Traditional gardener educates with healthy harvest

Written by at October 31, 2011

Eddie Joe Mitchell stands in the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s traditional garden this summer. COURTESY PHOTOEddie Joe Mitchell has been managing the “Return to a Healthy Past” program since 2009.

It seemed like a perfect fit when the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Health Center’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was advertising for a project coordinator and gardener.  What they wanted was a person who knew how to garden and could educate the community by raising healthy foods.

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NMAI hosts Chickasaw Nation cultural event Nov. 3-4

Written by at October 31, 2011

Chickasaw cultural demonstrators Michael Cornelius and Jeremy Wallace at the Chickasaw Cultural Center COURTESY PHOTOWASHINGTON – The Chickasaw Nation presents “Chikasha Poya – We Are Chickasaw” November 3, 4 and 5 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. as part of its Native American Heritage Month celebration.

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Participate in the National PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles Month with TOPS

Written by at October 28, 2011

MILWAUKEE, WI – With the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and other health problems, it’s important that parents encourage and teach kids about nutritious food options and physical activity.  The National PTA’s (Parent Teacher Association) Healthy Lifestyles Month this November is an opportunity to use creative events and activities to show that living healthfully can be fun.  TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, provides advice to promote wellness at home and get involved with the PTA Healthy Lifestyles initiative.

The facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day.  Today, there are more video games, less homemade meals, and a reduction of physical education and sports programs at school – trends that have contributed to a growing problem of decreased physical activity among children.  One in three children and adolescents are overweight or obese, and according to the American Diabetes Association, one in every 400 children has diabetes.

Although there has been an increase in childhood obesity, there has also been a rise in initiatives to temper this trend.  Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, a program that TOPS supports, is one such plan that ties into the goals and message of Healthy Lifestyles Month.

It starts at home

It’s important to develop healthy habits at home, so children can go to school, friends’ houses, and other places, ready to make sensible, healthy choices.

1. Physical activity – Get moving as a family and demonstrate to kids the necessity of exercise, which can also boost self-esteem and confidence and reduce stress.

• Take a group walk or bike ride around the neighborhood after dinner.
• Find free or low-cost physical activity areas in your community, such as a playground, bike trail, tennis court, or park.
• Take on active chores as a family, like raking leaves or shoveling snow.
• Use pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week.
• Go to the gym as a family.  Many fitness centers offer discounted memberships.

2. Nutrition – While parents typically decide what their children eat, kids will often eat what is available to them.  Surround kids with healthy snacks and homemade meals to ensure that they’re making good choices.

• Serve fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables.  Consider more unique snack ideas like homemade smoothies, a fruit salad, or vegetables and hummus dip.
• Offer water, fat-free milk, or 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added.
• Since nuts and trail mix are often high in calories, serve them in small portions along with another healthy snack.
• Don’t force kids to clean their plates if they are full.

3. Grocery shopping – Before going to the store, make a list of groceries your family needs.  Explain to the kids that you will only buy what’s on the list to avoid unhealthy options slipping into the cart.  When making your way through the store, focus on the perimeters.  These areas contain healthier options, such as produce and dairy.  Also, never shop with an empty stomach, so you aren’t vulnerable to buying extra foods.

Get involved at school

There are numerous ways to become engaged at your child’s school.  Joining your local PTA can help you and other parents impact what’s served at lunch, emphasize the importance of physical activity during the school day, and plan activities to promote health and wellness.  Here are some PTA program and activity ideas that will keep families moving and promote wellness:

• Create a document for parents about physical activity areas and resources within the community.
• Host a fundraiser for new fitness equipment.  Skip the candy bars and cookies and sell services, magazines, candles, cookbooks, or other alternatives to sweets.
• Plan a 5K run/walk or walk-a-thon event for the school district and encourage families to participate. 
• Hang up posters and other educational materials in the cafeteria to make students aware of the importance of a nutritious meal.
• Hold a seminar for parents with a health and wellness expert.
• Organize a healthy Family Fun Night with nutritious snacks, games in the gymnasium, such as basketball or kick ball, a dance, food trivia, and more.

