29 September 2014

My Interests in an Academic Graduate Program

I decided several years ago that I wanted to earn a PhD. Now I'm at the point where I'm making progress to make that a possibility. I'm defining my interests and values.

Here are my interests in an academic graduate program.

  1. Medical Anthropology
  2. Critical Medical Anthropology
  3. Interaction Of Social Environmental And Biological Factors That Influence Health
  4. Health disparities and built environment
  5. Organizational And Community Development
  6. Nonprofit Management
  7. Social Justice
  8. Housing
  9. Education
  10. Program Management

The ideal program will provide me with skills, training, and support so that I may explore my interests professionally.

My interests are predominantly in medical anthropology. Medical anthropology addresses the biological, cultural, and political-economic dimensions of health, illness, and healing historically and at present. More specifically my interest also lies in critical medical anthropology, which stresses the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in the consideration of political economy and health, and the effect of social inequality on people's health. In my undergraduate exercise and wellness program I was introduced to the concept of the relationship between social and physical environment and health and health disparities.

The ideal program for me will support me in increasing my knowledge and skills in these areas so that I may work to improve organizational and community development or nonprofit management.

If after earning a PhD I can work to raise awareness of social justice issues, such as housing and education, and provide support to government and non-government organizations to improve policy addressing then that would make me happy.

25 September 2014

The Values That Are Most Important to Me in an Academic Graduate Program

I decided several years ago that I wanted to earn a PhD. Now I'm at the point where I'm making progress to make that a possibility. I'm defining my interests and values.
Here is a list of the values that are most important to me in an academic graduate program.

  1. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  2. Fairness, equity, and justice
  3. Love of learning
  4. Perspective (wisdom)
  5. Curiosity and interest in the world
  6. Altruism
  7. Collaborative
  8. Creativity
The best program for me will value academic excellence, rewarding high achievement.
Each member of the community and candidate is treated fairly and given sufficient support to be successful.
Learning is encouraged in the spirit of service to the community.
The program works to provide greater perspective and wisdom to the local university community and the global community.
The program examines the world with curiosity and interest, encouraging its members to address society's problems creatively and in collaboration with other agencies.

24 September 2014

How I Survived My LASIK Eye Surgery

Last month I had LASIK eye surgery. This is my story.

The procedure itself was incredibly unpleasant, even after taking the Diazepam. Once I was lying on the procedure table, the surgeon started by having his cronies try to waterboard me with numbing eye drops.

Once my eyes were sufficiently absent of any sensation they proceeded to place a speculum around my eye to hold my eyelid open. Yeah that feels like it sounds.

It wasn't as bad as the suction ring that they place on the eye. It felt like the surgeon is trying to push my eyeball into the back of my skull. At this point my vision fades to black.

The next thing the surgeon does is to activate the cutting laser to open up a nice little flap. That little flap is then folded over to provide access to the part of the eye where the laser can make the adjustments to the anatomy. My vision returned soon enough to see the flap lift away.

During the very brief time that the laser is activated, my vision went from blurry to less blurry. Fascinating.

All that and the smell of burning flesh.

After the laser is turned off the surgeon replaces the flap and paints it with something, maybe an adhesive.

Repeat for the other eye.

Go home and sleep for 24 hours.

But now I've got that twinkle in my eye.

Here are a few post op pictures.

23 September 2014

My Trip to Boston!

Last month I traveled to Boston for the purpose of celebrating my aunt's jubilee celebration. I made the most of the trip by spending time with family and exploring the full extent of what Boston had to offer.

The exception being that I didn't eat a Boston cream pie. Which I hadn't heard of until I returned from Boston. Oh well.

The Boston Public Library was fun!

Time with family in and around the parks was a blast!

We had a great time at the convent!

Our 12pm dinner with the nuns at the mob's restaurant was the most fun of the day!

We took some excellent pictures!

22 September 2014

My Letter Urging President Obama to Invest in the Child Nutrition Programs

Dear Mr. President,

The undersigned national, state and local organizations are writing to express our united support for effective and adequately funded federal nutrition programs for children. We are a diverse group of organizations representing anti-hunger, religious, education, health, nutrition, direct service, school food, pre-school and child care, after school, labor, industry and agriculture, organizations that are joining together to support increased access to nutritious meals and snacks and to protect the quality of those meals and snacks in pre-school, school-based and out-of-school time programs in the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

We urge you to continue your commitment to these programs and your efforts to reduce childhood hunger and improve child nutrition by including in your budget for FY2016 a significant investment in these programs so their efficacy in reducing hunger and boosting the health and well-being of children and infants can grow. Your enthusiasm for and commitment to new investments in these critically important programs will define the agenda moving into the reauthorization of the child nutrition programs.

We appreciate the support that you, the First Lady and your Administration have shown for protecting and improving access to quality nutrition for children, especially low income children, in this country.


19 September 2014

My Letter Explaining Why I Was Disappointed That Congress Mandated WIC Foods

Senator Flake

Senator McCain

Representative Sinema

Rene Herrera

September 5, 2014

I am writing to express my disappointment with the Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for mandating a food (potatoes) into the food packages of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations bills. This marks the first time in the 40 year history of the WIC program that Congress rather than qualified nutrition-scientists are making decisions about which foods should be included in the WIC food packages.

WIC, which provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, medical and social services referrals, and healthy foods (food packages), is regarded as one of the most successful of all federal programs with a 72% public approval rating. A significant body of research has consistently found that WIC contributes to healthier birth outcomes and improved nutrition, while reducing our nation's health care costs. An important reason for WIC's success is that the program provides a science-based food package to supplement and enhance the diets of women and young children, providing only foods that tend to be missing from their diets.

By compromising the scientific integrity for determining the composition of the WIC food package, Congress is putting the effectiveness of WIC in danger.