Blog Posts

'The Court System Shouldn't Interrupt the Treatment Process' [theatlantic.com]

The notion that drug addiction is a health condition is not, in the main, controversial in 2017—not politically and not medically. For decades, doctors and researchers have categorized it as a disease, and in recent years the majority of the American public has caught up with them, with widespread support for increased access to treatment and reduced reliance on incarceration. But this consensus hasn’t entirely translated to the courts. There’s perhaps no case that illustrates this...

A Mass Incarceration Mystery [themarshallproject.org]

One of the most damning features of the U.S. criminal justice system is its vast racial inequity. Black people in this country are imprisoned at more than 5 times the rate of whites; one in 10 black children has a parent behind bars, compared with about one in 60 white kids, according to the Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality. The crisis has persisted for so long that it has nearly become an accepted norm. So it may come as a surprise to learn that for the last 15 years, racial...

Royal commission report makes preventing institutional sexual abuse a national responsibility [theconversation.com]

The study and discussion of child sex offending is replete with stereotypes of predators and molesters who prey on children. These stereotypes are often used to characterise child sexual abuse as the problem of a deviant minority, and so the only available response is to identify and incarcerate those responsible. In contrast, in its final report , released today, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented a socially and historically contextualised...

Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism [theatlantic.com]

Can training the mind make us more attentive, altruistic, and serene? Can we learn to manage our disturbing emotions in an optimal way? What are the transformations that occur in the brain when we practice meditation? In a new book titled Beyond the Self , two friends—Matthieu Ricard, who left a career as a molecular biologist to become a Buddhist monk in Nepal, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—engage in an unusually well-matched conversation about meditation and the brain.

A U.N. Poverty Expert Breaks Down the Sorry State of Economic Equality in America [psmag.com]

For the last two weeks, Philip Alston , a professor at the New York University School of Law and a United Nations special rapporteur on poverty and human rights, has been on a fact-finding tour of the United States' poorest communities. Alston visited neighborhoods in rural Alabama where raw sewage sits in open trenches and pits. He spent time at a free dental clinic in West Virginia, where he met a 32-year-old whose teeth have all but rotted away. He saw a homeless encampment in Los Angeles...

How to Decolonize the Way You Think About Your Body [yesmagazine.org]

When you hear the phrase “eating disorder,” what do you picture? Perhaps a young white woman, about 5’10”, blonde, with a face you would expect to see in a Hollister advertisement, size 00 (yes, Hollister carries size double zero). Contrary to cultural assumptions, eating disorders do not just plague white cis hetero women. They affect everyone, regardless of race, size, gender, class, or sexuality. However, they don’t affect everyone the same way. Eating disorder research has historically...

Putting the Needs of the Community Front and Center [rwjf.org]

The Columbia Gorge Region where I live is a vast rural area larger than Connecticut but with a population of only 75,000. While many people here are doing well, others live in poverty, or have to drive long distances to get to a doctor’s office. In this land of fruit orchards, one in five people regularly run out of food. Mandi Rae Pope was once one of those people. A few years ago, during a difficult pregnancy at the end of her husband’s graduate studies, Pope says she was “counting pennies...

Are We Ready for Truth and Reconciliation Around Sexual Violence? #MeToo (wakeup-world.com)

A teenage Icelandic woman is raped by her Australian boyfriend after she’s had too much to drink. In his own immature, conditioned teenage mind, he doesn’t call it rape. Because the media and pornography and the way fathers raise sons and bro’s egg on bro’s, he convinces himself that he was justified in taking what was rightfully his — her body, her vulnerability, her sexuality, maybe even her physical and mental health. She is traumatized by the experience, and in his own way, he is too.

Time limits for Reporting Sexual Assaults?

It seems each day’s headlines highlight another high profile politician, entertainer or business executive being accused of sexual misconduct. The activities themselves vary widely, including sexual harassment that may consist of verbal taunting, sexual innuendos, threats of career derailment and physical violence, inappropriate and unwanted physical and sexual contact and rape. Many of us feel betrayed each day by these famous men we have never even met in person. The topic is ubiquitous...

Heading North: American Doctors Report Back From Canada [npr.org]

For Peter Cram, an American internist who spent most of his career practicing in Iowa City, Iowa, moving to Toronto in 2014 was an easy decision. He says he is among a handful of American doctors who went north to practice in Canada's single-payer system. Now he doesn't worry about whether his patients can afford treatment. "Everyone gets a basic level of care," he says, which lets him focus on their medical needs instead of their finances. Cram treats his move as a sort of life-size...