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After the shooting at Virginia Tech, there was a common belief amongst most people that Universities should be a safe location. Indeed, this is a belief we should try to uphold. However, many urban schools struggle to reach that standard. In the same state, Virginia Commonwealth University, which now holds the annual Governor’s campus safety conference, is a mile below such a standard of safety. The area is plagued by shootings at a night club, the violent crowd brought in by rap concerts, and homeless or impoverished people hanging around.

It is not rare to hear gun shots from my dorm building, which in fact had a bullet fly though one of the windows in the years prior to my matriculation into the university. In the month before school, someone was shot in the restaurant across the street that is tailored to a night club crowd. Beside the restaurant is the night club, where police have to go nearly every time there is an event there. During my first year at the university, there was a rap concert at the famous Landmark Theater, lying in the middle of the school’s campus, which led to a gathering of people at the Monroe Park corner. I had walked past about fifteen or thirty minutes before some maniac decided to a fire a gun into the air. Due to the shooting at VT, an alert system was created to notify students in the case of an emergency. However, the system has yet to be perfected (There is actually a test in a few minutes…) and is not even used during such instances as I have mentioned. But who’s to say that a guy won’t come running from the club onto the campus firing a gun. If this is the case, the alert system is useless for the most immediate danger to the VCU population. Yet, there are too many incidents at the club or in the streets to sound of the alarm every time something happens. It is best to eliminate this danger, but the school is slow to take such action.

Most of the homeless people in the area are polite and passive, not pestering anyone about giving them money if they say no. But because of the large number of impoverished people in the area who lack the means to buy food on a daily basis, there is certainly a number of dangerous people amongst them. The beautiful Monroe park is known for the number of homeless people who crash there. After dark, it is essentially off limits, mostly due to the potential for incidents. Dating couples can forget about an evening walk in the park, and in fact anyone can forget walking just about anywhere after dark because the surrounding area is worse. VCU has the capability to aid the homeless, even if it is just enough to curb the danger to its students and faculty. And with an image that has been trashed recently, the school should now have the motivation to so. The school spends so much money on construction, but have they considered buying out the club? The school produces and distributes so much food per day, but have they considered helping supply the homeless with food so they won’t ask the school population for money? Have they considered developing plans to help homeless move on and to renovate Monroe Park, the very namesake of the Undergraduate campus? I am aware that the are is better than it was in the past, but it is still not even close to good enough. Some improvement is not an excuse for taking a lackadaisical approach to the future.

It would be of great benefit to everyone; students, faculty, and the homeless population, if VCU would take responsibility of the area and act to truly change the community. “With great power comes great responsibility.” VCU has yet to accept its responsibility for the safety of students and successful function of the community. The school pays the mayor hundreds of thousands to teach a class for which he rarely shows up. I think VCU can spare some effort for the betterment of the students and the community.

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This is overdue. I thought I posted a blog about this, but it seems I left it on draft. After I made an entry on WordPress about overdoses, I decided to make another sonic sez health video about using medications. I think my voice acting as improved a little bit, but I’m still hoping for more people to watch or comment on the videos. This one has a lot of meaning with the fairly recent release of The Dark Knight. A report came out shortly before I wrote the script about the increase in accidental overdoses and deaths caused by improper use of medications. The coincidence is eerie that research over 20 years in the making was released the same that Heath Ledger’s death brought the issue to the forefront. This video is dedicated to Heath Ledger, and to the promise of better knowledge about medications.

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

The United Nations has reported that the number of people killed by AIDS has gone down for the second striaght year. This is, itself, incorrect since AIDS is an “immune deficiency” and other health issues actually cause death. Nonetheless, it shows that the lives of people living with AIDS has been extended, or rather their deaths have been postponed. While this is happening, the total number of infections is still rising. It is good that we are improving medications and treatments, but we are losing the battle that is most important; prevention (citation: reuters). Even in the United States, there are some areas that have been reported to be as bad as some places in Africa. With all the money going towards the AIDS fight, it seems our approach is not working.

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.

An especially special friend of mine spoke with me about the uselessness of primary care physicians. And almost had me, but something came to mind when I read an article in the July 2, 2008 edition of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) by Dr. Michael Stillman. My friend presented me with the idea that general care physicians are not always very knowledgable about ailments or certain health problems that specialists would know. I had a personal experience that comes under this category. However, when the patient of a primary care physician is ill or injured, the primary care physician will know the patient well. One of the most important aspects of health care that is commonly overlooked is knowing the patient. Often such luxury is not possible with the busy schedule of doctors, or the lack of need to see certain doctors. Nonetheless, it can influence care dramatically. Dr. Stillman gave an example in his article where the medications of a patient had been changed to a more expensive regimen without his knowledge. The prescribing doctor would not have know that the patient could never afford those medications, but Dr. Stillman knew and prescribed the original, less-costly, and equally effective regimen.  A number of other issues come up as well when identifying the importance of primary care physicians. When making an important medical decision, trust between a patient and the doctor becomes essential. Patients, even if are under the care of a specialist may want to consult a phyiscian with whom they are familiar before making an important decision. Primary Care doctors may not necessarily save lifes, but they can certian help people maintain the highest quality of life possible. So with the greatest level of respect possible, I disagree with my friend [I will convince her I am right, and if she happens to read this before I try the art of persuasion…] (citation: JAMA July 2, 2008 p.21-22).

(Channel: MegaSonic) No one watches my good videos on youtube. Maybe I just don’t know how to tag/promote them, but when less well developed videos have over a 100,000 views and better ones have less than 1,000 the question becomes, “why?” I believe my yu yu hakusho video (about 900) is worthy of more views than the castle in the sky video (over 100,000). However, either no one has an interest in the former, or it just doesn’t come up in searches. Most of my videos are rated fairly high, but the traffic is sometimes slow. I really expected more people to watch my Dr. Martin Luther King Jr video, my Mononoke Hime video, and my sonic the hedgehog videos. In fact, since my castle in the sky video was one of the first I put up, I expected almost everything else to do at least as well as that one. I personally, really enjoy my blog introduction video, but that is rarely viewed. I also like my streets of rage videos, especially the most recent one. I don’t really care too mch for the political videos I made. They make a statement, but the quality is not so great. When I make anime music videos, or game music videos I make them the same way I write poetry. That is kinda strange, but it works for me. I’ll be trying something fairly different soon, probably some health tips videos. please watch my videos, and say what you think. The tags list out everthing covered in my videos. http://www.youtube.com/user/MegaSonic

The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested children as young as eight receive statin drugs to battle future heart problems. However, there are a number of problems with this idea. There is no study showing the effects of such long-term use of the drugs; there is controversy over the effects of statins and memory; and the main problem for these children is lifestyle but avoiding that by giving them drugs simply hides the problem. New evidence shows that heart damage begins early in life, but I believe there are better ways of controlling the problem (citation: CBSNews/NYTimes).