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Author: MorganH

Safe & Sexy!

Safe & Sexy!

Last week’s topic of sexual health was very… interesting. For some of us, talking about sex in an auditorium of 100+ students is not the easiest thing. So, hearing Adam make that joke in the first 5 minutes of class was very surprising. It kind of made me realize that it is completely okay to talk about sex so publicly, especially when it comes to discussing sexual health. That’s when the real learning began.

First off, I did not know that scare tactics never work. As soon as I learned that all it takes is one time to get pregnant or contract an STI which can slow down all of the plans I have for my future, I was pretty convinced that I shouldn’t have sex until marriage. However, those aren’t really precautions we think about daily. Let’s be honest, how many times do we think about a car crash when we hop in a car. I certainly didn’t think about E. coli when I scraped the batter of my mom’s pound cake from the bowl. We encounter numerous risks daily, we know about most of these risks, but none of us are walking around in giant bubbles. Why? Because people are gonna do whatever the hell they want, which is exactly why scare-tactics never work!

That is exactly why schools should have comprehensive based sexual education. Even for people who are committed to practicing abstinence until marriage, NO ONE IS PERFECT and sometimes things don’t go as planned. That is why everyone needs to be taught the many ways to stay safe. Another way to improve sexual health is to get rid of the idea that talking about sex is taboo. Just like we would educate ourselves in biology, educating ourselves in sexual health is no different. People are still ignorant in sexual health and contracting STIs because no one is talking about it.

More than half of all people will contract an STI at some point in their life. Can you imagine how these numbers would change if we just talked about sex? STIs can be spread way too easily by an activity that a lot of people love doing. Sex doesn’t just affect the people doing the deed at the time, but the possible future sexual partners, or even the children infected women give birth to. This is why sexual health is so important.

Finally, what are some of the sexual health myths (funny or not) that you have heard, and what made them wrong?

Overcoming Fears

Overcoming Fears

Before coming to the university, I was prepared to keep to myself. I have never been an extrovert, but I figured with so many people and so many things to do, I would never find my chance to settle and get to know people. I have found out that while I am still an introvert, I am a lot more open than I thought I was. Professionally, I have gained a lot of knowledge about the kind of doctor I want to be, not exactly the speciality. This means that I want to be an open, and comforting like the palliative care social worker that I observed, as well as warm like the nurse practitioner I observed. I have also learned how to conduct myself in a professional setting. Of course I knew the basic things like being polite and speak properly, but there is more to it, like body language and facial expression. I have also learned how to interact with professionals. Like many people. I went into my first observation a little intimidated and unsure how to interact. I’v learned that the best thing is to remain open to discussion and ask questions, but keep it professional.

I am most proud of how quickly I have settled into college life. I come from a very sheltered home, and I am a first-gen college student, so I knew a lot about absolutely nothing. However, I was able to fall into a kind of flow or routine here, while discovering what things work best for me. I have become even more independent than I already was and I am happy about that.  I am also ecstatic that I haven’t had a mental breakdown from stress… yet. This is because of me learning what works best for me, including study habits, time management, etc. For next semester, I want to work on  getting out more than I do and discover more about the university. I have found a passion of mine already, but I think there are many more things that this university has to offer that is waiting for me.

Reading back my letter to myself, I realize that I had a lot of fears. I feared not making friends, not being used to college life in opposition to my comfortable life at home, being stressed all of the time, and never really knowing what I am doing. I was wrong about a lot of these fears. In the three short months of being here, I have met amazing people and friends that I truly believe will be by my side forever. Surprisingly, dorm life feels just as much like home as my actual home with my family. I guess that’s because home is wherever you are surrounded by people you love. While I haven’t exactly learned how to stop procrastinating, I have learned how to manage my time a little better, and how to take care of myself to prevent stress. Finally, it’s okay to never know what I am doing, because no one really does and that’s what college is for. I am meant to make mistakes and learn from them, and discover what my passions are.

Mortality and Minorities

Mortality and Minorities

Hi, my name is Morgan Hill and I have no idea what a health disparity is, and the SEM confuses me. If you are in the same boat I was before I wrote this post, this may be the post for you.

So, first off, what the heck is a health disparity? It is basically the difference in the health of different groups. The groups could be based on race, ethnicity, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Some examples of health disparities are: minorities are more susceptible to heart disease and women are more susceptible to breast cancer. Of course, there are hundreds of other health disparities.

What is the SEM, and what could it possibly have to do with health disparities? SEM stands for social- ecological model, and consists of 5 different levels. These levels include:

  1. intrapersonal factors (individual characteristics)
  2. interpersonal factors (people around you who may influence you)
  3. organizational factors (organizations that promote behaviors)
  4. community factors (community norms)
  5. public policy (laws that regulate behaviors)

These levels can all contribute to how at-risk an individual/ group is to medical conditions which creates and continues health disparities.

Hopefully you understand health disparities and SEM a little better, now let’s put our knowledge to the test.

According to the CDC, infant mortality is higher in black children than any other race. Compared to white babies, black babies are almost three times more likely to die in its first year of life. This is a very shocking health disparity that really makes me think, what could possibly contribute to such a large difference in the death of babies. So, let’s think of this in terms of the SEM. On an intrapersonal level, black women have less knowledge about what exactly contributes to infant mortality and what a healthy pregnancy consists of, which includes eating healthy, exercise, and vitamins. This means, black women are less likely to make healthy choices like eating healthy and exercising during pregnancy. On an interpersonal level, black women are more likely to live in stressful environments which contributes to infant mortality. There is even a study which proves that black women are more prone to stress because of the racism that blacks are subjected to. On an organizational level, black women have less exposure to healthy food and vitamins, as well as good health care insurance. On a community level, there could be different beliefs about what a healthy pregnancy really means. Finally, on a public policy level, there are no laws that regulate the health of pregnant women.

The greatest intervention that could really help black women would be to educate them on this specific health disparity and ways to have a healthy pregnancy, which impacts the intrapersonal level. This could lead to black women eating healthier, exercising, taking vitamins, and eliminating stress during their pregnancies.      

As I stated above, racism has had an impact on the stress levels of black women which contributes to infant mortality. Do you know of any other specific examples where racism has affected the health of a racial group, other than the quality of a doctor’s work?

Hopefully, my little blog post helped you understand health disparities and the SEM. Let me know you feel about the above health disparity, and if this post helped you understand this week’s topic. 

Thanks for reading!