It’s also important to find out if your local school district has a wellness policy.  This should include nutrition education goals, physical activity objectives, guidelines for food available at school, opportunities for parents and students to get involved with the policy development, and plans for evaluation.  The best place to begin inquiring about a school wellness policy is at the district office.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization.  Founded more than 63 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind.  TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information.  TOPS has about 170,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.  Membership is affordable at just $26 per year, plus nominal chapter fees.  To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.

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Feds, Alaska Natives focus on suicide prevention

Written by at October 27, 2011

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Suicide remains an epidemic among Alaska Natives, and no single entity alone can solve such a complex problem with so many contributing factors, participants said Tuesday at a suicide prevention summit sponsored by federal agencies and tribal organizations.

The three-day Anchorage event kicked off Tuesday. It will highlight information gathered at 10 federal “listening sessions” held across the country in the past year to address the disproportionate rate of suicide among Alaska Natives and American Indians, most notably among the young.

The rate of suicides among indigenous Americans between the ages of 15 and 29 was nearly double the national rate in 2006-2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alaska’s numbers are even more drastic. In the same two-year period, there were a total of 284 suicides in the state, according to the federal data. Alaska Natives, which make up less than 18 percent of the state’s estimated population of 680,000, accounted for 96 of those deaths.

“Part of what we gathered from the listening sessions was that we really needed to involve and demonstrate that everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention,” Dr. Rose Weahkee with the Indian Health Service said during a brief break. “Communities need to involve the entire community when they’re trying to address suicide prevention, across disciplines from tribal leaders to community leaders to hearing the youth voice.”

A four-day summit examining suicide in Indian Country took place in Scottsdale, Ariz., in August.

Participating agencies in the effort include the Indian Health Service, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

At the Anchorage summit, participants broke out into workshops on several topics including traditional practice, substance abuse, wellness and research.

Speakers at the research workshop led the crowd in a discussion of contributing factors to suicide such as alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, lack of self-esteem, poverty and deprivation of Native culture and traditions.

The speakers and audience also spoke of promising solutions including culture camps to teach young people about subsistence hunting and fishing, traditional arts like beading and weaving and elevated awareness of painful experiences of the past. One audience member spoke of a program to install gun safes in homes.

Evon Peter, who is Gwich’in, was among the speakers at the workshop. He works as the director of wellness program for the Maniilaq Association, a regional nonprofit Native health care provider and is involved with the Northwest Alaska Wellness Initiative, a suicide-prevention partnership between tribal service providers and universities.

Peter said his work is driven by a need to help others deal with some of the same factors and pain that can lead to someone taking their own life.

“Every single Alaska Native person has been touched by suicide in some way or another,” he said.

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How to Spot Domestic Violence

Written by at October 27, 2011

Abuse Survivor Reveals Warning Signs of Persistent Physical Abuse

Esther Francis Joseph believes that almost everyone knows someone who is being physically abused at home – they just don’t know it.

“Victims of abuse are very good at hiding it,” said Joseph, a survivor of child abuse and author of Memories of Hell, Visions of Heaven—A Story of Survival Transformation and Hope ( “In most cases, they are threatened with more abuse if they ever tell anyone about it, so they become very adept at hiding bruises and acting as if nothing is wrong at all. In many cases, abusers were abused themselves. Abusers are very good at terrorizing their victims because they were trained on how to be a successful abuser by those who abused them as children. As a result, the abusers themselves are often seen by friends and neighbors as friendly, affable people in good, healthy relationships. The abused seem happy and content in their lives. But when the doors close and lock behind them, the facade is dropped.”

Joseph thinks it is critically important to know what to do if you suspect someone you care about or work with is being abused at home by their spouse.

