Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sexual harassment and rape on campus
When I started thinking about writing on the topic of hazing on campuses and its psychological implications, I had to stop and think of something more severe and tragic that impacts the life of a victim. No, it's not bullying, although it is an important issue but not so common at the college campuses. As I was doing my research on the subject matter, too many stories unfolded and too many people did not want to talk about it. After all, sexual harassment and rape are uncomfortable topics and it becomes even more daunting when it’s about “at college campuses”.

I want to take up a reported case of a University of Virginia’s incident. I am omitting names of the people involved, bullying was not the first step, it was the subtle deception enveloped in an intimidating invitation to the party at the fraternity house- a powerhouse of testosterone. It involved consumption of alcohol and possibly sedatives, deceiving a female student who was gang-raped after given the drink. The school ignored the complaint as it seems like a pattern with some schools to ignore such things or their inability to deal with the issues. Take the case of a school that has some stories buried under the historic cathedral-like buildings; Yes I am talking about Yale, which on a first look gives a sense of piety, wisdom, and sanctuary. In both cases of UV and Yale, it is reported that complaints, protests and repeated pleas for justice were ignored and rather frowned upon.   
The irony of the issue is that sometimes campus rape is classified as “date rape”, as if somehow, the rapist is not a criminal but out of the heat of the passion committed the crime against his “date”, presumably who may have had consensual sex anyway? So the “date” rapist gets his image softened up and we talk about it with less disgust and outrage. This is particularly true when it comes to the fraternities of colleges. Why? we should ask ourselves. Why is rape not a crime of constitutional violation of the right to be safe and live in dignity as a free person and pursue happiness, why isn't it considered terrorism against an individual and torture along with sexual battery? Why isn't the book thrown on the rapist for the violation of basic human rights? Why are those laws reserved for political issues and not the crimes inflicted on individuals?  

There is a short distance between date rape and sexual harassment. Date rape is defined as physical sexual violation and battery against a victim and sexual harassment is interpreted as a psychological intimidation.  In the gang rape incident that involved Phi Kappa Psi on September 28, 2012, the fraternity shamelessly denied the charges and the Burden of shame were put upon the victim who is generally reluctant to come forward, to begin with. It was swept under the blankets as fast as it appeared but a sexual harassment scandal unfolded at Yale. This is not the first one but who wants to talk about “Yale” in a negative manner, a university that produces presidents and executive management of the Government, powerful corporate Moguls and world leaders. So the sexual harassment complaints were also swept under the rugs or filed away in at least one case for decades according to a report. Different entities classify sexual harassment differently. It is wrongfully classified as sex discrimination in my opinion, which again softens the impact of the crime on a victim who generally in a subordinate position of need. Following is a definition of sexual harassment by EEOC;
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
·         The victim, as well as the harasser, may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
·         The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
·         The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
·         Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
·         The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.
It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.
Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee files a complaint.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
United States Department of State has instituted the following policy;
The Department of State is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law and will not be tolerated. When the Department determines that an allegation of sexual harassment is credible, it will take prompt and appropriate corrective action.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
1)  An employment decision affecting that individual is made because the individual submitted to or rejected the unwelcome conduct; or
2)  The unwelcome conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment.
Certain behaviors, such as conditioning promotions, awards, training or other job benefits upon acceptance of unwelcome actions of a sexual nature, are always wrong.
Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may in and of themselves meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment:
·         Sexual pranks, or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo, in person or via e-mail;
·         Verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
·         Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature;
·         Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person;
·         Repeatedly asking a person to socialize during off-duty hours when the person has said no or has indicated he or she is not interested (supervisors, in particular, should be careful not to pressure their employees to socialize);
·         Giving gifts or leaving objects that are sexually suggestive;
·         Repeatedly making sexually suggestive gestures;
·         Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace;
·         Off-duty, unwelcome conducts of a sexual nature that affect the work environment.

How to safeguard yourself from Sexual harassment & Sexual misconduct of any degree at the campus or workplace?

