PR Kids President, Karson Baldwin (that’s me!) with my new hero, the new U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy!
Fort Myer, VA –
Yesterday was a day I will never forget. It was an awesome honor to be invited to the Swearing-In and Change of Command Ceremony for the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA.
The Surgeon General is considered “America’s Doctor” and his job is improving personal and public health for the USA. Dr. Murthy gave a really inspiring speech about his childhood and what made him decide to become a doctor. In his speech he also talked a lot about health care being a basic civil right for all and not a privilege for some and he talked about racial and economic health disparities. At Project RACE, one of the main things we care about is equal rights in health care for multiracial people. I think Dr. Murthy is now one of the most important people in our country, because he has the power to help with that.
But he was not the only big time government person there. Health and Human Service Secretary Burwell introduced Vice President Biden who was there to read the commission and lead Dr. Murthy in the Oath of Office. There were lots of other officials in the ceremony and in the crowd and I got to talk to three pharmacists at the FDA about including multiracial people in medical research!
The ceremony was at Fort Myer in Virginia and included all kinds of military activities because the Surgeon General leads the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps of 6,700 uniformed health officers “who serve around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of our nation and our world.” There were bells, medals, frocking, marching and more. One of the coolest moments was when the Deputy Surgeon General announced to Dr. Murthy that they were “awaiting his command” and the new Surgeon General declared, “POST MY COLORS!” (like a BOSS!)
Dr. Murthy went to Harvard for undergrad and Yale for Med School so we had to talk a little Harvard-Yale sports rivalry.
The highlight, of course, was when my mom and I got to talk with Dr. Murthy and his fiance, Dr. Alice Chen, after the ceremony. All that Dr. Murthy has accomplished is crazy impressive. Being the youngest Surgeon General ever is crazy impressive. Being the first Indian Surgeon General ever is crazy impressive. But welcoming a 13 year old advocate to share in such a special day and taking the time to be so warm and humble is most impressive of all!
Mom, Dr. Murthy, Me and Dr. Chen
Dr. Murthy started his first non profit when he was 17 years old!
Over the course of two studies, Jennifer Eberhardt and Jason Okonofua, a Stanford psychology professor and graduate student, respectively, presented a total of 244 K-12 teachers (53 in the first study, 191 in the second) from across the country with a fictional student’s disciplinary records. The records were labeled with either a stereotypically black name (Deshawn or Darnell) or a stereotypically white one (Greg or Jake). In either case, the student had committed two minor offenses, insubordination and classroom disturbance. After reading about each infraction, the teachers were asked about their attitudes toward the student.
Though the two “students” were viewed similarly after only one infraction, teachers who had the black student’s file were more likely to feel “troubled” by the student’s behavior and to recommend more severe punishments for him after the second instance of misbehavior.
In the second of the two studies, researchers also asked the teachers to rate how certain they were of the student’s race. They found that teachers who were more sure that the student was black were also more likely to feel that the student was a “troublemaker” and that his behaviors were part of a pattern.
In addition, the researchers asked the teachers to imagine whether or not they would recommend the student for suspension in the future; despite having only been shown minor instances of misbehavior for both students, teachers were more likely to say they would eventually recommend suspending the black student than the white one.
Taken together, the authors say, the studies’ results suggest that teachers tend to respond to patterns of misbehavior rather than students’ individual actions. According to the researchers, that matches up with the real-world data. They found that racial disparities in school suspensions were even larger when looking specifically at students who had been suspended more than once.
The study’s authors call this phenomenon the “black-escalation effect” and say that it shows definitively that teachers’ attitudes play an important role in the school-discipline racial disparities. They attribute the results to the negative stereotypes often applied to black students.
Teachers involved in the study were predominantly white and female, much like the teaching profession. That said, the study only involved male students’ records.
The authors point out that given the connection between discipline and a student’s success, both academically and outside of school, it’s worth taking a closer look at how a teacher’s views of students can have an effect even when it’s just a matter of minor misbehavior.
Over the weekend my son Ryan and I went to San Jose, California to be part of a BE THE MATCH 5K walk/run. We represented Project RACE as partners with BE THE MATCH, which is the national organization trying to match patients who have blood diseases with volunteer bone marrow donors.
Having a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor is usually the last chance for many patients. Yes, without one, they will die. Finding a related donor is best, but even that does not completely tip the scales to save a patient. These are some of the things we did:
Talked with people. We were reminded of our earlier bone marrow donor drives and how far medicine and awareness has taken us over the past 25 years;
We listened. We remembered the unbelievable bond that is established by becoming a donor. We heard about a 14-year-old boy who had his transplant when he was a year old.
We applauded the man who was celebrating his own birthday and his one year birthday—a year to the day since he had his bone marrow transplant.
We were reminded of how often multiracial patients are stuck waiting because they need a donor who is the same race and/or ethnicity, and how we try so hard to enlarge the pool of multiracial donors.
We learned that anyone between the ages of 18 and 44 can sign up to become a possible donor.
