Archive for the Health & Fitness Category

New Book: “Walking My Momma Home” by Kathy Flora

Posted in Black Interests, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , on October 13, 2018 by Gary Johnson

Walking My Momma Home by Kathy Flora is a memoir of my mom and me. It’s about love, hope, uncertainty, role reversal, courage and the raw humanity in Mom’s experience of losing herself to the disease. It’s about the hard decisions, conflicts, the relationship balancing and personal soul-stretching my care-giving required. It’s our story of surprising joy and laughter, of tears and terrors, of opening hearts and deep, emotional healing.

Filled with stories, reflection, insightful questions, and invaluable resources, Walking My Momma Home helps you reflect on and process your own journey through the raw experience of fellow travelers walking dementia’s labyrinth.

You are NOT Alone!

Over 15.7 million people today are caring for a loved one with dementia. As caregivers, it’s easy for us to feel isolated. If you’re weary of the heartache and losses you both suffer, of the restless nights and chaotic days, then you know that our frustrations, helplessness, and fear can drive us to our knees. Dementia is cruel.

But the care-giving journey that we are on also offers unexpected, uplifting gifts:

♥ profound personal insight     

♥ explosive spiritual growth     

♥ discovery of our deepest self

All of these gifts are buried, to be uncovered in the experience of walking alongside. Care-giving is tough, yet it can open a channel to accessible grace that will change your life forever.

Walking My Momma Home is a memoir of my mom and me. It’s about love, hope, uncertainty, role reversal, courage and the raw humanity in Mom’s experience of losing herself to the disease. It’s about the hard decisions, conflicts, the relationship balancing and personal soul-stretching my care-giving required. It’s our story of surprising joy and laughter, of tears and terrors, of opening hearts and deep, emotional healing. It’s our story of surprising joy and laughter, of tears and terrors, of opening hearts and deep, emotional healing.

Filled with stories, reflection, insightful questions, and invaluable resources, Walking My Momma Home helps you reflect on and process your own journey through the raw experience of fellow travelers walking dementia’s labyrinth.


“There are truly no words for how deeply this book resonated with me. There were so many days while reading it that the bravery and authenticity Kathy showed by sharing her journey helped me face the walk I’m currently on with my parents. I laughed. I cried. And then I cried some more, but I cried tears of comfort and understanding. This book is the ultimate story of the cycle of life – the journey home – that each of us is on, and it’s full of light, love, and laughter along with all the tears. Thank you, Kathy, for writing such a powerful, heartfelt book and for sharing your journey and your mom’s journey with the world. I’m forever grateful.” — D. D. Scott, International Bestselling Author

About Kathy Flora

Kathy Flora is a Nationally Certified Career Counselor and Master Career Coach. She began this work at Purdue University in College Placement. Through successive job changes, she’s worked as a consultant, a business executive, organization development and job search trainer, an elected State Representative in New Hampshire, an HR representative at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, and finally as a leadership program manager in an Intelligence Community agency in the federal service in Washington D. C. and Tampa, Florida.

Click Here To Read An Excerpt from “Walking My Momma Home”

Are We More Accepting Of Obesity In The Black Community?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Obese Man

By Gary A. Johnson  (This is not my waistline)

Americans are getting fatter and fatter by the year.  There’s no other way to put it.  Health and weight statistics for black Americans is even worse.

According to the publication Health, United States, 2013, 38% of black men in America are considered to be obese compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overweight or obese is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 pounds or more.

A 2013 study from the American Psychological Association reported that about 60 percent of black women are obese compared to 32 percent white women and 41 percent Latino women.

Carrying around those extra pounds increases the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes and High Blood Pressure – two diseases that disproportionately affect the black community.

Being overweight also increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. In fact, obesity could become more dangerous for your health than smoking cigarettes.

Yet, in the black community, many folks believe or have convinced themselves that being “big boned” is more acceptable.  We need to STOP that thinking now.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you have read about my struggle to lose weight.  If you’ve ever visited my Instagram page, most of the pictures are of food that I cooked and then ate.  I’m a damn good cook.  I suffer for my food.

I am putting myself out there.  I am obese and my condition developed as a result of making a series of poor choices over the past 20 years.  I went from weighing 195 lbs to my current weight of 310 lbs.

At one point I was carrying 324 lbs on this 6′ 4″ frame.  Fortunately for me, my body has been good to me.  I never smoked, used alcohol or drugs and I don’t drink sodas.  My weakness is food.  I am an emotional eater and I love to cook and eat.

Gary J.

Here I am “walking the trail” on top of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at National Harbor on the DC side.

Lately, I’ve been able to reverse some of these negative health effects.  Two years ago I gave up sugary fruit juice drinks.  I drink mostly water, green smoothies or a combination of Braggs Organic Vinegar and water.  If I drink tea, I don’t use sugar.  I will start my day with low-sodium vegetable juice in place of Orange juice.  These simple choices have made a difference in my health.  My last blood pressure reading was 116/78.  Not bad for a 300+ pound guy.  I started exercising (cycling, walking and weights) consistently and stopped eating at fast food restaurants.  I also started buying healthier and organic foods.  This costs more but I think it’s worth it.

