewis, Khalid Naji-Allah, Shevry Lassiter
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The Skinny on Fat: The Weight of the Nation
he U.S. is in the midst of a public health crisis, fueled by an epidemic of obesity that is affecting 97 million Americans and overburdening our health care system. Research indicates that obesity and overweight conditions are the second leading cause of preventable death in the country, and if this trend continues without meaningful intervention, entire generations will be in jeopardy. Obesity and excess weight often lead to serious chronic diseases, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain cancers, with some of these conditions, for the first time ever, manifesting even in children. These conditions reduce quality of life and can result in premature death. Further, the economic toll on our nation is tremendous: Consuming 80 percent of all health care costs in the U.S., and approximately $147 billion in direct health care expenses alone. And, there’s a clear link between obesity and lower productivity in the workplace: “Full-time U.S. workers who have chronic health troubles or are overweight cost more than $153 billion in lost productivity each year from absenteeism,” according to a recent Gallup-Healthways report. This report also indicates that the epidemic has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, children, low-income individuals, and in urban areas, this, driven largely by socio-economic factors. With a commitment to Total Health, Kaiser Permanente joins Home Box Office (HBO), the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, to launch The Weight of the Nation – a 4-part documentary series that will premiere on HBO, May 14-15, 2012. Each film examines the obesity epidemic from a unique point
of view, exploring the drivers of obesity, consequences and solutions. The four parts include: Consequences examines the scope of the problem and explores the serious health consequences of obesity and overweight. Choices gives viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain. Children in Crisis examines the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children and the strong forces that are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy. Challenges takes a look at the obesity epidemic from every angle: agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture and the power of industry. The series will be available to all cable subscribers, with an option to view Spanish subtitles. This is part of HBO’s commitment to public health. The Weight of the Nation is a comprehensive public awareness and engagement campaign that seeks to accelerate progress on obesity prevention and create opportunities for community engagement, collaboration, advocacy and partnerships aimed at combating obesity and producing demand for healthier environments. Activation toolkits that include film DVDs and discussion guides are available to community groups by request. The Weight of the Nation sends a strong message that we can all take steps to support our health and that of our families and our communities. To learn more, visit http:// theweightofthenation.hbo. com/
…obesity is affecting 97 million Americans and overburdening our health care system… TO WIN, WE HAVE TO LOSE.
CONFRONTING AMERICA' S OBESITY EPIDEMIC HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS AND THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, MICHAEL & SUSAN DELL FOUNDATION AND KAISER PERMANENTE PRESENT “THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION” EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS SHEILA NEVINS, JOHN HOFFMAN PARTS 1& 3 PRODUCED BY JOHN HOFFMAN EDITOR PAULA HEREDIA PART 2 PRODUCED BY JOHN HOFFMAN, DAN CHAYKIN DIRECTED BY DAN CHAYKIN EDITOR JENNIFER MCGARRITY PART 4 PRODUCED BY JOHN HOFFMAN, DAN CHAYKIN DIRECTED BY DAN CHAYKIN EDITORS PAULA HEREDIA, JENNIFER MCGARRITY, CHARLTON MCMILLAN, BRUCE SHAW PARTS 1-4 PRODUCER SARAH TEALE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY DYANNA TAYLOR ORIGINAL MUSIC WENDY BLACKSTONE, ADAM DORN, DANIEL FREIBERG GRAPHIC DESIGN TODD RUFF CO-PRODUCERS TOMEK GROSS, ALEXANDRA MOSS, SONIA DULAY RICCI PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE SUSAN BENAROYA LINE PRODUCER ELLIN BAUMEL POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR KATE BARRY
AN HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS MULTIMEDIA EVENT
PARTS 1 & 2 MAY 14, 8PM AVAILABLE ON
PARTS 3 & 4 MAY 15, 8PM AND ALL HBO PLATFORMS
HBO GO® is only accessible in the US and certain US territories. © 2012 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. The “WEIGHT OF THE NATION” trademark and CDC logo are owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS/CDC). Use of these trademarks is not an endorsement by DHHS/CDC of a particular company or organization. The CDC logo is an official logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Used under license.