Rural African-American women had lower rates of depression, mood disorderAfrican-American women who live in rural areas have lower rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and mood disorder compared with their urban counterparts, while rural non-Hispanic white women have higher rates for both than their urban counterparts, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
MDD is a common and debilitating mental illness and the prevalence of depression among both African Americans and rural residents is understudied, according to background in the study.
Addie Weaver, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and coauthors examined the interaction of urban vs. rural residence and race/ethnicity on lifetime and 12-month MDD and mood disorder in African-American and non-Hispanic white women.
The authors used data from the U.S. National Survey of American Life, a nationally representative household survey, which includes a substantial proportion of rural and suburban respondents, all of whom were recruited from southern states. Participants included 1,462 African-American women and 341 non-Hispanic white women.
Overall, when compared with African-American women, non-Hispanic white women had higher lifetime prevalences of MDD (21.3 percent vs. 10.1 percent) and mood disorder (21.8 percent vs. 13.6 percent). And non-Hispanic white women also had higher prevalences of 12-month MDD than African-American women (8.8 percent vs. 5.5 percent), according to the results.
The study also found that rural African-American women had lower prevalence rates of lifetime (4.2 percent) and 12-month (1.5 percent) MDD compared with their urban counterparts (10.4 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively). The rates were adjusted by urbanicity and race/ethnicity.
The same was true for mood disorder, with rural African-American women having lower adjusted prevalence rates of lifetime (6.7 percent) and 12-month (3.3 percent) mood disorder when compared to their urban counterparts (13.9 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively), according to the results.
However, rural non-Hispanic white women had higher rates of 12-month MDD (10.3 percent) and mood disorder (10.3 percent) than their urban counterparts (3.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively).
“These findings offer an important first step toward understanding the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on MDD among African-American women and non-Hispanic white women and suggest the need for further research in this area. This study adds to the small, emerging body of research on the correlates of MDD among African Americans,” the study concludes.
Addie Weaver, Joseph A. Himle, Robert Joseph Taylor, Niki N. Matusko, Jamie M. Abelson. Urban vs Rural Residence and the Prevalence of Depression and Mood Disorder Among African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women. JAMA Psychiatry, 2015; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.10
Did you know that every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma? People of multiracial heritage have a particularly difficult time finding matches for the life-saving bone marrow transplants they need. That’s why Project RACE is teaming up with the Be The Match Foundation to participate in the Be The Match Walk+Run event in San Jose, CA on Saturday, April 18! Project RACE is proud to be a partner with Be the Match for this this #BTMWalkRun.
You can register for the event here. Stop by our Project RACE area where you can get a cool box of crayons!
I spent two days recently involved in a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. Call them NAC, as in they have a knack, except they don’t. I had my usual reaction to their meetings. I’ll explain to you how they go.
They start with almost three hours of opening remarks, executive remarks, and a short 2020 Census update. They pat each other on the back and tell everyone what they and others did during the last six months when they last met. I intentionally skip the first three hours, so I’m already ahead. OK, now down to some real work. Oops, it’s lunch time!
After lunch, everyone was ready for a siesta, but there was work to be done. Presenters came up to the front of the room with their slideshows in hand. One woman made a very strong point of saying things like “we use actual people!” and “….again, real people.” Lest we forget about the fake people they must use to project inaccurate data.
What stood out for me was that everyone there was supposedly a hand-picked expert on race and ethnicity and was there to speak of group issues. However, they all drew on theirown races or ethnicities. From the long-haired woman who talked about Hawaiians, to the white woman staunchly advocating for American Indians, to the slow-talking man who represented the MENA (Middle Eastern North African) group, they each pushed their own agenda.
The problem for the multiracial population is that there was no one there to represent us. I always expect to see at least someone else from the multiracial groups there, but no—never. Eric Hamako, who was on the NAC at one time, did nothing when he was there and even less since. The Internet is filled with groups that claim to represent multiracial people, so where are they? By the way, Project RACE not only spent two days listening, but sent a statement, which was disseminated to all the committee members.
It is beyond me how the Census Bureau holds a two-day meeting on race and ethnicity and says so little. I don’t know how or why they do that. I do remember one thing I heard from Nicholas Jones, Census Bureau Race Guru, “We have ongoing dialogue with OMB.” I’m glad they have that ongoing dialogue, because we sure don’t. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is staying very quiet and all we know is that this committee and the Census Bureau will have their recommendations to OMB sometime in 2016.
Then what happens? This is very important. The multiracial population has one last chance to get our recommendations heard by OMB. One last chance. OMB and NAC have already received over 4500 letters from the MENA community. The only way to let OMB and the Census Bureau know that we want them to use the respectable term “multiracial,” is to have a letter writing campaign. Unless we, the multiracial community, can pull together, as we did in the 1990s, and come to some way to do this thing together, don’t count on any letters. That would truly be a shame.
Some individuals in the multiracial community do not understand what the government has to do with race and ethnicity, and why we should worry about a box on the census form. As one individual said about multiracial people in one group, “ They are more concerned about checking off a box under the term “multiracial” rather than being concerned about the practical implication of that. I for one do not need a box on the Census to validate my identity.” Checking a box on the census is not meant to validate racial identity. This poor fella is so mislead. Many people who came before him and laid the groundwork for multiracial gains would be turning over in their graves to see how he has twisted the meaning and work of the multiracial advocacy.
I don’t care all that much about the boxes on the census, which happens every ten years. It’s what happens between those years and how the boxes affect people’s perceived identity that matters. When OMB decides on racial categories and nomenclature, it does so for each and every government agency. It affects the forms that are used not only by the Census Bureau, but when we apply for jobs, finance our homes and our cars, drive, go to the hospital and on and on. It affects dollars our communities get and the terminology other people use to describe us, especially our children. Every minority group in America “gets” how important it is, even though one multiethnic person in Southern California obviously doesn’t get it.
Therefore, I am stating that Project RACE will work with any organization or individual to add the term “multiracial” in some way to the 2020 Census. All you have to do to receive important notifications is put yourself on the email list at our website www.projectrace.com. It’s up to you now.
Jennifer Cramblett’s lawsuit over an alleged sperm bank error that led to the birth of her biracial daughter has been moved from Cook County to DuPage County. An Ohio resident, Cramblett is suing the Midwest Sperm Bank in Downers Grove.
Today the U.S. Census Bureau created an official Instagram account. The account will provide an outlet for the public to view the story behind the numbers, starting with the 2015 Census Test in the Savannah, Ga., area. Follow the Census Bureau on Instagram at @u.s.censusbureau.
‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah: Everything You Need to Know
A rundown on the South African comic who will replace Jon Stewart at the ‘Daily Show’ desk
When it was announced today that 31-year-old comic and Daily Show “Senior International Correspondent” Trevor Noah would replace Jon Stewart at the helm of Comedy Central’s flagship faux-news show, you could almost hear millions of fingers tapping the comedian’s name into Google all at once. Though there may not be a lot of information to tell you why he beat out your personal successor of choice, we can give you an idea what you need to know about Noah with a few, brief bullet points.
The comic’s unique background feeds his comedy
Born of a Xhosa mother and a Swiss-German father in 1984, Noah’s birth was considered illegal by South African law. The friction and challenges of growing up biracial in South Africa fueled some of his earliest comedy, and it was an issue he addressed at length in his first tours — including several runs of shows in the U.S. in 2012 — which were alternately called “The Racist” or “Born a Crime.”
Noah is something of a comedy wunderkind
He’s only been doing stand-up comedy for eight years. That may sound like a lot — remember, current “Weekend Update” cohost Michael Che had only been working comedy clubs for a bit before he was writing for SNL. (He was also recruited, albeit briefly, as a TDS correspondent as well.) But when Noah first started out, he’d never done so much as an open-mic night before; friends dared him to get onstage one night, so he did, and a star was born. His natural storytelling abilities won over early audiences in South Africa as he figured out the craft of telling jokes in reverse. Getting up to speed on American politics will almost certainly present the same sort of steep learning curve, but Noah is a quick study. For example, he decided to study German a few years ago so he could perform comedy in his father’s native tongue; he now counts it among the seven languages (!) he fluently speaks.
He was already a rising, international star when he started on The Daily Show
It’s fitting that when Canadian superstar comic Russell Peters went on tour in South Africa, he chose the young comedian to open for him. Noah’s popularity on his home continent is in part responsible for the now-burgeoning comedy scene in South Africa; his heritage and subject matter speaks to audiences that traditionally don’t have access to — or a strong connection with — traditional stand-up. With two million Twitter followers, early converts such as Eddie Izzard singing his praises, and highly successful showcases at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Fest, Noah was far from unknown when he contributed his first piece on TDS back in December.
Noah’s TV experience extends beyond The Daily Show
He appeared on a South African soap opera when he was 18, and later hosted dating and celebrity dance programs as well as his own talk show, Tonight With Trevor Noah. When he finally made it to the U.S. in 2012, he gave a pair of surprisingly assured performances on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show and Late Night With David Letterman. Thus far, of course, he’s only contributed to TDS three times, but this relatively low number will be undoubtedly skyrocket in the near future as he ramps up to take over hosting duties.
Under Noah, the show won’t have nearly as many spit-takes
When Jon Stewart is upset, he shows it: He fumes, rages, curses and sputters as he tries to process the latest bit of political insanity. Trevor Noah is essentially the opposite: His stage presence is cool, contained and unruffled; anyone who wants that sort of palpable vitriol with their political analysis will have to wait for Lewis Black’s rare appearances. On the other hand, Noah has an incredible ear for the way people talk and can reproduce accents almost effortlessly. So where Stewart relies heavily on two characters — the nebbish and the Jersey meathead — Noah will have almost assuredly wide array of parts to play. Welcome to the show.