In 1986 when my twin son was a few months old, he was refused coverage by our medical insurance company because he had a pre-existing condition. As a result, the Atlanta neurologist who — bi-weekly — reviewed and offered diagnosis for our son based on his EEG lab work, always provided us with a per visit invoice of $1,000.00.
Being denied medical care in the United States because of pre-existing conditions or due to stiff insurance premium hikes, is wrong.
It was wrong in 1986. It is wrong in 2017. John Kimbrough had a pre-existing condition. His birth caused a severe umbilical hernia. Upon his delivery by C-Section, the first born of the twins was whisked away from the delivery room due to my high risk pregnancy and anticipated difficult birth. The second twin, Jocelyn, was born with respiratory issues that were resolved within minutes.
John was fortunate. A surgeon who specialized in intestinal procedures with infants, missed his flight home to Asia and was on-call when John arrived in the surgical room. John lived and his surgery that resulted in a star placed where his belly button should be, has been a blessing. Now nearing 31 years of age, John is a young man who withstood bacterial meningitis at age 3 months that resulted in Petit Mal seizures, which left him with partial hearing loss and ultimately, he completely lost his eye sight.
When John’s sight completely left his last functioning eye, we took him to the hospital and after review of his case, we were called into a room with two hospital administrators. They told us that it we would have to provide the hospital with a $1,000.00 cash deposit on John’s surgery to hopefully repair the sight in his right eye. We didn’t immediately have it. Once we produced the money — three days later — the Atlanta hospital scheduled the surgery. Who knows if John had the surgery immediately upon his blindness if he would be able to see today? Yet, today, John bravely begins the full evaluation of a kidney transplant operation. Soon, his older brother, twin sister, father and me along with other family and friends will learn if we are the perfect match for John’s kidney transplant procedure.
My vision dimmed as I contemplated John’s future that would include paying out of pocket for his health care. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
I praised the passage of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It allowed everyone access to affordable health care. Today, I loudly condemn the repeal of ACA by the recent U.S. House approval. Its repeal allows insurance carriers to determine (again) if patients are outright denied coverage or have to pay higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions. The bi-partisan list of pre-existing conditions causes my skin to crawl and tears well in my eyes. One denial is too many. How dare the ill-advised Congress determine the life and death of thousands of our Americans by their vote? Whether fully denied coverage or huge hikes in health care premiums result from what could be the Senate’s passage of the Obamacare repeal, this messing-with the Obamacare health care law is a political debacle.
Looking forward to the U.S. Senate rejecting the bill. For more facts on this matter, see http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factcheck/fact-check-rumors-claims-and-context-on-gop-health-bill/ar-BBANwfG
The season of commencements is one of the most joyful periods in the cycle of life
Even more than New Year’s celebrations, the season of moving the tassels atop the mortarboards from right to left, symbolizes a new season for graduates and their loved ones.
The congratulations are abundant for graduates during this season. Yet, there is that dreaded, proverbial ‘day after’ when anxious thoughts and feelings creep into the brand new graduates’ mental space. It is at this intersection where I will offer a few tips on how how graduates, their parents and other family members, friends and others connected to the newly minted alumni can successfully transition to life after graduation:
- Savor and digest the collective “moment.” Savor by soaking up the positive and challenging words, hugs, kisses, tears and awakening from everyone and everything you encounter. Digest all that is good and store it away.
- Honor those loved ones who were not present — either due to death or inability to travel to the graduate’s location. Thank them for wiling the graduate onto the finish line.
- Save the graduation cards. Place the cards in your vision books or scan them or find another way to store them. Memorize the great words on the cards that resonate with your soul. Make those words your new affirmations or mantras. I still have my high school and graduation cards from three decades ago. When times seem thin or if I just want to celebrate, I refer to those great words of light.
- Focus and listen — even if no one around you is listening — to the words of wisdom from your graduation speakers. Most graduation speakers’ names are forgotten unless s/he is famous. However, all speakers often have great nuggets of wisdom to offer graduates. I have found the graduation speakers’ remarks useful in many areas of my life.
