Category Archives: Public Health

Reducing our Health Care Expenditures

With the recent signing into law of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010), more affectionately known as ‘Obama Care’, much of the health care discussion has turned from deciding what we should do to how we should do it. Many us acknowledge that the current state of our health care needs reformation; the only problem seems to be choosing the best approach. As a licensed out-of-hospital provider, I am in a unique position to observe patients entering our health care system, being treated by our health care system, and exiting (for good or bad) our health care system. I can see that our health care needs are not being met, and I can see both how patients approach their care and how practitioners approach their patients — inefficiently and ineffectively. We need to resolve these issues.

Canada is a fairly close approximation to the United States in locale, geography, economy, and political ideology (Doran, ca. 2000; “GNI per capita”, 2010). It might make sense for us to look towards Canada to see if they have adopted a plan that we could either emulate, or, in the very least, research for a sense of best practices. Kovner, Knickman, and Jonas (2008) describe Canada as having a national health insurance (NHI) system of health care, in that the system is provisioned by a mix of both public and private contributions. Two benefits of Canada’s health care system include a high life expectancy (77.4 for males at birth) and a low cost ($3,165 per capita, or 9.9% of GDP; Kovner et al., 2008, Table 6.2, p. 165). In comparison, Kovner et al. shows that the life expectancy for males in the United States is 74.8 under a system that costs $6,102 per capita (or, 15.3% of GDP). These numbers are significant because we need to understand what we can expect from our investments, and I feel that the average life expectancy is a great benchmark of a health care system as a whole. One worry that I would have, though, is if we were to adopt the same pharmaceutical cost controls, research and development in the industry may suffer, as well as any other technology burdened by cost-cutting measures. I have to assume that the free market would effectively drive these areas, however.

In order to adopt such sweeping changes of our health care system, both liberals and conservatives would have to negotiate their ideals. I am a fairly conservative citizen who believes in smaller government and spending constraints. If reducing our health care expenditures by realigning the modes and methods of health care delivery was realistic, I could be in favor of such a reform. Political agendas aside, Canada’s health care system is certainly one that we should further consider.


Doran, H. (ca. 2000). Politics and political parties in Canada. Internet sources for journalists and broadcasters. Retrieved on April 22, 2010, from

“GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)”. (2010). Data catalog. The World Bank Group. Retrieved on April 22, 2010, from

Kovner, A. R., Knickman, J. R., & Jonas, S. (Eds.). (2008). Jonas & Kovner’s health care delivery in the United States (9th ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, H.R. 3590, 111th Cong. (2010).

Health Promotion: Workplace Health Screening

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus (DM), and colorectal cancer (CRC) are all significant health concerns facing us today (Anonymous, 2005; Bagai, Parsons, Malone, Fantino, Paszat, & Rabeneck, 2007; de Koning, 2009; Korhonen, Jaatinen, Aarnio, Kantola, & Saaresranta, 2008; Matthews, Nattinger, Venkatesan, & Shaker, 2007). In the U.S., CRC is estimated to kill 56,000 people per year, while, in the U.K., the numbers are around 16,000. (Anonymous, 2005). CVD is on the decline but is expected to continue to have a global impact, taking off the most years of life, and DM creates a 4-fold increase of dying from CVD (de Koenig, 2009).

Through efforts at targeting healthy lifestyle changes, the mortality of these diseases has decreased over the past few years, but the numbers remain high, and studies suggest that identifying those people with risk factors or early signs of disease helps to both treat for the disease effectively and decrease the overall incidence (Anonymous, 2005; Bagai et al., 2007; de Koning, 2009; Matthews et al., 2007).

As Bagai et al. (2007) point out, health promotion activities focused on screening are notably scarce within the workplace. Researchers, Hamashima and Yoshida, have shown that early detection of CRC is effective at decreasing overall morbidity (as cited in Bagai et al., 2009). Bagai et al. attempted to apply this reasoning within the confines of a typical Canadian work environment by introducing CRC screening to the men and women of the Toronto police force. With workplace screening programs being limited in Canada, Bagai et al. hoped to show the effectiveness of these screening programs, and they were successful, but unfortunately, the participation in the study was limited.

Another study (Matthews et al., 2007) aims at increasing CRC screening among the residents of the Midwestern States in the U.S. The literature seems to suggest that participation in screening procedures is contingent on education and insistence by the physician, specifically.

Not only does this correlate to the thought that the primary care physician has an important role in screening and detecting disease, but in order for workplace screening programs to be successful, the physicians need to make the recommendation that the patient uses the screening programs available to him or her.

