Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Public Health Scare: Should Man Be released after spreading HIV Deliberately?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

You may not know the name Nushawn Williams, but it's probably a name you need to know. You would especially want your daughter to know his name, as well as anyone else in the community who has reason to fear a more disturbing style of sexual predator for the new millenium.

Williams is in prison right now for knowingly infecting women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. His victims were as young as 13 years old, and authorities believe he may have infected as many as 50 women prior to going to state prison in 1998. Police are working to keep Williams behind bars because they fear what might happen if he is released to the American public.
"He is prone to further sexual contact with underage individuals because of deficits in his emotional capacity to understand why this is wrong and attitudes that support these types of exploitive encounters. His emotional callousness, lack of remorse and impulsivity undermine important internal mechanisms for managing his sexual behavior," said examiner Jacob E. Hadden from the New York State Office of Mental Health. Authorities have determined that Williams suffers from a mental health abnormality that makes him incapable of understanding why his actions are wrong or harmful.

The possible release of Williams reminds us of the urgency of managing the public health alarm called HIV infection. African Americans are taking the lead in HIV infection rates, and what is also true is that the experience in our community is nothing less than a precursor to what is eventually going to happen all throughout America. What is most frightening about the case of Nushawn Williams is that he is probably not the only person deliberately spreading the disease: there are likely women and other men doing the same thing. To make matters worse, there are many in our community (and others) who are being incredibly irresponsible with their sexual behavior and infecting scores of people in the process.

As I felt empathy for celebrities like Magic Johnson and Eazy-E for their battles with HIV/AIDS, I wondered how many of us thought about the long list of partners they infected before finally getting their own positive test results. Did you ever think about the fact that many of those people are out in the community right now, quite a few of whom may have taken years to become aware of their HIV positive status? This is scary indeed, so the truth is that to protect yourself from the silent community killer, a general strategy of protection must be put into play.


Click to read

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The latest in African American Health - 3/15/10

  • Obama delays Asia trip to deal with health care

    Obama delays Asia trip to deal with health care

    By theGrio

    10:06 AM on 03/12/2010

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Obama has delayed his first international trip of the year to focus attention on the final push to salvage his health care legislation...


  • Too many Tigers, not enough Trojans

    Too many Tigers, not enough Trojans

    By Dr. Janet Taylor

    7:05 AM on 03/12/2010

    OPINION - What's notable is reportedly not only did Woods not wear a condom, but his partner's didn't insist upon it...


  • How black women can combat genital herpes crisis

    How black women can combat genital herpes crisis

    By Dr. Janet Taylor

    10:42 AM on 03/11/2010

    OPINION - According the Center for Disease Control nearly half of all African-American women are infected with the HSV-2 virus...


  • New studies reveal the urgency of first lady's obesity fight

    New studies reveal the urgency of first lady's obesity fight

    By Janice K. Bryant

    8:44 AM on 03/10/2010

    Risk factors leading to higher rates of obesity begin as early as pregnancy, especially among African-American and Hispanic children...


  • Alzheimer's cases rising among blacks, Hispanics

    Alzheimer's cases rising among blacks, Hispanics

    By theGrio

    5:07 PM on 03/09/2010

    VIDEO - It's an increase in Alzheimer's cases at a time when heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer deaths are all going down...


  • 10-year-old becomes health care reform lobbyist

    10-year-old becomes health care reform lobbyist

    By theGrio

    3:44 PM on 03/09/2010

    VIDEO - Marcelas Owens has been campaigning for changes in the health care system since his mother died after she fell ill and lost her job and her insurance...


  • Saturday, February 27, 2010

    News: Shortage of Doctors?

    I did an appearance last night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the issue of Health care reform. This has been heavy on the mind of our president for his entire first year in office and has led to quite a few political battles on Capitol Hill. Health care is in serious jeopardy, as the cost of entitlement programs such as Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security threaten our nation's economic security. Our national debt has risen to unprecedented and frightening levels, and our politicians have little incentive to do anything about it.
    One additional problem that we are running into on the issue of health care is the fact that our nation doesn't have enough Primary Care physicians. These doctors are incredibly important, since they are the first line of defense against illness in America.
    Over the next 10 years, our nation is expected to have a shortfall of 40,000 Primary Care doctors. By 2025, that number is expected to balloon to over 120,000. To make matters worse, our population is aging, implying that there will be a greater demand for these doctors in the future.

