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Creating Holiday Baskets for Hunger

 A teenage girl, her younger brother, and her younger sister stand outside a window peeking in on a beautiful feast. The white tablecloth barely shows through the many dishes laying on top of it. The table is adorned with turkey, ham, potatoes, bread, vegetables, desserts, candles, wine, water. The people at the table are dressed well with diamond rings and gold necklaces. They are laughing and happy enjoying the fellowship of their friends and family. A fire burns next to them, and their designer coats hang in the cloak closet.  The teenage girl, her brother, and her sister are hungry. Their pockets have a bit of change. They are planning to use it to go to the store to buy some bread, eggs, cheese, and potatoes for dinner at home for the holidays. They dream about the day they can eat such a fine meal. For now, they can only watch others enjoy it through a window.  The teenage girl and her brother and sister are in tattered clothes. Their shoes, once white, are now browned by the dir
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Domestic Violence Survivors Aren't Serial Killers

Have you ever met some random woman and wondered what her past was? What is her story? Why did she move 1,000 miles from home to a place where she only knew a few people that she seemed to have strained relationships with? What is her deal, anyway? Is she a criminal? Perhaps, is she a serial killer? Or, maybe is she a domestic violence survivor? Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation states that there is no one single trait that identifies a serial killer, there are traits that are common among different serial killers. The Office of Justice Programs identifies certain traits that will be outline below. In contrast, the traits of domestic violence survivors will also be outlined using statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence .   *Serial killers are typically white males between the ages of 25-34. *Domestic violence victims can be any race and are typically between the ages of 18-24. *Serial killers tend to be intelligent or at least street smart. *Domest

Pass the Potato Salad

It's Gameday. You have everything ready for your tailgate. Crackers, cheese, beer, pickles, meat for the barbeque, baked beans, stuffed squash, broccoli cheddar balls, potato chip cups, dip, wings, and good old potato salad. Potato salad -- that delicious mixture of eggs, potatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise all served up to make the day. Of course, you have to be careful that the potato salad doesn't become a foodborne illness villain. Potato Salad and Foodborne Illness One of the first assignments in my graduate school epidemiology course was identifying the culprit of a foodborne illness outbreak from a picnic. The ultimate perpetrator....potato salad. Mayonnaise is often blamed for causing outbreaks, but that is not the case. Potato salad is a combination of many different ingredients (see my recipe below), and those ingredients put together create an environment for bacteria to grow. Many of the ingredients in potato salad have low pH. The pH registers the acidity level of di

The Rise in Healthcare Cybersecurity Risks, and How to Combat Them

 Guest post by Brad Smith Image from Unsplash.com   The problem of cyber-attacks against the healthcare sector is not new. Over the past year, though, there has been a massive spike in the rate of attacks happening against this sector. This calls for serious concern from healthcare players and regulators lest they fall to this new wave of cyber pandemics coursing through their ranks.   What’s the Problem? Hackers going after the healthcare sector know that they can score a lot of good data and money at the same time. Data theft exposes sensitive details such as patient name, social status, social security number, credit card details, insurance information, and more. Selling such data in whole or parts on the black market can fetch a pretty sum for the hacker who lands it. In some other instances, ransomware attacks are the preferred mode. While hacks against this sector have been going on for a long time, the pandemic brought out the worst in these hackers. In

Two Tips for Summertime Skin Cancer Prevention

Guest post by Reyzan Shali, MD   It’s summertime, and for most people, that means fun in the sun. Now I’m all for having fun, but I wanted to share some important information about how exposure to the sun can ruin the fun. In my years as a friend, sister, mother, and family care doctor, I have heard a lot of comments about the sun, and more specifically, about getting tan.  Stories people have told me I used to rub olive oil all over my skin and then go sit in the sun. I used to apply baby oil before I lay in the sun and had a shinier tan as a result. I grew up in Southern California and baked myself for years from lying on the beach. I went to the beach whenever I could, and who remembered to apply sunscreen? What? You’ve never gone to get a tan before? I don’t like tanning; I love tanning! Things I have been told about my tan (or lack thereof) Please cover your legs, or get a tan. You know, you would look better tanned. The impact of the sun, and artificial sun in the form of a tanni

Stretch to Keep Moving

 I woke up at 5:00 am this morning before my alarm even went off. I rolled over, checked my phone, took a drink of water, and stretched as I got out of bed. My little dog stretched, too. She stretches as she begins every day. It's her way of telling me she is ready to get moving.  I took my dog for a walk around the apartment complex, and then we both came back in and ate breakfast. I drank a bottle of water (from a reusable water bottle) that I had cooled over night, and I dressed and headed for the trail. I arrived at the trail at 6:15 am.  We have been having a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures have been hovering around the 100 degrees mark for weeks now. During that time, it's been important to stay hydrated. I drink a 24 ounces bottle of water at every meal time and at least one or two more bottles of water the same size during the day.  Photo by Jeanette R. Harrison, MPH Drinking water allows your body to function properly. Your body has something call

Get Your Pap Smear, Girl

  I'm about to say something shocking. Are you ready? I'm a big fan of pap smears. You may be thinking, "What? Why?" Because getting a pap smear may prevent cervical cancer and may save your life. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 14,480 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 and of those cases, 4,290 women will die of cervical cancer.  What Is A Pap Smear? A pap smear is a test that checks for early changes in the epithelial cells in the cervix. Epithelial cells are all over the body, and the cervix is one of those places. The cervix contains squamous epithelial cells and columnar epithelial cells. The cells have similar functions but have different locations within the cervix. Their names come from how they look under a microscope. They may be remembered as squamous epithelial cells look "squashed" and columnar epithelial cells look like columns.  Pap smears usually occur at the time of the pelvic exam. Many times p