World AIDS Day 2018

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December 1, 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is an international day of awareness, dedicated to educating the populace about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. The day also mourns those we have lost due to the disease. World AIDS Day began with two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS) at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter proposed the idea to the program director, Dr. Jonathan Munn who approved and supported its observance on December 1[1]. This date was chosen because Bunn, a former television broadcast journalist, believed it would maximize the coverage of the event by western media as it was long enough after US…
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Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Each year, November 20 is set aside to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance which honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance was begun by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999. It started with a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a highly visible member of the Boston transgender community. She worked locally to bring education and awareness around transgender issues.  On November 18, 1998, Rita was stabbed 20 times in her apartment. A neighbor called the police and Rita was rushed to the hospital where she passed away from cardiac arrest moments after being admitted. Though no official motive was found for the murder, many believed it to be a hate crime because there was no property stolen and…
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National Rural Health Day

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National Rural Health Day is today, November 15! National Rural Health Day was created in 2010 to support the ongoing efforts and collaborations occurring in more remote communities, as well as to address the unique challenges in accessing and delivering health care services in rural areas. Did you know that 19% of the US population lives in rural areas? That’s around 60 million people! And of that population, 64% of them live east of the Mississippi River [1]! Rural communities have unique healthcare needs. There is frequently a lack of providers, low levels of accessibility, and larger percentages of un- and under-insured citizens and populations that suffer from chronic conditions [2]. This is why rural outreach is such a vital part of the Caring Communities mission. Nearly 3.4 million people, or 27%…
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National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month

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November brings with it National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. This celebration has had many iterations and names since one of its first declarations in 1915, led by Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, NY. In 1990 President George H. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994 with varying names [1]. It’s important to remember that these cultures are not of the past—they are alive and thriving! To see first-hand just how alive these cultures are, take a look at Project 562 by Matika Wilbur [2]. Matika Wilbur, a visual storyteller from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, has…
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Teaming Up with King’s College to Spread the Word

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Last semester Caring Communities and United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Regional HIV Services department teamed up with King’s College, a local school in Wilkes-Barre, to produce a few videos to spread the word about HIV/STD awareness and prevention. Dr. Karen Mercincavage is an Associate Technical Professor and the head of Visual and Brand Communications track within the Mass Communications Department at King’s College. She works freelance as a graphic designer and continues to lend her talents by collaborating with local business and colleges to produce communications materials. Under the supervision of Dr. Mercincavage, several groups of students in her Mass Communications course worked hard to develop these PSAs fully, from storyboard to final video. Each duo of students first developed a brief or PowerPoint to outline their video. They listed…
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