Why Pharmacists Are at the Centre of Future Healthcare

In today’s changing medical world, the pharmacist is becoming more important. In many ways, pharmacists are becoming more like mini-doctors, depending on their education and training. Some pharmacists in the United States and UK can even offer some medical advice and prescribe limited medications. This flexible license is vital to the ever-changing and expanding medical world.

Is becoming a pharmacist a viable career? With today’s medical costs rising, becoming a pharmacist is one way to help people without the high costs of 12 years of medical school. Most pharmacists also make a decent salary, making the investment worth it.

Take a look at how the role of the pharmacist is changing below:

Market Concentration

PharmacistOver the next 10-20 years, general practitioners will fade away. What used to be prescribed by practitioners will now be able to be prescribed by pharmacists. Hospitals and doctors will stick to consolidated offerings and specialized treatments. A few organizations may even buy out smaller doctor’s offices.

Self reliance

The economic downturn has made many people less likely to visit an actual doctor. This means that many people will turn to their pharmacist long before they ever step into a doctor’s office. Patients are looking for prevention and self-care methods, rather than treatments like they wanted before. This will enabled pharmacists to become involved with lifestyle management.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM)

Medication Therapy Management is a new role for pharmacists. This is an important role that will only become more important as the decade progresses. MTM is designed to help patients receive the best treatment options for their unique needs, and the pharmacist can take on that role with ease.

Pharmacogenetics

Could medications be used based on the genetic makeup of a person? In modern medicine, the practice is not widely used, but in the future, it is likely that many medications will be offered based on genetics. Pharmacists will be able to help provide the flexibility necessary to identify which medications belong with each unique set of genetics. Pharmacists have a chance to lead along with scientists to discover the true benefits of genetic-based medications.

Primary Care

One new role for the pharmacist is the role of primary care. With the new ability to dispense certain medicines and provide an advice-based role, many pharmacists are uniquely qualified to act as primary care providers for many low-risk patients of any age.

Pharmacists as Doctors

In the past, the pharmacy was simply for dispensing medication. However, today, the pharmacy is more of a community health center, offering health screenings, immunizations, and more. This hybrid between pharmacy and doctor’s office is something that is only beginning to emerge, but has the chance to become a community-based medical center that provides for all patient needs.

Prevention

Prevention is something that the medical industry hasn’t really focused on before now. However, with patients living longer and healthier lives, prevention becomes more important. Nutraceuticals, are foods and food products that provide medical and health benefits on more of a preventative role. This is something that a pharmacist can provide to patients- perhaps even uniting with fitness centers for a total health approach.

The role and future of pharmacists is changing. Rather than simply being pill pushers, the profession is changing and taking a more active role in the prevention and curing of medical illnesses. The pharmacist of today is able to interact directly with patients, offer medical advice, and help a patient take an active, preventative role in his or her health.

Technology and Social Media’s Role In Government

As social media gradually integrates with society, people are now spending their time socializing online. Young and old are depending on online posts for news on current events and the latest trends.

usdiplomatsm01Social media is redefining how people connect, absorb information, and influencing the issues of our day. This is how current social media platforms are becoming a factor for change in the society. For instance, social media sites such as Facebook and Google+ have become a means for social interaction. In addition, improvements in Internet-reliant communication like voice over IP are making its way to produce quality communication mediums. People can just call each other, regardless of the distance and time, to pass on relevant information.

If normal and everyday people rely on social media, then would it be possible that the US government can also take advantage of the social media? This means that these technologies are used to spread or  help shape public opinions and discussions. It could also mean that they are being used to provide the US government a better method of communication amongst its different branches and institutions. So, it is important to discuss how these technologies affect US diplomacy.

Voice over Internet Protocolvoip01

A good example of improved means of communication is the VoIP service offered by the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service Program Office (DTPSO). This is necessary since it guarantees secure communications. This particular attribute is very useful for American diplomatic posts abroad due to the communications between the State Department and the various diplomatic posts containing sensitive data. These data are vital to the protection of US citizens and its government.

In addition, this type of communication is also advantageous for US diplomacy because data can be sent and received quickly. In the present time, political situations could change with a single message.  VoIP provides US officials another option for quick and reliable communication with local and foreign correspondents so they could be updated from time to time about political developments around the world.