1.      Set the limits: It has become fashionable for girls to act cool by using profanity and acting tough, this gives an opening for the boys too sometimes cross the limits and begin the process. There are cases that a victim does not even know the subtle harassment until it becomes an obvious issue of disturbance. Be who you are but do not try to fit in by giving your standards.
2.      Admonish the perpetrator: Make sure that you communicate your displeasure clearly and what is not welcomed by you and for him/her to stop that behavior. Try to do that in public and in the presence of the witnesses.
3.      Do not participate: Do not respond to the pranks, jokes, and comments which seem  inappropriate and unacceptable to you
4.      Protect yourself: meet friends in public and stay in groups. Do not be a superwoman. Use caution and always be on a look out for stalkers and unfamiliar faces around campuses. Report to campus security and police for any person or activities. The worst thing that could happen as a result of your over reaction is a false alarm but the best thing is that you could save your and others lives.
5.      Information on your whereabouts: Inform your friends and family members of your whereabouts and approximate time of your activities so they worry about an unusual delay and try to contact you.
6.      Know your rights:  It is important to know your basic legal rights and do not get intimidated by the power of the perpetrator, every pharaoh eventually drowns so do not put yourself in a compromising position and do not compromise your principles. Sexual harassment is not a normal behavior of any culture and it is not acceptable. Why did I talk about sexual assault and harassment in the same articles? Because they are close relatives and they both can leave the same psychological impact on a victim. Stay safe!      

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Blood pressure-Hypertension

A Harvard Medical school report on hypertension with credit due to the editors for Harvard Health Publications. Najam Hasan 


An alarming one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Known medically as hypertension, many people don't even know they have it because high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning signs. But when elevated blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easy to detect and treat. Sometimes people can keep blood pressure in a healthy range simply by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing activity, and eating more healthfully. This report details those changes, including a Special Section that features numerous ways to cut excess salt from your diet — a policy strongly recommended by new federal guidelines. This report also includes tips on how to use a home blood pressure monitor, as well as advice on choosing a drug treatment strategy based your age and any other existing medical issues you may have.

Blood pressure and your brain
When you think of the effects of high blood pressure, you probably think of heart attack and stroke. And for good reasons—many patients with high blood pressure develop coronary artery disease or heart failure, and many die as a result. But all parts of the body depend on the circulation, and many organs suffer from the impact of untreated high blood pressure. One of the organs at greatest risk is the brain.
High pressure, short memory
A variety of illnesses and medications can contribute to memory loss—and as research continues to come in, it's increasingly clear that high blood pressure takes a toll on the aging brain.
Mild cognitive impairment can be a problem, but it's usually quite manageable. But severe memory loss is a disaster; it causes severe disturbances of memory, reasoning, and judgment.
The details vary from study to study, but the weight of evidence now suggests that high blood pressure increases the risk of mild cognitive impairment, a type of dementia called vascular dementia, and even Alzheimer's disease. Both high systolic (the top number of a blood pressure reading) pressure and high diastolic (the bottom number) pressure take a toll. In general, the higher the pressure and the longer it persists without treatment, the greater the risk.
Most investigations focus on older adults. For example, a study of 2,505 men between the ages of 71 and 93 found that men with systolic pressures of 140 mm Hg or higher were 77% more likely to develop dementia than men with systolic pressures below 120 mm Hg. And a study that evaluated blood pressure and cognitive function in people between 18 and 46 and between 47 and 83 found that in both age groups high systolic and diastolic pressures were linked to cognitive decline over time.
Treat blood pressure, prevent dementia?
The damage and disability done, by dementia,  cannot be reversed. That makes prevention doubly important. Can treating high blood pressure help prevent dementia?
Yes. Here's some of the evidence:
  • European scientists reported that long-term therapy for high blood pressure reduced the risk of dementia by 55%.
  • One American study linked therapy to a 38% lower risk.
  • Another reported that each year of therapy was associated with a 6% decline in the risk of dementia.
  • A study of American men and women linked therapy to a 36% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In that study, a type of medication called diuretics appeared to be the most beneficial medication.
  • A team of investigators from Harvard and Boston University reported that six months of high blood pressure treatment actually improved blood flow to the brain.
The risk factors that increase your chances of having a stroke
Why stroke symptoms can differ from person to person
The reason “mini-strokes” can be just as serious as ischemic strokes
The app you should have on your phone or tablet that shows how to detect a stroke
The type of therapist you may not know about who can help you regain speech after a stroke
And so much more!
Never too late
It's good to know that blood pressure control can reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction. But what about people who already have mild memory loss? Can treating high blood pressure help stave off further damage?
Perhaps. Italian scientists studied 80 patients with mild cognitive dysfunction. Over a two-year period, people who were given medications to treat high blood pressure were 80% less likely to progress to full-blown Alzheimer's than untreated patients. It's only one study, and a small one at that, but hopefully additional research will back up that finding.
An alarming one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Known medically as hypertension, many people don't even know they have it because high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning signs. But when elevated blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easy to detect and treat. Sometimes…
Stroke is a feared medical problem because it can be debilitating or even deadly. Your best defense is to make sure you know how to prevent a stroke and how to recognize one so you can get treatment right away.
In Stroke, Harvard Medical School experts distil the latest research and recommendations into understandable advice that can help you prevent or cope with a stroke.
Harvard Medical School’s Stroke report reveals:
Prepared by the editors of Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Randie M. Black-Schaffer, M.D., M.A., Medical Director, Stroke Program Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Associate Chief for Clinical Affairs Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School with Natalia Rost, M.D., Stroke Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Instructor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