    Click to read.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    The Latest in Black Health News – 2/22/10

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    The Latest in African American Health – 2/14/10

  • First lady launches 'Let's Move' effort against childhood obesity

    First lady launches 'Let's Move' effort against childhood obesity

    By theGrio

    9:35 AM on 02/09/2010

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Michelle Obama says she loves burgers and fries, but she wants her daughters -- and the rest of America's children -- to learn about better nutrition...

    > MORE

  • Bad malaria pills in Africa raise resistance fears

    Bad malaria pills in Africa raise resistance fears

    By theGrio

    10:06 AM on 02/08/2010

    High rates of the most effective type of malaria-fighting drugs sold in three African countries are poor quality...

    > MORE

  • Denver boy, 9, died after state-benefits error denied him asthma medication

    By theGrio

    5:04 PM on 02/04/2010

    A Montbello mother says her 9-year-old son's death from severe asthma could have been prevented had Denver Human Services resolved problems with his Medicaid pharmacy benefits...

    > MORE

  • Among black girls, challenges of fighting obesity go beyond diet

    Among black girls, challenges of fighting obesity go beyond diet

    By theGrio

    9:02 AM on 02/01/2010

    CHICAGO (AP) - Like nearly one-third of American teens, Paris Woods is overweight. Her doctor worries her weight will creep up into the obesity range. One out of four black girls her age is obese.

    > MORE

  • Obese African-Americans at higher risk of stroke

    By theGrio

    11:21 AM on 01/22/2010

    Obesity raises the risk of stroke regardless of race or sex, according to a new study that is one of the first to show a link between obesity and stroke risk in blacks...

    > MORE

  • Cancer victim sheds light on bone marrow donor crisis

    Cancer victim sheds light on bone marrow donor crisis

    By Todd Johnson

    1:07 PM on 01/13/2010

    VIDEO - Seun Adebiyi is proud of his many accomplishments -- graduating from Yale Law School, working for Goldman Sachs and even training for the 2014 Winter Olympics...

    > MORE

  • Hepatitis B and C often ignored as health threat to blacks

    Hepatitis B and C often ignored as health threat to blacks

    By theGrio

    12:26 PM on 01/11/2010

    WASHINGTON (AP) - They're the overlooked viruses: Hepatitis B and C together infect three to five times more Americans than the AIDS virus does, and most don't know it...

    > MORE

  • KFC pulls Australian ad over US racism complaints

    KFC pulls Australian ad over US racism complaints

    By theGrio

    11:51 AM on 01/08/2010

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Fast food giant KFC has pulled an Australian television advertisement after it was branded racist in the United States...

    > MORE

  • 7 ways to keep your resolution to work out

    7 ways to keep your resolution to work out

    By Dr. Jeff Gardere

    8:18 AM on 01/05/2010

    OPINION - There are many strategies and techniques to following through on your resolution of joining and actually working out in the gym on a long-term and regular basis.

    > MORE

  • Tiny newborn girl may break world record

    Tiny newborn girl may break world record

    By theGrio

    9:29 AM on 12/22/2009

    VIDEO - A little girl born in Mobile, Alabama may be the world's tiniest baby...

    > MORE

  • NBA star's wife uses baby to exercise

    NBA star's wife uses baby to exercise

    By theGrio

    11:19 AM on 12/11/2009

    VIDEO - Jamison knows a little something about shedding baby weight. The wife of the Washington Wizards superstar gave birth to her third child, Rucker King...

    > MORE

  • Dr. Fleming lives with sickle cell disease and no boundaries

    Dr. Fleming lives with sickle cell disease and no boundaries

    By theGrio

    1:14 PM on 12/10/2009

    VIDEO - Dr. Lester Fleming is learning to be a pilot --something he once thought would never be possible. Fleming was born with sickle cell disease, a red blood cell deficiency...