“Before you do anything, make sure that you are educated on the subject and the different types of abuse,” she said. “Prepare yourself for the encounter because your discussion may be unwelcome and viewed as interference. It is also important to know when to step back. If the person denies the allegation, you may want to simply express your concern and willingness to help.”

Joseph’s warning signs of abuse include:

• Bruises – These are the most obvious signs of abuse, but victims will usually hide them. They may use makeup to hide any facial cuts or bruises. Be mindful of those tactics if you think abuse is taking place.

• Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide the telltale signs of abuse.

• Jealousy – Sometimes, victims will vent about other issues in their relationships, but stop short of talking about abuse. In their minds, it is the only way they can reach out for help without disobeying the commands of the abuser and not to reveal the abuse. Frequent talk about their partner’s temper or jealousy might be the main tip-off.

• Constant Phone Calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.” This is a subtle way of manipulating their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around.

• Missing Work – Victims of abuse miss work more often than most, because some cuts and bruises can’t be hidden. So, they stay home from work to prevent alerting people to their abuse.

• Always Together – If you have a co-worker that you never see outside the office without their partner, that could also be a sign of your co-worker being controlled by a jealous and potentially violent partner. By itself, this behavior may not be as revealing, but together with other warning signs, it could be an important sign.
“Approaching someone and bringing up the topic of abuse is a difficult conversation to have, but it is one worth having,” Joseph added. “You might just be saving a life.”

About Esther Francis Joseph

Esther Francis Joseph was born and raised on the tiny Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. She moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 with her mother and two older bothers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from New York University. Her goal is to help others still in the grips of abuse and violence to break the cycle and find a way to a place of healing.

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New hospital set to open in Eagle Butte

Written by at October 26, 2011

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A state-of-the-art $109 million health center is set to open in Eagle Butte, S.D., next month, providing members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe with a major upgrade from the circa-1959 hospital the tribe has long outgrown.

More than $84 million in federal stimulus funds helped speed construction of the Cheyenne River Health Center, a project on the north-central South Dakota reservation that has been in the works for more than five years. The new 138,500-square-foot center will house both tribal health services and a hospital run by the federal Indian Health Service, replacing an outdated facility that’s less than one-third of the new center’s size.

“This is a complete state-of-the-art facility,” said Kevin Keckler, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The hospital will be missing one hoped-for amenity: a birthing center. Federal regulations require that a hospital have a surgical unit to offer that service.

But there’s plenty to have officials excited: a 32-slice CT scan machine; an ultrasound machine for diagnostic mammograms; an improved patient-care system to boost disease screenings; a 10-bed inpatient hospital; a larger and more advanced emergency room; an improved radiology department; upgraded lab services, and a staff that will more than double in size.

The myriad upgrades will not only help physicians treat the sick, but they will improve preventative care for the nearly 12,000 patients served each year, said Dr. Rommel Brandt, the clinical director.

“We will see results in the future,” he said. “Our aim is health promotion and disease prevention.”

The center will also have a limited blood supply on hand, allowing trauma responders to save more lives in emergencies, said Kathey Wilson, the hospital’s chief executive.

“I think both the (CT) scan and the availability of blood are going to make a really big difference,” Wilson said. “Trauma is one of the leading causes of death and injuries in Native communities.”

IHS officials are targeting a Nov. 7 opening of the center, but Wilson said that date is not finalized.

Expectant mothers on the reservation will still have to give birth in Pierre or Rapid City, however.

Last fall, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit against IHS to obtain information about whether pregnant women on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation are being pressured to have labor induced against their wishes. The organization said there is no opportunity to give natural birth on the Cheyenne River reservation, and for nearly a decade women have had to travel at least 90 miles to St. Mary’s Healthcare Center in Pierre to have their babies.

The lawsuit contends that many women are being told they must have their labor induced on a particular day without being given information about the risks and benefits of induction.

Wilson said she could not comment on a pending lawsuit.

But the new health center does offer some upgrades for expectant mothers.