Social networking sites

Social networking is also a great way to be informed at present. With the prevalence of sites with millions (even a billion) registered users, it’s really an effective way of knowing what’s happening in the social networkingsociety, locally and globally. The State Department uses these social networks to shape public opinion on various US Foreign Policy issues. It gives the State Department a direct access to the public opinion and vice versa. A great example of this method is the “Visa Hour.” This is a program that is being initiated by the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines. In this program, the US Consul General answers questions sent by the public. The questions are sent by the concerned individuals by tweeting and attaching #TheVisaHour hashtag. The US Consul General will then answer the questions by video.

The Arab Spring was another instance where in the United States utilized the social media to pursue its interest. During the Arab Spring, authorities decided to crack down all social networking sites. This is because they thought that these sites were being used by the opposition to gather support against the regimes. As the event developed, Twitter announced that it was going to have its scheduled maintenance. This presented a problem since the protesters would lose an avenue to voice their grievances in the international community. With this, the US State Department requested that Twitter postpone its maintenance in order to allow the opposition to continue providing updates regarding the Arab Spring. This helped the United States gather information from the public to bring down an inefficient government and set in place a good government to attain peace.

Do you think social media is a game changer?

Government Access to our Electronic Data

by Michael Morgan

cybersecurity

There have been some recent law enforcement moves meant to retrieve information coming from the Internet in order to prosecute people. A US law enforcement agency issued a subpoena from the prosecutor’s office to gain access to electronic communications of a person, citing sections from a 1980s law, which was created long before the Internet became popular. Law enforcers wish to show that the law still has teeth and that it can be marshaled to prosecute offenders by using any electronic communication like IP phone service as a means to put them in jail. Is government access to our electronic data without our knowledge a violation of our constitutional rights?

Subpoena Results

The subpoena was given to an electronic mail provider and to a popular social networking website who reviewed the subpoena. It takes legal action to combat legal action so they simply ignored the papers issued by the prosecutor’s office. In short, the law enforcement agency never got hold of their request because of the exercise of civil disobedience from the email provider and from the social networking website.

Wrong Documentation

They presented several reasons why they declined the request. In the first place, the affected providers pointed out that the law, which was drafted in the 1980s, doesn’t cover the current electronic communication that exists in the present. In addition to this, they pointed out that the subpoena is not a proper document that will enforce them to open their servers to the requesting department.

Ignorance Not an Excuse

The law can very tricky. When law enforcement agencies want swift action, what they do is coordinate with the justice department to issue out the necessary papers. A search warrant is a legal document issued by the judge who will enforce a receiving department or agent to open their servers for search and seizure purposes. Once the evidence that’s enumerated on it is found, it will be used against the person in a court of law. However getting a search warrant takes time and a judge makes it a point not to carelessly issue out such documentation. The police department must make a notable presentation that it’s really needed. Assumptions of an offense are not given any weight by the court. There must be strong proof that a person has electronic communications using a specific mail server or social networking website in order for a judge to issue out a warrant.

Work around the Law

Law enforcement agencies prefer to do go around this. Instead of waiting for a warrant, they would go directly to a prosecutor to request for a subpoena. The prosecutor’s office works directly with law enforcement and they are the ones responsible in issuing out subpoenas for this purpose.

Bullying Not Effective

When the affected Internet providers received the subpoena, they used the document itself as their defense. Instead, they pointed out that a subpoena isn’t enough for them to open their servers to the law and bridge the privacy of their users. As Internet providers they have a responsibility to protect the personal privacies of their clients and being issued a mere subpoena isn’t going to make them budge. Law enforcement will need to obtain a search warrant in order to gain access to the electronic data they want to review.

Respect to Personal Privacy

It is nice to note is that our Internet providers, social networking, and mail websites value our personal privacies, and would take action to protect our electronic data from unwanted searches and seizures. The practice of civil disobedience is necessary in order to prevent misuse of the law to gain access to our personal information.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) Stands Up to Misguided IRS Contractor

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by Logan Keziah

Tammy Duckworth’s election in 2012 was a victory for all disabled veterans. Not only did they get a representative in congress who would fight for them to get the benefits they deserve, but one who actually understands where they are coming from. Today, I got an email from, Upworthy, with an amazing video of Congresswoman Duckworth this past Wednesday giving  IRS contractor, Braulio Castillo, a piece of her mind. Castillo never actually served in the military, but he had injured his ankle playing football in prep school and uses it to get preferred treatment in government contracts.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is the representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district. She is the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and she is the first member of Congress born in Thailand. She lost both of her legs in combat and severely injured one of her arms.