    > MORE

  • Monday, February 8, 2010

    Your Black News: Michael Jackson’s Doctor Pleads Not Guilty

    Dr. Conrad Murray arrives for his arraignment of at the Airport Los Angeles Courthouse today

    Your Black World 

    Hours after Dr. Conrad Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Michael Jackson's 2009 death, the embattled physician pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon (February 8) during an arraignment hearing at a Los Angeles courthouse, according to The Associated Press.

    Murray's bail was set at $75,000, three times greater than the bail usually set for such crimes. Without being handcuffed, Murray was then taken into custody for booking. He must surrender his passport, allowing him to travel within the United States but not out of the country. Prosecutors had been seeking bail of $300,000, but Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz rejected that amount. The involuntary-manslaughter charge carries a maximum jail sentence of four years.


    Click to read.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Health News: Sex is Good for You

    To paraphrase a great old slogan for Guinness beer: Sex isn’t just good, it’s good for you!

    Okay, so maybe there’s some wishful thinking going on — the science isn’t exactly iron-clad — but evidence is accumulating that the more sex you have, the better off you are.

    There is one caveat, though. “We do not have good data to show a direct connection [to all-around good health]," says Jennifer Bass, the head of information services at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Bloomington, Ind. "We know that healthier people have more sexual activity. But we do not know which comes first. Does the good health make you more willing to have sex, or does the sex have a positive impact?”

    And you dirty girrrls and Don Juans should know that the assumed health benefits of sex are generally thought to accrue to people in loving, monogamous relationships or those flying solo. Risky sex with lots of partners will probably do more harm than good.


    Click to read.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Depression Hits the Black Community Hard



    Dr George and Delores Jones, a correspondent for AOL speak about dealing with depression and change through inspiration and spirituality. 

    Click here to listen!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Does the Health Care Bill Help or Hurt Us?


    Dr. Elaina George, MD

    The health care reform bill (HR 3962) that just passed the House of Representatives is bad on so many levels it is difficult explain. As it stands, it will destroy both the doctor patient relationship and change the practice of medicine as we know it.

    We have one of the finest health care systems in the world. It has been built on a foundation of choice. Doctors were free to choose the care that they deemed necessary to treat their patients, and patients were free to seek the medical care of their choice. Initially, the foundation was shaken by the rise of the managed care system with capitation. However, over the past 10 years, capitated plans which limit access to specialists have given way to the rise in power of insurance companies. They have used their anti-trust exemption to craft a system that has used monopoly to increase profits on the backs of both doctors and patients.

    Click to read.

    Black Health News: Swine Flu Vaccines Go to Executives First?

    BusinessWeek has broken the story that large employers like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are among the first on the list to receive the H1N1 vaccine.Clusterstock, the business blog, has added the nuance that not only has Goldman Sachs received the same number of vaccinations as Lennox Hill hospital in New York City -- the finance giant got its hands on the doses beforemany hospitals.
    Goldman Sachs' PR reps want to make it clear to the public that the CDC distributes vaccines to many types of large employers, such as Time Warner and New York University. The idea is to get the vaccine to people at many points of potential infection, giving the H1N1 vaccine to those who come into contact regularly with high risk groups within large companies. Goldman Sachs has received 200 H1N1 vaccines, Citigroup 1,200.
    This "guest list" treatment makes sense for some early recipients of the H1N1 vaccine. Hospital workers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System clearly need early protection -- and got some of the first doses along with Goldman.

    Click to read.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Should You get the Swine Flu Vaccine?

    Video thumbnail. Click to play
    Click to Play

    Dr. Elaina  George and Michael Baisden break down the hype and misinformation about the Swine flu.  Dr. George has a great deal to say about whether or not we should be signing up to get the shots.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Obama Declares National Emergency for Swine Flu

    Hundreds of residents line up for free H1N1 vaccinations Friday at an Encino, California, clinic.

    President Obama has declared a national emergency to deal with the "rapid increase in illness" from the H1N1 influenza virus.

    "The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities," Obama said in a statement.

    "Thus, in recognition of the continuing progression of the pandemic, and in further preparation as a nation, we are taking additional steps to facilitate our response."

