February 2022: Issue 2

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Wyoming Health Council contributes to health and well-being for all, where we grow, live, learn, work and play.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of stories and accomplishments of Black heroes and pioneers, scholars and medical professionals, reminding us to honor and show up for the Black and African American community year-round!

This year the theme for Black History Month is

Black Health and Wellness!
Just a few....
Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States. In 1879, Mahoney was the first African American to graduate from an American school of nursing
John Stewart Rock was an American teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer and abolitionist, historically associated with the coining of the term "black is beautiful". Rock was one of the first African-American men to earn a medical degree. 
Jane Cooke Wright was a pioneering cancer researcher and surgeon noted for her contributions to chemotherapy. In particular, Wright is credited with developing the technique of using human tissue culture rather than laboratory mice to test the effects of potential drugs on cancer cells.
We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go....
While so many black women and men have struggled and fought for better health for all, structural racism and inequities still exist. It is imperative that these issues are not forgotten and ignored, but faced head on in order to be understood, dismantled and rebuilt in equity!

"The term “weathering
describes how the constant stress of racism may lead to premature biological aging and poor health outcomes for black people, like disproportionately high death rates from chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and most cancers. Arline Geronimus, doctor of science, professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and member of the National Academy of Medicine, tells SELF. “This has helped me understand how lived experiences become biology,” says Geronimus, who first coined the term “weathering” with her landmark 1992 Ethnicity & Disease hypothesis on the subject."
Racial Disparities Exist

"Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. Multiple factors contribute to these disparities, such as variation in quality healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. Social determinants of health have historically prevented many people from racial and ethnic minority groups from having fair opportunities for economic, physical, and emotional health."
Policing and surveillance: How Texas’ abortion law could add to systemic racism

"Some experts see the existence of the law as a tool to threaten groups that are already vulnerable to disproportionate punishment...Data from 2014 indicates that people of color constituted about 62 percent of the country’s abortion procedures that year. Black, Latinx and Native American people are also disproportionately affected by financial hardship, which means they may have fewer resources and flexibility to potentially travel outside of Texas for a legal abortion...
“People are worried about risking the interests of their friends and families. People may be scared to talk about their needs around this really important issue of reproductive justice,” said Michele Gilman, a professor with the University of Baltimore Law School.
Those concerns would contribute to a larger pattern of daily stress associated with racism and other forms of marginalization that many people of color experience. These stressors act as sources of “weathering” on the body and can lead to negative health outcomes for certain groups like higher rates of hypertension and heart disease, according to the work of researchers like University of Michigan professor Arline T. Geronimus."
Experts’ tips for how Black women can advocate for their own health
"Many Black women face barriers in the medical system. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, people of color are more likely to be uninsured than their White counterparts. When they receive care, they are more likely to be dismissed and mistreated, and less likely to be referred to specialty care when necessary, studies have found.

While more health-care facilities have been implementing implicit bias and racial education training, it will take a lot to overhaul the entire system, experts say. That’s why, for many Black women, it’s important to know how to advocate for their own health."
Support Black Business!
With Black History Month focusing on black health and wellness, lets support the many black owned businesses who focus on self care year round!
It's All About The Heart
Heart Disease Awareness Month
February is all about love and hearts, so it's a great time to bring awareness to American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health!

The Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is shining a light on hypertension (high blood pressure) this year, a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke and complication during and after pregnancy. -CDC
Heart Health and Pregnancy
"During pregnancy, your heart is working harder than usual to pump blood to you and your baby. Sometimes, the extra stress exposes risks to your heart health that were there before you got pregnant. The stress can also cause new problems to emerge during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or preeclampsia (high blood pressure with signs of damage to another organ system such as the kidneys). These problems can happen to you during pregnancy, in labor and delivery -- even up to a year after your child is born.
Each year, about 700 women in the U.S. die from pregnancy-related problems, and more than 50,000 women have life-threatening pregnancy complications. Heart and blood vessel conditions, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiomyopathy, are leading causes. The good news is that most of these problems are preventable, meaning you can take steps before, during, and after pregnancy to help your heart health." -Read More
Women know their own bodies better than anyone and can often tell when something does not feel right. The campaign seeks to encourage partners, friends, family, coworkers, and providers—anyone who supports pregnant and postpartum women—to really listen when she tells you something doesn’t feel right. Acting quickly could help save her life.
National Condom Month
We know that condoms help protect against STIs and unplanned pregnancy's, but they also come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, textures and even flavors! There is a condom out there for everyone!
But even with this wide variety, "for the past four years in a row, the U.S. has consistently broken its own STI records. (The CDC reported that there were 2.3 million diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2017—200,000 more than the previous year.)
It’s partly because people just aren’t regularly using protection during sex, according to our exclusive survey in partnership with Power to Decide, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing unplanned pregnancy. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they’d use a condom if they knew their partner had an STI, but...60 percent also admitted they rarely or never use one. Even more concerning: A full 50 percent said they’ve never—ever—rolled one on." Power to Decide

Why is this? Experts point to multiple layered reasons:

  • Lack of medically accurate sex education that is not abstinence-only.
  • Increase of birth control use to prevent pregnancy
  • Embarrassment and stigma in accessing condoms (especially in states with abstinence only education)
  • Adolescents using non-condom porn as sex education.
  • Non-inclusive sex education for LGBTQ persons.

Check Out These Articles

So for National Condom Week this February get out there and encourage proper and consistent condom use!

*Talk to your teens, friends and clients about condom use!
*Advocate for better sex education in our school systems!
*Provide free condoms at your business or promote condom mail order services!
*Hand out condom balloon animals.....er, well, you get the idea!
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults: one in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults, and nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors.

Every February, young people and their loved ones join together across the country for a national effort to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence through Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). 
Relationships exist on a spectrum, and it can sometimes be hard to tell when behavior goes from healthy to unhealthy (or even abusive).
Is your relationship healthy?
Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. Often once you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationships its hard to see it.
Knowledge is power. If you or someone you know is, or may be, experiencing relationship violence, have them check out Love Is Respect, to learn more.

Sometimes, stepping away into a safe space, taking a quiz, reading about warning signs, and someone to listen to you (Call, Live Chat, or Text) can break the cycle.
Seeking LGBTQIA+ Youth!
HRC Foundation and UConn Launch 2022 Youth Survey
To Examine The Experiences of LGBTQ+ Youth
The survey will ask LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 18 about their experiences as an LGBTQ+ person at home, in school and across various aspects of their daily lives. All responses will be confidential. 
New Casper PRIDE Guide
The Casper Pride Guide is a resource hub for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies in our community. You will find connections to local physical and mental health providers, substance abuse services, community-led projects, and more. It’s your virtual one-stop-shop for all things Queer in our community. 


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