Brandt said that two of the hospital’s 10 inpatient rooms are equipped as labor and delivery rooms for emergency vaginal delivery. If a woman in active labor comes into the hospital, physicians can weigh the benefit and the risk of transporting the patient to another hospital, Brandt said.

“We don’t want anyone to be delivering en route,” he said.

Brandt said full-term pregnancies in the area typically go to St. Mary’s in Pierre and premature pregnancies of less than 38 weeks go to Rapid City Regional.

Keckler said women for years have had to travel to give birth and he acknowledged that it’s an inconvenience. But he said the tribe is currently focused on getting the new hospital open and serving its members.

“Once we get it open, I’m sure we will explore other things for it,” Keckler said.

Nearly 200 federal positions will join the hospital’s staff of 161, resulting in a 20 percent increase in the medical staff, Wilson said. But many of those positions won’t be filled immediately, as recruitment and retention continue to be issues for the agency.

“I don’t expect that we’ll be totally staffed at the moment we open,” Wilson said. “We’ll be constantly working on that,” Wilson said.

As part of treaties signed by the Sioux Nation in the late 1800s, the federal government agreed to provide medical care on Native American reservations. The government-run IHS, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, runs hospitals and clinics on most reservations.

Critics long have complained of insufficient financial support that has led to constant turnover among doctors and nurses, understaffed hospitals, sparse specialty care and long waits to see a doctor.

IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, in a speech given at the Eagle Butte facility’s Aug. 26 dedication, said that new hospitals and clinics help with the agency’s quest to provide the best health care for Native people.

“I firmly believe each new facility moves us closer to our shared mission of raising the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” said Roubideaux, a Rosebud Sioux Tribe member born in Pierre.

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Grant to address American Indian teen pregnancy

Written by at October 19, 2011

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – The University of South Dakota and the nonprofit Sanford Research have been awarded a $1.5 million grant to address teen pregnancy rates among American Indians.

The Rapid City Journal reports that teen pregnancy rates among Native Americans are four times higher than those for the rest of the state’s population.

The grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities will be used to research the reasons why and develop a prevention program. Amy Elliot with Sanford Research says the program would be for reservation and urban Indians throughout the Northern Plains.

Helping with the project are the University of Minnesota, South Dakota Urban Indian Health and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,

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NAU unveils Native American cultural center

Written by at October 19, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – A Native American cultural center has opened on the Northern Arizona University campus.

NAU President John Haeger says the center will serve as a gathering place for students and faculty, and will be a teaching tool for those interested in tribal traditions and culture.

More than 1,000 Native American students who represent 105 tribes attend the university in Flagstaff. Officials say they’re hopeful the building will help recruit even more Native American students and retain those who already are enrolled.

The building has a reception area with a gas fireplace, a computer lab, study, meeting rooms and kitchen. It also houses the university’s Native American Student Services.

It was funded with $3 million in donations and $4 million in general university funds.

An open house was held over the weekend.

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New Program Allows Dieters to ‘Bet’ – and Profit – On Shedding Pounds

Written by at October 19, 2011

Double Down: HealthyWage launches initiative allowing dieters to double their money to lose just 10% of their body weight over a 6-month period using their diet and/or fitness regimen of choice; Only company in the nation paying Americans to lose weight as a proven effective inducement paradigm, in line with the burgeoning health care incentives and game-based motivation movements

NEW YORK, NY, October 18, 2011 – HealthyWage™ (, the only company in the U.S. offering Americans the opportunity to make money losing weight, has taken its successful “dieting for dollars” concept to an exciting new level. The company today announced the launch of its “10% Challenge,” an innovative new program allowing health-seekers nationwide to “bet” – and profit – on shedding their unwanted pounds through any diet regimen and/or fitness program they choose to follow (Weight Watchers®, Jenny Craig®, Nutrisystem®, Atkins®, or any other formal or informal diet/fitness program).