Korhonen et al. (2008) used the waist circumference criteria (women: 88 cm; men: 102 cm) set forth by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to assess the effectiveness of at-home screening for CVD and DM risk by using a simple questionnaire and a tape measure. Taking very little time and requiring little expertise, this process could be incorporated with any workplace screening program to increase its efficacy.

Increasing these screening programs, particularly within the workplace, should target the population most at risk to CRC, CVD, and DM. Targeting specific risk groups to educate about these diseases should ultimately lead to a higher survivability, decreased incidence, and lower morbidity rates. More research should be aimed at studying the effects of more targeted workplace health screenings to understand how this tool could be best implemented to provide better screening for CVD, DM, CRC, and, perhaps, other pathological processes.


Anonymous. (2005). Colorectal cancer: Not an embarrassing problem. Lancet, 366, 521. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67030-4

Bagai, A., Parsons, K., Malone, B., Fantino, J., Paszat, L., & Rabeneck, L. (2007). Workplace colorectal cancer–screening awareness programs: An adjunct to primary care practice? Journal of Community Health, 32(3), 157-167. doi:10.1007/s10900-006-9042-4

Cyranoski, D. & Williams, R. (2005). Health study sets sights on a million people. Nature, 434, 812. doi:10.1038/434812a

de Koning, H. J. (2009). Testing at home—the screening of the future? European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 5–6. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckn120

Geltman, P. L., & Cochran, J. (2005). A private-sector preferred provider network model for public health screening of newly resettled refugees. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 196-199. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.040311

Korhonen, P. E., Jaatinen, P. T., Aarnio, P. T., Kantola, I. M., & Saaresranta, T. (2008). Waist circumference home measurement – a device to find out patients in cardiovascular risk. European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 95–99. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckn090

Matthews, B. A., Nattinger, A. B., Venkatesan, T., & Shaker, R. (2007). Colorectal cancer screening among Midwestern community-based residents: Indicators of success. Journal of Community Health, 32(2), 103-120. doi:10.1007/s10900-006-9038-0

Smith, G. D., Ebrahim, S., Lewis, S., Hansell, A. L., Palmer, L. J., & Burton, P. R. (2005). Genetic epidemiology 7: Genetic epidemiology and public health: Hope, hype, and future prospects. Lancet, 366, 1484-1498. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67601-5

The Impact of Stages of Life on Health

During our lifetimes, we are met with all kinds of obstacles to overcome, whether in business, society, or in moral dilemmas. None as true as in our health and wellness. During each major stage of life, there are many health challenges and risks that must be met and overcome. The importance of identifying challenges in each developmental stage of life is crucial to the promotion and adoption of healthy changes in behavior (Green, 1984). I will explore how lifestyle and behavioral choices, as well as social determinants of health, can impact these health risks and challenges as they relate to the various life-stages. Kolbe (as cited in Green, 1984) indicates a number of “health-related types of behaviors” (p.218), some of which I will address for each life-stage and transition between life-stages. As we transcend each stage of our lives, new and evolving concerns obstruct our path to wellness. We tend to approach our health from the present, the here and now, but it starts before our birth and, with genetics, possibly before conception.

Once we are conceived, we are locked into the care of our parents to be. Whether a mother and father, a single working parent, a single drug-addicted parent, caring grandparents, foster care, the State, or a host of other possibilities, each is suggestive of the environment to which we will be born and/or raised. This environment will surely shape our health from within the womb and health professionals are tasked with providing directed education to the parents-to-be to give the child the best chance of a healthy development.

The importance of maternal health to the fetus has become a focus in public health over the last century, but emerging research is showing how best to approach this topic. “Two principal threats to infant health are low birth weight and congenital disorders including birth defects” (Green, 1984). Though technological advances are proving helpful in high-risk pregnancies (Blincoe, 2007), prevention and education is still key. A recent literature review (Slama et al., 2008) has identified some links between environmental toxins and neonatal health, calling for more specialized research in this area. Exposure by pregnant women to toxins, such as that from pharmaceuticals, cigarette smoke, and contaminated fish, pose significant threats to the fetus (Gwiazda, Campbell, & Smith, 2005; Landrigan, Kimmel, Correa, & Eskenazi, 2004). Family violence towards the mother-to-be also serves a significant threat to children in utero. A study by Amaro, Fried, Cabral and Zuckerman (1990) reveals that women who have a poor support structure, a history of depression, and current alcohol and illicit drug abuse are more prone to be victims of violence, which threatens the pregnancy.