Make no mistake.  I have a long way to go and need support.  I have lost over 30 lbs 4 times over the last 15 years.  The difference this time is that I am doing it sensibly (slow and steady).  No fad or crash diets. Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth the pain and effort?  Yes!

“Many African-American women view being obese as part of their culture,” says Thaddeus Bell, M.D., a family practitioner in South Carolina, in an online interview for It is understood within the African-American community that curvy, overweight women are considered more appealing to black men than normal- or under-weight women. There is almost a reverse distortion of body image – with thicker women fighting weight-loss and slender women wanting to gain weight in order to be accepted.

Obese Woman

This may account for the staggering statistic that 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. It is even more alarming that some of these women are making a choice to live at an unhealthy weight. African-American women of all ages report less exercise than their white counterparts. “Many of them feel that it’s not feminine or they’re afraid to sweat because it will ruin their hairstyle,” adds Dr. Bell.

Other hindrances include not having child care, not having enough time to be physically active, and not feeling safe being active in their neighborhoods.  African-American men aren’t off the hook either.  African-American men also exercise less than white women, and have the highest prevalence of obesity among all male ethnic groups.

However, African-American men are more active than their female counterparts, which may be the reason that only 28.8 percent are obese, compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.

There is an interesting video called “Dealing with Obesity in the Black Community” on YouTube by Walter Lee Hampton II.  This is a no non-sense video about exercise, eating and living a healthier life.

I would also recommend reading Obesity and the Black American:  Causes, Culture, Consequences, and Costs.”

GJohnson Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.To learn more about Gary click here.

Dr. Fredrick Clark Introduces $50.00 A Year Dental Plan

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Health & Fitness with tags , , on April 20, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Laughing Couple

Dr. Fredrick Clark is making it possible for anyone to have access to high quality dental care at an affordable price.  Who is Dr. Clark?  Dr. Fredrick Clark is a Washington, DC area (Oxon Hill, MD) dentist who has dedicated his professional life providing affordable dental care to patients who cannot afford dental insurance and to patients who suffer from an array of dental diseases.

Don’t have dental insurance?  Do you have poor coverage with your current dental plan?  Dr. Clark is going to make you an offer that you can’t refuse.  Sign up for Dr. Fredrick Clark’s $50.00 a YEAR Dental Plan! 

Say What?  You read that correctly.  A $50.00 a YEAR Dental Plan.

What’s the catch?  There is no catch!  This is the Real Deal!

How about a $50.00 cleaning or a $50.00 filling or even a $50.00 extraction?

Surprised Woman Smiling

Well it’s true.  Tell your friends.  The days of “OVERPRICED” dental care are over!  Now you can afford to see a dentist in your community.  If you live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, call the office of Dr. Fredrick Clark at 301-686-1070 to sign up for the $50.00 a YEAR Dental Plan!  Se Habla Espanol.

About Fredrick Clark, DDS

Dr. Clark Dr. Fredrick Clark, DDS is a graduate of Howard University Dental School.  Dr. Clark has been a dentist for over 28 years.  He prides himself in providing dental care for children and adults who suffer from physical and mental challenges that prevent them from being treated in a normal dental setting.  Dr. Clark has received numerous awards and commendations from State and Federal officials for his work with children.  Long considered one of the best and brightest dentists in the region, Dr. Clark is often called to assist legislators shape dental public policy.

8 Simple Stressbusters

Posted in Health & Fitness with tags , on January 30, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Henry Miller

By Henry S. Miller, Author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive

Got stress? Stress is a part of a normal life that you can’t really avoid. The good news? You have more power than you realize to control stress before it prevents you from living the life you want to lead.  Here are 8 simple stressbusters to help you:

1. Breathe Slowly and Deeply

Before you react to the next stressful event, first take 3 deep breaths and consciously release each breath slowly. If you have more time, try a relaxation technique, such as meditation or guided imagery, before deciding how to handle the situation.

2. Speak More Slowly

If you feel overwhelmed at any time, deliberately slow down the pace of your speaking. You will appear less anxious and more in control of the situation. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly. If you slow down, you’ll find you can think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.

3. Take a Break Outdoors

Take advantage of the healing power of fresh air and sunshine. Just 5 minutes outside on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating. If you have more time, 30 minutes of sunshine has proven positive benefits.

4. Check Your Posture

Hold your head and shoulders upright. Avoid slumping or stooping: bad posture leads to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress. If you are behind a desk during the day, avoid repetitive strain injuries and sore muscles by making sure your workspace is ergonomic, and take 5 minutes every hour to walk around or stretch.

