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Author Archives: WSS News

African Americans and Prematurity: The Increased Risks Many Moms Face

Dr. Michael Forbes

Dr. Michael Forbes

By Michael Forbes, MD, FAAP, Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes Analysis, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, Ohio

There are an alarming number of preterm births in the U.S., with more than a half million babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation) each year. For reasons unknown, African Americans experience the highest rate of prematurity at 17.1 percent, which is dramatically higher than the national average of 12 percent. In fact, the risk of preterm birth for African-American women is approximately 1.5 times the rate seen in Caucasian women.

Because they were not able to fully develop in their mother’s womb, preemies have unique health needs, often requiring specialized medical attention. Preemies often have underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems, putting them at increased risk of developing a serious infection from a common respiratory virus known as respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV). RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalizations for babies during the first year of life, and affects nearly all babies by age two.

Premature infants:

  • Are two times as likely to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-related symptoms compared with infants born at full term
  • May stay two times longer in the hospital than infants born at full term who are hospitalized for severe RSV disease

 Parents of all babies, particularly preemies, should be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of severe RSV disease:

  • Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)

Parents of babies who may be at high risk for severe RSV disease should talk to their doctor to learn all the ways to help protect their baby.

Visit www.rsvprotection.com for more information.

Getting Covered Means I Get to Focus on What Matters: My Kids

Shellie Braggs and her children

Shellie Braggs and her children

By Shellie Braggs

I work hard helping at-risk young adults in Dallas get the job training and life skills they need to make better lives for themselves and their families. I know how important that is because I’m a single mom trying to do the best by my children.

My kids are great, and I want only the best for them, but one thing I wasn’t always able to do was provide health insurance for them. I don’t get insurance through my employer because I’m a contractor, and I couldn’t afford the $500 monthly premiums for my children and myself.

Not having health insurance for the past seven years, my children were uninsured for about a year, has weighed heavily on my mind. I’ve had to make tough decisions. I managed to cobble together free or inexpensive health services through local clinics and my church, but it was never easy.

I felt helpless being unable to provide something as basic as health care to my family.

That’s why I was thrilled to find out that I could find affordable, quality health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. It was cheaper and easier than I had thought.

All I had to do was log onto HealthCare.gov and explore my options. I selected a Silver plan, in no more than 15 minutes! I qualified for reduced costs, so my premium is only $131 a month. And my children are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Having insurance that covers preventive services is going to help me stay healthy and catch potential problems early, a great peace of mind I’m grateful to have. I’ve had two repeat mammograms that I had to pay for out of pocket, and I need to monitor myself for possible growths. My new insurance covers mammograms at no additional cost.

It’s a great relief. If you’re sick, you can’t take care of your kids.

So I’m very excited to finally be covered. As a single mom, I have an obligation to take care of myself and my kids and now I can focus on that.

My coverage went into effect on March 1. I urge all moms and dads to get the security that comes with a Health Insurance Marketplace plan. Get covered through the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov by March 31, the end of open enrollment for the current year. Don’t delay.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Build Bridges for Youth

kappa

RIVERSIDE, CA- The Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., was presented with an award of participation and contribution at the 17th Annual Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Youth Symposium. The theme was “Partners in Progress: Working Together to Build Bridges for Youth”. The award recognized the Chapter’s help in putting on the symposium this year. The recognition was made by Dana Young, Basileus of the Inland Empire Sigma Gamma Rho Alumnae Chapter and Joann Loveless, Immediate Past Grand Basileus. Polemarch Dr. Samuel Gibbs accepted the certificate for the Riverside Alumni Chapter members in attendance. The Chapter, through its Guide Right Program, awarded a ThinkPad laptop computer to 13 year old Long Beach student Samaiya Richardson. Other organizations who participated included the March of Dimes, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The Girl Scouts, USA Swimming/Swim 1922, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The Kappa’s NEA Priority Schools Coordinator Edward Moore, Jr. VADM USN (ret) stated the purpose of the symposium. “The youth symposium is a signature event for Sigma Gamma Rho…it is their major community engagement and social service project, and is primarily targeted toward middle school/junior high school youth. It was run as a series of youth oriented and age appropriate workshops that included presentations on self esteem, health issues, a ‘step show’, music, available community services, and interpretive dance performances. The symposium started at 10 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. this past Saturday (same day as the Kappa Black and White Ball, which made it a very busy day for the Chapter).” He went on to state that the “local Inland Empire Sigma Gamma Rho Alumnae Chapter (Theta Pi Sigma) has as one of their members, the Immediate Past Grand Basileus, so the focus is even sharper for the local membership to put on a successful event.” This year the Sigma symposium was conducted at Amos Temple CME Church of Riverside where Pastor Marrix Seymour, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, ministers.

In 2011 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., celebrated its 100th year. Through its Guide Right Program the fraternity continues to partner with other fraternities and sororities, schools, and community based organizations in mentoring youth.