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Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

By: Stephanie Martinez

Last summer I travelled to Europe for the first time and spent my time in Italy. I had created an image of a beautiful, seemingly perfect country in my mind because of stories heard through friends, or as seen on movies and television. Indeed, the landscape and the architecture surpassed my expectations, but the many migrants I saw begging or sleeping under crippling buildings took me by surprise. I had heard about the growing humanitarian crisis in Europe but seeing it firsthand helped me understand the concerns as highlighted in the news. I have visited Developing countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in the past but had not encountered these same circumstances there. It was alarming to see how much more attention was given to ancient monuments and not the present existence of migrants who were suffering. I stayed in a quiet street outside of downtown Rome and only ten minutes away, there were migrants living in what can only be described as slums. At night, tents or cardboard materials were used as beds just outside the train station.

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By: Mikas Hansen

The East African region has experienced a period of immense growth and development in the last ten years. Unfortunately, not all communities have benefitted to the same degree. A recent trip back to Nairobi, Kenya blew me away as the bustling, pot-holed, and integrated city I had once grown up in had developed into a paved, efficient, and organized metropolitan hub. I was excited for the nation and the progress it had made towards solving many of its historic political, medical, and economic issues. I was blinded by all of the positive influences that globalization had on the nation. However, a friend recently shared a YouTube documentary named “Zombies of Nairobi” which investigated the domestic drug scene and the reasons for its abuse. This documentary brought a point of realization to my initial outlook on the modernization of Kenya and inspired me to dig deeper and explore the underbelly of a city I once called home.

Though Kenya has managed to double its GDP in the past ten years, the main issue comes with economic inequality and the distribution of wealth across the population. The top 0.1% of the wealthiest individuals own more wealth than the next 99.9%. Furthermore, a massive influx of refugees from the Horn of Africa has even further increased the number of individuals living under the poverty line. As of 2016, 46% of the population lives under the poverty line, only 20% have access to medical coverage, and there is a 67% enrollment in primary education with illiteracy still rising. (“Kenya at a Glance”, 2016) The combination of these factors has led to a number of public health issues to arise, one of which being the abuse of vapor solvents.

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By: Sonya Ajani

In 2008, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) published an article entitled Cancer Health Disparities. It defined cancer health disparities as adverse differences in incidence (new cases) and prevalence (new and existing cases), mortality, cancer survivorship, and burden of cancer among various population groups in the United States. The NCI concludes that African Americans in the US are disproportionately diagnosed with breast cancer than their white counterparts.

Experts attribute this particular conclusion to two distinct factors: lack of access to health coverage and low socioeconomic status (SES). SES is primarily attributed to low income, low education, occupation, as well as most importantly built environment. As of 2014, the CDC[1] reports that the incidence of breast cancer among young African American females aged 25-45 is 125 cases per 100,000 people.

Upon reading the article from the National Cancer Institute and researching the epidemiology further, I was especially alarmed by the rates of breast cancer diagnosis among African Americans in the US. Although it is almost equal to the white population, the stark disparity of the two populations makes up for the difference. Supplementary analysis confirmed that built environment: the physical and geographical space where people live significantly contributes to the incidence and prevalence of the disease. In the age of chronic diseases the built environment can be an incredibly crucial determinant in community healthcare. I found it interesting just how much the built environment affects the incidence of breast cancer in African Americans with lower socioeconomic status.

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-By Sarah Esselborn

The consequences of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010 are still felt today. Specifically, the cholera outbreak brought by U.N. Peacekeepers from Nepal in October of 2010 has had serious effects on the people in Haiti (NBC News 2014). As of March of 2013, more than 650,000 cases had been identified and 7,441 deaths (Grandesso 2014). By contrast, in the United States, the average number of cholera cases per year is 6 (and these are non-fatal). I have spent time in Haiti, my last visit returning the day before this devastating earthquake. These Haitian people getting cholera and dying are people I deeply care for. I want to bring hope to this seemingly devastating situation. (more…)

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-By Sarah Boyd

The Inuit population is an indigenous group inhabiting Greenland, parts of Artic Canada, and the United States (Alaska). Following centuries old tradition within harsh and chilling conditions, the Inuit obtain food through hunting, fishing, and gathering. This includes hunting fish, seal, caribou, whale, walrus, polar bear, musk ox, fox, and wolf (1). “Because the Inuit in Canada and Greenland eat top predators such as beluga whales and seals, they are among the world’s most contaminated human beings” (4). (more…)

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-By Michelle Tagerman

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as ‘Obamacare,’ was recently implemented with the goals of making health insurance coverage more affordable by expanding coverage, controlling the spiraling costs of health care and making health care delivery more efficient (KFF, 2013). To do so, state health exchanges were created where people are able shop for health insurance. In addition, government subsidies to purchase insurance are available for the poor. By lowering the cost of health insurance, the law was aimed at making health care accessible to all uninsured or under-insured American citizens by providing government subsidies. Unfortunately, the act has failed to eliminate several health disparities, (Davis & Walter, 2011) as will be discussed. (more…)

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By Kimi Sharma
As it was every Sunday morning, my e-mail inbox had been inundated with TED talks that my father thought would explore the untarnished brilliance of individuals in society and help incite my dormant passion to bring about change. I was expecting the usual group of talks by respected and inspiring doctors through which my father hinted at his burning desire for me to attend medical school despite my fervent rejection of the idea. So on that Sunday I watched a TED talk that largely reinstated my faith in an individual’s undying determination to aid others (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6qqqVwM6bMM). (more…)

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