5. Drink Plenty of Water and Eat Small, Nutritious Snacks

Fight dehydration and hunger—they can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Drink plenty of water always have small and nutritious snacks available on hand, such as fruit, string cheese, or a handful of nuts.

6. Do One Thing Today

Take control of your time. Every day, do at least one simple thing you’ve been putting off: return a phone call, make a doctor’s appointment, or file the paperwork piling up on your desk. Taking care of one nagging responsibility will energize you and improve your attitude! You might even find that completing one task inspires you to move on to the next one. At the end of each day, try planning your schedule for tomorrow using a calendar or day planner that works for you.

7. Reward Yourself after a Stressful Day

At the end of the day, set aside any work concerns, housekeeping issues, or family concerns for at least a few minutes. Allow yourself a brief period of time to fully relax before bedtime each day—even if it’s only taking a relaxing bath or spending 30 minutes with a good book. Remember, you need time to recharge. Don’t spend this time planning tomorrow or doing chores you didn’t get around to during the day. You’ll be much better prepared to face another stressful day if you give yourself a brief reward of some free time.

8. Practice Letting Go

When your next inevitably stressful situation comes up, make a conscious choice not to become upset. Just let it go. Don’t waste your energy on situations where it is not deserved. Managing your anger is a proven stress reducer.

There’s no way to avoid stress, but you can be proactive in managing it. Here’s wishing you a happy life with less stress!

About Henry S. Miller

Henry S. Miller is the author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness:  Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness:  Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life. He is also the creator of the online membership program Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness:  20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times. As President of The Henry Miller Group (, he is a speaker, trainer, and consultant helping organizations improve engagement, performance, and productivity specifically by increasing employee well being. In prior careers, Henry was a Senior Consultant for the Tom Peters Company training and coaching senior management teams worldwide in leadership and his initial career in corporate America was with IBM.


Are Black People Conditioned To Think Less Of Black Professionals?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness with tags , , on January 15, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Doctor discussing x-ray with patient

By Dr. _______________ (Identity Withheld)

I have to remain anonymous to avoid the backlash, but the subject has to be addressed.  Black Americans, African Americans or whatever designation Negroid American people ascribe to, frequently show a disdain for their own kind every day.  Many of us desire to be entrepreneurs but are afraid we would not succeed because our most obvious and most expected clientele, other black people would not support our businesses.

Many of us have decided that our own kind do not possess the ability to run a quality business or deliver a quality product, unless we are working for a white business owner.  I had a friend who stated to me they wouldn’t open a nail salon because African Americans wouldn’t patronize it.  They felt that black women would go to Asian salons before a black owned salon.  I personally wish to challenge this assertion. In my experiences as a dentist, I have been very disheartened by many of my own people.

Some black people will go only to white doctors for all services never giving their own highly trained and educated professionals an opportunity to provide the same services.  Black doctors who set up practice in the communities where black people live must suffer indignities such as being referred to as a “ghetto practice.”  A white doctor can have a practice in the black community and this would never be said. What makes it ghetto?  Because we hire black skinned people?  Because we work in a black community? Are we always compelled to hate ourselves, to think less of ourselves, to think that the white doctor or business owner is better by virtue of his or her white skin?

Here’s what tends to happen.  Many of our potential clientele travel for miles away from our communities looking for white practitioners who always charge much higher fees.  I have seen black patients get a dental treatment plan at a white practice for $15,000 and get talked into expensive financing plans to satisfy the demands of the treatment.  I’ll ask a patient to pay $5,000.00 for a treatment plan and they are quick to reply, “I don’t have any money on me.”  Or they offer to pay me $50.00.


The white doctor would politely run get them out of the office and not do business with them.  And yet, 75% of African Americans are running to white dentists.  Many Black dental offices are empty and trying to get patients. This is ridiculous, when you consider that of the 155,000 dentists in the country only 7500 are black, which is less than 1% of all dentists in the country!  This explains why some black dental practices are going out of business and why some black dentists can’t find employment.

The 2012 US Census Bureau estimated there were 44,456,009 African Americans in the United States, meaning that 14.1% of the total American population of 313.9 Million is Black. This includes those who identify as “Black Only” and as “Black in combination with another race.” The “Black Only” category totaled 41.2 million African Americans or 13.1% of the total U.S population. With approximately 7500 dentists, black dentists should be doing very well everywhere but this is frequently not the case.  As a community, we need more participation from black people as patients. I feel that if I don’t sound the alarm in an effort to awaken our people to this fact, they will falsely assume that black dentists are wealthy simply by virtue of the title “Doctor.”  Nothing could be further from the truth. We need our target clientele to patronize black practitioners.

Black dentists are just as capable as white and non-black dentists.  Many of us go to the same schools, pass the same board exams and get the same state licensing.  The only difference is that many black dentists set up practices in our communities to serve our people. The same communities resemble those areas where we grew as children.

Believe it or not, black dentists and doctors provide great services.  We are also the most likely persons to supply your family with employment opportunities.

I had a black female tell me about how pretty the white dental offices look.  She went on to describe how the white dental office had all the latest gadgets and decor. I explained to her that black medical professionals face the same financial scrutiny by banks and other lenders. It is harder for us to get loans and lines of credit.  And while most black patients are running out of their own communities to white practitioners, I don’t think they realize they are bankrupting their own communities and enriching the wealthy elsewhere. The wealth leaves the black community.

Black Dentist

We have admonished our people to listen to the financial data relative to black economics and understand what it means. It is said that a dollar circulates in white communities seven times before it leaves while only circulating one time in black communities. (Click here to learn more about how black people spend their money).

All of this reminds me of a saying that the publisher of this website/blog frequently repeats. He says when it comes to doing business many black people have been culturally conditioned to believe that the “white man’s ice is colder.” Think about it.

If the black population was a nation, the black economy would be the ninth largest economy in the world. This means we are not doing enough business in our communities with black entrepreneurs. We are unknowingly bankrupting ourselves. I hate to say it; but maybe my friend was right.  Maybe black women will only patronize Asian nail salons instead of black salons. In many black neighborhoods there are more Asian-owned restaurants serving us “soul food” than black restaurants. What does this say about us as a people? Do we really have hatred and disdain for our own?  Do we not like ourselves?

I guess my final point, is that I believe that we have to do better as a community.

What do you think?  Please share your thoughts.

AIDS is the Primary Killer of African-Americans Ages – NOT

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , on June 16, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By Chris Jennings

Recently, a web page of National Public Radio stated “AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44 [years of age] . . . .”

This misconception is evidently a common one.   For example, Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, stated “AIDS remains the leading cause of death in African-American women in the USA” in the article AIDS: Lessons Learnt and Myths Dispelled, published in the scientific journal The Lancet on July 18, 2009.

Neither statement is accurate.  Although, it is no secret that the black Americans (African-Americans), as a group, embody a disproportionately high prevalence of specific medical and societal ills, HIV/AIDS among them.  However, HIV/AIDS is not the principal killer of black Americans of any age group, male or female.

The table below presents the rank of HIV/AIDS among the Top Ten Killers of African-Americans by age group.  The table also lists the actual #1 Cause of Death in each age group.

AIDS Deaths among Blacks in the United States, 2008

All Blacks, Both Sexes


HIV Disease (AIDS)

#1 Cause of Death

Age Range



% Total



% Total

15 – 19 years



0.8 %



43.1 %

20 – 24 years



2.1 %



41.3 %

25 – 34 years



6.6 %



26.7 %

35 – 44 years



9.9 %

Heart Disease


18.3 %

45 – 54 years



5.7 %



24.3 %

For each age group, the table lists the Rank of HIV/AIDS among the Top Ten Killers of African-Americans.  It also lists the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, and the percent of these HIV/AIDS deaths among all deaths for this age group.  For example, in the 15 – 19 years age bracket, HIV/AIDS was the 8th leading cause of death; 22 people died of HIV/AIDS, and these 22 people represented 0.8% of all deaths among this age bracket.

The same data is presented for the #1 Cause of death for each age bracket.

Regarding Piot’s comment that “AIDS remains the leading cause of death in African-American women in the USA,” HIV/AIDS is not among the Top Ten Killers of for black American women for all ages combined.  However, HIV/AIDS does rank among the Top Ten Killers within certain age brackets, as follows:

AIDS Deaths among Black Females in the United States, 2008


HIV Disease (AIDS)

#1 Killer in Age Group

Age Range



% Total



% Total

15 – 19 years



2.2 %




20 – 24 years







25 – 34 years




Heart Disease



35 – 44 years







45 – 54 years







As exemplified by the recent PBS documentary ENDGAME:  AIDS in Black America as well as the recent press coverage from the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., the story of AIDS among black Americans has reached the value of mainstream media.  (Although back in 2006, ABC News featured the program, Out of Control: AIDS in Black America, so it is not really news.)  According to the latest figures, more black Americans contract HIV infection and die of HIV disease than white Americans.

Yet, typically, the story behind why AIDS persists in the black community (and other communities) is never addressed.  It’s simply not a sound-bite issue.

The high prevalence of HIV infection in the black community is largely due to IV drug use.  (Therefore, as a short-term partial solution, the issue of making clean hypodermic needles available is a vital issue.)  A large proportion of the black (and Latino) females with HIV/AIDS were the sexual partners of black (and Latino) IV drug users.  Overall, heterosexual HIV transmission dwells in the realm of long-term sexual partnerships:  not in the world of one-night stands (although it can and probably has happened).

The story of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV infection and Hepatitis B virus infection, is written in the ills of society.  These two blood-borne diseases share the same transmission vectors and the same high-risk groups.  The Hepatitis B epidemic of the 1970s was a model for the HIV/AIDS epidemic that emerged in the 1980s.

IV drug use is major transmission vector for blood-borne diseases.  A vector historically linked with specific socio-economic issues; notably, joblessness, and the consequent despair and hopelessness.  Other factors likely thrown into the mix are personal histories of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse.  The danger of opiates is that they are effective:  they effectively kill both physical and emotional pain.

Black gay men are also, reportedly, now at high risk of contracting HIV infection; reportedly carrying a higher risk of HIV infection than white gay men.  Yet, in truth, the risk persists for specific sub-groups of gay men overall, irregardless of racial flavor.  AIDS prevention is relatively simple.  So why do gay men continue to contract HIV infection?   The risks are known.  Why do junkies (to use the colloquial term) continue to share needles?   The risks are known.  Why do teenagers still start smoking?  The risks are known.

Ultimately, the answer is that oppressed peoples engage in what are termed adverse health behaviors.  Teenagers engage smoking because of emotional insecurity.  Junkies shoot heroin as a short-term solution to overbearing emotional pain.

Gays?  They are an oppressed people.  Yes, there have been a number of hard-fought, hard-won advances in gay rights over the past several decades, seemingly culminating in the advent of gay marriage in a number of U.S. states.  But, during the same time period, the United States has undergone tremendous social polarization.  Opposing the advancement in gay rights has been a growth in malevolent and venomous vitriol — a growing willingness to vocalize proclamations that, in previous years, had been restrained by a simple sense of shame and social decency.

Moreover, gay bashing (assault), murders, and discrimination in housing and employment persist.  Fear and oppression by any other name.  In part, the effects of this oppression are acted out in the risk-taking behavior of gay men.  After the devastation of the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic, the annual rates of new HIV infections dropped off significantly for 20 years, but in some gay communities, infections rates have been on the rise again over the last 10 years.  As stated by a gay colleague, at a certain age-break, the young gay men almost seem to embrace HIV infection.  (He also expressed the belief that the high prevalence of sado-masochistic sex among gay men is another manifestation of self-hate.) ]

To repeat, the story of blood-borne diseases – as with many other conditions consequent to adverse health behaviors — is written in the fabric of society.  The answer to HIV/AIDS does not lay in money, science, more effective drugs, or a vaccine.  Behind Hepatitis B and HIV lay some other blood-borne agent waiting to emerge.  To end the era of blood-borne diseases in the Western world, the mandate is the creation of a society enabling the formation of familial, educational, and societal structures (including economic justice!) that grant emotional inoculation against the incidence and consequence of hate, insecurity, despair, and abuse.

The way lies forward.

(SourceDeaths: Leading Causes for 2008 (National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 60, No. 6, June 6, 2012) by Melonie Heron, Ph.D., Division of Vital Statistics:

Chris Jennings (Harvard, B.A., Biology 1976/77) is a medical writer and author of two recent books that redefine the size, scale, and scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic:  HIV/AIDS – The Facts and the Fiction & HIV/AIDS in South Africa – The Facts and the Fiction.  Chris Jennings has written and published two prior books on HIV/AIDS adopted as educational texts by world-renowned hospitals; federal, state, and municipal health agencies; and nursing schools, public health schools, and universities.  In addition to conducting investigative research of the scientific and medical literature, Chris Jennings provides writing services to the pharmaceutical, medical, and diagnostic industries.

For more infection, visit Health Alert Communications at:

Copyright © by Chris Jennings 2012

Sisters Start Fundraiser To Help Their Brother with MS

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Events and Annoucements, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on March 25, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

We are John’s sisters. We are asking for your help to raise money to pay his medical bills associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

John was in training to be a professional football player. His dream! And now that dream is put on hold.

While at work, he experienced pain in his right foot. After a little while, it went away. The next day, he experienced that pain on his whole right side. This time it was more severe. His right side was numb, from his head to his foot. He could no longer stand or walk. His balance was completely gone. His tongue was swollen, which resulted in slurred speech. His vision was blurry and at times, he had double vision. He was admitted into Southern Maryland Hospital. He has never experienced this type of illness before.

After the initial observation, he was transferred to Georgetown University Hospital because we were told they are very good at this type of illness. However, they didn’t tell us what that illness was! The doctors did a CT scan, MRI, heart monitor, spinal tap, and a complete blood work. His diagnoses is multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease is not in our family. He is scheduled to see a neurologist April 1st to receive his medication and further information on how this illness with affect him and us for the rest of his life.

We are raising monies to help him with medication, hospital bills, neurologist visits and physical therapy he needs. He does not have medical insurance. He’s trying to go back to work earlier than what the doctors have told him because he is concerned with the hospital bill. Stress is the silent killer and he was told to keep his stress level down.

I’ve known John Williams for years.  He is one of the finest young men I’ve ever met.  He is of strong moral character and is a hardworking young man and productive citizen.  John hopes to be able to return to work in a few weeks and has already started reorganizing his life.

Your help will give him the peace he needs to stop worrying about the hospital bills and other bills associated with MS.  Whatever amount you give will be deeply appreciated.

Click here to donate and learn more:

Organized by: Salena and Taalibah Muhammad

An Open Letter and Plea to President Barack Obama: Who Should Have A Vote?

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Health & Fitness, President Barack Obama with tags on February 20, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By Harold Bell

During your State of the Union Address you made a plea to Congress that Gabby Gifford and Newtown should have a vote as it relates to gun control in America.

Mr. President, I totally agree the time has come to reduce gun violence in America– it is long overdue.

The vote that you proposed should not stop there, senior citizens living in nursing homes in America should also have a vote.  The abuse taking place in nursing homes across this nation is appalling. This is a National Crisis.  The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox News, and ABC News have all echoed the same reports.  During your State of the Union Address I did not hear you cry out to give senior citizens a vote!

My question to you and the Congress of the United States is:  What is the difference in the gun violence and the nursing home violence taking place in this country?

Click here to read the entire commentary.

Shame on America: Nursing Home Abuse

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , on February 13, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Elderly Patients

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

For years I’ve focused my attention on how this country treats children and how so many of our children are abused and neglected.  Recently, a colleague sounded the alarm and drew my attention on the abuse and neglect with our senior citizens who live in nursing homes.

All Americans deserve to be treated with respect.  As our loved ones get older, they should have access to quality healthcare with dignity.  Many residents and patients receive good care and live happy and healthy lives in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.  However, statistics show that this is not the case for a number of our senior citizens.  In fact, many residents of nursing homes are victims of physical, sexual and financial abuse and many of these abuses go unreported.  Elder abuse by caretakers is a worldwide problem but my focus is here in the United States.

The following statistics serve as a snapshot of some the problems in U.S. nursing homes:

  • 91% of U.S. nursing homes have staffing levels too low to provide adequate care
  • 16% of U.S. nursing homes have a drop in nurse assistants’ hours per resident per day
  • The most common injuries in nursing homes due to understaffing or other types of abuse and negligence include fractures and bleeding in the brain
  • On average (nationally), a nursing home with 100 beds has anywhere from 100-200 falls per year. However, many more go unreported
  • About 10-20% of the falls reported nationally cause serious injuries; 2-6% of falls cause bone fractures
  • Approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die annually from falls across the country
  • In the United States, about 240,900 nursing home residents suffer from bedsores every year. This statistic is based on a national nursing home population of 3.3 million in 2009
  • Nearly 20% of nursing home facilities were cited nationally for failing to meet standards of care for pressure sores from 2005 to 2010.
  • In 2009, a CBS News analysis of the federal government’s nursing home inspection database found that more than 1,000 homes were cited last year for hiring staff with a history of abuse

According to a study by author Yue Li, from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, blacks in nursing homes are more likely than whites to suffer pressure ulcers and damage to bones and muscles due to differences in the quality of care that both groups receive.  The disparities arise in homes where there are a number of predominately black or white patients, not that homes are treating whites better than Blacks.

When Li and his colleagues looked more closely at differences between nursing homes, they found that both black and white residents were more likely to get a pressure ulcer at homes that had a higher percentage of black residents than at those that were almost all white.

That could be due to a number of reasons, said Nancy Bergstrom, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  For example, nursing homes with more black patients might not be as well funded, or they may not have enough staff.

What can be done to improve this terrible situation?  As a community, how do we get started?

Wheel Chair

Other sobering statistics are as follows:

Elderly Abuse Statistics Data
Number of elderly abuse cases in 2010 5,961,568
Percent of elderly population abused in 2010 9.5 %
Demographics of Elderly Abuse Victims Percent
Percent of female elder abuse victims 67.3 %
Median age of elder abuse victims 77.9
Percent of white victims 66.4 %
Percent of black victims 18.7 %
Percent of Hispanic victims 10.4 %
Breakdown of Reported Elder Abuse Cases
Neglect 58.5 %
Physical Abuse 15.7 %
Financial Exploitation 12.3 %
Emotional Abuse 7.3 %
Sexual Abuse 0.04 %
All other types 5.1 %
Unknown 0.06 %
Nursing Home Abuse
Percent of nursing homes that lack adequate staff to properly care for patients 91 %
Percent of nursing homes that have been in violation of elderly abuse laws 36 %
Elderly defined as 60 years of age and older

If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, click here for state reporting numbers, or telephone the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

The National Center on Elderly Abuse (NCEA) now has a Facebook page. Click here to go there and stay current on news and information related to the NCEA and elder abuse.


American Association for Justice (

National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics (

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

Giving Nursing Homes A License To Kill?

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on January 9, 2013 by Gary Johnson

One Man’s Fight To Save His Brother

By Harold Bell

Reprinted with permission from The Original Insides Website (January 8, 2013)

Call Rep. Steny Hoyer now!

Left to right:  Rep. Donna Edwards,  Rep. Steny Hoyer and Sen. Ben Cardin

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 I was visiting Patuxent River Rehabilitation/Nursing Home in Laurel, Maryland. Wednesdays are when the assigned “Wound Doctor” Dr. Carlton Scroggins makes his rounds visiting patients.  My brother Earl K. Bell, a U.S. Army vet and former D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer, is one of his patients.


Earl K. Bell Former Sgt. Military MP (U. S.Army), Sgt. DC MPD and Heavyweight boxing Champion (All-Army)

During this visit, Dr. Scroggins informed me that he would be visiting my brother every other Wednesday, biweekly instead of weekly.  Shortly after that, however, he had a change of heart!

Dr. Scroggins told me he was going to admit my brother to the DC VA Hospital on Nov. 11.

“It looks like your brother is going to need surgery,” Dr. Scroggins said. “I think the skin on his amputated foot is too close to the bone.  He will be admitted for evaluation.”

While visiting my brother on Nov. 10, the day before his scheduled evaluation at the VA Hospital, I was informed by his unit nurse Mariann that his evaluation trip to VA had been cancelled!

When I asked why, she responded, “It has something to do with his Medicare Insurance.”  I didn’t see Dr. Scroggins again until weeks after the cancellation.

My first question to him was, “Why was my brother’s admittance to VA cancelled?”

First, he acted as if he knew nothing about Earl being scheduled to go to the VA. I had to refresh his memory of our one-on-one conversation.  It was then that I knew there was a problem with the “Wound Doctor.”

He also seemed to be involved in the fabled 3 little monkeys’ game familiar in nursing homes around the country “hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.”

My next encounter with Dr. Scroggins would be on Wednesday Nov. 28.  When I arrived at Unit 2 of the facility, I observed Dr. Scroggins making what I would describe as “small talk”(laughing and grinning) with Patuxent staff.

When I walked into my brother’s room, his nurse Mariann was changing the bandages on his wounds.

I asked my brother if Dr. Scroggins had already seen him. His response was, “Not yet!”

This was highly unusual.  When I visit on Wednesdays Dr. Scroggins first examines my brother’s wounds before clean bandages are applied.  Since I was confused by the change in routine I returned to the hallway to get an explanation from Dr. Scroggins.

I found him still holding court with the unit staff.  I waited patiently until he was through to ask him if he had seen my brother.

I was shocked when he replied, “No I am going to wait until next week.  Your brother is due to be admitted to VA Hospital on the 14th (December) and that way I can write a fresh report!”

I said to myself, “Something is wrong with this picture.”  This is a doctor who definitely does not seem to have his patient’s best interest at heart.

My fears were confirmed on Sunday, Dec. 2, when a staff member named Gladys, initially mistaking me for my brother’s son, said she had been trying to reach me concerning my brother.  She informed me that his wounds had become infected. She said he needed antibiotics to combat the infection, but his son had not returned her calls.

This was just four days after Dr. Scroggins said he wanted to wait a week to write “a fresh report.” This means, while Dr. Scroggins was on the unit on Nov. 28, Earl was lying in bed with infected wounds that evidently the doctor knew nothing about or he was ignoring.

My brother was then assigned to another room away from the general population.  I was told I would need to put on a mask and gloves during my next visit.

On Wednesday Dec. 5, Harry Horton a childhood friend and an old Army buddy of my brother visited the nursing home with me to see him. We found him in a room different than his 202 in isolation away from the general hospital population.

For the past 2 years I have asked the administration, futilely, to provide my brother with a new wheelchair.  I was told his insurance would not pay for it.  The social work staff led by Crystal King has had “Family Meetings” without notifying family members of the dates and times.

On more than one occasion my brother was denied scheduled visits to VA Hospital because of insurance claims and lack of transportation, most recently on Friday, Dec. 14.

On Friday Dec. 28, I received a telephone call from Patuxent River nurse Mariann.  She wanted to know if I would be available to accompany my brother on a visit to a urologist in Greenbelt, Maryland because he needed someone there with him to interpret his needs to the doctor!

I explained to her it would be impossible because my wife was just coming home after an extended stay in the hospital.  I asked her to call his son and daughter and Mariann said, “I have tried on several occasions but they won’t respond.”

Earl’s pensions and Medicare are paying Patuxent River Rehab to take care of him, but the facility cannot provide transportation and staff assistance to him for hospital visits and doctor appointments.

When they take responsibility for his care, am I the only one who finds something wrong with practice?

As we head into 2013, Earl K. Bell has not been admitted to the VA Hospital as scheduled.  His last scheduled admittance date was Friday December 14, 2012.  When I went to check on him on Monday, December 17, 2012 at the VA Hospital I was told he never arrived!