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Commitment to Community Health T he social and physical environments into which we are born and live have more direct and enduring impact on our health than access to health care. Where there is reliable transportation, economic opportunity, quality schools, clean and safe outdoor spaces, healthy food stores, and a vibrant social network, people tend to be healthier and live longer. In fact, one’s zip code is a stronger predictor of health and lifespan than one’s genetic code. Mapping of the Metropolitan area shows a three to nine year difference in life expectancy between some of our suburban and inner beltway communities – strongly suggesting that place matters. That’s why Kaiser Permanente designs Community Health Initiatives to engage communities to change conditions in schools,
workplaces, health centers, and neighborhoods. By helping individuals and communities to understand the connection between place and health, we are building their capacity to advocate for policies and environments that enable healthy choices. Healthy eating and active living (HEAL) is at the core of much of the health equity work that Kaiser Permanente and other organizations in the region are undertaking to improve health and reduce the prevalence of lifestyle related chronic illness – including obesity – among our most vulnerable populations. Access to healthy fresh foods and opportunities for regular physical activity are at the basis of wellbeing. And unfortunately, people on the lower end of the economic strata often bear the biggest burden of low-access. “Our work and that of other
like-minded organizations, holds the promise and the potential to improve health on many levels,” says Maritha Gay, Kaiser Permanente’s Sr. Director of External Affairs. “We are trying to build better food systems that put fresh foods on more tables, encourage policies that ensure neighborhoods have grocery stores and children have safe outdoor spaces to run and play.” Toward this goal, Kaiser Permanente invests in our local communities by supporting: zz Farmers markets – At our own medical centers and throughout the region, Kaiser Permanente is an advocate for farmers and consumers, increasing access to locally grown fresh and healthy foods in untraditional ways. zz Urban Agriculture – More
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than just a source of good food, urban farms and community gardens are valuable community assets that provide opportunities for training, education, and community cohesion. zz School wellness – Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and suffer a lifetime of poor health. Ensuring all children can eat well and move their bodies in and after school is our priority. zz Healthy Outdoor Spaces – Walking and biking, whether for exercise or a means to commute to school or work, is enhanced by safe streets and trails. As such, we actively advocate for policies that support smart land-use and active transportation. zz Collaboration – We are partners with our commu-
nities and we encourage collaboration across sectors. Building healthy communities requires all hands on deck. We are pleased to participate in a number of collaborative partnerships to build healthy places for healthy people across the region. zz Advocacy – We strive to achieve sustainable health improvements by helping community-based organizations with technical assistance and education to be well-informed activists and advocates for their communities. These are just some of the ways that we think we and our partners can best contribute to transforming our communities into healthier places for all.
GivE your kids somEthinG to chEw on. Farmers markets, urban farms and community gardens are a great way to help children and families learn about making smart food choices. At Kaiser Permanente, we are proud to support initiatives focused on increasing access to healthy, nutritious foods for all families. To learn more about our commitment to healthy eating and active living, visit kp.org. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. 2101 East Jefferson St., Rockville, MD 20852
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Healthcare: An Industry Full of Opportunities Careers in healthcare are as varied as the personalities of the people that work in the industry. The diverse nature of healthcare offers tremendous opportunities just starting on a career path or career changers looking to make a difference. The American Medical Association Health Care Careers Directory lists information about more than 80 healthcare careers. According to Economic Modeling Specialist, Inc. (EMSI) Analyst, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry in the metropolitan region is thriving, with more than 324K jobs in 2011. More than 75% of those jobs are in the District and in the im-
mediate surrounding counties of Maryland and Virginia (Montgomery, PG, Arlington and Fairfax). This trend is expected to continue through 2018, with
16% job growth. The diversity of career offerings are not limited to the type of work, skill sets, and knowledge required, but include the
The American Medical Association’s Healthcare Career Directory identifies more than 80 careers in 19 categories in the healthcare industry. Offering such broad career options, working in healthcare can be rewarding personally and professionally.
