5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A KNOW-IT-ALL ON YOUR TEAM!

Know-it-all

Know-it-alls can be annoying and extremely difficult to get along with; trust me, I know quite a few know-it-alls and I may or may not be one. However, they are extremely useful assets in life and in business. Rather than trying to stifle their exuberance, you can re-channel their focus and put them to good use. Here are 5 simple ways that know-it-alls can be of benefit:

THEY MAKE GREAT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS:

In general, they tend to obsess over topics and dutifully go over mundane details in order to be well informed. So use them to do research on a topic or subject you may be interested in and then give them a platform to broadcast their knowledge. They will love having an audience and your team will only benefit from their research. As I always say, know-it-alls make great learn-it-alls.

know it alls

THEY ARE GOOD AT PUBLIC SPEAKING:

If you need someone to help you build your public speaking skills, study the way know-it-alls handle an audience. They tend to be undisturbed by the size of the crowd or the group. In general, they are good orators and because they are sometimes outrageous in their claims they have a good handle on how to deal with an unengaged and sometimes a hostile audience.

USE THEM TO INTRODUCE DIFFICULT OR TOUCHY SUBJECTS:

Know-it-alls tend to be unperturbed by negative reactions from their audience. As such they are well equipped to broach touchy subjects or topics. They will appreciate and revel in the fact that they have some exclusivity and will gladly introduce touch subjects on your behalf. By the time they are done with their segments, your group will be ready for questions and you can answer questions and redirect the group’s energy. By the time the know-it-all is done with the group, they will be so happy to hear from you. Caution: this usually works better in group settings and not so well in one-on-one conversations since know-it-alls can be overwhelming in private settings. 

THEY ARE GREAT TEAM CHEERLEADERS:

Let’s be honest, know-it-alls can be annoying but once they decide to be on your team, they will sing your praises like a songbird. The fact that they are so emphatic in their beliefs, means they are extremely useful for boosting team moral.

THEY ARE AWESOME FRIENDS:

Know-it-alls tend to be extremely loyal which may seem a little counter-intuitive but trust me, you want them as your friend. They will silence your doubts and speak to your strengths like no one. Once they are on team YOU, it is extremely hard for them to switch teams. They reason being, they tend to over-analyze everything and they spend a lot of time researching the benefits of a friendship with you. Once they make the decision to be your friend, they will stick around no matter how long it takes to get a return on their investment. After all, they are so used to going against the grain that they will not falter when everyone else does.

Merriam-Webster defines a know-it-all as one who claims to know everything. 

Grace Favor & Faith definition: One who loves to know everything and is willing to put in the work. 

Learn it all

Disclaimer: Of course this is only my opinion which is extremely biased. I may be a little know-it-all… okay who am I kidding? I am a full fledged know-it-all. However, growing up with 7 headstrong siblings gave me a unique perspective on interpersonal relationships.

Definition of a know it all

I recognize that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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The Case for Black Doctors

By Damon Tweedy. Originally published in the New York Times Sunday Review on May 15th 2015
CreditAnthony Gerace

DURHAM, N.C. — IN virtually every field of medicine, black patients as a group fare the worst. This was one of my first and most painful lessons as a medical student nearly 20 years ago.

The statistics that made my stomach cramp back then are largely the same today: The infant mortality rate in the black population is twice that of whites. Black men are seven times more likely than white men to receive a diagnosis of H.I.V. and more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer. Black women have nearly double the obesity rate of white women and are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer. Black people experience much higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and stroke. The list goes on and on.

The usual explanations for these health disparities — poverty, poor access to medical care and unhealthy lifestyle choices, to name a few — are certainly valid, but the longer I’ve practiced medicine, the more I’ve come to appreciate a factor that is less obvious: the dearth of black doctors. Only around 5 percent of practicing physicians are black, compared with more than 13 percent of Americans overall.

As a general rule, black patients are more likely to feel comfortable with black doctors. Studies have shown that they are more likely to seek them out for treatment, and to report higher satisfaction with their care. In addition, more black doctors practice in high-poverty communities of color, where physicians are relatively scarce.

As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen this up close. I’ve frequently been the only black doctor (or one of very few) in clinics with large black populations. Quite often, patients ask to see a black doctor, but the sheer volume of people seeking help prevents me from accommodating most of their requests.

