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College Degrees Lead to Better Health? Not So Fast, Says New Study

Black-College-GraduateBy Carmel Ferrer

Higher education and upward mobility are often touted as a ticket to better health. Yet a new study suggests that the positive health effects of a good education are felt less by blacks than by whites.

Consider this scenario: Four adults are sitting in a doctor’s office. Two are black and two are white. One black adult and one white adult have high school diplomas; the other two have college degrees.

You might reasonably expect that the two college graduates would be healthier than the ones who finished only high school, owing to the improved access to health insurance, fresh foods, and safe housing that higher education often brings. But the study shows that the health benefits of educational attainment for African Americans may in fact be offset by racial discrimination and other associated stresses.

Conducted over the course of 15 years, the data set—part of an ongoing longitudinal study—assessed subjects at age 30, and then again at age 45, for levels of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been shown to contribute to a greater incidence of diabetes and heart disease.

One of the study’s authors, Thomas Fuller-Rowell, PhD, puts it this way: “Among whites, the more educated you are, the better off you are in terms of inflammation across adulthood. Among African Americans, we found no health benefit to being more educated.”

Fuller-Rowell is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar whose research examines how differences in race and social class affect health. “In order to solve the larger health disparities issue, we need to understand what it is about educational attainment that is more stressful for African Americans,” he explains.

As the study points out, stress is a prime suspect when it comes to poor immune function, slow healing, and infections. Long-term stress can cause chronic inflammation, which in turn contributes to a greater incidence of diabetes and heart disease.

“Upward mobility and education are put forward as the best way to improve health disparities, but these findings suggest that eliminating educational disparities will not be enough,” says Fuller-Rowell. “We have to address the differential stresses of getting a higher education along with issues relating to white-dominated workplaces.”

One of the study’s recommendations is to increase programs that not only encourage upward mobility among underrepresented groups, but also “acknowledge and seek to mitigate the challenges of navigating educational and workplace contexts that are often racially and culturally insensitive. “

According to Fuller-Rowell, “We need institutional and governmental programs that are designed to remedy group disparities so that we can address the legacy of racial inequity in the United States.” The study, he notes, defines rather than explains the problem.

“We’re now working on research that gets to the explanation,” he says.





Los Angeles Teen Organizes Concert To Benefit Those Struggling With Suicide and Depression

 Jacob Whitesides

Jacob Whitesides

The Internet has helped make stories available of young girls who are struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression. One local Los Angeles teen has set out to spread awareness and hope to those in need. Delila Brown, 14, an eighth-grader at Flintridge Preparatory School, has organized a concert featuring singer/songwriter Jacob Whitesides to benefit Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, which provides quality mental health care and substance use disorder services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access. The event takes place on January 10that the school auditorium from 3p.m.-8p.m. There will be a “meet and greet” with Jacob for 200 people who purchase $100 VIP tickets. Location: Flintridge Preparatory School, 4345 Crown Avenue, La Canada Flintridge.

As to how Delila came to host the event and chose Didi Hirsh, she said, “I was thinking about what I should do for my 8th grade community service project. I didn’t want to just put out a collection box like a lot of other people I know. So I came up with the idea of having a benefit concert. My teacher helped me find some good charities. She knew about Didi Hirsch and what they do with suicide prevention. That sounded good to me. So we did some research to make sure it was a good organization. Then we had to find someone to do the concert. My dad builds stages and has a friend who is a concert promoter. He told me I should find someone who is not too famous, but up and coming, otherwise it would be hard to get the person to come. I found Jacob Whitesides on YouTube a few years ago and have been following him ever since. My dad’s friend helped me reach out to him through his manager (who happens to be his mom). He wanted to make sure it was a legitimate event and did his own research on Didi Hirsch before he told his manager he wanted to do it. He says he knows a lot of his fans have gone through depression and have been suicidal and he wants to help them.”

Jacob is a 17-year old Internet phenomenon who has six million+ views on YouTube and over one million followers on Twitter.

For more information about Delila, click here.


Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services provides mental health, substance use disorder and wellness services to more than 74,000 children and adults in 11 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties each year. Our Suicide Prevention Center’s Crisis Line has English- and Spanish-speaking counselors available 24/7, is one of five centers nationwide to operate the Disaster Distress Helpline, and offers online emotional support, community training and bereavement support groups for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. Learn more atwww.didihirsch.org.

“Get Ready to R-u-m-b-l-e!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Ding… Ding….The battle is raging and there are no deferments, there is no going AWOL if you are a Christian. No, you are in the battle, automatically, and it is a fight to the finish, a life-or-death conflict. Heed the cry, Prepare for Battle!” Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” For that’s the only way you will be able to stand in the day of battle, and at the end of the day stand victorious… Get Ready to R-u-m-b-l-e… This is the most crucial, most intense battle you will ever face in your life; it is a battle that will last your whole life long.  No matter how young or old you are, no matter how long you have been a Christian, man or woman, boy or girl, pastor or layperson—you are in a battle. It is a spiritual battle. Paul describes it like this: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly place.”  The fight is raging on the line between faith and unbelief, between reliance on God and pride in self, between hope for the future and despair of God’s mercy. Your enemy Satan will try to defeat you, destroy you, and get you to fall away from the faith. He will try to distract you or render you ineffective in the service of the Lord. He will tempt you; allure you, seducing you into great shame and vice. And if that doesn’t work, he may try to lull you into spiritual sleepiness and security, getting you to let down your guard.  Your adversary will attack your mind, attack your emotions, attack your body, attack your relationship, and attack your soul. In all of these attacks, his purpose is to get your eyes off of Jesus.

Needless to say, this is a battle not to stay alive but to stay strong against your spiritual enemies who are a trinity of evil; the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is about who shall have the supremacy, Christ or Satan. It is a struggle for the souls of men. It is a battle to keep people out of Hell. It is a struggle to get people saved. It is warfare, a conflict until the final finish. And every one of us is engaged in it. We are in warfare. That ought to keep us from folding our hands and taking it easy. That ought to make us sit up and take notice. “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1). Your enemy supreme desire is to destroy your joy, your witness, your effectiveness for Christ, and your relationship with your Father. This is not WrestleMania either, this one is for real!  Your fight is not just to exist as a Christian, but to have a winning walk in all areas of your life. The victory assures you that you will live a life of spiritual depth and meaning. Jesus said, “I am come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

I want you to know that the Christian life is not a playground but a battleground. I want you to know that just because you are a church member and you attend church does not mean that you are going to win in life’s fight. I want you to know that you are not going to win just because your church happens to be a Word-preaching, tongue-talking, devil-stomping, deliverance church either. You have got to pay attention and apply yourself to spiritual truths. When you grasp the fact that you win in life’s fights ONLY when you fight the fight of faith, you will be on your way to enjoying victory that God meant for you to have.

The good news is that God has equipped you for the battle. He has given you a complete set of armor, especially suited for this conflict. Paul even lists the pieces of armor you’ve been issued: He says, “… stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for God’s people.” {Ephesians 6:10-18} God is guaranteeing that if you use His weapons, you will win. They are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” Use them, and things will fall before you, is what He is saying. Therefore, arm yourself with the Word of God and face your enemy with full assurance of God’s protection and love. No doubt this will be the most unusual wrestling match in your life.  Prepare for Battle! Put on the whole armor of God, and you will not only live to fight another day; but at the end of the day and on the Last Day, you will stand victorious…. Get Ready to R-U-M-B-L-E!”