Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Racism is more than oppression

I just read The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism, an article written by Dr. Pamela Wible and posted at the KevinMd blog.

Racism does more than oppress. It can kill. Increasing tolerance, equality, and understanding are still goals we should strive to obtain.

Recognizing the social situations people live in and helping them become well with an eye to understanding those social pressures is one of my interests. I hope to remember this article and keep it in mind when trying to heal patients.

Back to the drawing board

It appears the data I have on sleep quality and cognition aren’t showing an association. At least not one strong enough that’ll qualify the paper for print. I think it’s pretty lame that a lack of association will keep a paper from print. Journals should also be willing to print papers that show no association. These papers have just as much value, in my opinion.

What that means for me is that I may not have a paper. My mentor has requested another analysis from the statistician. If that shows an association, then I can move forward. If not, I’m working on some alternative hypotheses. I spent the majority of yesterday doing that. Most of the background doesn’t look too promising as potential support  for an argument or I’m having trouble locating full articles. It’s almost like starting all over.

A friend likened it to writing an article for the paper and then it falling through after half the story is written — times 100. That’s exactly like it. Oh, well. It happens.

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Current project

Hello! Popping in to give a quick update. I do have a couple more Small Travels and Musings posts about state parks, but those have been put on hold for a week or so.

I’ve got a few things I’m working on and those take priority. Sorry! Not that y’all aren’t important or anything.

Though I haven’t posted here, I have been a busy bee writing essays for applications, a paper prospectus and, now, my paper. I’ve been interning at a local medical school since June, which includes reading background information on various topics. For my project, I selected how sleep quality affects cognition, specifically Hispanic farmworkers and manual laborers. A statistician has started analyzing the data and has begun turning out some numbers, which I’ve started to look over.

For several weeks I read through a lot of papers and found some really eye-opening information. For instance, check this out:

  • Half of migrant and seasonal farmworkers earn less than $7,500 per year. Farmworker families earn less than $10,000 per year. (1)
  • Average life expectancy of migrant and seasonal farmworkers is 49 years. The national average is 75 years. (1)
  • Children of farmworker families experience more frequent respiratory, parasitic and skin infections; vitamin deficiencies; and dental problems than other children. (1)
  • Farmworkers experience 150-300% more teeth decay than their peers. (1)
  • African-Americans and Latinos report poorer sleep compared to Caucasians. (2)
  • When education, employment and marital status are included, there is a sleep disadvantage among poorer groups, especially Caucasians. (2)
  • Poor health is associated with a 4-fold increased chance for poor sleep. (Poor sleep can affect health and vice versa.) (2)

Did your jaw drop? Mine does every time I read the first few facts. Appalling. I included the last bit of information because I’m looking at sleep and I thought you’d find it interesting, too.

It’s really exciting to think of changes that could occur as a result of such research. Imagine what good could be accomplished with some elbow grease and cooperation.


  1. Hansen, Eric and Martin Donohoe. “Health Issues of Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (2003). 14(2): 153-164.
  2. Patel, Nirav P. et al. “Sleep disparity in the population: poor sleep quality is strongly associated with poverty and ethnicity.” BMC Public Health (2010). 10: 475.