    The president signed the declaration late Friday and announced it Saturday.

    Calling the emergency declaration "an important tool in our kit going forward," one administration official called Obama's action

    Click to read.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    76 Children Die from Swine Flu in the US

    Vanessa Chan, 6, of Boston, receives an intranasal H1N1 vaccine ...

    From Yahoo News

    Health officials said Friday that 76 U.S. children have died of swine flu, including 19 new reports in the past week — more evidence the new virus is unusually dangerous for the young.

    The regular flu kills between 46 and 88 children a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That suggests deaths from the new H1N1 virus could dramatically outpace children's deaths from seasonal flu, if swine flu continues to spread as it has.

    CDC officials say 10 more states, a total of 37, now have widespread swine flu. A week ago, reports suggested that cases might be leveling off and even falling in some areas of the country, but that did not turn out to be an enduring national trend.

    "We are seeing more illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said at a press conference Friday.

    The new virus, first identified in April, is a global epidemic. The CDCdoesn't have an exact count of all swine flu deaths and hospitalizations, but existing reports suggest more than 600 have died and more than 9,000 have been hospitalized. Health officials believe millions of Americans have caught the virus.

    The virus is hitting young people harder. Experts believe older people are suffering from it less, perhaps because they have a bit of immunity from exposure over the years to somewhat similar viruses.


    Click to read.

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    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    News: Senate Finance Committee Kills the Public Option

    From USA Today

    Liberal Democrats failed Tuesday to inject a government-run insurance option into sweeping health care legislation taking shape in the Senate Finance Committee, despite widespread accusations that private insurers routinely deny coverage in pursuit of higher profits.

    The 15-8 rejection marked a victory for Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee chairman, who is hoping to push his middle-of-the-road measure through the panel by week's end. It also kept alive the possibility that at least one Republican may yet swing behind the bill, a key goal of both Baucus and the White House.

    "My job is to put together a bill that gets to 60 votes" in the full Senate, the Montana Democratsaid shortly before he joined a majority on the committee in opposing the provision. "No one shows me how to get to 60 votes with a public option," the term used to describe a new government role in health care. It takes 60 votes to overcome delaying actions thatRepublicans may attempt on the Senate floor.


    Click to read.

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    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    President Obama Talks Healthcare at the CBC Convention

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, wave as ...

    From Yahoo News, Your Black World

    President BarackObama on Saturday resumed his push to overhaul the health care system, telling a Congressional Black Caucus conference that there comes a time when "the cup of endurance runs over."

    "We have been waiting for health reform since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. We've been waiting since the days of Harry Truman," he said in remarks at the caucus foundation's annual dinner. "We've been waiting since Johnson and Nixon and Clinton."

    "We cannot wait any longer," Obama said.

    Obama spent the past week largely focused on global and economic issues in meetings with world leaders in New York and Pittsburgh.

    At the G-20 economic summit that wrapped up Friday in Pennsylvania, Obama told a story about an unnamed foreign leader who privately told the president he didn't understand the at-times contentious debate over changing the health care system.

    "He says, 'We don't understand it. You're trying to make sure everybody has health care and they're putting a Hitler mustache on you. That doesn't make sense to me,'" Obama said, quoting the world leader he declined to identify.


    Click here to read.

    Your Black World

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Health News: Insane Killer On the Loose: Questions about Mental Health


    A legally insane killer was on the loose in the state of Washington on Saturday, two days after he escaped during a field trip to a county fair, authorities said.

    Authorities are combing Washington state for Phillip Paul, who is described as a criminally insane killer.

    Phillip Paul was able to elude a massive manhunt in Spokane County, Washington, after escaping on Thursday, a spokesman for the sheriff's department said.

    Though Paul had been confined in a mental institution because of a murder confession, he was allowed to be part of a trip to a county fair Thursday.

    Paul, 47, escaped from the fair around noon, which launched the massive manhunt and brought criticism from many, including state government officials. Sheriff's officials told CNN affiliate KREM-TV that Paul also escaped briefly in 1991 and assaulted a law enforcement officer.

    A review has been launched on the incident along with the policy that allows patients to take trips, said Susan Dreyfus, secretary of the state's Department of Social and Health Services.

