Science, politics and race

By Jamila Bey

We have two special guests today to discuss the need for inclusivity in science realm. Dr. Danielle Lee, The Urban Scientist, is a biologist and expert in animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology. Dr. Chris Emdin is an Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Both join the Sex Politics And Religion hour to talk about the fact that there’s much work being done to make science more inclusive.

From code-switching to becoming an economy of entrepreneurs, science is at the heart of what we do, but we’re unfortunately missing the story that much of what’s happening.

Part 1:

Download audio file

Part 2:

Download audio file

National Science and Technology News Service

By Jamila Bey

Making sense of the entire world around us requires that people hold some understanding of science.

Unfortunately, from the water we drink to the medicines and foods we ingest, Americans’ understanding of science concepts and practices show the need for further education. For minority populations, the picture is even more bleak. A new organization, founded by scientists and journalists has been created to help to fix this. The National Science and Technology News Service, or on twitter @TheDarkSci, was founded with the mission to tell better science stories, and to do so with an eye toward ethnic media and audiences. Jamila is a founding member of the NSTNS, as are the panelists for tonight’s show. Dr. Danielle Lee, The Urban Scientist, is a biologist and expert in animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology Dr. Caleph Wilson, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and co-chair of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council, and Dr. Marshall Shepard, professor of geography in the University and president of the American Meteorological Society. The discussion surrounds how to support science in the US, and how to encourage more students to consider science as their career.

Part 1

Download audio file

Part 2

Download audio file

Part 3

Download audio file

Follow Dr. Danielle Lee on Twitter @DNLEE5

Follow Dr. Caleph Wilson on Twitter @HeyDrWilson

Follow The National Science and Technology News Service on Twitter @TheDarkSci

Study Shows Positive Health Effects for Spa-Goers

From a decline in weight and reported stress levels to improvements in anxiety and depression levels, a spa getaway just may be what the doctor ordered. A recent study has shown that visitors to health and wellness spas experience positive short- and long-term health effects.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, to discuss his spa research.

Suicide Replaces Car Accidents As No 1 Cause of Death by Injury in US

New research shows auto accidents are no longer the leading cause of death by injury in the US. Suicide is now the top reason. Voice of Russia Jamila Bey talks on the issue with Dr. Herbert Smitherman Jr., the Assistant Dean of Community and Urban Health for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and a member of the Detroit Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency Board.

Doctor Smitherman, does this surprise you that more people are dying at their own hand than from auto accidents?

When we see downturns in the economy, when you see society or country actually at war and the troops are transitioning back and forth between war zones and the general community, you see in those times high suicide rates. It didn’t surprise me, especially with respect to the auto industry traffic measures across the country that are really helping to address a lot of accidents, especially deadly. And our response time to those accidents and getting people the emergent care they need really save a lot of lives. Safety initiatives are really broadening in this country. So the traffic fatality going down is not unexpected. I would say just because of the downsides in the economy and the stress on families within our society I think it didn’t surprise me.

One of the things that you do there is you consider the mental health of the entire Detroit Wayne County Community there. Can you give us a snapshot? The rest of the country knows well that Detroit is, some would argue, pretty much ground zero for what is happening to the American economy these days. And I imagine that the mental health of the community at large would very well represent what happens when a community loses its major industry and many people experience prolonged unemployment.

Well, yeah. We’re seeing major depression and rates of it increase. We’re seeing especially life stress issues and people coming into their providers for life-stress issues, be it losing a home, divorce, losing one’s job and the financial social stress they cause. We’re seeing a dramatic spike in health concerns within our community, definitely.

What about the children of people who have lost their jobs or homes?

The poverty rates for children are going up. And the stress that this cause on family structures again is significant. We have one out of eight children that go hungry every day in the US and clearly those things are creating significant stress on our kids in lots of ways – people acting out in school, issues of obesity, higher rates of behavioral issues in the classroom etc. Yes, we’re seeing all of these things play out within out city as we struggle with some of the national issues of increased unemployment, joblessness and heightened foreclosure rates that are really devastating for families and communities.

‘Black Sun’ Documentary Explores Minorities in STEM Fields

When examining those working in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field, those with an observant eye may notice an obvious absence: the presence of minority youth.

But one assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona and expert in astronomers of the African disaspora is hoping to show a pair of minority scientists who are taking on a celestial project for the greater good.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Jarita Holbrook, who launched a campaign to fund the project, to talk about the two scientists behind the upcoming documentary “Black Sun.”

Child Abuse and Adult Obesity

Another factor that may in part explain a link between behavior and obesity in African-American women is the subject of this conversation.

Pediatrician with the Boston Medical Center, Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett shares the data the paper she authored, “Child and Adolescent Abuse in Relation to Obesity in Adulthood: The Black Women’s Health Study.”

More than 33,000 women were studied, and there is growing evidence that mild, moderate or severe sexual or physical abuse can cause a girl to become an obese adult.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science and American Culture

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History is my guest.  We talk about his latest book, “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier,” his thoughts about how to get Americans of all ages interested and involved in science, and what he’s got coming up. SPOILER ALERT- Early 2014, he’ll be bringing us “Cosmos” for the next generation.