My father is a retired US Navy sailor on disability, and on behalf of him, and every other individual who sacrificed and continues to sacrifice for the safety and security of all Americans, thank you Representative Duckworth for standing up for disabled veterans, in this instance, and in all others.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr1kwC0je1Y[/youtube]

Social Work Action Network (SWAN) London UK: Interview with Dan Morton

In the wake of austerity, there appears to be a resurgence of a social work movement to address the increasing inequities being forced upon vulnerable populations. Social Workers around the globe are revisiting and taking notes from generations passed in how they responded to the onset of the civil rights movement.

Recently, I interviewed Dan Morton who is on the steering committee for the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) in London, United Kingdom. We discussed how austerity policies by global governments are causing social workers to become more involved in politics. Here is our discussion:

SWH: What is SWAN, and What types of issues do SWAN focus on?

DAN: The Social Work Action Network (SWAN) is a radical campaigning social work organisation which was formed in the UK in 2004, and it sees itself in the tradition of 60’s/70’s radical social work movement and the magazine ‘Case Con’.

What makes SWAN different from those days, is that we are a partnership of practitioners, service users, educators and students. While SWAN still has a large membership in the UK and rotates its national conferences here, it has a strong international focus – there are SWAN groups or similar organisations elsewhere in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

SWAN sees the value in both collective practice and good relationship based individual social work, but understands that social workers must analyse and act upon the social problems they encounter with a close eye on structural and cultural influences on people’s lives. In the present international context, that means understanding austerity as a project of neoliberalism and opposing its levers in social policy – managerialisation, marketisation and privatisation. We understand the links between capitalism, crisis and the inequality and social devastation it causes. Instead we are broadly in favour of a model of human rights and partnership based practice, radical community work and a comprehensive, progressive social security system. The notion of linking ‘private troubles to public issues’ is a touchstone for SWAN.

SWH:  What is the mission and vision for SWAN in the wake of Global Austerity?

DAN: SWAN has strong links to progressive global social movements, for instance Occupy and the wider anti-capitalist movement. We are keen to support those involved in social action such as colleagues in Greece and more recently Turkey. We also have also run defence campaigns when social workers are attacked or vilified, such as Norbert Ferencz a Hungarian social worker who was arrested for speaking out against a law to criminalise rough sleepers. Likewise, in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy in the UK some years ago, SWAN defended practitioners against the British tabloid The Sun‘s witch hunt against social workers, by highlighting unbearably high case loads, lack of resources and support experienced by many practitioners.

SWAN has often reconfigured the anti-capitalist phrase ‘another world is possible’ to ‘another social work is possible’ – we live out our methods for practice while we work towards that world through respectful alliances between practitioners, trade unions, grassroots movements, user lead organisations and pressure groups.

SWH: What are SWAN’s highest priorities?

DAN: At present to continue to build our networks and encourage practitioners and those who use services to work collectively against inequality and oppression. This means working with trade unions and service user movements to avoid divide and rule. While imperfect, we need to defend what system of social support we have left while envisaging something better. While we are under a sustained attack in the UK which is resulting in a marked increase in poverty, in Greece we have seen people turning their children into social services, as they have no way to buy the necessities of life for them.SWAN has a network of regional groups in the UK and in Eire and they will have their own particular priorities.

At the moment anti-racist social work is especially important in the wake of increased far-right activity in the UK (the rise of the English Defence League and Islamophobia in the UK, the brutal attacks on Roma in Eastern Europe). We must continue to work with disabled people to refute attacks dividing them as either ‘lazy scroungers’ or ‘worthy strivers’.

SWH: If someone wants to become more familiar or collaborate with SWAN, where would they find you on the web, and what key points do you want them to know?

DAN: SWAN has an English language website – www.socialworkfuture.org – and a Facebook site. Our twitter handle is @swansocialwork. We gladly welcome written contributions on radical practice both in the UK and internationally- email swansocialwork@gmail.com. We would also be delighted to have more folk in the US and Canada link up with us, though we do have connections already in some cities and states. In terms of key points, we would ask practitioners to look at the global neoliberal project over the last 30 years and the attendant rise in inequality and social problems. What do you feel the priorities of a social worker should be?

The War on Education

Social work pioneer and activist Jane Addams felt that America’s future would be determined by both family and education. She stated that we become what we learn, and whatever that turns out to be is up to us. In North Carolina, the future is looking pretty grim where priorities are given to private corporations over the future of our country.

tanita wallaceThese values in our current policies are not helping our children flourish. Currently, state lawmakers want larger class sizes in grades K-3 ,even though smaller class sizes are more beneficial to students. They also want to cut Pre-K and to cut teaching assistants in grades 2-3. North Carolina is already ranked 48th in per pupil funding among states and 46th in teacher pay, what will we be ranked after these polices are implemented?

