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National Minority Health Month; Activities, Joycelyn Elders to Speak

April 8, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University will celebrate Minority Health Month during April with numerous events including an on-campus health and fitness fair; documentaries and panel discussions; a food and dance class; free HIV testing; and special guest speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General.

Western Illinois' Minority Health Month committee is sponsoring several of the events in the month-long health awareness blitz; however, the information is relevant and helpful to people of all ethnic backgrounds, said Joelle Khairallah, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Activities. All events are open free to the public.

The month-long awareness campaign kicked off April 7 with a Health and Fitness Fair, sponsored by Campus Recreation. At noon on April 8, a Hy-Vee Food Store dietician presented Nu You with Nu Val, a nutritional scoring system recently implemented in the grocery chain.

Future activities, which support the 2008-2009 Universitywide theme, "Health and Wellness: Challenges and Responsibilities," include the following:

Wednesday, April 8, 5-6:30 p.m., "Unnatural Causes Part 1: In Sickness and in Health" documentary and panel discussion, in the University Union Heritage Room. Discover the connections between healthy bodies and healthy bank accounts. Social class shapes opportunities for good health. Solutions may include more equitable social policies rather than more pills.

Monday, April 13, 10 a.m., "Lifespan Issues: A Panel Discussion," in Horrabin Hall Room 1. Sponsored by the College of Education and Human Services, lifespan panelists will discuss issues throughout the lifespan including child recreation, gerontology, balance, nutrition, matters surrounding the "boomer" population and the contributions of leisure to the quality of life.

Tuesday, April 14, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 2: When the Bough Breaks" documentary, University Union Sandburg Theatre. For highly educated black men and women, the advantages of income and status do make a difference for their health, but there is something else at play - - racism.

Wednesday, April 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free HIV testing by AIDS Project Quad Cities in the University Union Cardinal Oak Room. Ora Sure/Ora Quick tests will be used which involves the collection of an oral specimen. No blood will be drawn. Results, which remain confidential, take approximately 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 15, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 3: Becoming American" documentary, University Union Sandburg Theatre. Recent Mexican immigrants, although poorer, tend to be healthier than the average American. They have lower rates of death, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses despite being less educated, earning less, having the stress of adapting to a new country and a new language. Some researchers call this the Latino paradox, but some of these protective factors are beginning to wear down.

Wednesday, April 15, 5-6 p.m. Making Salsa While You Salsa, Knoblauch 239, Corporate Dining Room. Senior dietetic students will offer tips on how to prepare healthy and nutritious cultural favorites and teach hot moves to help burn off calories. The dietetics, fashion merchandising and hospitality department sponsors the event.

Tuesday, April 21, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 4: Bad Sugar" documentary, University Union Sandburg Theatre. Learn why a diversion of water disrupting agricultural economy and customary ways of Southern Arizona Indians led to their dependency on the U.S. government and impacted their health, causing them to have the highest diabetes rates in the world.

Wednesday, April 22, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 5: Place Matters" documentary, University Union Sandburg Theatre. Why is your street address such a good predictor of your healthy? Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood can have toxic effects on health.

Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m. Keynote speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders, "The Politics of Healthcare," University Union Grand Ballroom. Sworn in as U.S. Surgeon General in 1993, Elders was the first African American and the second woman to hold that post. She initiated programs to combat youth smoking and teen pregnancy and to increase childhood immunizations. She continues to lobby for health needs of the young and the poor; and she advocates public health over profits in health care reform.

Tuesday, April 28, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 6: Collateral Damage" documentary, Leslie F. Malpass Library, Room 180. The outer islands of the Marshall Islands were used by the U.S. for extensive nuclear testing after World War II. Marshallese came to America seeking a better life; and many ended up in Springdale, AR, where their health problems have surfaced.

Wednesday, April 29, 5-6 p.m. "Unnatural Causes Part 7: Not Just a Paycheck" documentary, Leslie F. Malpass Library, Room 180. In winter 2006, the Electrolux Corp. closed the largest refrigerator factory in the U.S. and moved it to Juarez, Mexico, for cheaper labor. The move turned the lives of some 3,000 Michigan workers upside down. As personal finances spiral downward, health follows.

For more information, contact the Office of Student Activities, (309) 298-3232.

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