Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guest Post: Ways to Treat Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects mostly adults, but anyone can acquire it.  It is not contagious and is usually appears as a thick, salmon- colored skin in flaky patches usually on the elbows, knees, arms, and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.  The skin in the affected area may be dry, itchy, and/ or sore (MedlinePlus, 2012).

Treatment  Options
·        Antibiotics
·        Daily baths: keep skin clean and moist
·        Phototherapy: the use of light
·        Prescription medicines: injections or pills
·        Skin lotions

·        Topical cortisone creams or ointments

The National Psoriasis Foundation (n.d.) recommends trying a variety treatment options to find what works best for you and to be sure to work with your doctor. Some complementary and alternative therapies suggested include:

·        Maintaining a healthy diet by eliminating trigger foods.

·        Using herbal remedies such as aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, capsaicin, dead sea salts, oats, tea tree oil, turmeric, or Mahonia Aquifolium.

·        Mind and body therapies like aromatherapy oils (Chamomile, Lavender, Rose, Tea tree), meditation, mindfulness, and spa therapy.

·        Alternative therapies include acupressure, acupuncture, massage and reiki.

·        Exercise including yoga and Tai Chi for stretching.

Psoriasis has different levels of severity and your treatment will depend how mild or severe it is.


MedlinePlus. (2012). Psoriasis. Retrieved from 

National Psoriasis Foundation. (n.d). Psoriasis Treatments.
Retrieved from

Veronica Arispe is working on a MS in Health Studies with a focus on Worksite Health.  She received a BA in Criminal Justice with a minor in Community Health in 2001 at New Mexico State University.  She currently works with the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo in El Paso, Texas as an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thank You

Whether you are a Health Studies student, staff, faculty, alum, a member of the TWU community or part of the larger public, we wanted to take a moment and say thanks for being part of our online community here on our blog, newsletter,  Facebook, and/or our LinkedIn group! We appreciate the time you spend with us.


Monkey Thanks

Friday, August 15, 2014

6 Tips to Help You Prepare for a New Semester

The fall semester is fast approaching and you can feel the stress and anxiety piling up on you already. Stop for just a minute, take a slow deep breath and exhale slowly. The key here is not to panic. We have provided you with a few tips to ease the pain and agony of starting a semester. 

1.    Take care of all you can before the semester starts.

If you need to do a deep cleaning of your apartment/house, do it. If you need to take your kids or yourself to the doctor or dentist, make an appointment to see him/her. Don’t forget that Fluffy and Fido might need to get their yearly check too. The point is to get as many things as possible complete before the semester starts, so you will not have to handle it later while you are writing papers and studying for quizzes. Sure things will pop-up during the semester, but you will not have the extra stress looming over your head. 

2.    Get ahead of the game.

The first two weeks of the semester can be overwhelming because you see all of the assignments, readings, papers, projects, tests, quizzes and finals that have to be completed in all of your classes. Just thinking about it makes your head hurt and you think, “Where am I going to find the time to accomplish all of this?” That is easy, get a head of the game. Review each syllabus a week or two weeks prior to the semester starting and become familiar with the requirements of the course. If you do not have a syllabus or a textbook list available online, email the professor. It does not hurt to ask. They probably will be more than happy to get you started.
 Next, purchase your books and supplies early. Have them before the first day of classes even. That might mean going to the office supply area of your local store and buying your favorite gel pens and day glow colored folders. This will eliminate even more stress of falling behind on your required readings for the course and scrounging around for the perfect writing implement.

 3. Mentally prepare yourself.
Mentally preparing for the semester is not meant to cause more pain and suffering; but rather make you feel prepared to tackle the semester successfully. Take a few minutes to plan out your new schedule for the semester by recording due dates on a calendar and set up reminders. During those few minutes, review the assignments that will be due during the semester and figure out a plan of action. As you develop a time management strategy, do not forget to include the other things in life that you need to accomplish such as the dishes, making meals, exercising and taking time for yourself for a mental break. Do not forget to include sleep into your schedule. Your body and mind require it more than you think and sadly caffeine eventually wears off. If you need more tips on time management, click here

4.    Set goals and stick with them.
Setting goals actually gives you something to strive for and achieve. If you write down you goals, you are more likely to accomplish them. For the semester write down two or three goals that encourages you to press on toward the end of the semester. Another idea is to put the list of goals where you can see them daily. You can even draw little boxes beside each goal and once you completed them put a smiley face or gold star sticker as a celebratory act. Here are some examples of goals:

•    I will read for thirty minutes each day for each class.
•    I will make a 3.0 this semester.
•    For every hour I study, I will take a 15 minute walk as a mental break.
•    I will complete the final project for my class two weeks prior to when it is due. 


The last example might be a little ambitious, but it is something to strive for. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishing your goals because you have to have some fun for yourself during the semester. If you do finish your final project two week ahead of the due date, you will deserve a reward for all of that hard work. For more information about making personal goals click here

5.    Identify resources that are available to you.
There are also resources available to you through TWU. The Student Life department has several services for students all types of students from international, local, commuter and virtual students. If you know you that one of your classes you are going to need to some help during the semester, contact the department about a tutor. Also the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence offers many valuable resources.

6.    Identify your cheerleader squad.
There are people in your life that are proud that you are continuing your education. They get are excited about the work you are doing so much that they cannot help but smile. They tell you, “Great work!” Of course that gives you the boost you need. Find those people and actually let them cheer you on during the race. Get the motivation you need to survive. They might even be fellow classmates. Remember strength in numbers helps more than you think.  You can have your own encouragement group and pat each other on the back as you run for the finish line. They can also help you up when you trip and fall on your face.