Through the HealthyWage 10% Challenge, participants pay $100 for an opportunity to double their money and earn $200 for losing just 10% of their starting body weight, BMI aside, within 6-months. Each participant’s starting and ending weights are verified at one of thousands of HealthyWage health club partners throughout the U.S., with each member also self-reporting their weight online once per week.

“Monetary incentives serve to enhance the effectiveness of, and duly complement, weight-loss programs of any and all sorts, especially when paid out quickly like our new 10% Challenge,” said HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry.  “In fact, financial health incentives are a growing trend, with more than 50% of self-insured employers in the U.S now offering some type of financial inducement as part of their healthcare program.  While our company pays all Americans $100 to lose weight as a standard part of our flagship ‘BMI Challenge’ program where bets or other participation fees don’t apply, we’re certain this ‘weight-loss wager’ approach will also be highly effective at motivating participants to achieve wellness goals – and rewarding them in kind.  Further bolstering our confidence in this new program methodology is the growing movement of ‘betting’ being successfully employed for a variety of social utility purposes, like those letting students bet on their grades as a way to help them achieve goals at school.  Our founding premise is the same.” 

HealthyWage is at the forefront of the health incentives trend – efforts the company hopes will counter costly alternatives overweight and obese individuals will face up ahead. This includes the recent health care Bill Affordable Care Act (Section 2705) stipulating that, starting in 2014, employers can use measures such as BMI to adjust health insurance premiums based on outcome-based wellness incentives by up to 30% – up from the current 20% level. In addition, Arizona recently proposed charging obese residents on Medicaid $50 as a financial penalty for being overweight. The proposition is currently under review, with similar consideration being given in other states.

The Money Motivation Model

In addition to its new HealthyWage 10% Challenge, the company offers various other cash rewards-based diet programs that pay participants to successfully make healthy choices. The company’s pioneering BMI Challenge pays $1,000 to those who invest $300 to participate and move from an obese BMI classification (greater than 30) to a normal BMI (less than 25) over a year’s time, while following a few rules and checking in on a weekly basis.  For those who prefer to participate in the BMI Challenge for free, without any up-front investment, HealthyWage offers the option to earn $100 for achieving these same term-based BMI goals. To date, more than 20% of individuals who committed their own money have won the cash prize and achieved a healthy weight through HealthyWage’s pioneering BMI Challenge.

Corey Beliveau, a Boston, Massachusetts-based participant who lost more than 50 pounds through HealthyWage’s BMI Challenge program, underscores the power of such a financial incentive approach, commenting, “The thought of an award for losing weight through HealthyWage appealed to me.  The appeal grew when I found out I could increase the amount of the award if I put up my own money, so I did this as well. I ultimately achieved my weight-loss goal through persistence and willpower, with my efforts definitely enhanced by the prize money at the end of the challenge.”  Kelly Angel, a Connecticut-based participant who lost 70 pounds through HealthyWage’s BMI Challenge, also exemplifies the effectiveness of this approach, leading her to lose a significant amount of weight in a relatively short period of time.

Those interested in learning more may do so online at

About HealthyWage™
Health and wellness purveyor HealthyWage provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.  The company was founded in response to academic research that proves even small cash rewards triple the effectiveness of weight-loss programs; that people are more effective at losing weight when their own money is at risk; and that social networks play a large role in the spread of obesity, and will likely play a large role in reversing obesity. Learn more online at

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Runner goes ‘100 miles for life’ to beat diabetes

Written by at October 17, 2011

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –  As a nurse practitioner at Tahlequah’s W.W. Hastings Hospital, Cherokee Nation citizen Lori Enlow knows the toll chronic illness can take on a person. Her work in the Internal Medicine department means she regularly cares for patients battling debilitating diseases and trying to manage conditions that diminish their quality of life and leave them physically and emotionally exhausted.

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American Indian symposium to bring together tribes

Written by at October 12, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Representatives of American Indian tribes throughout the U.S. will take part in a Kansas City conference next month on gaps in services.

