Monday, April 26, 2010

Traditional Americans Have Forsaken Tradition - to their Detriment

Saving American Indians' Diet

Decolonizing American Indians' Diet 1
Eli Reichman for The Chronicle Review
Devon A. Mihesuah at home in her kitchen, Baldwin City, Kan., April 2, 2010
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If Devon A. Mihesuah had her way, American Indians would abandon their love of fry bread, quit drinking so much, and embrace a healthy, active lifestyle like that of their ancestors. As a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a professor of global-indigenous-nations studies at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, she has made it her goal to educate her fellow tribe members about the importance of nutrition and fitness.
Mihesuah has long sought to empower American Indians

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Alice Walker NUANCING Alice Walker's Animal Rights Quote - - that made her famous. Oh, well.

That Alice Walker Animal Rights Quote

Wednesday April 7, 2010
Alice Walker
It's one of the most famous quotes in the animal rights movement, and it's attributed to Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple" (Buy Direct):
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men."
The problem is the quote is taken out of context, and Walker wasn't expressing her own views. The source of the quote is Walker's preface to Marjorie Spiegel's 1988 book, "The Dreaded Comparison" (Buy Direct). In fact, the very next sentence is "This is the gist of Ms. Spiegel's cogent, humane and astute argument, and it is sound."
Dreaded Comparison
When Walker wrote those words, she was summarizing someone else's views, not her own.
It's easy to see how something like this spreads. It's a great sentiment, coming from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. And technically, Alice Walker did write it.
When I see the quote, it's rarely cited as coming from Spiegel's book, so it would be difficult to verify. But considering the context, I don't think the quote should be said to describe Walker's views on animal rights.
I was unable to find a way to contact Walker, either on her blog or on her official website.
And while we're discussing Alice Walker, various animal rights and vegetarian/vegan websites describe Walker as a vegan or vegetarian, but as of November of 2009, that is not accurate. Walker wrote in her blog post titled, "So I Thought We Would Just Go On Like This Forever,"
And it isn't as if I'm vegan, as Wikipedia claims. I'm just an ordinary run of the mill mostly vegetarian person who still eats chicken soup when I'm sick and roast chicken when I can't resist. But I could not have eaten Babe.
Babe was a chicken Walker had helped take care of.
My purpose is not to criticize Walker. She tries to be vegetarian and says that Spiegel's book that compares human slavery to animal slavery is based on a sound argument. But I believe that calling her vegan, taking this quote out of context and attributing it to Walker is inaccurate.
And while we're discussing famous animal rights quotes, another one that is questionable at best is the one that is attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
It appears that a rather thorough search for the origins of the Lincoln quote has turned up nothing.
Photo of Alice Walker by Peter Kramer / Getty Images

Bioethics on TV: Watch What Dr. House Does and Do The Exact Opposite.

Bioethics on TV: Watch What Dr. House Does and Do The Exact Opposite.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

SHARP Program ($60 million) - to support improvements in healthcare quality, safety, efficiency by “breakthrough” HIT advances

News Release

Friday, April 2, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

HHS Awards $144 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Institutions of Higher Education and Research to Address Critical Needs for the Widespread Adoption and Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology

Academia and the Research Community will support health providers by delivering more than 50,000 new health IT professionals to the workforce and addressing current and future barriers to achieving meaningful use of health IT
Washington, D. C.— Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has enlisted the talent and resources of some of the nation’s leading universities, community colleges, and major research centers to advance the widespread adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (health IT).
Awards totaling $84 million to 16 universities and junior colleges will support training and development of more than 50,000 new health IT professionals. Additionally Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) awards totaling $60 million were provided to four advanced research institutions ($15 million each) to focus on solving current and future challenges that represent barriers to adoption and meaningful use of health IT. Both sets of awards are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Today’s awards are part of the $2 billion effort to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide for the use of an electronic health record (EHR) for each person in the United States by 2014.
“Training a cadre of new health IT professionals and breaking down barriers to the adoption of meaningful use of health IT are both critical to the national effort to use information technology to realize better patient care,” stated David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology. “The institutions receiving awards today will develop necessary roadmaps to help health care providers and hospitals implement and effectively use electronic health records.”
Workforce Award recipients, by program area, include:
Community College Consortia Program ($36 million):
The Community College Consortia Program provides assistance to five regional recipients to establish a multi-institutional consortium within each designated region. The five regional consortia will include 70 community colleges in total. Each college will create non-degree training programs that can be completed in six months or less by individuals with appropriate prior education and/or experience. First year grant awards are estimated at $36 million. An additional $34 million is available for year two funding of these programs after successful completion of a mid-project evaluation.
Amount of Award
Bellevue College
Bellevue, Washington
$ 3,364,798
Cuyahoga Community College District
Cleveland, Ohio
$ 7,531,403
Los Rios Community College District
Sacramento, California
$ 5,435,587
Pitt Community College
Winterville, North Carolina
Tidewater Community College
Norfolk, Virginia
$ 8,492,793
Curriculum Development Center ($10 million):
The Curriculum Development Centers will develop educational materials for key health IT topics to be used by the members of the Community College Consortia program. The materials will also be made available to institutions of higher education across the country. One of the centers will receive additional assistance to act as the National Training and Dissemination Center (NTDC) for the curriculum materials.
Amount of Award
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama
The Trustees of Columbia University
New York City, New York
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon
*(Will also receive the NTDC awards)
University-Based Training Programs ($32 million):
The University-based training programs will produce trained professionals for vital, highly specialized health IT roles. Most trainees in these programs will complete intensive courses of study in 12-months or less and receive a university-issued certificate of advanced training.  Other trainees supported by these grants will study toward masters’ degrees.
Amount of Award
The Trustees of Columbia University
New York City, New York
University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing
Denver, Colorado
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
George Washington University
District of Columbia
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas
Competency Examination Program ($6 million):
This program will support the development and initial administration of a set of health IT competency examinations. The program will create an objective measure to assess basic competency for individuals trained in short-term, non degree health IT programs and for members of the workforce seeking to demonstrate their competency in certain health IT workforce roles.
Amount of Award
Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale, Virginia
Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) Program ($60 million):
The SHARP program recognizes the critical importance of research to support improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare by creating “breakthrough” advances in information technology. The SHARP program targets four areas where improvements in technology are needed. The four SHARP award recipients, their areas of research focus and funding are:
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ill. - Security of Health Information Technology – Developing security and risk mitigation policies and the technologies necessary to build and preserve the public trust as Health IT systems gain widespread use. $15 million.
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Texas - Patient-Centered Cognitive Support – Harnessing the power of Health IT so that it integrates with, enhances and supports clinicians’ reasoning and decision-making. $15 million.
  • President and Fellows of Harvard College, Boston, Mass. - Healthcare Application and Network Platform Architectures – Developing new and improved architectures that will leverage benefits of today’s architecture and focus on the flexibility and scalability needs for the future to address significant increases in capture, storage and analysis of data. $15 million.
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. – Secondary Use of EHR Data– Strategies to make use of data that will be stored in EHRs for improving the overall quality of health care, while maintaining data privacy and security. $15 million.
Information about the HITECH awards available through the workforce development program is available at and
For information about other HHS Recovery Act programs, see

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at
Last revised: April 02, 2010

Fruit and Almond Couscous

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 Fruit and Almond Couscous

OK, by this point you've probably eaten enough chocolate—especially in the form of bunnies and eggs—to last for at least a week, so today we're delving into the non-chocolate desserts. This simple couscous dish, from VN contributor Kathy Hunt, is so easy that it can hardly be called cooking. But wait, there's more. It's also incredibly delicious, so anyone you serve it to will think of you as a culinary wunderkind. That's what we call a win-win.
Serves 4
What You Need:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dates, chopped
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated margarine
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
Cinnamon for dusting

What You Do:

1. In a medium saucepan, boil the water. Add the couscous, raisins, dates, and apricots. Cover the saucepan and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked couscous and margarine. Rake your fingers through the couscous, loosening the grains and incorporating the margarine with the fruit.

3. Pour in the maple syrup and gently stir. Add the toasted almonds and blend again. Dust the top with cinnamon and serve.
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Millions of Americans are digging their own graves with a knife and a fork

Power Plate's Well-Rounded Diet Could Save Your Life

Power Plate posterAmerica faces an epidemic of diet-related diseases. So it’s time for the federal government to step up to the plate and help spread the word about healthful nutrition. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture revises the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, PCRM is filing a petition asking the agency to throw out its confusing food guide, MyPyramid, and adopt a simple, plant-based alternative called the Power Plate.
Since the first Food Pyramid was introduced nearly two decades ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.
“Millions of Americans are digging their own graves with a knife and a fork,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., PCRM’s nutrition director. “We’ve never had such a desperate need for clear, accurate nutrition advice. But MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthful. We’ve got to do better.”
The Power Plate and the petition, filed with U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have already received media coverage in various outlets, includingThe Des Moines Register and the St. Louis Globe Democrat.
The colorful, user-friendly Power Plate graphic is based on current nutrition research showing that plant-based foods are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. The graphic depicts a plate divided into four new food groups: fruits, grains, legumes, and vegetables. There are no confusing portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate simply asks people to eat a variety of all four food groups each day. offers more information on plant-based diets, as well an interactive Power Plate diagram and quiz.
The USDA’s Food Pyramid, introduced in 1991, was a major step forward compared with past dietary recommendations because it asked people to eat more fruits and vegetables. But the Pyramid, and its later versions, recommend two to three servings each of meat and dairy products daily despite studies showing that these foods increase body weight, raise blood pressure, and drive up diabetes risk. The average American now consumes more than 215 pounds of meat a year—up from 144 pounds in 1950.
Learn more about this healthful alternative to the federal Food Pyramid at

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Learn more about this healthful alternative to the federal Food Pyramid