Communication is Key

The Modern-Day Doctor-Patient Relationship Goes Beyond the Practice

There has been a recent increase in the tendency of civilians to take on the attitude of a consumer when seeking medical care. Since many are now more directly responsible for their healthcare costs , Americans have begun to place greater emphasis on the quality of the relationships that they have with medical professionals. This has caused professionals to develop their communication skills and extend those skills outside the walls of their institution. Fortunately, advancements in communication technology can help, as organizations now have more opportunities than before to expand patient communication at any time between appointments.

This is critical to Health, Science, and Environmental communication because it calls attention to the methods in which we choose to relay important messages and how those messages are understood. Traditionally, patients would only be able to get reliable health information from professionals during appointment times; however, after patients depart from their appointments, a lack of communication and education from their doctors can lead to feelings of isolation from practices. Consequently, less education also means patients are not as likely to experience better outcomes.

This course has been crucial in the development of my career path. As a Social Work major, much of my education has revolved around children and families, policy, and health disparities. Although I have learned a number of ways to address these issues, communication is an underlying issue that I wish my program would have addressed more directly. With that being said, I am so grateful for the relevant information I have acquired this semester. I now feel more confident in my abilities to address health disparities with a little more background in the basics of how messages are conveyed.


Being the Change

Can we talk? Here’s the conversation African Americans need to have about climate change

Over the weekend my maternal family go together for our Thanksgiving celebration. I took it as an opportunity to guayule my family’s standing of the environment and the impending global changes. Going into the conversation, I had assumed that because many of them are generally disconnected from the happenings of the world, they would all be pretty disconnected. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I asked a room of 15 lower middle class African Americans, “What do you guys think about climate change”. Only one or two of those people claimed that they had better things to worry about. A large number of them became really passionate about instituting changes in our country. A reoccurring concern was the fact that lower class Americans emit less toxins than the average American, but they stand to bear the grunt of their effects. My aunt, also argued that many people do not consider how their actions affect the world because they know that they will be able to protect themselves from said affects with access to safe homes, medical care, and the ability to relocate if necessary. I was intrigued by how the conversation quickly turned to things that we as individuals could do to combat climate change. Most of us already use energy efficient light bulbs and household appliances, and recycling bins but we can do more to use lees “stuff”. To fix and reuse items, rather than ditch them and buy new ones. This document from the NAACP describes the effects of climate change and the populations at risk for their effects.

Moriah Israel

Food I Can Feel Good About

That’s right, the neighborhood store your grandma took you to on weekends with the coin-exchange shopping carts, self-bagging area, and that quaint yet homey smell of low prices has gone green! On October 1, 2015, Aldi Supermarkets announced their strategic plan to position themselves as a cross between a health food store and a discount supermarket by targeting consumers who are apprehensive of their environmental footprint. Of course they never actually used those words, but they were very clear about the method to their marketing madness.

Upon first glance I was intrigued. As a young single mom feeling guilty about having contributed to our planet’s environmental crisis and feeding that contribution genetically modified organisms to save a few pennies, I was drawn to their appeal to “make healthy living easy and affordable”. “ ALDI- Exclusive Products: Food You Can Feel Good About”, an article that discussed to company’s commitment to improving the nutritional profile of their products detailed their newest plan to remove a number of undesirable ingredients from their stores.

However, after delving a bit deeper into the language of the message being communicated, I noticed a few micro-Greenwashing practices. For example, their claim to “have committed to removing certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and added MSG from all of our exclusive brand food products”, gives a green impression that doesn’t really exist because they go on to explain how 96% of their products are already free of monosodium glutamate and that the FDA has mandated the removal of Partially hydrogenated oils by U.S. food manufacturers. The article fails to mention the types of products that would replace these ingredients or the products that would still include dangerous additives like BHT and BHA.

The article also neglects to mention how this change will affect both the array and the price of products that will be available in the store. The removal of said ingredients may change the quality or availability of the products offered at Aldi Supermarkets. It may also be more costly to create the product using alternative ingredients, causing in increase in price for the buyer. Some may also argue that the stores transition is a form of gentrification in that it appeals to a more educated and health conscious audience.

I think it would be interesting to see how much my life would actually be influenced by driving a bit further to reap the proclaimed benefits of shopping at Aldi’s rather than spending money at the grocery store closest to me. Would I be healthier if I took advantage of products that are “clearly labeled so that customers can make informed decisions about their food choices”, or would I have gone the extra mile for the same health outcomes? Aldi’s change is an economic move. I think I would be more convinced if the company expressed the desire to generate a healthier population, but it was clear they their sole purpose is to get consumers to spend their money there. I can do that anywhere.