The 8th annual American Indian Symposium takes place Nov. 3 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Topics range from public health to the current implementation of historical treaties. There also will be American Indian song and dance demonstrations and explanations.

Tribes planning to participate include the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Comanche, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Prairie Band Potawatomi of Kansas and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Other participants include the American Indian Council, the American Indian Health Research & Education Alliance, and the Center for American Indian Community Health of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Minnesota Reservation copes with hunger issues

Written by at October 10, 2011

CAROLINE YANG / MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO  Bill Paulson demonstrates how wild rice is harvested in Waubun, Minn. on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. Paulson returned to the White Earth Reservation about a decade ago and actively promotes going back to traditional ways of growing and harvesting food. He and his wife currently live on a limited fixed income -- she receives about $600 a month in disability, and he earns $800 a month as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. For their own food Paulson hunts, fishes, harvests wild rice and berries, and grows his own produce in their garden. The couple also receives food stamps, and uses the money only for staple foods they don’t grow themselves. Paulson says growing and producing their own food enables them to eat very well on a limited budget, and he hopes more people will return to bartering, trading, growing and harvesting. This year Paulson joined two other families and harvested more than 1,100 pounds of wild rice, Paulson and his wife will eat some, and will share some with family and friends.WHITE EARTH INDIAN RESERVATION, Minn. (AP) – Hunger is such a problem on some parts of the White Earth Reservation that there is a neighborhood some people call Hungry Hill.

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University community talk through racism concerns at town hall meeting

Written by at October 7, 2011

Stacy Thacker

Click on an image to view a larger version.
University of Montana community members talk in groups about racism

MISSOULA, Mont. – About 50 people attended a town hall meeting at the University of Montana to discuss fallout from several incidents that involved racial discrimination.

Among the events that spurred the meeting included a September incident in which stickers were found posted to the doors of the campus’ Payne Family Native American Center and the International Student Center building. The stickers promoted a white supremacist group and its website.

“The meeting is to give a voice to these issues,” said Jamar Galbreath, director of the University Center Diversity Planning Committee, which organized the event. The meeting was designed to create a communal effort to eradicate further incidents, Galbreath said.

Exposing issues and striking them at the heart starts with dialogue, Galbreath said.

Following his initial address, participants then split into four small groups to engage in open, respectful discussions. The groups sat in circles and within each group they shared and listened to each other’s stories.

 “It’s an everyday thing,” said Lily Gervais, in one of the groups. She spoke of an experience she had in a grocery store where she was at the checkout stand when the sales clerk assumed she was paying with food stamps because she is Native American.

Another student chimed in with a story concerning her friend who lives on campus and was targeted anonymously by someone who had left slanderous messages on her dorm room door. Gervais and the rest of the group felt that discrimination is found in blatant comments that are intended to be hateful and then in subtle unconscious actions that reflect a lack of knowledge.

Dave Beck, a professor for 11 years at the University of Montana and chair of Native American Studies program, said incidents of incivility have gotten worse.

“We need to think in terms of solutions,” Beck said.

Suggestions for various solutions began to flow within the group. Several people in the group said the campus and community needs a zero tolerance for bigotry. Students and community members should be prepared to confront discrimination on small scales, this could help eradicate larger issues, the group said.

Hazing or harassment incidents affecting an individual directly or another person are important to report, participants said.

The program on campus that handles reports of discriminating nature is Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and is directed by Lucy T. France.

“When something happens it affects all of us,” said Lucy T. France, director of the  UM Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office. She addressed the entire town hall, the participants, sitting in their groups, quietly agreed.


Santee Ross is a freshman at the University of Montana. She is Hopi from

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Spice Up Life with Good Health, Says TOPS

Written by at October 6, 2011

MILWAUKEE, WI – Spices and herbs can give a boost of flavor to any meal, but they also have health benefits.  With increasing interest in “functional food,” herbs and spices have been receiving greater attention for their potential to decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of cancer, fight heart disease, and more.  TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, along with the International Food Information Council (IFIC), explains how different spices can benefit people who are on their own wellness journey.