Now rather than dragging your feet into the fall semester, pick up your feet and march forward toward the new semester. You are prepared. You can do it. Also, if you ever need a pep talk, swing by, email us, or check out our Facebook page. We have words of empowerment and encouragement to help keep you motivated to complete the fall semester successfully. 

For other tips about starting off the semester click here. We'd love to hear what your tips and tricks are for preparing for a new semester!


Harvard Extension Hub. (2014). 9 tips to start the semester off right. Retrieved from

Manage your work, don't let it manage you: Tips for managing your time and getting ahead. (2000). Retrieved from

Mind Tools. (2014). Personal goal setting: Planning to live your life your way. Retrieved from

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Friday, August 8, 2014

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” 
-- John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

“Every farewell combines loss and new freedom.”
-- Mason Cooley

Dean Ishee and the Ishites
2013 Halloween Prank
For me, saying farewell is always hard. It’s the good-byes that are easy. So for the last three weeks I’ve been trying to say farewell to my home of the last five years – TWU Health Studies. I have started writing this post numerous times.  I even have a few rough drafts, but nothing ever seemed to fit. Finally, after percolating and mulling and tossing paper in the trash, I decided to keep it simple and share the three areas that I am the most grateful for.


Most people don’t know that I came to Health Studies with a specific goal in mind and that was to get healthier. I believed that coming to work everyday to a place where health and promoting health education was the focus would help me focus on my own goals. It did!

Over a period of about nine months I learned about myself, my eating habits and stress triggers, exercise that I liked and hated, and more. By the end of those nine months I had lost 40 lbs.  Best of all, I felt better and had solid strategies in place for maintaining my weight and eating healthier.


Graduate Student Appreciation Week
I have long had an interest in communication. Working at TWU Health Studies gave me wonderful opportunities to continue practicing and learning those skills from working with students of all ages to continually trying to find better ways to communicate online to tinkering with humor as a communication tool.

Beyond Health Studies though, I had the occasion to practice my communication skills by working with people from a variety of departments. One of the most meaningful learning experiences I had was helping to lead the efforts to start a Toastmasters club on at Texas Woman’s University. I am so grateful to the many people who assisted me, provided support, and taught me (whether they knew it or not) about collaboration and communication. We were successful and in September 2013 the Pioneer Power Speakers was officially chartered!

Laughter and Fun

The 10th Floor Gang for
Morgan's Birthday Celebration
The last thing I want to share my gratitude for is the tremendous amount of fun and laughter I have enjoyed over the last five years. I have held a lot of different positions with different universities and organizations over the years. Nowhere have I had as much fun, laughter, and joy as I did at TWU Health Studies.

We have done some crazy things over the years. Pranks, wisecracks, pink mustaches, silly emails, Monkey, and Star Wars gear were all a part of being on the Health Studies team. But the fun, sense of humor, and joy extended beyond Health Studies up to some of our senior administrators, who helped foster that kind of environment.

None of this is to say that we all sat around the campfire singing Kumbayah all the time. No, we had our frustrations and disagreements. At the end of the day though, what I saw and heard and felt was that these people believed in what they were doing, enjoyed what they were doing, and worked hard every single day to – as I always say – “make it a great day!”

So as I start on my new journey I wish you well and hope that you will make it a great day because it is indeed your choice.

PS - Kudos to you if you recognized the reference in the title!

Morgan O’Donnell served as both  the graduate academic advisor and more recently as program director for TWU Health Studies.  You can follow her adventures in the Land of Enchantment at  Morgan continues to tinker with humor in her alter ego as Mo Solo both on Tumblr and Facebook.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guest Post: August is National Breastfeeding Month

Is Breast really Best?

Breastfeeding Art - I love my mummy
by Angelus Works
via Flickr. *
Breastfeeding is considered by many to be the ultimate form of dietary supplement for newborns, infants, and even toddlers. Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers babies’ risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea (NRDC, 2014). All of these things are great benefits for newborn babies; however, often time health professionals send mixed messages about the importance of breastfeeding and the expectation for new mothers. The message that is generally sent is “Breast is best, but here’s some formula because we don’t expect it to work for you.” Instead of advertising unbiased information, most health facilities have incorporated the habit of offering formula to all mothers with little or no push back with facts or statistics about breast feeding and benefits of breast milk.
Formula is expensive, and one of the things driving this high cost is the huge amount of money spent on free samples and advertising in health care facilities and advertising to health care providers (Kaplin & Graff, 2008). Formula manufacturers know that the brand of formula mothers are given in the hospital is the one they are most likely to continue to use through the first year or longer. For this reason, the formula industry is overshadowing a woman’s natural ability to care for her own children. Parents who buy infant formula and stick with the brand the hospital distributed are paying tons of money for those “free” samples, roughly $700 per year over the cost of generic formula (Kaplin & Graff, 2008). The reason the formula companies include all these freebies in their advertising budgets are because it generates huge profits and exposure for the brand!

Women have the right to make their own choice in providing nourishment to their new bundle of joy however, it is also important that mothers are informed about the benefits and not coerced into purchasing a product because there will be benefits for the health facility. Weather a new mom chooses to use formula or breast milk they should always be informed, learn factual information about both options, and do what will work best for their situation.


Natural Resources Defense council (NRDC). 2014. Benefits of Breastfeeding. Retrieved from

Kaplan, D. L., & Graff, K. M. (2008). Marketing Breastfeeding—Reversing Corporate Influence on Infant Feeding Practices. Journal of Urban Health-bulletin of The New York Academy of Medicine. doi:10.1007/s11524-008-9279-6

*Breastfeeding Art - I love my mummy by Angelus Works.
vailable under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Simone Sanders graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in health promotion/education. She is currently working towards a master’s degree in Health Studies at TWU with hopes of one day becoming an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her main health focus is sexually transmitted diseases within minority populations.