Black patients, compared with those of other races, tend to be far less trusting of physicians and their medical advice. Much of this is rooted in a dark history of experimentation on black people without their consent (the four-decade-long Tuskegee syphilis study is the most notorious modern-day example). Too often, however, this mistrust is to the patients’ detriment. I’ve met countless black people who have either delayed or refused needed treatments because they were skeptical about their physician’s motives and honesty. Some wound up far sicker than they should have been; others died.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence that black patients are more likely to trust black doctors comes from the mental health field, where a patient’s relationship with his or her provider is especially important. Black people have often fared poorly in their interactions with the mental health care system. For example, they are nearly half as likely as whites to receive treatment for diagnosed mental health disorders of comparable severity. When black patients do receive treatment, it is far more likely to occur in an emergency room or psychiatric hospital than it is for whites, and less likely to be in the calmer office-based setting, where longer-term treatment can take place.

In this context, it is easy to understand a 2011 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology that observed that black people strongly preferred to be matched to black therapists and were more likely to view them favorably, and that these preferences and perceptions translated into slightly better clinical outcomes.

In addition to the issues of trust, there is also a simple geographic explanation for the importance of black doctors. For at least three decades, researchers have found that black doctors are simply more likely to practice in high-poverty communities that are minority-rich and physician-poor. According to a 2012 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, black medical students are more than twice as likely as white students to express the intention to work in such areas.

My career offers an example. I grew up in a working-class family a generation removed from segregated poverty, a background that influenced my decision to practice in clinics that served a disproportionately poor and minority population, instead of private offices.

CLEARLY, we need more black doctors. In the 2011-12 school year, the most recent for which figures are available, there were 5,580 black students enrolled in medical school, making up about 7 percent of the medical student population, which is roughly half of the proportion of the black population in America.

Nonetheless, when viewed through the lens of history, this recent figure reflects progress: In the 1968-69 school year, 783 black students were enrolled in American medical schools, just 2.2 percent of the overall total. Race-based affirmative action programs, which began to be implemented around this time, undoubtedly played a major role in expanding the number of black students in medical school. By the late 1970s, the number of black students had increased nearly fivefold, with the proportion peaking at 8 percent in the mid-1990s.

Since that time, however, opposition toward affirmative action has grown stronger. Many states have banned race-based admission efforts at public universities, and last year, the Supreme Court ruled that this was permissible. Purely race-based affirmative action is not yet dead, but it appears to be approaching its twilight years.

Even those who are uncomfortable with affirmative action or oppose it outright should consider the potential impact of this trend when it comes to medical school. A recent study in The Journal of Higher Education found that affirmative action bans in six states led to a 17 percent reduction in the enrollment of underrepresented students of color in medical school. Policies resulting in fewer black doctors could lead to even worse health outcomes for a population that is already the least healthy.

Of course, black doctors are not the only physicians who can deliver good medical care to black patients. Nor is every black physician a good one. Over the years, I’ve worked with many white and Asian doctors who are adept at interacting with patients of all races and social classes; indeed, they have been some of my best teachers and colleagues. Yet I’ve also seen the other side, where black patients have received cursory evaluations and callous misdiagnoses based upon negative stereotypes.

When I have been particularly successful at treating black patients, it has often had less to do with any particular talent on my part than with my patients’ willingness to bring up the racial concerns that troubled them.

Several years ago, for example, I met a recently retired black man who had been referred to me for treatment of depression. He had become increasingly dispirited by the fact that the town where he had raised his children had transformed into a community full of poor schools, single mothers and young black men in the criminal justice system.

Rather than prescribe him an antidepressant pill, as another doctor had done, I encouraged him to talk in depth about his early life in the 1940s and ’50s and the positive influences that had helped him succeed. Discussing his life in this way made him feel more confident about his ability to touch other lives, even though he couldn’t fix larger social problems. He helped put together a local program that introduced poor black kids to chess and golf, an endeavor that made him feel better than he had in many years. Periodically, he leaves me messages saying that he is still doing well and thanking me for my help.

Another time, I worked with a young woman who struggled with her biracial identity. Her black father had been abusive to her white mother when she was a child, and she found herself both afraid of and hostile toward black men. Because she physically resembled her father in many ways, she had also turned these negative feelings inward. Not surprisingly, her initial impression of me was unfavorable, but a friend encouraged her to come back to see me.

Over the next several months, we talked about every aspect of race imaginable, and by the end, she found herself more at peace and better able to see black men as individuals. For the first time, she even met a black man whom she began dating. She no longer felt depressed or severely anxious.

My experience as a patient may also be instructive. I received a diagnosis of high blood pressure as a first-year medical student, and although I knew perfectly well that I needed to change my high-salt, high-fat diet, I just couldn’t do it. Of course, it was hard to give up what was familiar and enjoyable. But an equally important part was my resistance to assimilating and adopting behaviors that I associated with well-to-do whites — eating salads and drinking fruit smoothies, for example — even though I knew that this defiance was ultimately self-defeating.