Basil can give a fresh flavor to any pizza or pesto, but this spice is more than just a seasoning.  Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent swelling and alleviate pain caused by arthritis.  It also contains the flavonoids orientin and vicenin that can shield a person’s cells from radiation and other damage.  Have a cut or scrape?  Basil has strong antibacterial capabilities and can help prevent infections.

Cinnamon has a subtle heat that is perfect for baked treats and warm beverages.  Significant attention is being directed toward its potential in diabetes management.  Research suggests that cinnamon may lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and improve lipid profiles.  Also, the sweet aroma of cinnamon has been shown to boost brain function.

Parsley adds flavor and color to meals and is a source of vitamins A, C, and K.  It also has antioxidants and can aid heart and optimal health.

Found in tea, ice cream, toothpaste, and more, mint is a versatile flavor.  Containing vitamins A and C, mint has antioxidants and can help decrease the risk of cancer.  It can soothe an upset stomach, relieve heartburn, loosen congestion, and help calm.  Let’s not forget that mint can also keep a person’s breath fresh!

Cilantro is delicious in salsa, guacamole, and salads and has numerous health benefits.  It contains anti-inflammatory properties, is a good source of iron, magnesium, and manganese, and can control blood sugar and cholesterol.  Research shows that it also can help battle salmonella bacteria.

Garlic has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral capabilities.  It also can lower cholesterol and the risk of cancer and contains vitamins B6 and C, which fight heart disease.
Red and Chili Pepper

An increase in body temperature or heart rate upon ingestion of a pepper is believed to increase metabolism.  Red peppers contain capsaicin, which accelerates energy expenditure and increases lipid oxidation.  Studies also suggest that consuming capsaicin decreases fat intake.  Chili peppers can fight inflammation and help relieve pain.

Ginger provides gastrointestinal and nausea relief.  Recent studies also suggest that ginger may play a role in preventing inflammation, which could be useful in alleviating pain caused by arthritis.  Ginger plays a potential role in cancer prevention with its antioxidant properties.  Its immunity boosting capabilities is another advantage.
Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric, a popular spice contained in curry powder, contains curcumin.  Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow pigment and may reduce the risk of cancer, osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.  It also has antioxidant properties.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss support and wellness education organization, was established more than 63 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success.  Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness information, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.

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AHIMA, HHS offering free Health IT training

Written by at October 3, 2011

HHS, AHIMA and North Shore  Medical Labs, Inc., Announce Partnership to Provide Health IT Training and Electronic Health Records

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and North Shore Medical Labs, Inc., of Williston Park, NY, today announced a demonstration project to foster broader adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs) and support national efforts to reduce health disparities affecting minorities.

AHIMA will provide free health IT training to providers and staff in underserved communities, and North Shore will donate electronic health record (EHR) software and services through Nortec Software, Inc. The demonstration program will assist physicians in small practices in Alabama, Mississippi  and North Carolina.

“The Office of Minority Health is pleased to support another innovative and timely health IT project in the growing portfolio of important work on health disparities,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth N. Graham, MD. “We congratulate both AHIMA and North Shore Medical Labs for creating and coordinating this effort, and hope this initiative will stimulate more efforts to extend the use of EHRs in smaller practices and underserved communities that face special challenges in acquiring and implementing this technology.”

AHIMA will provide six hours of web-based training on health IT to providers who work in underserved communities.  Approximately 100 providers who complete the training will receive EHR licenses, including subscription fees, for 12 months.  Nortec will help integrate the necessary information technology components within participating physician practices.

“AHIMA values participating in public private partnerships, particularly when, as in this case, we join public and private enterprise to apply the fundamentals of health information management in a targeted and specific way to tackle a significant public health disparity,” said Bonnie Cassidy, MPA, RHIA, president of AHIMA. “This is meaningful work that will provide a tangible public good of improving access in these communities to quality healthcare data and contributing to better patient outcomes.”