There are differing opinions on this issue. Some of the beliefs behind this bill is that it will let districts lower class sizes for at-risk students while having larger ones for kids who don’t need as much help. However others feel that this will disproportionately affect low-wealth school districts, and that smaller class sizes and more funding are needed.  The misguided legislators behind this bill say that rising class sizes could “maximize student achievement”.  Senator Jerry Tillman stated in the article:

“…Local school officials who feel they can improve achievement by raising class sizes to use the money for some other educational purpose should be given the opportunity. If districts don’t raise achievement after raising class sizes, he said that they should be held accountable.”

In contrast, a glimpse of the Finland’s school system, where the gap between the strongest and weakest students are the smallest in the world. Finnish students take only one mandatory standardized test, at age 16 and this is with some interesting outcomes… “Fully 93% of Finns graduate from high school – 17.5 points higher than American students. And 66% of Finns are accepted to college, a higher rate than the US and every European nation”.   Because Finland is not obligated to prepare students for a nation wide standardized test, teachers can do what they do best and target lesson plans that best meet their students needs. This is a person centered approach where students are met where they are at.

Why are people who were not trained to be teachers making decisions on education? The teachers are the experts so why is our government not taking their advice? This shows us that a better system is possible if we want it, if it is important enough for us. We need to bring our state toward progress again. Education is a right for all people, this means a quality education as well. If we don’t nourish our educational system, how will we nourish our society? A country’s values is determined by how its most vulnerable people are treated.

What will our values be? Rallies  and press conferences  organized by Progress North Carolina are gathering all over the state in response to this issue. If you would like to take part in the peaceful civil disobedience, please write katymunger@progressnc.org for what you can do to help. There will be more to come.

Photo credit: Progress North Carolina

In Remembrance of Those Who Lost Their Lives: Honoring Memorial Day

By Deona Hooper, MSW

cbs-memorial-day-dlMemorial Day Weekend has morphed into many meanings over the years. For some, it’s the time of year when you have the biggest sales to start summer. For others, it’s booking the first family vacation to celebrate the warm weather. For those who have lost husbands, wives, sons, and daughters while serving our country in times of war, it’s a day of remembrance and mourning for their loved ones. We say Happy Memorial Day, but is it suppose to be a happy day if it is being celebrated as it was originally intended?

It is estimated that over 190,000 soldiers lost their lives during the past ten years of the Iraq War. Some families will never know what happened to their loved one other than he/she went to go serve their country to protect our freedoms, and they never came back home. I also believe that it is important to spend time with our friends and family on this Memorial Day, but I also believe that we should have a moment of silence for those who protect us and our freedoms.

Memorial Day Prayer:

Eternal God,
Creator of years, of centuries,
Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history —
How shall we speak to you
from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you
in spirit and in truth;
You have dignified us with loves and loyalties;
You have lifted us up with your loving kindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling
[though we sometimes feel that low]
and without fear
[though we are often anxious].
We sing with spirit and pray with courage
because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness
of things’ going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those
for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died
needlessly, wastefully [as it seems]
in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died
serving their countries
in the futility of combat.
There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation,
when all the answers we are offered
fail the question death asks of each of us.
We believe that you will provide for us
as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  ~ US Memorial Day Prayer by Rev. Dick  Kozelka

Photo Credit: lasvegas.cbslocal.com

Make A Stand for Social Justice and Civil Rights: North Carolina Extreme Overreach

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Once a place many believed would become a purple battleground state, North Carolina is now a testing lab for an extreme right wing state legislature to exert their will on the masses.  However, the wealthiest 128 families in North Carolina will do even better as they are the direct beneficiaries of the Republican State Legislature law making. North Carolina Republicans and their budget director, Art Pope who is the Southern comparison of David Koch being the US Treasurer, are passing teaparty legislation unopposed as a result of their Republican Supermajority.