Graduate School USA Health Sciences offers programs in some of the
work environment. Jobs in healthcare are no longer limited to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics, but include settings ranging from free-standing dialysis and diagnostic imaging centers to the federal government. Some jobs, such as nurses and medical assistants, involve direct patient interaction while others—health service mangers for example— are more involved with the business side of healthcare.. A growing area is health information technology (HIT), which entails using computer technology to manage health data. Although many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, there are numerous options in which post-secondary certificate or associate degrees are necessary, particularly in allied health. Allied health professionals are involved in the delivery of health or related services, and include medical assistants, dental hygienists, and respiratory technicians, just to name a few. For those looking for a new career, it is important to know many jobs in healthcare lead into other opportunities further up the career ladder. Many entrylevel jobs serve as a step towards greater goals. For example, a phlebotomist is considered an entry-level position in the laboratory, but with additional education a phlebotomist can continue in the field of medical laboratory sciences and become a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT, an associate degree). An MLT can continue their studies and
become a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MT, a bachelor’s degree). And this is only one of several career routes. Figure 1 Sample Career Routes for Phlebotomists Recognizing the job opportunities afforded to area residents in healthcare, especially DC residents, Graduate School USA offers degrees and certificate programs in several in-demand fields. The School offers associate degrees in Medical Assistant and MLT, and certificate programs in Medical Office Administrative Assistant, Electrocardiographic (ECG) Technician, and Phlebotomy Technician. The School’s certificate programs are designed so that most of the courses are embedded in the degree program, allowing students to complete a certificate and continue their education into a degree program; helping them move up the career ladder. In addition to curriculum design, an added benefit provided to students is career planning. Graduate School USA faculty advisors help students navigate the numerous career options and map out a career plan that suites their interests and skills. For more information on careers in healthcare, contact Graduate School USA, healthsciences@ graduateschool.edu.
most in-demand occupations: Associate Degree Programs:
• Medical Assistant • Medical Laboratory Technician
• ECG Technician • Medical Office Administrative Assistant • Phlebotomy Technician
May 12 th, 10 a.m. - noon To RSVP: (202) 314-3657 graduateschool.edu/health
Center for Health Sciences 600 Maryland Avenue SW Washington, DC 20024
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Peer Educator Trainer Jennifer Muhammad leading a class
Peer educators ran a booth at the Ward 8 Farmer's Market
SHIRE Peers Promote Healthy Habits by Word of Mouth Though he’s 24-years-old and part of a generation accustomed to a digital world, to Anthony Knight, the word interactive isn’t best used to describe video games, text messages, Facebook, or a Twitter account. As a an adult peer educator for the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc., Knight’s most rewarding moments are when he shares information about health through the medium human beings most trust, talking face-to-face. Of Wards 7 and 8, where Knight conducts outreach, he said, “I’m a familiar face; it’s not like a stranger” coming into the community. In a world where bombardment from electronic devices is unceasing, he has found that people appreciate the personal touch – the time he takes with them – as well as highly valuing the information he has to share. “They are attentive …
They commend me on doing what I’m doing.” It’s not a one-way exchange. Knight explained that, as he shares tips about good nutrition and the value of healthy food choices, he also gains insight into a community’s challenges and the personal aspirations of its residents. “They talk about what their doctors have said to them and they want to find ways to stay healthy and to get off medication,” Knight said. He acknowledged that some adults he encounters admit to being discouraged in their struggle to deal with diabetes, for example, a disease highly prevalent in the wards he services, but one whose effects can be better managed by a healthy diet, nutrition, and exercise. Accurate information is essential in helping to achieve those goals and Knight has fully embraced SHIRE’s concept of
grassroots networking. “It’s actually something that I like to do; it’s educational and interactive,” Knight said. Not only do peer educators approach the community through conversation with residents, they employ skits, plays, and other art forms at schools and health fairs. Knight said in one play he was the vegetable man who described the nutritional benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. He’s also participated in antismoking campaigns. SHIRE’s Adult Peer Educator program began in 2008, then and still focusing primarily on ways to combat childhood obesity. After receiving their training, the initial team of ## members, knocked on doors and canvassed the community. Within the first three months, they collected over a thousand evaluation forms on their performance
Group picture of 1st group of peer educators after completing training
from people they encountered. Over 90 percent of the feedback was positive. Before he became a devoted Adult Peer Educator, Knight was a young teen looking for a solution to a not uncommon problem. “I was a little overweight,” he confessed, adding that his primary motivation for losing weight was not concern about health consequences but being able “to talk to the girls.” Something changed as he started attending the SHIRE presentations on health at the Allen Chapel Church, one of several churches that now host SHIRE programs and training for prospective peers. “First was a discussion about holistic medicine. That drew me in. Then, in another session, they explained that you can use your food as medicine to lose weight. That drew me in more,” Knight said. These sessions were
followed by a discussion about the role of the society in shaping eating habits. By that time, Knight was hooked and signed on to become a Teen Peer Educator for SHIRE. Participants are not salaried, but do receive stipends for their work. SHIRE’s first corps of teen peer educators has now grown up, Knight among them. He has ambitions of becoming a message therapist but still, however, attends re-training sessions at SHIRE workshops. Learning from SHIRE that “you can use your food as medicine” to combat the effects of being overweight was invaluable. He said that knowledge changed his life and set him in a new direction. Knight wants to spread the word – and he knows how.