Only after many failed attempts have I been able to consistently do the right thing with my health. Today I take this experience into the exam room. While patients ultimately have to take responsibility for their own lives, it is helpful to have a doctor who understands, and doesn’t dismiss, behavior patterns that are often rooted in a cultural history.

How do we find more doctors who can share these insights with their patients? The truth is that race-based affirmative action is not an ideal fix. Despite being a beneficiary, I am ambivalent about it. In college in the 1990s, I was a strong student — co-valedictorian of my class — and a good test taker. On these measures alone, I would have gotten into several high-quality medical schools. Yet affirmative action propelled me into a different stratosphere. I was suddenly an applicant worthy of early admissions and special scholarships at some of the most elite schools.

Race might have been my ticket onto this stage, but what really made me different was social class. My mother went to segregated inner-city schools and couldn’t afford college; my father grew up in rural poverty and didn’t finish high school. In contrast, many of my white classmates were the children of doctors, lawyers and professors. A greater emphasis on socioeconomic diversity — one that looks at applicants in the context of their family structure, parental education, childhood neighborhood and quality of grade-school education — is more likely to be seen as fair by a greater number of people (and more likely to survive legal challenge) than one that primarily uses race as a marker for diversity.

Universities — and medical schools in particular — should go out of their way to recruit good students of every race from these less affluent backgrounds. Over time, such efforts could produce a greater cohort of doctors who are better prepared to relate to the patients who need them the most.

In an ideal world, the race of the patient or physician wouldn’t matter; we would all treat each other strictly as individuals. But we’re quite a ways from reaching that exalted goal. For now, we have to attack the problem of racial health disparities from as many angles as possible. Black doctors are an important part of this mission.

Planning

Let’s just be honest, planning is boring, tedious, time consuming and just not sexy. It takes insight and foresight to plan. You must take into account strength and weaknesses, timing, age, background, education etc, etc. As you get more and more adept at writing plans, you will quickly become acquainted with the economic term “opportunity cost”. Opportunity cost has been described by economists as “the basic relationship between scarcity and choice”. This principle hones on the concept that the true cost of a good is not what you pay for it but rather it is what you had to forego in order to get that particular good. Here is an illustration from http://www.theeconomist.com; going for a walk may appear to cost nothing, until you consider the opportunity forgone to use that time earning money. The fundamental problem that economics addresses is how to meet unlimited wants with limited resources. Opportunity cost therefore is an important tenet in answering that question because it probes us to ensure that resources are indeed being used efficiently.

Lets apply this principle to out personal lives, we all have unlimited wants (aka dreams) but we have limited resources such as time, money, intelligence, patience, support etc. Planning allows you to more accurately evaluate the cost of a decision. I remember one of my mentees and she was definitely a procrastinator. She had been taking nursing prerequisite courses for over 3 years and as I listened to her talk on and on about the challenges of taking more than 2 classes a semester and being fixated on getting into a prestigious program which had rejected her multiple times before. I finally got fed up and told her, “I appreciate your perseverance, but just remember that for every year you decide to delay, you are losing on average about $100,000 a year from future earnings”. The true cost of the decision to delay is not just another year, it is the loss of a potential $100,000 in income. It is the time you will lose by having to delay retirement in the future. It is the time you will lose with your family in the future. It is also a loss of the compound interest you will have gotten from savings. Within a year, my mentee got into a nursing program. Not necessarily the program of her choice but definitely got good training and now she works a nurse in her field of choice.

In conclusion, I urge you therefore to view planning as a GPS system. It calculates the time (true cost) of reaching your particular destination (your dream) by taking into account multiple variables such as distance, time of day, traffic, roadblocks, setbacks, accidents, other drivers on the road with you, the topography, the seasons of the year etc. Let’s not be arrogant enough to think that we can free style or way through life. If God himself makes plans, how can we be exempt? I leave you with a quote by William Gibson from The Economist.

future

TRANSLATION

translation

Languages are a beautiful thing. I have always been  intrigued by languages and the cultures they unfold. I was so passionate about languages that at age 18 I set a goal to be fluent in 5 languages by age 25. Well… things did not go according to plan. I just turned 33 and I am only fluent in 2 languages (English and French). I can barely understand 3rd grade Spanish with a few scattered medical terms. I have a vocabulary of 50 Italian words and I definitely am not fluent in Arabic which was also one of the languages I had planned to learn. I was feeling pretty sad about not meeting my language goals until I remembered that I spoke Pidgin and Franc-Anglais really fluently  bringing my grand total to a whopping 4!

