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Recent Articles

What is ­­­­­sickle cell disease and why should I care about it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious blood disease that produces pain, anemia, infections, and blood vessel blockages that can cause damage and death to organs downstream. Sickle cell disease occurs most often in African Americans and Hispanics in the United States. Sickle cell disease affects millions of people worldwide. People with African, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Indian ancestry are at increased risk. Approximately 120,000 infants are born with sickle cell disease every year. Continue Reading →

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15 years of Afropean Soul at the Dakota with Les Nubians

 

 

by Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

“My daughter surprised me with tickets to your show tonight. I used to play your albums for her when she was a girl,” confided an excited fan to Helene Foussart, one half of Les Nubians after their performance at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. “Now she is bringing me to see you all perform. It has come full circle!”

The woman’s daughter spoke to the way their music had inspired and shaped her as a young woman. Helene with a disarmingly warm smile, hugged each woman with intense gratitude.  Humbled by the impact of their music reflected in the appreciation of two generations of fans. Continue Reading →

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Restoring the ‘Beloved Community’

How the enslaved African was stripped of his humanity
 

I want to take a moment to remember with our readers how and when the African was forcefully brought to the Americas; it happened during the 1400s. This time in our existence on earth is only a placeholder for some of the worst experiences African people have had with physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and structural violence. It is the direct result of the Africans’ forced shipment to the Americas to provide free labor and creative, innovative ideas and skills for building the United pStates of America as a “world power.”

Having gone through a most excruciatingly brutal and painful catharsis of suffering during the approximately 22 generations’ experience of “chattel slavery” leaves us without a land base, with scars, open wounds and a deep resounding FEAR. We are NOT!!! —I repeat; we are NOT!!! Continue Reading →

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Trained doulas can improve childbirth outcomes — Emotional support ‘inseparable’ from cultural support

 

 
 
 

By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer

 

Recent research from the University of Minnesota shows what women like Akhmiri Sekhr-Ra have known for decades: Cultural support during pregnancy has a positive impact on birth outcomes among women of African American heritage. A birth outcome is defined as the result of a pregnancy and depends on several factors such as whether the infant is born early, survives childbirth, and is born weighing at least 5.7 pounds. “When we compared birth outcomes among culturally diverse Medicaid recipients who received prenatal education and childbirth support from trained doulas with those from a national population of similar women, we estimated a 40 percent reduction in cesarean rates,” said Katy Backes Kozhimannil, lead researcher on the U of MN study. “When you look at the potential cost savings associated with a rate reduction of this magnitude, Medicaid reimbursement for birth doulas could be a case where adding coverage on the front end could ultimately result in real dollars saved.”

Currently, taxpayers fund nearly half of all U.S. births through state Medicaid programs, which generally do not cover doula care. A cesarean birth costs almost 50 percent more than a vaginal birth, with average Medicaid payments of $9,131 for a vaginal birth and $13,590 for a cesarean delivery. Continue Reading →

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