Infancy is the most crucial of the developmental stages for cognitive, social, and emotional development (Centers for Disease Control, 2009). The environment in which the infant development takes place is a key determinant to the level of neonatal and infant health. Lead, as well as other environmental toxins and notwithstanding comprehensive abatement programs, still threatens the development of infants and young children (Gwiazda et al., 2005; Landrigan et al., 2004). As infants develop into toddlers and young children, the threat focus shifts from indirect toxin exposure to direct accidental poisoning and physical trauma.

As children start to walk and gain enough strength and ingenuity to open doors and containers, there is an increased risk of accidental poisoning by household goods (Hockey, Reith, & Miles, 2000). Though accidental poisoning has been mitigated to a degree by the “Mr. Yuck” campaign (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 1971/2009) and the introduction of childproof containers, many poisonings still occur, some being purposeful by loved ones (Davis et al., 1998) but most are accidental. Poisoning included, trauma remains the leading cause of childhood death (Green, 1984, p. 225; Harkins, 2009).

The transition into puberty comes with a change in physiology, both in the body and in the brain. Adolescents must contend with a new found, and usually intense, libido. With this, the adolescent faces the threat of early pregnancy and a host of sexually transmitted diseases. Though public health education efforts seem to be effective on some levels, teenage pregnancy and STD’s remain a constant concern.

Green (1984) also finds that teenagers also find themselves expanding and exploring their environments with their increased autonomy. Increased risk-taking attitudes typically lead to a high likelihood of trauma, which, as is true for younger children, remains the leading cause of death for adolescents, though the associated poisoning is attributed more to recreational and experimental illicit drug use and abuse.

Transitioning into adulthood, the health focus begins to shift towards disease processes and away from trauma, except for, perhaps, motor vehicle and occupational incidents. Green (1984) supposes that this is from a “curtailed freedom [and] increased responsibility for lifestyle” along with “reduced parenting roles, changing bodily functions, [and] reduced activity” (Table 3). It is within these years that other responsibilities can seem to outweigh those of health, probably attributable to a high sense of health as active teenagers and a perceived need to be successful within their personal economy. This loss of health focus can certainly lead to disease processes, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and obesity, which can, in turn, lead to an early stroke or heart attack. It makes sense to consider that behavioral health changes within the early adult years can impact the later adult and senior adult years.

As we age towards our retirement, our picture of health tends to become more obvious. Many of us will suffer from hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels. Some of us will have already suffered a heart attack or stroke, and some others might soon. At this point in life, it is imperative to have frequent check ups with a physician who will probably attempt to control most of the underlying risk factor diseases mentioned above with pharmaceuticals. Though we can try to adopt healthier behaviors, by the time we reach our senior years, most of the physiologic damage is irreparable. There is some promise, however, as “the elderly are found in evaluative research studies to be as much if not more responsive to behavioral change supports than younger patients or subjects” (as cited in Green, 1984, p. 228).

One of these changes is osteoporosis, or a weakening of the calcium bone matrix. As we grow through childhood, our bones are formative and calcium is readily bonded within the bone structure providing the skeletal framework for the rest of our lives. The elderly suffer the most from any calcium deficiency, as the threat of simple fall can lead to a catastrophic injury requiring surgery for correction or a permanent fracture if the person does not have strong enough bones. This will most certainly result in the loss of the person’s ability to maintain his or her activities of daily living which can result in having to rely on residential nursing care. A lifetime of cigarette smoking, heart disease, or generally poor health can lead to the same degree of disability requiring the same type of care.

Skilled nursing facilities, though important for the continual care or rehabilitation of the elderly and infirm, have risks for the in-patient just as any other treatment might. Skilled nursing facilities are a vector of a number of nosocomial infections, usually medically resistant, which can and often does lead to a serious condition known as sepsis, a life-threatening infectious condition that overcomes the bodies ability to self-regulate. Sepsis is largely fatal. Confinement in a nursing facility is also associated with an increased incidence of depression and loss of constitution (Green, 1984).

As we have discussed some of the more prominent challenges that we face at each stage of our lives, we need to understand some of the determinants that affect our health. So long as we are aware of these, we can change our lifestyle and behaviors to minimize the impact of some of the negative determinants. In my opinion, the most important determinant of health is the availability of clean water, then perhaps, the availability of whole food and decent shelter. I feel that these are most important because they are the most difficult to correct as an individual. Following these, I feel that the availability of comprehensive health care is important.