However, I remembered my upbringing and I could hear my teachers from the British system of education say, “Pidgin is not a language, it is a dialect”. At that point I started researching the differences between a language and a dialect.

Oxford dictionary defines a LANGUAGE as:

The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. A system of communication used by a particular country or community.

Whereas a DIALECT is defined as:

A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

It seems in the colonial era, the ‘powers that be’ decided that the countries being annexed were not “civilized” enough to have a language system and therefore these languages were dubbed “dialects” and this erroneous label has been wrongly promulgated though the years.

What most people don’t know is Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian were once considered dialects of Latin.

Meet Durante degli Alighieri also known as Dante

dante

He was a major Italian poet who was very controversial because he decided to publish his works in Italian which was a language mostly spoken by commoners. During Dante’s era, most literary works were written in Latin which was accessible to only educated audiences. Dante defended the use of modern day vernacular in literature thereby setting a precedent that other writers soon followed. As such, Dante has been credited in playing a critical role in establishing the national language of Italy.

Now let’s focus on one of my favorite languages, Pidgin which comes second only to Franc-Anglais. PIDGIN is the lingua franca for English speaking West African countries. Check out this recent article by BBC who started an initiate to create a service in Pidgin. They are just now recognizing what we have always known, pidgin is an awesome LANGUAGE!!! It is estimated that over 200 million speak Western African Pidgin English between (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.

Learning about this Dante and his controversial  prompted me to start a project that I had been putting off months. I have always wanted to translate classic text in literature and science into Pidgin. Imagine listening to the “To be or not to be” speech in Pidgin. I can only imagine it sounding like an Osuofia scene by Nkem Owoh (for those of you not familiar with the name, this is a Nollywood actor). If I could describe Pidgin in one word, I would call it “juicy”. It rolls off the tongue with such ease that once you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.

My goal is to create a body of work that can be of value to some groups that may be marginalized because they may not understand English or French well enough to understand the text to its full extent. I am very excited to start this project and here is list of potential works to be translated into pidgin.

  • The old man and the medal – Ferdinand Oyono
  • Dedication – Wole Soyinka
  • Okwonko’s speech (Things fall apart) – Chinua Achebe
  • To be or not to be (Hamlet) – Shakespeare
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion – Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Marc Antony’s soliloquy (Julius Caesar) – Shakespeare
  • The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe  etc, etc, etc….

I am open to suggestions for new works. I am excited to get started. Of course I am open to submissions of original works in pidgin as a guest author.

I leave you with a quote by Robert Frost: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation”

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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translation1

FWP #1: I can’t find a good dog walker!!!

first-world-problems

Dog walker ad.png

Okay dog walking is a booming business in the First World apparently some people value it so much they spend a fortune trying to provide care for their dogs. Check out this article about a doctor who quit her job to become a dog sitter. I just wish she could have made the decision a decade sooner so that one of the hundreds of students rejected from the medical school admission service could have had her position and would be contributing to help alleviate the physician shortage in the US.

In contrast, one of the most prominent problems in developing countries is Malaria. Malaria has had a cure for decades but still it affects an estimated 300-600 million people each year. It is the largest killer of children killing one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day.

malaria-kills

Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. In summary, developing countries have 99 problems and a dog walker is not one of them.

99-problems-dog-walker

So where do we go from here?  Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.

I recognize we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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Dogs are people too!

dog
Dogs are people too!

As a Black woman in living in the state of Washington, I have very little opportunity to interact with minorities of  all backgrounds. When I first moved to Seattle approximately 3 years ago, I was excited to live in a city which was socially liberal. This was a welcome breath of fresh air after leaving the deep south. For the most part I love this city and it is one of my favorite places to live in the US (with the exception of New England).

However, there are a few things that I must deal with but I am struggling to understand as I acclimate to Seattle. The most prominent thing being their love for dogs and animals. I grew up in West Africa and we grew up with pets (mostly dogs, cats and one bunny- who disappeared under suspicious circumstances). Recently, in conversation in with one of my neighbors I asked her to clean up after her dogs and she went into this litany about dog rights and animal rights. In summary, she equated the life of a dog to the life of humans and I am paraphrasing here but what I surmised from her argument was; “Dogs are people too”. I was so flabbergasted that I just started laughing hysterically.

All joking aside, I struggle with the fact that certain Seattlelites express more compassion over a dead dog than they do for black men being gunned downed and murdered by police officers. I find these views really disturbing especially living in a state that is a liberal as Washington state. I can only imagine what people living in more conservative states must be going through.

For so long, the Black community has had to live with the systematic portrayal of black people in general and black men in particular as animals in the media. I wonder if the Black Lives Matter movement will make more headway if they acquiesced and said yes “we are animals” and just let PETA take up their cause. PETA certainly seems to be getting their message heard.

Recently, I was taking with one of my Caucasian friends and she mentioned the the Netflix show “The Man In the High Castle” and she tried to imagine what life would be like in America if Hitler and the Nazis had won the war. I calmly informed her that for some groups very little had changed since the war namely for the Black community and other minority groups. Some groups don’t have to imagine an alternate reality if Nazi’s had won the world, we are living in an alternate especially with the recent election results.

the-man-in-the-high-castle

If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this group of white high school student doing the Hitler salute for their annual picture in a high school in Texas.

hitler-salute

In her recent Oscar nominated documentary 13th, director Ava DuVernay makes the argument slavery is being effectively perpetuated in the United States through mass incarceration of African Americans. One could argue that there has been some change in the way Blacks are treated in this country but no one will disagree that there is still a lot of room for growth.

13th

ava-duvernay

May be aligning the Black lives matter message with PETA and having them take on the role of defending certain Homo Sapiens sub groups (especially those with a certain level of melanin pigmentation) is a bit extreme but they seem to have made significant headway. I worry about raising my daughters in a society where animal lives are more valuable than certain human lives. PETA stands for People for the Ethical treatment of Animals. Maybe we should create a new group called PETAH (People for the Ethical Treatment of All Humans).

I  don’t know about everyone else but as for me and my family we are “down with all Homo Sapiens”. As far as I am concerned Dogs are NOT people. Now I love the Canis Lupus species but I am “down with the Homo Sapiens” in a crazy kind of way – ride or die!!! I guess that explains why I have spent the last decade of my life obtaining training to better serve them as a physician.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books: Animal Farm – “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”

all-animals-are-equal

If you are down with the Homo Sapiens like and share this post.

homo-sapiens

 

So where do we go from here?  Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.

I recognize we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

 

Never UNDERESTIMATE a Lion; an Indomitable Lion nonetheless

afcon

Today  the Cameroonian soccer team shocked the world and Africa in particular by winning the African Cup of Nations 2017. This is the first time in 15 years that Cameroon has won the AFCON. The last time being in 2002 with the likes of Patrick Mboma and Samuel Eto’o Fils. 

samuel-eto

The most surprising thing to recognize about this team is, they are not the lead team for Cameroon rather they are a substitute team who were asked to play when most of the lead players for Cameroon refused to come represent their country. They shocked the African public by qualifying for the semi-finals and then proceeded to give the Ghanaian Black Stars a thrashing during the semi-finals game in a 2-0 win.

Of note, Cameroon has faced  Egypt 3 other times in the Finals of the AFCON but never succeeded in defeating the Pharaohs of Egypt. Cameroon’s lackluster performances in the past 7 AFCON competitions has led most of Africa to believe that the Indomitable Lion was dead but as they say in Cameroon; “Ont ne fait pas les grimaces devant un vieux lion” loosely translated “No gesticulations in front of an old lion”.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roared valiantly and defeated the Pharaohs of Egypt in a 2 – 1  win with goals by Nikolas N’Koulou and Vincent Aboubakar. Aboubakar  scored his 15th goal with the national team and soared Cameroon to victory with arguably the best goal of the tournament. In Cameroon we say “Impossible n’est pas Camerounais” (Nothing is impossible for a Cameroonian) but I like to say “With God nothing is impossible”. Thank you God for blessing Cameroon with a victory after 15 years. This will be the fifth AFCON cup for Cameroon making them second only to Egypt as having won the most cups in the history of the competition (Egypt has seven cups).

Most Cameroonians are celebrating with the Cameroonian anthem for the African Cup of Nations which is a song by the artist Reniss titled “Dans la sauce” which literally means “In the stew”. For Cameroonians today, the Egyptian football team is all part of the stew being served in Yaounde for the victory. Even Egyptians were chanting “l’Egypte est dans la sauce” as they left the stadium.

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Image result for reniss dans la sauce pictures

Image result for reniss pictures

It goes without saying that the most underestimated team in the history of Cameroonian football has proved everyone wrong today. I leave you with a lesson I learned a long time ago which is to appreciate the gift of underestimation.

underestimation

I know we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!