It appears Republicans believe their policies would go unnoticed since it’s not election season. However, no one is on an election high like the 2008 presidential election which led to Republican’s sweeping elected seats on the local, state, and national 2010 elections. Many Republicans want you to believe they are fiscal conservatives advocating for a smaller government to reduce debt. At the end of the day when you examine their policies, they lead to three things…. racism, sexism, and greed. North Carolina citizens do not plan to take this laying down. If not, this current style of North Carolina politics will be replicated across America. Democrats need to start repealing Republican policies starting with Right to Work, Abortion laws, and Voter Restriction legislation. Until there is a power balance restored, these issues must remain on the minds of the public. Reverend William Barber of the NAACP and other organizations are on the job by bringing national attention to this issue.

Reverend Barber and 17 protested were arrested by North Carolina police in protest of the laws being passed by the Republican Supermajority state legislature. Here is an excerpt from Think Progress:

Republicans currently control the state legislature for the first time since 1870, due in no small part to millions in election spending by a wealthy tea partier named Art Pope. In the few months since McCrory became governor last January, Republicans in North Carolina have pushed to transform the increasingly purple state into a laboratory for the tea party’s wish list. In addition to the issues flagged by Barber’s open letter, North Carolina Republicans introduced legislation mimicking the Florida law that led to six hour voting lines last November. They’ve tried to write lower wages into the state constitution. They’ve pushed a pair of bills making it easier for interest groups to buy and sell judges. And the Republican House Majority Leader even endorsed a pre-Civil War understanding of the Constitution, claiming that North Carolina was free to violate the Constitution’s ban on state-sponsored religion. Read Full Article

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Positive Ageing: The Role of Social Work from Cradle to Grave

by Vida Douglas

AgeingAgeing is a global issue which impacts all societies and consistently presents us with many challenges and opportunities to protect our communities from cradle to grave. A key question facing politicians and practitioners of social work is what will be the experiences and quality of ageing for our elderly in the future? In 2012, the United Nations published a report, entitled, ‘An Ageing World Demands Wiser Policies.’ which recommended that we needed to do more to prepare for the impact of a rapidly ageing population. In an attempt not to sound too pessimistic, it is important that we recognise that there has been an increase in the ageing population largely due to improved health and social care services, shaping the quality of living for the elderly particularly in western/high income countries. We certainly have no reason to be complacent, as the evidence suggests; whilst older people are living longer invariably too many spend the later stage of their life in poor health, poverty, and social isolation.

What is the extent of the ageing population? Projections for the UK suggest that the population for those aged 65 years and over is likely to increase by 23% from 10.3 million in 2010 to 12.7 in 2018. The picture is similar elsewhere, in America this year Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of economic advisers, commented that the ageing workforce was a key influence on the low labour participation rate experienced in the US. Current statistics on the ageing population in America, suggests that the population aged >65 years is anticipated to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030.

The growing debates about the impact of our ageing population, in terms of the potential burden to health and social care provisions has been a central focus for many nations. However, in reality the majority of care for the elderly takes place through informal care provided by the family and not the state. Furthermore, with increasing Governments preoccupation with welfare provisions and benefits it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the issue of an ageing population is so much more than just about pensions. In the end, we are talking about a significant number of people that have contributed, shaped and continue to live in our communities.

The challenge facing social work professionals is to ensure that the strategies we employ when working with our elderly promotes positive ageing. The key elements of a positive ageing strategy is to  recognise the individual rights and choices of the elderly, but this needs to be measured against their capacity, the information available to them and the quality of support services ( formal or informal) that they are able to access. To further improve the support provided to our elderly we need to have access to evidence-based research and knowledge, about the narratives and experiences of the diverse elderly population, this can truly inform our understanding about the nature of living and dying in our society today. Improved health and social care support services require a shift in terms of cultural and organisational structures which encourage creativity and are reactive to the changing needs of our growing elderly population. These represent, the essential features of a positive ageing strategy that can help to ensure elderly people experience positive ageing in the 21st century and beyond.  The 1 October 2013 represent a global celebration of all older people, the UN has pronounced this will be the International Day of Older Person. Let us take up the challenge, and play an active role in planning a special activity or initiative that will contribute to positive ageing in our society.

Social Media for Social Good 4th in Series: Using LinkedIn Effectively

by Keith McMean

LinkedIn is probably the biggest network for organization professionals to meet and connect on the internet. It’s a bit like Facebook for ‘grown ups’.  Connections are usually based on occupations and interests of the people on the platform. LinkedIn is a great place if you are looking for a new job or you want some professional advice as there is always someone there who can help. It’s also a fantastic place where business owners and managers can improve their business in lots of new and exciting ways.

linkedin(1)Now, I know that some of you out there are wondering how you can improve your organization growth on LinkedIn. Well first off there is a big difference between being a corporate type business on LinkedIn and a small business. Large corporations typically use LinkedIn to headhunt the top people in their sector. Human resource departments use the platform, and other means of finding candidates such as job sites and newspaper publications, to find suitable candidates, I know this because I have helped large corporations to do this.