This paper is based on research conducted primarily in developed Western society; therefore, it does not address the problem of extreme poverty and other determinants of health attributed to it. One example of this is provided by Kiapa-Iwa and Hart (2004) who show an increase risk of health with a prevalence of high-risk pregnancy and STD’s in the impoverished region of Uganda. Whether we are discussing Britain’s Liverpool, the Mid-west United States, or Uganda, we must admit that a focus on education and prevention, such as safe-sex programs, safe storage of medications and firearms, defensive driving, and others, seem to be the most effective means of mitigating some of the more controllable health determinants for parents and children, as well as adolescents. Older adults and seniors need to have a comprehensive program directed by their physician, including a healthy diet, exercise, and controlling medical problems such as hypertension and diabetes to increase their health status.


Amaro, H., Fried, L. E., Cabral, H., & Zuckerman, B. (1990). Violence during pregnancy and substance use [Abstract]. American Journal of Public Health, 80(5), 575-579. doi:10.2105/AJPH.80.5.575

Blincoe, A. J. (2007, October). Doppler sonography: Improving outcome in high risk pregnancy. British Journal of Midwifery, 15(10), 650-653. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control. (2009, May 7). Child development. Retrieved from

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (1971/2009). About Mr. Yuck. Retrieved from

Davis, P., McClure, R. J., Rolfe, K., Chessman, N., Pearson, S., Sibert, J. R., Meadow, R. (1998). Procedures, placement, and risks of further abuse after Munchausen syndrome by proxy, non-accidental poisoning, and non-accidental suffocation. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 78, 217-221. doi:10.1136/adc.78.3.217

Green, L. W. (1984). Modifying and developing health behavior. Annual Review of Public Health, 5, 215-236. doi:10.1146/annurev.pu.05.050184.001243

Gwiazda, R., Campbell, C., & Smith, D. (2005, January). A noninvasive isotopic approach to estimate the bone lead contribution to blood in children: Implications for assessing the efficacy of lead abatement. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(1), 104-110. Retrieved from

Hockey, R., Reith, D., Miles, E. (2000, July). Injury bulletin: Childhood poisoning and ingestion [Injury Bulletin No. 60]. Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit. Retrieved from

Harkins, D., (2009). Pediatric trauma in the spotlight. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 16(3), 123-125. Retrieved from 44454466.pdf

Kiapi-Iwa, L., & Hart, G. J. (2004). The sexual and reproductive health of young people in Adjumani district, Uganda: Qualitative study of the role of formal, informal and traditional health providers. AIDS Care, 16(3), 339-347. doi:10.1080/09540120410001665349

Landrigan, P. J., Kimmel, C. A., Correa, A., & Eskenazi, B. (2004, February). Children’s health and the environment: public health issues and challenges for risk assessment. Environmental Health Perspectives, 112(2), 257-265. doi:10.1289/ehp.6115

Slama, R., Darrow, L., Parker, J., Woodruff, T. J., Strickland, M., Nieuwenhuijsen, M., …Ritz, B. (2008). Meeting report: Atmospheric pollution and human reproduction. Environmental Health Perspectives, 1161(61), 791-798. doi:10.1289/ehp.11074

Direct To Consumer Advertising: Patient Education

Today, we are familiar with mass-media marketing of prescription drugs not only to physicians but to patients as well, known as direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA). Though, many argue that a better informed patient allows for more autonomy in physcian-directed care (Buckley, 2004; Lyles, 2002; Sumpradit, Fors, & McCormick, 2002), “the evidence for DTCA’s increase in pharmaceutical sales is as impressive as is the lack of evidence concerning its impact on the health of the public” (Lyles, 2002, p. 73). Concerns abound regarding the ability of the physician to direct the care of a patient driven by DTCA. Many researcher’s, including Buckley (2004) and Green (2007) believe that many physicians prescribe medications solely on the request of the patient without providing guidance or education to the patient.

As a paramedic, I hear the concerns of patient’s regarding physician refusals to prescribe name-brand drugs to patients. These patients are almost militant about their beliefs of their illness and that the physician should honor the requests of their patients. While these patients never seem to find a resolution, I also see many people who trust in their physicians’ role and, with education, discuss with their physicians the possibilities and concerns of advertised medications. As one secondary data analysis (Sumpradit et al, 2002) suggests, though there is no demographic difference in the propensity of patients to ask their doctor for a medication based on DTCA alone versus seeking more information from their doctor, those with chronic conditions and who have poorer perception of health status tend to engage their physicians more often to clarify information garnered from DTCA’s.

