109 Breast Cancer Awareness with the Health Policy Research Consortium


breast-cancer-logoIn recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mr. Byron Sogie-Thomas, Deputy Director for Health Policy Research & Analysis at the Health Policy Research Consortium, and Dr. Edith Mitchell, Professor of Medical Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and past President of the National Medical Association shared their knowledge about breast cancer.

In this episode we have a frank discussion about the causes breast cancer, the risk factors, who’s at risk, what we know about prevention, breast cancer in men, what the current research  shows, how public policy can help reduce the burden of this disease, including how to pay for screenings and the ease of navigating the health care system if you or a family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and more.

Breast cancer strikes fear in the heart of women and far too many continue to die from this disease.   This is especially true for African American women, who are more likely to die from breast cancer, even though they are diagnosed at the same rate as White and Hispanic women.

hprc-logo3This episode was sponsored by the Health Policy Research Consortium, also known as HPRC.  HPRC’s focus is public policy and their goal is to keep you informed about the many ways that public policy can affect your health.  To learn more about HPRC’s research findings, blogs, events, and their Health Connect Prince George’s mobile app, please visit their website at www.hprc.info.


107 How to Fight for Environmental Justice in Your Community (Sponsored by HPRC)


environment1In many places around the country there is growing concern about the health effects of environmental hazards, from lead in the water, to nitrogen dioxide in the air.  These hazardous toxins can turn our communities into death traps. And there is plenty of evidence that these dangers are not equally borne by all populations.

Byron Sogie-Thomas with Health Policy Research Consortium, also known as HPRC discusses the role of public policy in preventing or correcting environmental hazards and improving our health.

Kamita Gray and Al Weaver, leaders of the Brandywine Two Bridges Southern Region Neighborhood Coalition talk about how they are using community engagement to drive public policy in their fight with a very large environmental hazard; namely emissions from not one, but a third fossil-fuel power plant in their neighborhood in Maryland.

Neil Gormley with Earth Justice in Washington, DC talks about this entire issue of Environmental Justice and what we can do to protect our communities from these environmental hazards.

019 Surviving Cancer And Domestic Abuse


Our purpose in life is revealed in many ways, but we must pay attention to every clue from having a stranger compliment our work or perhaps our purpose is expressed vividly in a dream that seemed so real upon awakening.

Kita Williams’ revelation came one night via a dream about beautiful women dressed in vibrant colorful garments, wearing bold jewelry, and walking the runway as if in a fashion show.  However, what Kita found most striking of all was that the women were all bald.  In Kita’s dream, the name “Raw Beauty” was also given and thus the Raw Beauty Initiative was born.

Learn how Kita took what was not her dream, but a dream and turned it into a life-affirming initiative admiring the beauty and passion inside and out of survivors of cancer and domestic violence, which promotes healing via shared acts of love, faith, laughter, and artistic expression.

Every year Kita launches a Raw Beauty Calendar that features these beautiful survivors. Featured in the 2015 calendar is Helen Ballard, a cancer survivor who will share her story of how the Raw Beauty Initiative changed her life from being reclusive to that of advocacy for breast cancer survival.

009 A Double Mastectomy By Choice


Aurelia Crews was known for what she calls her “Rack,” which were her size “F” breasts.  Aurelia was also blessed with a shapely body frame, award-winning smile, great family, a host of friends around the world, a successful career and more.  Most people would describe Aurelia as “having it all.” Then one day breast cancer struck.

Aurelia could have let cancer get the best of her; instead she showed cancer her best.  With the support of family, friends, her strong will and belief in God, Aurelia is now cancer-free.

During Aurelia’s battle with breast cancer, she learned valuable lessons about relinquishing control and has clear plans for a healthier and happier future helping others.

006 Surviving Hodgkin’s Lymphoma


Hodgkins Lymphoma

After having a persistent cough for two weeks Erica finally decided to see her physician.  After receiving two Computerized Tomography (CAT or CT) Scans Erica’s doctor informed her that she had enlarged lymph nodes on her lungs.

As her health began to deteriorate and during a hospital stay, doctors performed another CT scan, which revealed the enlarged lymph nodes had spread from her lungs to her stomach and arm pits, strongly suggesting lymphoma.  After a battery of tests, Erica was finally diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 27.

What followed was a grueling ordeal that included low blood counts, shingles, resistant staph infection (MRSA), blood clots, anxiety, happy days and sad days.  Within 6 months of her diagnosis, tests revealed that her lymphoma had gone into remission!

Despite the cancer going into remission, Erica still had to endure chemotherapy for another 6 months, which created nausea and painful tingling throughout her body. It seemed as if the sickness lasted until the following chemo treatment.  There was a point when Erica felt like giving up, but her doctor insisted that she remain strong through the last therapy session to increase the odds that the cancer will not return.

The road to recovery was tremendously hard for Erica.  However, after six months of chemotherapy, transplants, transfusions and lots and lots of prayer, as Erica puts it, “I BEAT CANCERS BUTT… by God’s grace!”

Erica founded  “D’zire2Survive” to improve the quality of life of patients and their families touched by the lymphoma disease by providing education and up to date information.  Erica wants to pay it forward by inspiring patients with peer to peer comfort to help them continue to fight and overcome their battle with blood cancers.

To learn more about Erica’s journey, copy and paste the following links to your browser:

 Website:  http://www.ericasurvived.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/beatcancersbutt

Instagram: @ericasurvived

Twitter: @ericasurvived

Lymphoma Research Foundation:  www.Lymphoma.org