    Dreyfus said she was concerned about Paul's escape and another recent brief escape by a patient at a different local mental facility.

    "These incidents, separate and coincidental, have raised serious questions about the security readiness of our two state psychiatric hospitals," Dreyfus said.

    Click to read.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Health News: What You Should Know Before Taking the Swine Flu Vaccine

    by Dr. Elaina George, Your Black World 

    Although the Swine flu virus has been identified in over 70 countries, it has not been as deadly as expected

    • The world wide number of swine flu cases currently is 209,500 with 2,185 deaths

    The common flu is more deadly

    • In the US there have been 40,000 cases identified with 1,876 deaths. This is quite low when you compare the death rate to the typical flu virus which kills over 30,000 people per year.

    Most cases of Swine flu have been mild

    • Most people have had mild self-limited symptoms that resolve without any medical intervention.

    Click to Read.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Using a Tooth to Restore Vision?


    from the Black Doctors Blog

    Doctors in Miami announced Wednesday that they had performed a vision-restoring surgery that used the 60-year-old patient's tooth.

    The surgery, the first in the USA, was performed Labor Day weekend at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Afterward, patient Sharron Thornton was able to see for the first time in nine years. "Sharron was able to see 20/60 this morning. She was seeing only shadows a couple of weeks ago," says ophthalmologist and surgeon Victor Perez.

    Thornton was blinded in 2000 by a reaction to a drug she was taking, which damaged her cornea. Perez likened Thornton's cornea to a dirty car windshield. He says her eye surface was too dry for a corneal implant, a standard treatment.

    Click to read.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Should You Divorce just to pay Medical Bills? This Couple Did


    from The Huffington Post

    For Mary McCurnin and husband Ron Bednar, money trouble has followed health trouble. In 2003, the couple declared bankruptcy after their insurance covered only 10 percent of treatment costs for her breast cancer and his intestinal bleeding. In 2004, McCurnin's breast cancer returned, and Bednar underwent open heart surgery.

    Now, after repeatedly refinancing their house to pay medical bills and living expenses, they're broke. To improve their chances of growing old together, they've filed for divorce.

    "It occurred to me that I could get my first husband's Social Security," said McCurnin. Her first husband, to whom she'd been married 20 years, died in 1989. When she turns 60 in November, McCurnin said she will be eligible for $1,200 in monthly survivor's benefits from the previous marriage. As the Social Security Administration told her, she can't have the survivor benefit if she's married to someone else.

    Read more at:

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Can Anti-depressants Create Serious Sexual Problems?

    ORGASMS: Sarah

    The rumble of a train on the tracks, the purr of a hairdryer, the rhythmic drone of a photo-copier are all enough to make her go oh oh oh, ahhhhh.

    She had FIVE orgasms during our 40-minute interview. But I can't take the credit-it was just talking about her sex life that set her off.

    Sarah, 24, suffers from Permanent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS), which increases blood flow to the sex organs.

    She said: "Sometimes I have so much sex to try to calm myself down I get bored of it. And men I sleep with don't seem to make as much effort because I climax so easily."

    As she chatted, Sarah became increasingly flustered.

    "Sorry, you'll have to excuse me for a minute. I'll be with you in a sec," she mumbled before letting out a long sigh.

    Sarah, from London, developed PSAS after being prescribed anti-depressants at 19.


    Click to read.

    Black Health News: Obama Says More Americans Uninsured than You Might Think

    In an effort to cast health care reform as helpful to more Americans, President Obama on Saturday pounded home a new statistic: Nearly 50% of people under 65 have gone without coverage for at least one month over a decade.

    "It can happen to anyone," Obama said in his weekly address. "In the United States of America, no one should have to worry that they'll go without health insurance -- not for one year, not for one month, not for one day. And once I sign my health reform plan into law -- they won't."

    The new figure comes from a Treasury Department analysis of survey data collected by the University of Michigan. The data tracked health insurance coverage through phone interviews with some 17,000 individuals from 1997 to 2006.

    Click to read.

    Major Protests of Obama’s Plan in the Capitol


    USA Today, AP

    Tens of thousands of fiscal conservatives packed streets in the nation's capital Saturday to protest what they consider the federal government's out-of-control spending.

    Demonstrators filled Freedom Plaza and Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington. They waved U.S. flags and held signs reading "Go Green Recycle Congress," "I'm Not Your ATM" and "Obamacare makes me sick."

    Some men were dressed in colonial costumes with tri-colored hats.

    The protesters were marching to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

    FreedomWorks Foundation, a conservative organization led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, organized several groups from across the country for what they're calling a "March on Washington."

    The Washington march took place on the same day President Obama was headed to Minneapolis to rally support for his heath care reform plan. The plan, which also was the topic of his weekly raido and Internet message, has come under fire from fiscal conservatives who consider it too costly.


    Click to read.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Black Woman Dies at 115 Years Old


    Although she liked her bacon crispy and her chicken fried, she never drank, smoked or fooled around, Gertrude Baines once said, describing a life that lasted an astonishing 115 years and earned her the title of oldest person on the planet.

    It was a title Baines quietly relinquished Friday when she died in her sleep at Western Convalescent Hospital, her home since she gave up living alone at age 107 after breaking a hip.

    She likely suffered a heart attack, said her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt, although an autopsy was scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.

    "I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine," Witt told The Associated Press on Friday. "She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently."

    Click to read.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Health News: Male or Female?

    Shock claims: Caster Semenya celebrates her 800m victory in Berlin last month amid an international row over whether she is a man or a woman

    The world of athletics is reeling today after a claim that South African champion runner Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite with no womb or ovaries.

    A Sydney newspaper claims it has a world exclusive in revealing the very private information about the sex of the 18-year-old runner.

    Quoting a source closely involved with the IAAF, the Sydney Daily Telegraph said Semenya had internal testes - male sexual organs which produce testosterone and which in turn produces muscle bulk, body hair and a deep voice.

    What Was Good and Bad about Obama’s Speech? A Black Doctor Speaks

    by Dr. Elaina George,

    The suspense is over. For weeks we have been holding our collective breath to see if there would be real insurance reform. Now we know. President Obama’s speech this evening incorporated a lot of different ideas, but what was most striking was his statement that the public option was just one of the avenues that could be travelled to achieve an expansion of insurance coverage. Besides the demotion of the public option as an important tool to reign in the all powerful insurance companies, I noticed that there was no mention of universal health care. Wasn’t that the point of this whole exercise?

    To be fair there are some good things. Under the President’s proposal there will be:

    § Coverage for pre-existing conditions

    § A cap on out-of-pocket expenses

    § People can no longer be dropped from insurance companies when they get sick

    § No further cap on what insurance companies will pay out

    It is a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough.

    Click to read.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Health News: Is there a shortage of Doctors?

    Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

    The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans.

    One proposal — to increase Medicarepayments to general practitioners, at the expense of high-paid specialists — has touched off a lobbying fight.

    Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors — a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

    Some of the proposed solutions, while advancing one of President Obama’s goals, could frustrate others. Increasing the supply of doctors, for example, would increase access to care but could make it more difficult to rein in costs.

    Click to read.

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    Your Black Health: Parasites in Your Food

    The parasitic life is all about finding niches in the ecosystem and exploiting them for all they're worth. And after billions of years mucking their way through blood vessels and intestines, you better believe they've gotten rather good at it. Untold billions are clamoring for a chance to get inside you -- and it just so happens that the best way to do that is to stow away in your next meal.

    In this article, we're going to take a look at a few menu items with a high probability for parasites. By no means does this mean you're guaranteed a belly full of worms with each one! It's essential to stress that proper food storage, fresh ingredients and sanitary food preparation conditions vastly decrease the chances for food contamination.


    Click to read.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Julianne Malveaux: Why Black Folks Should Fight for Healthcare Reform

    By Julianne Malveaux

    Congress seems to be putting the final touches on health care reform legislation, arranging to provide health care, especially, for the uninsured. Anyone who has made the summer rounds of civil rights conventions understand that African American policy makers care about this issue. Still there seems to be no passion in advocacy for heath care reform.