MD Degree Program in China- A New Reality                                                                      By: Najam Hasan
A Chinese Dream
President  Xi Jinping  said in his address to the nation that he wants to rejuvenate the Chinese nation to allow it to take its rightful place in the world by improvements of his people’s livelihoods through better education and healthcare services, more stable employment, a cleaner environment, the elimination of corruption and a stronger military.
A reality
Six hundred thousand (600,000) medical students are trained each year in Chinese medical universities but only one hundred thousand (100,000) actually become doctors, according to Professor Li Ling of the National Development Research Institute at Beijing University. In 49 listed medical universities in China, more than 10,000 international students got admission to become medical doctors last year, the majority of them from South East and Central Asia. The financial contribution of these students is not significant to the Chinese economy, as these students are rather unprofitable when compared to what EU or North American students are prepared to pay for medical education. The other reason is, most Chinese universities are offering MBBS undergraduate degrees which are in line with the European medical education standards but not that of North America.
American medical education, on the other hand, is divided into two parts; 4 years of pre-med education with an undergraduate degree in human biology and 4 years of clinical training resulting in a graduate degree of Doctor of Medicine , MD. The United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is a pre-requisite to enter into an American residency for both domestic and foreign-trained doctors planning to work in the United States. USMLE has also become a benchmark in other regions of the world as a medical doctor's professional qualification for employment. The USA faces a probable shortage of 90,000 medical doctors in this decade, cited by Dr. Darrell G. Kirch MD, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). American healthcare providers prefer graduates with an MD degree and a US medical license for residency. This presents a unique opportunity to a nation that has had a message from its leader to lead in educational fields as a national pride and priority.
Number of applications in the USA for 10 desired med school for 2014
Medical school (state)
Applicants (fall 2014)
*An average of 11,133 students applied at each above mentioned university. Available seats for enrollment in all cases were less than 10% of the applications received.
An average of 290 students was enrolled in 165 medical schools in 2014 but an average of 109 students graduated, totaling 18,078 for the year 2014.
*Source: Association of American Medical Colleges
Statistical data of Medical school enrollment vs. graduation
The following is a glance at the top 25 American medical schools, their tuition fees and enrollment per year.
Enrollment in the schools of medicine with the number of seats and tuition fee  
Medical School
Tuition fee
Boston, MA
$54,200 (full-time) 
Stanford, CA
$50,715 (full-time) 
Baltimore, MD
$47,250 (full-time) 
San Francisco, CA
$32,106 (in-state, full-time); $44,351 (out-of-state, full-time) 
Philadelphia, PA
$50,444 (full-time) 
St. Louis, MO
$56,212 (full-time) 
New Haven, CT
$53,540 (full-time) 
New York, NY
$53,544 (full-time) 
Durham, NC
$51,888 (full-time) 
Chicago, IL
$47,673 (full-time) 
Ann Arbor, MI
$31,154 (in-state, full-time); $48,862 (out-of-state, full-time) 
Seattle, WA
$31,992 (in-state, full-time); $60,978 (out-of-state, full-time) 
Los Angeles, CA
$31,134 (in-state, full-time); $43,379 (out-of-state, full-time) 
New York, NY
$47,650 (full-time) 
Nashville, TN
$45,350 (full-time) 
Pittsburgh, PA
$48,792 (in-state, full-time); $50,014 (out-of-state, full-time) 
La Jolla, CA
$31,134 (in-state, full-time); $43,379 (out-of-state, full-time) 
New York, NY
$49,500 (full-time) 
Chicago, IL
$51,882 (full-time) 
New York, NY
$44,604 (full-time) 
Houston, TX
$19,650 (full-time) 
Chapel Hill, NC
$18,887 (in-state, full-time); $45,766 (out-of-state, full-time) 
Atlanta, GA
$49,500 (full-time) 
Cleveland, OH
$55,370 (full-time) 
Dallas, TX
$17,163 (in-state, full-time); $30,263 (out-of-state, full-time) 