Data from the 2005-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medicare Care Survey show that EHR adoption is lower among providers serving uninsured, non-Hispanic black patients than among providers serving privately insured, non-Hispanic white patients, and among providers serving Hispanic patients who are uninsured or rely on Medicaid.

North Shore Medical Labs, Inc. will donate approximately 75 percent of the cost of the Nortec EHR licenses, program integration, monthly subscription fees, as well as discounted education and training. Since 2006, an exception to the Federal Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute has permitted the donation of certain EHR arrangements but requires recipients to pay a small proportion of donor costs.

“North Shore is honored to participate in this meaningful program and collaborate with HHS, AHIMA and Nortec Software to donate this much needed technology to practitioners in underserved communities,” said Abid Sheikh, CEO of North Shore Medical Labs, Inc. “Nortec EHR technology affords the practitioner an integrated EHR solution, coupled with Patient Portal which allows patients to access their medical records to improve patient care, enhance practice performance, and increase treatment efficiency.

Provider recruitment efforts will be conducted by the Mississippi Institute for Improvement of Geographic Minority Health, which focuses on key indicators of health status in Mississippi and targets mechanisms to increase the knowledge surrounding these conditions along with strategies to improve them, and the North Carolina Health Information Management Association (NCHIMA), which works to advance professional practice and standards for effective management and security of health information across the continuum of care.

A health care provider who wishes to participate in this initiative must:

•                Practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designated by HHS;

•                Have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system;

•                Be a small practice group of one to five providers or a Federally Qualified Health Center within the MUA and/or PSA.

•                Be eligible to receive “meaningful use” incentives, as defined by the HITECH Act; and

•                Complete an initial application and submit monthly reports.

AHIMA and North Shore responded to an October 2010 invitation from the department to the vendor community to work with HHS to help reduce health information technology disparities.

For more information regarding this initiative and how providers can participate, please contact Dr. Bill Rudman at or Dr. Abid Sheikh at

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Shawnees Open Opiate Treatment Clinic

Written by at October 3, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY – Quapaw Counseling Services, an outpatient substance abuse treatment clinic specializing in methamphetamine and opiate addictions, located at 1301 SE 59th St in Oklahoma City, has been sold to the Absentee Shawnee Economic Development Authority of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.  “The reason for the sale,” states Executive Director, Dan Cross, “is that the Absentee Shawnees have the jurisdiction here that the Quapaws did not.  However, under Absentee Shawnee Counseling Services, we will continue to offer the same excellent treatment to all people, native and non-native, that we have for the past four years here.”

Four and a half years ago the Quapaws expanded their operations from their Quapaw Counsel Services in Miami, OK to this location.  A sister clinic was later developed in Tulsa by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, Keetoowah Cherokee Treatment Services.  These three clinics are known statewide for their excellent treatment in these specialized areas of critical need.  The Tulsa clinic was chosen for a training video by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to demonstrate the manner in which to run an Opioid Treatment Program.   Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) announced in March, 2008 that Oklahoma leads the nation in prescription painkiller abuse.

“We offer Medication Assisted Treatment at these clinics,” states Cross, “a SAMHSA clinical best practice proven to get the best results for opiate addiction.  National data shows that traditional treatment is effective 8-10% of the time while MAT is effective 70-75% of the time…  Often, we can skip impatient detox moving actively addicted people right into outpatient treatment.”  Treatment is low cost, with no out-of-pocket expense to people who are Medicaid or O-EPIC eligible. More information can be found at

Governor George Blanchard, Absentee Shawnee Tribe, remarked, “It is with great pride that the Absentee Shawnee  offer one of the best three Opioid Treatment Programs in the state.  I think that it is fitting that here in Native America,” a reference to the Oklahoma tourism theme, “that Native Americans offer the top three programs in the state.”  Blanchard will be conducting a blessing of the program at the Grand Opening Wednesday, October 12th from 2-4 PM. Ceremonies at 2:30 PM.

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