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April, 2012: It's Hopping!

                  April showers can bring May flowers . . .  but April is also bringing us reminders from which we should not seek shelter!

                  This month is Alcohol Awareness Month and the 5th of April is National Alcohol Screening Day.  Please go to for more information about helping a loved one (or yourself) if alcohol has become primary in life.  You can also check for more information.

                  Sometimes women don’t realize we are at the same if not greater risk for blindness as men dependent upon the type of condition.  For example, macular degeneration – a very serious condition in which your vision is eventually blocked centrally (you can only see peripherally) and then you can become completely blind – occurs in ONE THIRD of all women over 75 years of age but only one quarter of all men over 75.  Healthy diet (with omega-3 fish oils), nonsmoker status and exercise can help prevent or greatly forestall this disease.  Go to for more good information or just do a browser search on the topic.

                  Let’s really talk, however, about National Minority Health Month.  We’re fortunate at Downstate to be part of the SUNY system, of New York City (one of the most diverse cities on the planet), and of New York State.  The federal government has plans, initiatives and guidelines which our community will follow.  Initiatives by race, culture and ethnicity will do much to reduce disparities in health.    The Health Care Reform Law alone has helped 1.3 million young people obtain health care that they otherwise would not have been able to obtain.  The data, based on combined estimates from the National Health Interview Survey and the Current Population Survey, indicate that approximately 736,000 Latinos, 410,000 Blacks, 97,000 Asian Americans, and 29,000 American Indian/Alaska Natives have gained coverage because of the law.

April brings showers that help us dream of May flowers.  Let’s imagine a Downstate community that has maximized health for all of its members!