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By Charles E. Sutton WI Staff Writer You’ve heard the expressions “no pain, no gain” and “target heart rate” if you’re among the millions of health-conscious Americans who spend a fair amount of time working out with a personal trainer or at a fitness center. Those same expressions should also resonate with children who have become sedentary with the advent of video games and hundreds of cable television channels. Long gone are the days of playing hopscotch and touch football that ensured that children got plenty of exercise on a regular basis. Today, childhood obesity has become a major problem in this country. In the U.S., about 32 percent of children
Strive 2 Tri
are either overweight or obese. Reports suggest that children who struggle with their weight have low self-esteem and suffer with bouts of depression. They can also develop diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and bone and joint problems. In addition, children who are obese have a greater chance of becoming obese adults, placing them at risk for more health problems later in life. In Prince George’s County, Strive 2 Tri is meeting the childhood fitness challenge head on. “If we can get more kids to become physically active and less sedentary it will give them a jump-start toward choosing a healthy and active lifestyle, which can ultimately prevent some health challenges,” said Tarus Nelson, founder of Strive 2 Tri. Strive 2 Tri is a non-profit
organization which encourages youth between the ages of 7-17 to get healthy and stay healthy through the multisport of triathlons. Based in Fort Washington, Md., Strive 2 Tri aims to fight childhood obesity by educating youth about the benefits of daily exercise and improved nutritional choices. Strive 2 Tri further reinforces the values of charity while strengthening the community through monthly service projects. Participating in local competitions challenges its members to accomplish their goals in fitness, nutrition and life, while boosting self-esteem. Though triathlons have grown in popularity in recent years, many people aren’t aware of this sport. A triathlon is a multisport event involving three continuous and sequential endurance events. While there are many variations of the sport, in
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its most popular form, triathlon involves swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession over various distances. Tri-athletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed “transitions” between the individual swim, bike and run components. The nature of the sport focuses primarily on persistent and interval training in each of the three disciplines, as well as combination workouts and general strength conditioning. Triathlon competitions vary in distance. Transition areas are positioned between the swim and bike segments, and between the bike and run segments and that’s where the switches from swimming to cycling and cycling to running occur. These areas are used to store bicycles, performance apparel, and other required accessories in prepara-
tion to compete in the next stage of the race. The time spent in transition areas is included in the overall time of the race. Transition areas vary in size depending on the number of competitors. Also, these areas serve as headquarters before the race. Nelson founded Strive 2 Tri last year. The disabled veteran started the program in an effort to expose African-American youth to non-traditional sports, such as, swimming and cycling. Nelson, 38, views it as way of expanding the kids’ horizons, given that most of them have already been exposed to football, basketball, and baseball. The members of Strive 2 Tri are trained to participate in triathlon competitions. “Our focus is not on winning. We want to make sure that each kid trains properly, and finishes the competition. If we happen www.washingtoninformer.com
Program Provides a Fitness Model to win, that’s great,” Nelson said. Nelson, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., started triathlon training as a form of physical therapy for his injuries. As a result of his training, he recognized the positive affects his workouts were having on his body. Nelson started this journey three years ago. Since that time he has competed in triathlons, trained tri-athletes, and become an ambassador of the sport. Members of Strive 2 Tri are currently training for an August event titled, “Splash and Dash.” This will be a modified triathlon with two components: swimming and running. “Our training has been altered for this event because there’s no cycling component. In spite of not having a firm date yet, we’re still working hard and looking forward to competing in this exwww.washingtoninformer.com
citing event.” The results of triathlon training inspired Nelson’s family to join in. His wife Yolanda, 16-year-old son Tarus, Jr., and 13-year-old daughter Asia, have all competed in triathlons. The Nelson family has become an unofficial model for the physically fit modern-day family. Strive 2 Tri has 20 participants ranging in age from 7-16. All of the children are from the District and Prince George’s County, and it’s the only youth triathlon program in the Washington metro area. For children who don’t own a bike or have the required athletic gear, the organization will provide it. Nelson aims to continue to grow Strive 2 Tri, and ultimately, have it serve as a national model for youth triathlon training.