Source: US NEWS Medical school rankings.

An American Dilemma 
After earning a 4 years Bachelor's of Science in human biology, some students do not pass the MCAT exam, a prerequisite for admission into med-school. Even with passing the MCAT exam, most aspiring pre-med undergraduates do not get admission to med- school due  to very tough competition for a limited number of seats, as shown above. These students end up changing their career path while a very small number seeks to study in the Caribbean Islands. The Caribbean Islands have very limited resources, few teaching hospitals, and have acquired the reputation for low academic training standards. This gives an opportunity to reputable Chinese medical schools to step up and seize the opportunity.
Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program in China   
China is a power to be reckoned with. A journey that started with the manufacturing of low-end consumer goods has now embarked on missions in space and the development of important innovations. Xi Jinping's Top 5 priorities for the country include, "better education and healthcare services ". This is Chinese reality, not a dream. A graduate degree in medicine in clinical science is an inevitable response to this calling to compete in the healthcare field, so China can improve its own health care sector and play its role of an emerging superpower. An MD degree program coupled with USMLE training has the potential of thousands of American medical students being recruited each year. For all we know, this could be the next best thing China has to offer the world since green tea.
Program Development
The transfer of technology is what has made it possible for China to build the infrastructure for the largest network of bullet trains in the world. Duplicating and implementing an American MD degree curriculum is essential in setting a benchmark for excellence in health care education. Universities like MIT, Harvard and Yale are already hosting cohort programs with Chinese universities in business and technology. Collaboration in the medical field will be a natural fit and will help America and China to set the standards of education on an equal footing. This cooperation is essential and desperately needed by both countries. Matching a Chinese MD program with the American counterparts will make Chinese medical doctors more marketable to the US health care sector and will attract many American students to study in China. It is a win-win scenario. The American students are capable of paying higher tuition fees compared to other foreign students  while incurring a lower financial cost than at home.
Lead My World's role in the development of this academic program 
It is an undertaking for sure and a lot needs to be done to overhaul Chinese higher education system with fundamental changes in the culture of Chinese academia. Lead My World's educators and executives have  been actively engaged in Chinese education sector for over a decade. Lead My World (LMW) is a higher education pathway organization managing Medical Education and coaching programs at the International School of Capital Medical University,Beijing, China and other institutions.  LMW management has developed academic curriculum in The English language for Chinese schools, authored and contributes to MBBS coaching , USMLE training and the development of an MD degree program for Chinese medical universities. Lead My World has the necessary relations and partners both in the USA and Peoples Republic of China to launch and execute Public Health Degree programs with medical schools and HC training institutes . For information or comments  please contact the author, Najam Hasan.