I feel that DTCA is can be an empowering tool for the patient as long as it is educational, honest, and forthcoming. Empowering the patient to take an active role in his or her medical care is very important, but this empowerment comes with responsibility to be as fully educated as possible, allowing the physician his or her role in the relationship as the ultimate patient advocate, which some physicians lack.


Buckley, J. (2004). Pharmaceutical marketing: Time for change. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 9(2), 4-11.

Green, J. A. (2007). Pharmaceutical Marketing Research and the Prescribing Physician. Annals of Internal Medicine, 146(10), 742-748.

Lyles, A. (2002). Direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to consumers [Abstract]. Annual Review of Public Health, 23, 73-91.

Sumpradit, N., Fors, S. W., McCormick, L. (2002). Consumers’ attitudes and behavior toward prescription drug advertising. American Journal of Health Behavior, 26(1), 68-75.


Living in such a small community as I do, there is little need for grassroots organizations to assist in the health and welfare of the community. Most of the organizations that are available in my community are business-based, healthcare focused institutions.

Day-Kimball Hospital ( is the center of healthcare and wellness in Northeastern Connecticut. Partnering with the community, Day-Kimball Hospital provides a host of services through its many facilities to provide outreach programs which help to make a healthier community. Employment and volunteer opportunities are available within the hospital for those with a desire to help promote health and wellness within the community.

There are two other local agencies, United Services ( and Quinebaug Valley Youth and Family Services, which have partnered to provide a community-centered approach to the psychological welfare of adults, adolescents, youths, and their families. United Services, Inc. also provides employee assistance programs to workers of participating local businesses. Providing psychiatric consultation services for addiction and recovery, family violence, and family structure support, these agencies promote social change as both entities themselves and through their contact with members of our community.

The town of Killingly, Connecticut, also offers a Little League program where children can learn to play baseball and softball while learning the values of sportsmanship, loyalty, courage, and commitment. This program helps to promote social change through encouraging positive mentor relationships at a young and impressionable age. Little League is also an outlet where interested parties can help through sponsorships, umpiring, coaching, or just attending games and showing support for the program and the kids.

I have volunteered most of my life through the volunteer fire departments in my area, and I still do. I am an active member of the South Killingly Fire Department where I serve as a mentor and instructor in Emergency Medical Services. As an experienced paramedic, the least that I can do for my community is to ensure that those who will come after me are trained appropriately and to a high standard. Though my full-time job requires me to provide the same service in the same area, I enjoy a different role with South Killingly Fire Department which allows me the freedom to help others in a different manner than usual within the same occupational field.

Volunteering with others instills teamwork, dedication, and other core values that lend especially well to the promotion of positive social change. I am glad to help.

Summary – Public Health Theory: Social Cognitive Theory

Building on Social Learning Theory, Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) (as cited in Bandura, 1989; U.S. Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2005) has been a mainstay in psychology since 1986 when Albert Bandura explored the relationship between the individual, his or her personal traits, the physical environment, and society, and how each of theses factors impact and influence the others. Since this time, SCT has shown to have increasing applicability across the spectrum of health education. Using SCT to focus on these relationships, the health practitioner can understand that individuals are able to overcome obstacles to their health with an increased sense of responsibility, motivation, and control (U.S. Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2005). By allowing an individual to understand that they can shape their environment just as their environment shapes them, the individual regains their locus of control, motivation, and sense of self.

A dynamic process, SCT has been used successfully to assess treatment techniques, improving on areas lacking in benefit. Brand and Nyland (2009) identify that 30-35% of patients with anterior cruciate ligament repair do not recover to their preinjury level of activity participation; however, they have identified that, using SCT, bolstering pre- and postoperative self-efficacy levels could ultimately improve a patient’s return to the preinjury activity level. Analyzing and identifying psychological factors which inhibit a sense of self-efficacy, allow the health practitioner more opportunity to improve overall success in surgery and rehabilitation.

In recent years, innovative researchers have been exploring other positive roles where SCT may be employed, including the creation of internet-based grief counseling programs. Dominick et al., (2009) show that identification of an individual’s grieving style can assist with forming adaptive cognitive therapies which, even provided in an online format, can assist the uncomplicated griever by positively affecting attitude, self-efficacy, and increasing knowledge about their personal grieving style.