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Simple Ways to Keep Kidneys Healthy By Misty Brown WI Staff Writer
Millions of Americans have kidney problems. The failure to drink water is a leading factor. Simple home remedies and preventive health tips can help you to avoid kidney stones, kidney failure and offset renal diseases. The kidneys are body wastemanagement organs. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of acids and minerals that resemble the size of a grain of salt or a large marble residing in your kidneys. They are components of urine. “Sudden kidney failure can be due to burns, injury, shock, heart attack, drugs or certain other factors. Once the kidneys stop purifying blood, poisons build up in the body producing coma and death within a
week unless the patient receives prompt treatment. This includes bed rest: a diet low in protein, nitrogen and potassium; and drugs or fluids (given intravenously) to prevent shock,” according to The Diagram Group in The Healthy Body: A Maintenance Manual. The following are some beneficial tips to maintain healthy kidneys: Water: According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, “Studies showing a diet drinking water throughout the day will reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. Doctors usually recommend passing about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of urine a day. If you live in a hot, dry climate or exercise frequently, you may drink more water to produce enough urine.” Fret not, if your urine
is yellow due to vitamin intake. Drink quality water from reliable sources and use water purifiers. Use your best crystal.
studied preventive medicine it was highly recommended. Now, you can buy SP-6 Cornsilk from Solaray to reduce water retention and support Food: Consume water-soluble healthy kidneys. fruits or vegetables. Good fruit sources are melons, berries, Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 also kiwis, oranges, lemons, pine- known as “pyridoxine” is one apples, mangoes, papayas and of the eight B vitamins. It is grapes. Unsweetened cranber- important in preventing kidries or juice are the best to ney stones and acts as a mild prevent UTI, urinary tract in- diuretic. Excellent sources fections. Also, it prevents the are carrots, chickens, brewer’s growth of bacteria by acidify- yeast, eggs, meat, peas, suning the urine. Good vegetables flower seeds, fish, walnuts, sources are the families of wheat germ and spinach. squash, sweet bell peppers, greens, lettuces and peas. Okra Drink Less Alcohol: Drinkand corn are great. My late ing a glass of red wine has been grandmother Alice, an herbal- hailed as a powerful health aid. ist, midwife and Native Ameri- However, if you have hypertencan descendant gave us soaked sion, the health guru, Dr. Oz corn silk from freshly shucked notes, “Men should drink less corn out of her garden in Mis- than two drinks per day and sissippi. When I grew up and women (lighter-weight men)
should drink 1 drink per day (a drink is a 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. or 1.5 oz. 80-proof whiskey. Strict adherence to a healthy diet ... is essential.” Visit www.doctoroz. com to view videos of “Keeping Kidneys Healthy Part 1 and 2.” Women: If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections (UTI), avoid wearing any synthetic fabrics (pants, gym/ yoga shorts and pajamas) or undergarments (girdles, panties and thongs) including nylon and acrylic stockings. Only wear cotton garments or thigh high stockings. References: Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug-Free remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, & Food Supplements.
Quality health care for our community. Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center
1701 14th Street, NW Max Robinson Center
2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE June | WWH volunteer
202.745.7000 | www.whitman-walker.org H-14 MAY 2012 / HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT
In Pursuit of Health Equity
r. Martin Luther King, Junior once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Right here in our nation’s capital, where we have one of the highest levels of people with health insurance coverage in the nation, we are sicker and more likely to die younger than almost anywhere else in the country. Our fractured health care system raises more barriers to getting health care than connecting people to the care they need so they have an equal opportunity to lead healthy lives. This broken system results in thousands of DC’s young people and adults suffering the life limiting consequences of poor health. The differences and reasons why we are not healthy are not only unnecessary and avoidable, but are also profoundly unfair and unjust. The District of Columbia Primary Care Association and its partner community health centers have a long history of fighting for health equity for every resident, especially in communities that lack access to primary care doctors, dentists, specialists, and mental and behavioral health services. To us, health equity means that everyone has easy access to good, high quality health care regardless of race, economic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or neighborhood they call home. DCPCA celebrates making progress towards this