– Moriah Israel

ALDI-Exclusive Products: Food You Can Feel Good About

Yeah, I’m going there.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to watch Nate Parkers new film, “The Birth of a Nation”. The controversial film’s recall of the life of Nat Turner helped me to understand the spectrum of environmental ideologies. While in class last week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the three/fifths rule, mandated by the Louisiana Purchase, with every mention of the phrase “non-human”. While watching a film set during the 19th Century, I was constantly confronted with the anthropocentric ideologies of our country during this time.

The Louisiana Purchase also substantiated the commonly accepted Unrestrained Instrumentalism of this time period with Manifest Destiny. The settlers’ desires to expand the country generated an association between Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic traits, Americanism, and the human race. According to the American Historical Review (1982), “This justification for Indian removal, Black bondage, Nativism, and the appropriation of Mexican lands was rooted in scientific thought”.  The rise of Darwinism and Eugenics offered scientific legitimacy to the idea that mankind would benefit from the eleviation and exploitation of “lesser races” a.k.a. “Non-humans” a.k.a. “Resources”. Resources divinely ordained to be used for the unlimited and unrestrained desires of humans.  The paradoxical union between science and religion within this ideology continues to reign in society today. Although the message is no longer God says Eugenics is an appropriate measure for Anglo-Saxans to obtain land because some beings are more or less human than others, the unwavering idea is a permanent fixture in the structure of this country and is relevant to pop culture today.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with introducing a transformative ideology to the country when he signed the Emancipation Proclaimation. Though the country had accepted Preservationism de jure,  many citizens continued subscribe to the greatest use of “natural resources” for the greatest number of people, believing that nonhuman entities are only valuable in their potential as resources for human use. Conservationism is still the dominant ideology of the mainstream environmental movement. Most americans have adjusted their definition of “human”, yet Eugenics continues to be used as a tool to maintain life for mankind.

Population control has been named as a possible solution to our planet’s current environmental crisis. China’s Two Child Policy, and the negative connotation around big families in the U.S. attest to this ideology. However, the question is: where is the line between personal choice and public health? Time Magizine (2013) featured an article about the practice of legal forced sterilization in prisons in the United States. They argue that “social undesirables” are still human beings, while never acknowledging the positive impact less humans will have on our planet socially, economically, and environmentally. In addition to this a mind-opening documentary titled, “13th”, discuss the 13th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution and its relevance to social and environmental issues today. I recognize the large gray area where population control is concerned, but I think the next generation of leaders would be more successful if they increase levels of intrinsic motivation to include the environment in the family planning process, rather than encourage our current system of justice.

Moriah Israel- Blog 5

Eugenics Are Alive and Well In the United States

Bridging the Gap

The Journey to health education has been a long yet fulfilling peg in my ladder to success. During my senior year in high school was sure was going to become a psychiatrist in some far off city with my happy husband and three well-mannered children. Sure I’ve made it sound like a fantasy now but you couldn’t tell a seventeen-year-old Moriah that it wasn’t going to happen; in many aspects, she had the right idea. She understood that there were many other people like herself who had been secluded under a glass ceiling, unaware that certain levels of health and wealth were within their threshold. She wanted to help people learn enough about themselves to want a better. Over time that has evolved from wanting to make a lot of money counseling people enough to write a prescription, to supporting my new baby and helping to renew humanity in all people as a social worker, to wanting to promote health and wellness in those that need it most, regardless of how much money I make.

Although I understand the importance of understanding and maintaining one’s health, I believe I am the perfect candidate to sere as a bridge between traditionally unhealthy populations because I too am weary of the intentions of our country’s current healthcare system. The historical monstrosities and personal experiences of people like myself have fuel a level of mistrust in the providers “in charge”of health management. This is problematic because any allow their mistrust of healthcare professionals to distance themselves from the medical system, but the idea of being healthy as well.

One concept reviewed during the first two weeks of class that really hit home for me was the idea of normalizing poor health. As stated n the text, “We develop habits based on what our family does… the diet we eat, our views of nutrition, our beliefs about illness causation, about sexuality…”. It is difficult for particular populations to achieve “normal” health because not only are they unaware of the standard quantitative measure of good health, but we compare our own health to the narratives shared within those that exhibit many of the same health behaviors as ourselves. This concepts reminds me of my reluctance to immunize my child because I was raised to believe they are unnecessary. To me, signing a waiver at every check-up is normal. Before  began to do my own research, I was more aware of the number of healthy unvaccinated children than the number of children whose lives could have been preserved had they received immunizations. I had also heard more stories about the perceived detrimental effects of these injections than my grandparents did when their peers were saved by the polio vaccine.