Knowing the options
Professor of Health Education Adam Burke's research that shows individuals with lower levels of education or income are less likely to know about alternative medicine practices such as meditation or acupuncture was the subject of a June 18 Healio report. "The implication of this study is that the lack of access to health knowledge is a root of health inequity," Burke said. "The findings presented here reflect larger social issues in health care in the Unites States. Use and non-use of complementary health practices is just one aspect of the ongoing complex process of making informed health care decisions. Socioeconomic factors, including education and income, contribute significantly to this decision-making calculus. Both education and income have been shown to be important predictors of health disparities. Research also reveals that health literacy and communication inequalities may exacerbate such disparities."
Professor of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Nina Roberts commented on African Americans' limited use of U.S. national parks for a July 5 WAMU radio "To the Best of Our Knowledge" report on the history of the parks. "People will say, 'Well, there are no signs in the parks that prohibit you from going.' Now today we know that to be true. However, the reality is that in the 1950s there were signs that limited where people could go, if they could go at all," Roberts said. "Even though people say, 'I didn't live during that time, I don't know what that's [segregation and violence] like,' they learned from their elders, they learned from their grandparents or they've read the stories and they know and [they] are connected to their history and their heritage. That is huge for us to understand [as a barrier]."
A June 19 WalletHub article about challenges faced by working fathers featured comments by Professor and Chair of Psychology Jeff Cookston. "One of the biggest concerns facing working dads today is acquiring a parenting identity that's as coherent as one's vocational identity. Many men in the United States [when they were younger], didn't take care of younger siblings and didn't babysit for money. Therefore they sometimes struggle to know what young children need," Cookston explained. "A more recent concern is that many men want to feel emotionally connected to their children yet may lack the knowledge of child development necessary to help children with their problems. ... In the past men were comfortable simply providing for families, but family roles have become more complex with time."
Everyday middle management
On June 26, Time featured Associate Professor of Psychology Ezequiel Morsella's "Passive Frame Theory" paper that posits that the subconscious mind is far more powerful than the conscious mind, contrary to previous theories. "The information we perceive in our consciousness is not created by conscious thought," Morsella said. "Nor is it reacted to by conscious processes. Consciousness is the middleman and it doesn't do as much work as you think." The paper was the subject of articles from numerous outlets around the world.
A July 6 Inside Higher Ed article referenced a blog post from Professor of American Indian Studies Joanne Barker that compares the public outcry over Rachel Dolezal with the relative lack of media attention over Andrea Smith, who has faced accusations that she has falsely represented herself as Cherokee. "There are certainly many people who knew/know, so why have her ethics and integrity not been questioned or challenged in the same or similar way to those of Dolezal?" Barker wrote. "Why does Smith's fraud get excused on the grounds of 'her good work' but Dolezal does not?"
Professor of Geography & Environment Ellen Hines commented for a July 6 article in Environmental News on the vulnerability of dugong populations near Okinawa, Japan, where there are plans to relocate a U.S. military base. "We [the U.S.] are failing in our stewardship of the environment," Hines said. "I think the U.S. is pursuing something in Okinawa that it might not necessarily get away with in the U.S. ...There are examples of bases where work has been done to protect endangered species there."
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