goal in Ward 8, a community with one of the highest risks for poor health, with the opening of the Unity Health Care-Anacostia Health Center, a new state of the art health center located next to the historic Frederick Douglass home. Built and financed by DCPCA through its Medical Homes DC initiative with generous support from the DC government through the District’s Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration, the new health center offers the first state of the art primary care facility east of the Anacostia River and brings not only primary health care, but also dental services, wellness programs, and mental health services to the community. The old Anacostia Health Center, housed in a World War II vintage corrugated metal Quonset hut was dispiriting, inadequate to the needs of community and had long outlived its original purpose as a temporary location. The new center marks the largest Medical Homes DC capital project completed to date. More importantly, it represents a major expansion in health care capacity east of the river. At the Anacostia Health Center ribbon cutting ceremony on May 7th, DCPCA’s CEO, Sharon A. Baskerville, turned over the building to Unity Health Care CEO, Vincent Keane, for a ceremonial one dollar bill. “It is deeply symbolic that the
new health center in Anacostia is a stone’s throw away from the historic home of Frederick Douglass,” says DCPCA Chief Executive Officer Sharon A. Baskerville. “His remarkable legacy as an abolitionist and tireless worker for justice and equal opportunity for all serves as an inspiration in our pursuit of health equity, where we envision everyone in the District with an equal opportunity to be healthy and lead longer lives”, says Baskerville. A result of a remarkable public-private partnership, the DC government and DCPCA were able to leverage millions of dollars to create the Medical Homes DC capital projects program in 2004 to help ensure that the District’s medically underserved communities have better access to high quality primary care services. So far, twelve Medical Homes DC capital projects have either been completed or are in some phase of development across nearly every ward in the District. These projects include new developments, expansions, replacements, and renovations – totaling more than $100 million in projected project costs. This summer, DCPCA will break ground for a new health center in the Parkside neighborhood in Ward 7, another major and much need expansion in health care capacity for a medically underserved community east of the river. Eight years ago, Medical
Sharon A. Baskerville, CEO, DC Primary Care Association
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
Homes DC was simply a vision to rebuild the neglected network of primary care and safety net providers in the District of Columbia. Today, under DCPCA’s leadership, and a team of partners that includes the Department of Health, all of our member health centers, the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institute, and Capital Link,
we are well on our way to a major transformation that not only increases access to primary care in communities in need, but also begins to serve as a catalyst for health equity to District of Columbia neighborhoods. For more information about our fight for health equity and our Medical Homes DC initiative, visit www. dcpca.org.
Expanding Quality Health Care In Your Community www.washingtoninformer.com
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African Americans And Diet-Related Illnesses:
Don’t Become A Statistic!
Very Vegelicious Will Show You How To Prepare Delicious, Healthy Meals The State Center for Health Sta“Nutritional, or dietary factors, tistics Administration reveals these contribute substantially to the burden sobering facts: of preventable illnesses and premature deaths in the United States. Indeed, Heart disease is the leading cause dietary factors are associated with 4 of death in Washington, D.C., fol- out of the 10 leading causes of death: lowed by cancer and hypertension coronary artery disease, some types of (high blood pressure). Stroke is the cancer, stroke, and type-2 diabetes…” fourth leading cause of death; diabetes, the seventh. “Many dietary components are involved in the relationship between African Americans suffer dis- nutrition and health. A primary conproportionately from these diseases cern is consuming too much saturatcompared to Whites. For example, in ed fat and too few vegetables, fruits, 2000, the death rate from heart disease and grain products that are high in for Blacks was 346 per 100,000 com- vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates pared to 202.2 per 100,000 for Whites (starch and dietary fiber) and other that same year. substances that are important to good In DC, Blacks are more than twice health.” as likely to suffer a stroke as Whites, and adult African Americans are 1.7 The U.S. Department of Agricultimes as likely to have diabetes as ture, the Centers for Disease Control Whites. and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, According to an excerpt from American Dietetic Association, and Healthy People 2010, (below) what you Physicians Committee for Responeat can substantially increase—or de- sible Medicine are among the many crease—your chances of suffering expert groups strongly advising peofrom these and other diseases. ple to consume a wide variety of plant
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www.veryvegelicious.com firstname.lastname@example.org; 301-922-6223 H-16 MAY 2012 / HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT
Hypertension Can Be Beat
African Americans who eat fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly can control their hypertension. By James Wright WI Staff Writer
ne of the most prevalent diseases of our time is also one of the quietest, and yet with the proper regimen it can be controlled.