    Our presence in this debate is much needed - we have a dog in this fight. African

    Americans are more likely than others to be uninsured, so the many ways our new legislation will make insurance available is important. And even when we are insured, the way that health problems hit us are most different. According to the Centers for Disease Control, African Americans and Hispanics "bear a disproportionate burden of disease, injury, and disability." African Americans, in particular, are more likely to be killed or to die of HIV than others are.

    Click to read.

    A Doctor’s Take on the Michael Jackson Death


    The following is a statement made by Dr. Elaina George, an Otolaryngologist out of Atlanta and advocate for physicians.

    ‘Michael Jackson did not have a chance’ was my first thought when I read the report that just came out about what caused his untimely and tragic death. I was unprepared for the absolute disregard for the first tenant of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath – First do no harm.

    There was no way that harm would not have come to Mr. Jackson. It was beyond negligent to give him a mixture of three different kinds of sedatives, a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant in addition to Propofol, a general anesthetic that is only used in an operating room setting (because it can stop someone’s breathing). Each of these drugs by themselves can be lethal, but together it is a recipe that will almost definitely kill someone. I can think of no medical scenario that would justify mixing these kinds of drugs. Hopefully, Mr. Jackson’s death will teach us that prescription drugs, though helpful are no substitute for doctors doing everything in their power to protect the health of their patients, including just saying no when it is appropriate.

    Click to read.

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Black News: Are Doctors to Blame for the High Cost of Healthcare?

    by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

    Dr. Elaina George, a prominent family practice physician in Atlanta, has a bone to pick with President Obama. During various healthcare town hall meetings and press conferences, the president has villified doctors as the cause of the high cost of healthcare. But Dr. George doesn't agree.

    As one of the few black doctors in America who is taking the time to speak out in the current healthcare debate, Dr. George says that the culprits in the high cost of healthcare are The American Medical Association, hospitals, big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Here is how she breaks it down.

    1) Our country has gotten away from preventing illness and is instead engaged in the high cost of managing disease. Dr. George explains in the interview below that rather than actually curing illnesses or preventing them, we simply try to manage them. Her argument, as with many others in the healthcare profession, is that this attitude is driven by the fact that pharmaceutical and insurance companies only maximize profits when people stay sick. Symptoms tend to be treated instead of the underlying cause of the illness, making problems worse in the long-term.

    2) According to some physicians, the public option on healthcare may not be as great as it sounds. When it comes to the public option (which is being heavily debated right now), Dr. George argues that while the option may provide health coverage for many Americans who don't have it, it may not cause insurance companies to pay their fair share of the cost of healthcare reform. "The argument that the public option will drive down costs is disingenuous," says Dr. George. "How can a program designed to cover about 10 million people (as per the Congressional Budget Office) really exert any pressure on the health insurance industry when a company like Blue Cross and Blue Shield has over 30 million members and United Healthcare is even larger?"

    Click to read.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Where is the Healthcare Debate Right Now?


    by Dr. Elaina George

    The debate on healthcare reform is in full swing, but no one is paying attention to the long term effects.

    I am for universal healthcare in theory. As a physician, I believe that it is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the way the debate and pending legislation has been crafted, the outcome will result in unintended consequences.

    As a physician in solo practice, I am in a unique position to see the outcome if we continue on the path that Congress is proposing in HR 3200.

    1. A single payer system that pays the same rate as Medicare or as the bill stipulates (5% above Medicare) will lead to LESS choice. People are overlooking the fact that most private physicians are currently NOT accepting new Medicare patients because they can’t afford to do so and stay open. There will be no reason for this to change if the reimbursement scale is adopted.

    Unintended consequence: The network of private physicians would be smaller and more patients will be placed in a system of fewer physicians, less choice and longer waiting times to be seen. This would have the opposite effect – what is the point of universal healthcare if you don’t have quality physicians to provide it?

    2. The proposed healthcare bill sets up a bureaucracy run by a National health insurance commissioner and sets up an insurance “self regulatory agency” – made up of national insurers, national agencies, and insurance producers. There are no physicians or patient advocates.

    Click to read.