Saturday, December 26, 2009

Commentary Cited on "Health Day News" website and "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Recently, I was interviewed by a reporter from Health Day News ( about the issues of body fat and obesity among African Americans. The interview was based upon a new research study investigating fat content in white and African American adults. Interestingly, this study found high levels of "bad fat" among whites as opposed to African Americans.

I found the study quite interesting and basically agreed with the researchers findings. It made sense. Although we (researchers and the general public) ASSUME that blacks would have higher levels of "bad fat" content than whites since African Americans have HIGHER levels of overweight and obesity in America. What this does say if these results are confirmed by other researchers is that we need to RECOGNIZE THAT SOCIOCULTURAL AND BEHAVIORAL FACTORS PLAY A MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY RATES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS.

In addition, I challenged the BMI (Body Mass Index) standard categories to evaluate populations as to whether they are overweight or not. I contend that the BMI is not a good measurement for all populations simply because there are SPECIFIC variations in body types for all ethnic and racial populations.

You can check out my commentary at:

After you read it, send me your thoughts a this blog site or at

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Presentation for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health

In September, I was asked to participate in a NHLBI Working Group for Sickle Cell Disease for the purpose of sharing my medical anthropologist expertise to their potential upcoming grant initiatives. Not only did I present but a select number of other renowned professional experts also shared their perspectives.

My presentation was entitled, "Patient and Provider Beliefs and Behaviors with the Culture of Sickle Cell Disease Management." The major theme of my talk highlighted the importance of understanding the cultural adaptations that the individual sickle cell patient and family must make to ensure some type of quality of life for the patient. In addition, the significance of developing culturally competent patient care and research projects is critical for long-term adherence.

If you would like to receive a copy of my presentation, send me an email at:

  • Patient and Provider Beliefs and Behaviors with the Culture of Sickle Cell Disease Management

Overall, it was a true pleasure to RETURN to NIH and talk with a number of high ranking federal public health administrators who are attempting to develop some new public health grant initiatives despite the current constraints placed on most federal Department of Health and Human Services agencies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health Disparities Lecture at the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Grand Rounds of Pitt County Memorial Hospital

On Wednesday, July 22nd, I presented a lecture at the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Grand Rounds at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. I was invited by Dr. Daniel Moore -- Professor & Charman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitaton. The audience consisted of residents and health professionals who worked primarily at PCMH.

The title of my lecture, "How To Solve and Eliminate Health Disparities," accomplished four major objectives:

  1. Define Health Disparities

  2. Evaluate Current Health Disparities Data

  3. Re-examine Health Disparities Data from a Cultural Perspective

  4. Provide Solutions to Solve and Eliminate Health Disparities
Although I had spoke more about my field of Medical Anthropology, my previous medical anthropological studies, and the benefits of a medical anthropological approach in clinical settings, I casually inserted more of the health disparities issues into the lecture. By the end of my lecture, I felt that I had combined both topical themes into the lecture for the audience.

By the way, the audience asked a number of excellent, practical and clinically-relevant questions which I truly appreciated!

I want to thank again Dr. Daniel Moore for inviting me to give the lecture as well as Dr. Leonardo Villarosa for scheduling the date of the lecture. Finally, I want to thank all the professionals who took the time out of their very busy schedules to attend this lecture at 8:00am!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

On June 5, 2009, I participated in a panel discussion at Duke University in their Health Policy forum entitled, "State of Medicine: Universal Change." I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and engagement about the current issues of Health Care Reform with my fellow distinguished panelists along with the superb audience.

Some of the topics that we addressed during our panel discussion were as follows:

  • What Should Patients Be Concerned About the Most with the New Health Care Reform?

  • How Do We Educate Patients?

  • What is Our Vision for Health Care Reform
Included in the photo with me were Dr. Christopher Edwards, Dr. Donna Gilleskie and Kunal Mitra (Moderator).

After our panel (Patient-Centered Panel) discussion and a brief break, the next panel (Physician-Centered Panel) addressed many of the similar issues. This session was very lively and informative. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the physicians' and lawyer's expert comments about Health Care Reform.

I also was pleased to hear the opening remarks from the Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke --Victor J. Dzau, MD. He was very impressive.

In general, the major theme that I received from this professional event organized by medical students at Duke was the following:

  • All of us need to get involved in the new Health Care Reform debate!!
Make your voice heard because this Health Care Reform should include all of us.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Medical Anthropology Lecture at Pitt County Memorial Hospital (PCMH)

On May 4th, I presented a lecture at Pathology Grand Rounds forum at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. I was invited by Dr. Peter Kragel -- Professor & Chair -- of the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at PCMH to give my lecture to the Pathology Grand Rounds audienc. The audience consisted of primarily health care professionals who primarily worked at or were affiliated with PCMH.

The title of my lecture, "What is Medical Anthropology?" accomplished four major objectives. They were:

  1. To describe the field of medical anthropology;

  2. To examine the applied clinical strategies of medical anthropology;

  3. To analyze the relationship of culture with health care; and

  4. To discover how medical anthropology works within the field of medicine.

If you want to check out and download my lecture, here it is:

I had an enjoyable time presenting and answering a few questions about my primary field of study -- Medical Anthropology. Interestingly, I highlighted much of my early fieldwork and volunteering experience at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI.. I actually volunteered for 4 straight years at Henry Ford Hospital (1984-1988) and thoroughly enjoyed every day that I had the chance to talk to health professionals and particularly all the patients!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Greetings Everyone,

It's spring time and it is an excellent time for community and county organizations to hold special health events for their communities. Well, I was asked to be the Keynote Speaker at a great community event in Wayne County, North Carolina. The event was held at Mount Olive College and it was called the "2009 Wayne Minority Community Empowerment Forum." The theme was "Health, Wealth and Wisdom."

Organized by Wayne County Minority Health Coordinator, Ms Rovonda Freeman with assistance from Brenda Bass (former graduate student in the MPH program at ECU and one of my students) and many other staff & community folks in collaboration with the Health Director -- Mr. James Roosen -- of Wayne County, this one-day event addressed a wide array of serious health and medical issues affecting communities of color in this area. They also had a comedy show at the end of the event! Local celebrities and radio station -- "Q97.7" were there to entertain and interview participants. After my talk, I was interviewed by one of the radio personalities!

The turnout was a complete success. People and families of all ages and background attended this very special inaugural event. Local and state dignitaries were present including North Carolina State Senator Don Davis.

As Keynote Speaker, I was asked to talk about health disparities and how we as individuals and experts can do something about it. My talk was entitled, "How to Solve and Eliminate Health Disparities." I had alot of fun presenting my information to the audience and the audience was outstanding!! I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and interaction with all the community members. I believe that they responded well to the major themes of my talk which was:

  • "Culture"

  • "Cultural Competency"

Again, this was a great community event designed to raise awareness of health, social, medical, and cultural issues in the county. These are the type of culturally competent events that makes a difference in the community!! It only takes one community event to move a community into a healthier conscious and healthier pattern!!