- Take self inventory. What do you know and what do you believe that you don’t know? Honesty is essential for success in this example. Many graduates feel the pressure of suddenly being smart because they are receiving a new ticket to a brighter future. Yet, the hardest question to answer for most folk is: What are you going to do with your degree? If you do not yet have the answer to that question, take advantage of the short period between graduation and your next opportunity to fully answer that question. Don’t try to reach for the ‘rest of your life’ answers; start with what you plan to do during the first the first year to five years.
- Plan your next steps. Begin your next phase of planning with a few categories of intention that feed off of what you just completed from #5 (see above). Place the following heads atop the page of your initial life’s plans: “Personal,” “Professional,” “Financial,” “Spiritual” and “Other.” For instance, I annually review my goals or plans and make adjustments accordingly. If not at first, eventually, all of your categories should be in sync.
- Time for ‘the talk.’ If you have completed #s 5 and 6, then prepare for ‘the talk” with your parents, grandparents, siblings and other loved ones about your next steps. Far too many graduates are anxious because they have not provided honest or well thought replies to your family members who wish to learn about your immediate plans. I know of one student who is terrified of telling her father that she chose a new major and it is journalism and not a technology or science major. She needs to be well-armed with the facts that the new forms of multimedia communication is indeed a STEM career. Salaries are rising for individuals who possess a journalism or public relations and especially a graphic design degree, on average will earn salaries higher than or equal to their counterparts with business or technology degrees.
- Prepare to “adult.” It means that college grads must find ways to make your prospective return to your parents’ home a short stay. We are all aware that student loan debt for the class of 2016 was more than $37,000 per capita, according to the 2017 studentloanero.com website. However, be prepared to save, repay your investment and read to understand your new workplace benefits package. Don’t forget to pay into your retirement. High school grads will be required to minimally wake up yourself and attend courses.
- Relax, relate and release. Call on your mentors to remind you of how much road you have ahead of you to travel. Enjoy the journey and shake off those things that do not benefit you.
- Smile. Enjoy your great life. I see so many graduates frowning before their names were called and they walked across the stage to accept their diploma covers and receive congratulatory handshakes. Similar to what I stated in #9, enjoy every aspect of your life. Graduating from high school or college means you are at an advantage than most of your counterparts around the world.
Ann Wead Kimbrough is the dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida. She is also the mother of three adult children who graduated from high schools, colleges and universities, religious and military programs.
The first rule of blogging is consistency.
I blew the first rule so I will make up for my lengthy absence by filling my blog pages with relevant and regular content that ranges from the public’s right to know via the free press to lessons learned on the campus of Florida A&M University. That range may seem to violate another blog helpful hint and that is to keep the blog topics much more narrow.
However, the beauty of blogging is that is one’s preference as to what to write for the desired audience. My primary audience remains college students, especially multimedia majors, their parents and guardians and colleagues engaged in higher education and communications areas. There are several other curious souls who are populated by former college classmates, family, friends around the globe and the curious.
I will kick off my return to my blog site with a summary of what my primary focus has been regarding my life over the last two years. It has been my physical, mental and spiritual health. A year ago, I made up my mind to kick my addiction to sugar and all foods that are “bad” for me. I just completed my annual physical exam and the results from the lab tests, heart check and related reviews are fantastic. My weight is down more than 60 pounds. It was important for me to move away from the negative eating habits that were leading me to the unhealthy path of diabetes. The benefit is that I feel better in all aspects.
I constantly work on my mental and spiritual health. Thanks to great foundational teachings from the spiritual leaders at Atlanta’s Hillside Chapel & Truth Center and The Word of Truth Christian Center, I’ve spent the last 30 years being deliberate about this important area of my life. The results are still coming in as I have great “teachers” encouraging me to pray without ceasing, meditate more and be still. I don’t always get it right, yet I know how and where to go to receive the guidance to turn around.