SCT’s adaptive and dynamic nature allows for the health practitioner to analyze a problem and apply the theory’s constructs to change as much or as little as necessary for the development of a working solution with specific focus and control. In this way, SCT allows program development to follow a structured and informed methodology allowing a higher percentage of success.


Bandura, A. (1989). Social cognitive theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.), six theories of child development. Annals of child development, 6, 1-60. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Brand, E. & Nyland, J. (2009, May). In D. L. Johnson (Ed.), patient outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: the influence of psychological factors. Orthopedics, 32(5), 335-340.

Dominick, S. A., Irvine, A. B., Beauchamp, N., Seeley, J. R., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Doka, K. J., Bonanno, G. A. (2009). An internet tool to normalize grief. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 60(1), 71-87. doi:10.2190/OM.60.1.d

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. (2005, September). Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice (NIH Publication No. 05-3896). Retrieved from

Revisiting My Goals

When I applied to Walden University, there were some choices that I needed make in regards to which program I would enroll in. I relied on my past experience and some of my current goals to direct me to the Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems (BSCIS) with a concentration in Information Systems Security (ISS), a process which truly motivates me. Revisiting my goals and lending them power to help navigate the world of academia, I needed to ensure that these goals still held true. The first assignment in the Introduction to Information Systems class afforded me the opportunity to do just that, while this assignment will allow me to review my goals once again.

My affinity towards positive social change (Schadone, 2009) is unwaivering, as is my desire to achieve a position in the field of disaster management. I do feel, however, that my chosen degree program is ill-prescribed to prepare me for such ambitions. Though there has been a great incentive to involve the engineering sciences into public policy administration (Connolly, 2009), my experience with the BSCIS degree, even with the ISS concentration, leads me to believe that the curriculum does not satisfy my current needs or goals. I do believe that a career in Information Systems Security would provide an opportunity to reach many of my goals, but other academic directions would provide a more solid foundation for me to build upon.

As of this writing, I have decided to research other avenues of academia which might be better suited to providing the core educational opportunities that would benefit me the most. I have decided that the B.S. in Health Studies with a concentration in Health Administration would be a better fit at this time. I hope to use this degree to propel me forward into an opportunity to earn an MPH with a concentration in Emergency Management and, ultimately, a Ph. D. in the same.

As the H1N1 influenza virus reminds us all about the 1918 “Spanish Flu,” there is an undertone of personal responsibility and preparedness in the event of a pandemic (Bornstein & Trapp, 2009), of which conditions are favorable. I plan to take personal responsibility in this and other potential disasters to position myself as an expert in the field helping to promote plans and policies to mitigate and respond effectively to such incidences. Though, I am versed in the computer sciences, I feel that my position as a health official would be better utilized in these times of crisis. Perhaps one day in the future I will return my focus on computing, but until then, my social conscience and sense of community seem to be my only defining factors.


Bornstein, J., & Trapp, J. (2009, June). Pandemic Preparedness: Ensuring Our Best Are Ready to Respond. IAEM Bulletin, 26(6), pp. 6, 14. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from

Connolly, J. (2008, September). Bridging the gap between engineering and public policy: A closer look at the WISE program. Mechanical Advantage, 19. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from

Schadone, M. F. (2009). Information Systems and Me: My Professional and Career Goals. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University.

Communicate Clearly – Streamlining the Communication Process

In my current profession, I am tasked with responding to disaster areas and treating the afflicted and displaced. I must communicate my intent and direction clearly and with a presence of authority. Understanding the various communication modes and methods that different people utilize and respond to, perhaps across cultures or socio-economic backgrounds, will allow me to streamline my communication processes to directly impact the most people in the most efficient manner possible.

Previously, I stated that I only have one long-term personal goal: leave a positive mark on the society in which I live. My attention to this goal is unwavering and will never change. Technology being what it is today, effortless communications across lines previously drawn is paramount in improving society. I value improving the lives of others: individuals and society as a whole. I feel I have already met the outcome objective of Walden University which is one of the reasons why I chose to enroll here. Apparently, others share many of the same goals.

In college, I have found a chance to interact with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds without ever really knowing who they are. Not unlike a double-blind study, the results of the discourse are authentic to the environment. I found this to be quite interesting and attempted to hone my communication skills in such ways as to be a benefit for as many of my classmates as possible. I will never know if I have succeeded in this, but I feel the intent and the experience will stay with me far longer than the results. Being able to communicate clearly with yourself, however simple a task that may seem at first, allows one a clearer understanding of one’s needs and allows for the development of a plan for attaining those goals that meet these needs. That is being true to one’s self!