Hypertension, popularly known as high blood pressure, has no noticeable symptoms but still it is known as the “silent killer.” Left untreated, this stealth affliction can lead to a greater risk for stroke, heart attack or other types of damage to the cardiovascular system. Hypertension is a disease that plagues African Americans. “One African American dies as a result of high blood pressure every hour in this country,” said Dr. Elijah Saunders, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and co-founder of the International Society of Hypertension in Blacks. “Blacks suffer from heart and kidney disease at alarmingly high rates, both of which are adversely affected by high blood pressure. In fact, blacks make up about 30 percent of those on dialysis due to kidney failure.” Saunders made his remarks in the March 10 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine. He said that blacks also develop high blood pressure at younger ages than whites and suffer more damage to their organs as a result of the disease. More than 74 million
Americans have high blood pressure, according to published reports. Approximately 90 percent of people with normal blood pressure at age 55 are at risk for developing high blood pressure as they get older. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80 – often written as 120/80. Anything above 120 is a sign of trouble and a doctor should be consulted. Saunders said that the best way to fight hypertension is to encourage those who suffer from it to make lifestyle changes. He said that “this is especially true among African Americans because there is so much obesity and diabetes in the black community.” “Studies have shown that blacks who follow a diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber, have been able to successfully lose weight and control their blood pressure,” he said. Saunders said that medication is necessary but it must be prescribed by a doctor. He notes that hypertension sufferers should exercise, moderate their alcohol intake and avoid tobacco. Other healthy foods to eat include low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and a recommended high potassium (bananas) and low-sodium intake diet. Meats should be eaten sparingly, he said. “The hope is that these recommendations will help save the lives of African Americans with high blood pressure,” he said. www.washingtoninformer.com
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< 3D CAT Scan
Actual ClearChoice Patient
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HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / MAY 2012 H-17
How to Avoid A Hysterectomy Dr. Kevin Smith Delivers Innovative Treatment For Fibroids
By Nyia Curtis ynisha McCray developed uterine fibroids 12 years ago and began experiencing the pain and side effects from them soon after. McCray tried several methods to eliminate them, but to no avail. As the physical and mental anguish began to take their toll, she had the fibroids surgically removed. “I tried birth control and Depo-Provera hoping that my fibroids would get smaller, but they did not,” she said. “After my fibroids were removed in 2006, I was told that they could still come back.” McCray, 40, is one of numerous African-American women who have uterine fibroids, or leiomyomas, which are benign tumors that can occur inside
the uterine cavity, within the uterine wall or on the surface of the uterus. They are the leading cause of hysterectomies in women. Half of all American women will have fibroids in their lifetime, but black women are three times more likely to develop them than women of any other race. Unfortunately, McCray’s fibroids did return, forcing her to undergo a blood transfusion that left her iron and energy level low. Her gynecologist recommended that she undergo a hysterectomy, and McCray felt it was her only option—until she met Dr. Kevin Scott Smith at Howard University Hospital. Smith, chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, calmed her fears and offered an alternative: a minimally in-
vasive procedure called a hysteroscopic myomectomy. During this procedure, a pencil-thin telescope allows the doctor to see of the inside of the uterus without an incision. Fibroids within the uterine cavity can be removed using resecting tools small enough to pass through the telescope. It is performed on an outpatient basis. “Dr. Smith examined me and told me that I would be fine,” McCray recalled. “He made me feel comfortable, and he said that I would not need a hysterectomy. He removed my fibroids last May, and I have been wonderful ever since.” Smith says that fibroids have a dramatic impact on the female reproductive tract and reproductive potential, and that more than 50 percent of hysterectomies performed for African-American women are related to symptoms of uterine
H-18 MAY 2012 / HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT
fibroids. “When everything is matched, the relative risk and incidence of fibroids is two- to three-times greater in AfricanAmerican women than Caucasian women,” Smith says. According to the National Women’s Health Network, many women with uterine fibroids don’t feel any symptoms. However, for about 30 percent of women in their childbearing years, fibroids can cause heavy or painful periods, abdominal pain and reproductive problems, including miscarriages and infertility. Smith says there are numerous ways now to treat fibroids without the use of traditional surgery. For more information, contact the Howard University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at 202865-4164
HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / MAY 2012 H-19
WE Will not bE part of
We believe you’re never too young to learn the importance of balance. That bodies yearn for both cupcakes and kickball. At Kaiser Permanente, we’re helping to create healthy communities where every person can reap the benefits of access to health care, healthy food stores and clean, safe outdoor spaces. Learn more at kp.org Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. 2101 East Jefferson St., Rockville, MD 20852
H-20 MAY 2012 / HEALTH, WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT
4/27/12 11:15 AM
2012 Health Supplement