I have to shout out the meditations delivered by Oprah and Deepak. The words of T.D. Jakes, Jr., the writings of the late Og Mandino and Florence Shinn, and the countless hours of great messages delivered to me from my favorites Dr. Barbara King, Iyanla Vanzant, Apostle Leon Hollinshed, Pastor Lee Johnson, Na’im Akbar, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Phil, Louise Hay, Rev. Michael Beckwith and so many more. I read everything that brings encouragement so that I may transfer most of my learnings and beliefs to the students enrolled in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Florida A&M University.
So let the renewed blogging journey begin. Stay tuned for exciting stuff that is will not be neatly categorized by topics, people, places and things.
Yes, I am not taking my own advice that I have given my new student bloggers. I know.
FAMU SJGC is delighted with this partnership that benefits HBCUs, all students interested in new media, national and worldwide audiences, and the greater Tallahassee economy.
The Florida A&M University School of Journalism & Graphic Communication recently hosted a “Community Conversation” to update Tallahassee leaders, students and faculty on the progress of the debut of the nation’s first 24-hour news network targeted to African American viewers. See enclosed for the update:
Community Conversation update
The mission of Black Television News Channel network is to produce intelligent programming that is informative, educational, entertaining, inspiring, and empowering for distribution to the network’s African American audience.
BTNC GOALS & OBJECTIVES
- Recruit and train aspiring black journalists.
- Give voice to an under-served community.
- Build bridges to connect the nation’s many diverse cultures.
- Facilitate a national conversation about the many challenges facing our urban communities.
- Engage Black viewers in our nation’s social, economic and political debates.
- Create a platform for Black news-makers to reach their constituents.
- Showcase African American achievers creating positive role models for black youth.
- Produce and…
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I was surfing my television channels early one Sunday morning and heard the Rev. Charles Stanley state, “stress is a killer.” It got my attention. His words also caused me to reflect on personal experiences and the lives of others where it was evident that stress is indeed a killer or near killer. It’s interesting that stress is a neutral element, yet it is our reaction to it that creates the challenges that impact our physical and mental well-being, according studies from the John Hopkins School of Education.
Here are my tried-and-true recommendations on how to eliminate negative reactions to life stressors:
1. Identify your perception of any negative stress element impacting your life. Metaphysical teacher and author Louise L. Hay wrote a book, “You Can Heal Your Life” (Hay House) that offers life-changing advice and exercises to pinpoint key stress points. One of my sons had medical challenges that resulted in the loss of his eyesight at age 8. I utilized Hay’s book and similar works by spiritual authors to transform my life, and therefore, his experiences.
2. Do the work. Seek solutions to heal yourself from negative stress.. My college students often complain that they are “under stress” when they study for exams and complete projects. The obvious recommendations are to read the textbooks, ask questions in and out of the classrooms, and work on the projects upon learning of it.
3. Pray and meditate. Find prayers that relate to your circumstances. There are churches that incorporate quiet time/meditation into its services. Hillside Chapel & Truth Center in Atlanta, GA and Unity Eastside in Tallahassee, FL offer in-service meditation. Hillside has an introductory song to its meditation period, “I need to be still … when the people of the world start to push and shove me, I need to be still and let God love me.”
4. Read, post and live affirmations. There are positive and true statements about what you wish to do and who you are. I just posted something on my wall to motivate me to return to my favorite place in life and that is to write. I am honoring this affirmation by blogging, working on scholarly research articles, and finishing a book.
5. Dedicated exercise. My doctor once informed me of horrible blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol numbers. She again informed me to exercise with a purpose. I increased my swimming and walking to at least five times a week, and my stress level was also reduced.
6. Practice the “Five Agreements.” A powerful book written by Don Miguel Ruiz, boasts a subtitle: “A practical guide to self-mastery.” It lives up to its billing. The five agreements are to 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don’t take anything personally; 3) Don’t make assumptions; 4) Always do our best; and 5) Be skeptical, but learn to listen.” Read, listen and practice what Ruiz outlines and our stress will move to zero!
7. Absorb the content on the OWN Network, especially the Super Soul Sunday programming.
Finally, my favorite practice to remain de-stressed: