What is NAMI's StigmaFree Campaign?

by Bill Nguyen

The StigmaFree Campaign, created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is in response to rising stigma and misconceptions regarding mental illness. The campaign’s official webpage states that its mission is “to end stigma and create hope for those affected by mental illness.” Through providing insightful reference materials as well as a self-diagnostic quiz gauging one’s susceptibility to stigma, the campaign encourages individuals to learn about the misunderstandings surrounding mental illnesses and take a pledge to educate themselves and their community about the misunderstandings.


The campaign’s official website and all of its content can be accessed here.


Can Machines Determine the Credibility of Research Claims?

The Center for Open Science joins a new DARPA program to find out.

As a research member involved in the first psychological science replication project (COS, 2015), I’m excited and quite interested in what is next with this 3-year project. Can we develop and deploy automated tools to assign “confidence scores” to social and behavioral science research results? What does this mean for the research field, accountability, and the value of replication science?

More information about this project is available by visiting the Center for Open Science news article published February 5, 2019.

What's the Latest with Apple Health Records?

In January 2018, Apple released an announcement about their update to the Health app allowing for updated Health Records to be accessed by consumers. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, University of California San Diego Health, and other participating hospitals and clinics were the first to make the beta feature available to patients.

Results from the first study was released one year later (January 2019) and published in JAMA (Personal Health Records: More Promising in the Smartphone Era?) The University of California San Diego Health was an early adopter of the Apple Health Records feature, as one of the first 12 health systems to test the app, and their researchers set out to gauge the initial reactions of patients to the new platform. As of fall 2018, UC San Diego Health has hundreds of personal health record users who have downloaded thousands of clinical results and other pieces of medical information though the platform.

The study found that early adopters were highly enthusiastic about the prospect of accessing updated medical records using the app. The study found that patients were generally satisfied with the app’s ease-of-use and felt that it improved their understanding of their health and facilitated conversations with clinicians.

The research, led by Christian Dameff, M.D., department of emergency medicine; Brian Clay, M.D., department of medicine, and Christopher Longhurst, M.D., department of pediatrics as well as CIO and associate CMO at UCSD, was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (link above).

Interoperability is not a new idea. There have been significant challenges with making electronic data usable and interoperable (between different users and systems). Now as this moves forward, practitioners will need to update EHR systems and standard processes. As of 2012, an estimated 62% of physicians were still using the fax machine as a primary means of communication.

Health informatics experts agree that if this general capability is going to benefit all patients in the U.S., it will need to eventually expand beyond Apple to other smartphone devices.

Health Benefits of Meditation

by Bill Nguyen

Meditation, extant in a variety of forms, is gaining prominence within the behavioral health community as a means of reducing stress and anxiety. As such, incorporating meditation into daily life may prove beneficial to one’s mental wellbeing and happiness. Provided in this article are notable facts and resources concerning meditation and its practical effects.

Notable Facts About Meditation

Meditation Resources

Contact your physician or mental health provider for information on how to implement meditation into your treatment plan. Do not go off prescribed medication without first consulting your physician.

A Look into December, AIDS Awareness Month

by Bill Nguyen

December is AIDS Awareness Month, meant to honor those who have passed away and celebrate technological achievements that have made AIDS less prevalent. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that affects cells in the immune system, while AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the set of symptoms and viruses acquired in the later stages of HIV. According to hiv.gov, more than 1.1 million people in the United States currently live with HIV, and 1 in 7 of those infected are not aware. However, the number of individuals newly infected with HIV in the United States has become relatively stable for most demographics within recent years, likely attributing to increased access to treatment and prevention services.

AIDS Awareness month reminds us that the fight against HIV/AIDS still persists. As long as millions of people worldwide continue to become infected, there remains initiative to raise awareness and push for an increase in prevention services and education.

To learn more about HIV and AIDS, visit the following websites:

HIV.org Federal Statistics on HIV/AIDS

Drexel Medicine on AIDS Awareness Month

Avert.org HIV/AIDS Facts

Human Rights + Social Justice Radio: WHIV FM

If you are looking for a radio station that is dedicated to human rights and social justice issues, consider dialing into WHIV FM! Dr. MarkAlain Dery and Liana Elliott are co-founders of WHIV, which features more than 70 hosts and DJs, broadcasting over 12 hours of daily and original content throughout New Orleans, and streaming online in all 50 states and 85 countries worldwide.

FM 102.3 WHIV-LP is a program of The New Orleans Society for Infectious Disease Awareness (NOSIDA), which was established in 2009 by local activist and infectious diseases physician Dr. MarkAlain Dery. NOSIDA's focus is to raise awareness about HIV and other infectious diseases through music. Such illnesses are completely preventable, yet disproportionately affect disadvantaged and marginalized populations. NOSIDA received its non-profit status in 2010.

Expanding its impact locally, NOSIDA was awarded an FCC license for a lower power (100 watt) FM community radio station in 2014. On World AIDS Day 2014, 102.3FM WHIV-LP was officially launched, featuring local music, protest songs, and programming dedicated to human rights and social justice.

Visit the WHIV FM at whivfm.org.