On October, 1st I wrote to Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) about my brother’s welfare, but it seems everyone was too busy passing the buck.

Edwards’ Chief of Staff Adrienne Christian said Patuxent River was the territory of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), not Edwards.

Ms. Christian passed the buck on to their office in Montgomery County, which passed me on to no one in particular. There was no follow-up.

Rep. Hoyer has been the exception among the Maryland politicians. He will get involved and will take up your fight but every fight cannot be his.

I have had up-close and personal experiences with Presidents (Kennedy and Nixon)and Congressmen like Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Parren Mitchell (D-Md), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Barbara Jordan (D-Tex) Strom Thurmond (R-SC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), all of whom kept it real and took their roles as public servants seriously when it came to helping others.

The problem lies with these “New Jack” politicians like Donna Edwards who could care less.  They come into office with nothing but “Book Sense” and no people related qualities.

The sad part of this political process is that they hire staff that is just as clueless as they are.

Congresswoman Edwards’ indifferent behavior can be equally shared by the Patuxent River administrators and staff (John Spadaro and Jodie Dyer), the Wound Doctor (Carlton Sroggins), my brother’s son (Kenneth Bell), AARP (Addison Rand), the Maryland state ombudsman’s office, as well as the Ombudsman Program of Prince Georges County (including state ombudsman Alice Hedt and her colleagues (Stephanie Numer and Jeannie O’Brien), and The Office of Health Quality (Pat Carter).

There is no integrity or honesty in office of the Ombudsman program which is suppose to be there to protect nursing home residents.

In an interview with Tom Joyner’s (Black correspondent Jackie Jones, there are contradicting versions of what I witness taking place at Patuxent River Rehab and what the ombudsman’s office is reporting.

For example, Ms. Hedt who works out of the State office told Ms. Jones, that an Ombudsman had visited Earl Bell and that he had not suffered an infection and had not been isolated.  Mr. Bell had a special cushion added to his wheelchair to alleviate the pressured sore.  The Ombudsman told Hedt that Earl’s son was active in his father’s care.

He also told the ombudsman that his son had the Power of Attorney and he was a active participant in his care and that there were no problems.  This is definitely a contradiction of what I witness at Patuxent River Rehab.

Gary Johnson,  the Founder and Publisher of Black Men In tried to contact administrators at Patuxent River Rehab in October of 2012 and never could get a response.

It gets worst, I am watching television (Fox News 5) during the month of November there is a segment on nursing home abuse.  The story being aired was similar to my brother’s at Patuxent River Rehab (out of control bed sores).

A lawyer who claimed to be an advocate for nursing home residents was a part of the interview process.  I am impressed by his concerned and response to nursing home abuse.

Attorney Michael Winkleman is on the show representing the law firm of McCarthy, Winkleman & Morrow, LLP. The next day I call information to get a contact number for the firm. After obtaining the number I leave a message for Attorney Wickleman.

Several days later Attorney Wickleman returns my call and we discus my brother’s problems.  He says “I will get back to you”and he does (see e-mail response below).

Mr. Bell,

Do you have any of the medical records?  Do you have time to speak on the phone today?

Michael Winkelman
McCarthy, Winkelman & Morrow, LLP
4201 Northview Drive
Suite 410
Bowie, Maryland 20716

On November 16, 2012 I received a second e-mail from his partner Attorney Tom Morrow (see below).

Dear Mr. Bell:

Thank you for speaking with me today regarding the unfortunate plight of your brother, Earl.  You indicated he has been at Patuxent NH for 5 years and has recently been suffering from decubitus ulcers (bed sores).  You believe this is the result of neglect and inattention from the staff of the nursing home.  You advised that he is to go to the VA hospital on December 14 for surgical evaluation of the wounds.

I will be meeting with Mike Winkelman in the next several days to discuss an approach.  I or Mike will be in touch after we have reviewed the issues in your brother’s case.

Tom Morrow

McCarthy, Winkelman & Morrow, LLP

One Town Center

4201 Northview Drive, Suite 410

Bowie, Maryland  20716-2668

(301) 262-7422

I waited to get a response from them leading up to the Thanksgiving holidays.  As we head into the New Year they have disappeared without a trace or call back!

Shakespear once cried out “Kill all the lawyers” I wonder why?

Last but not least, the politicians who passed the bill in 1996 that created HIPAA, supposedly designed to protect patient privacy, but which has created nightmares for families trying to get help for their loved ones because the law gives hospitals and nursing home administrators the power to sit on information they don’t wish to divulge under the guise of privacy.

The AARP has lost all credibility with its hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil representation of senior citizens.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley should be ashame of the way the State Ombudsman’ Office allows nursing homes to mis-treat and abuse senior citizens who deserve better.

They all are equally responsible for giving nursing homes around the country a “License to Kill.”

Politicians & HIPPA are creating more Dr. Jack Kevorkians (the Death Machine)?

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on, do and say nothing.–Albert Einstein

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