Small business owners tend to use LinkedIn in a totally different way, it’s typically to find new clients, business partners, employees and to gain different aspects and insights in to their existing business. One of the fantastic things that is happening right now is organizations are being sold on LinkedIn, a great new innovation.

We all know that a successful business depends on networking to grow and one of the biggest innovations over the past ten years or so is the birth of these social networking platforms in helping to assist greatly in business development. One of the great things I love about social networking platforms is the interaction between members and how this can really propel a organization to the top in a very short space of time.

With is membership growing daily it’s not to be discounted for the small business owner, in fact its to be actively encouraged as the ‘go to’ platform but if you are just starting out here are my killer tips on how to succeed:

  1. Use LinkedIn to attract and hire the best people. Posting jobs on LinkedIn is really easy and don’t forget that all candidates profiles, most people still write their profiles like a CV but that’s another story, are conveniently stored so you can look through their skill sets and connections at your leisure. Don’t forget that someone who you might want to hire may have some really great connections you can leverage at a later date.
  2. So why would you go anywhere else if you have a problem with your organization? Just about every solution is there if you just ‘dig a little’. Use the Answers and groups as a starting point. So say you were looking to set up a new division in an area outside your current one, where better to find out locations, hiring staff in fact everything you could think of will be on LinkedIn, you just have to look and ask.
  3. So keeping to the ‘moving’ theme what if you want to acquire some new customers and clients in your new area? Well wouldn’t it make sense to ask for recommendations from you existing happy clients or customers? These are gold when you consider that millions of users can potentially view your profile and having some really great recommendations on there will really help.
  4. So what if you are looking to outsource some of your work you would want to find the right partner. So let’s say you sell food or sports supplements and you are looking for a gym to send your clients who are using them but haven’t found a great place to work out yet? Potentially this could be in any part of the world if you sell your supplements nationally or internationally. Let’s face it if you know nothing about how a gym works what better way than to find someone who can complement your existing business. Before long they will be recommending you and vice a versa.
  5. So what if you are looking for a new supplier? We all know that suppliers and vendors, good ones I mean, are hard to come by. LinkedIn is a great starting place to find new ones and can be used to foster competition among bidders and get the best deals, leading to lower costs for the business.
  6. What about partnering with allied businesses? Let’s say you have a limousine hire company doesn’t if follow that people who hire expensive limousines also like other expensive items like holidays, houses or watches, you get the picture. Using LinkedIn to form partnerships or connections will help gain new clients who can then get great deals, it’s a win-win for all parties.
  7. Visibility is key and if you need to create a business page then go ahead. Company page can offer some great public information where LinkedIn members can search and ‘follow’ companies and brands that they really like and engage with. This will also give you a means to share quality content on what happening in the business.
  8. Keep up with current trends, now I am not saying that you spend every waking moment on LinkedIn but we all know that knowledge is power. Well what you do with knowledge is the real power.  Keeping informed with the latest trends will allow you to be quick to respond to the needs of the consumers. LinkedIn has a section containing the latest news in the business world so use it!
  9. Join your industry associations or group on LinkedIn or start a new one. This has always been a ‘biggy’ for me as being a member of a recognised association builds up credibility in the minds of business partners or customers.  Starting a group is a really easy thing to do and will also present you as a leader in your area.
  10. Connect all you social platforms together in one place so that people and potential clients etc. can find you easily. This also helps to create a buzz about your business.
  11. I know that businesses use LinkedIn and other social media networks to find out what competitors are up to and with whom. I don’t get too paranoid about people watching me, I think of it as a compliment and help where I can.
  12. Use LinkedIn to find potential investors in your business. Be active on your industry forums and groups, present an outline of your business plan and see if there is someone willing to invest money and participate in your business operations. Also, if some business activity is too big for you to perform by yourself, look for someone with similar problem so you can join forces. For example, if you’re an importer of goods from the US you should import the whole container of products so you can keep your costs per unit down. But the whole container might be too much for your market share, so the best way is to find someone to join up with. Both partners would import only the half of the container while keeping all the advantages of economy of scale. A no brainer really.
  13. Using LinkedIn’s ‘Answers’ can really boost your credibility as you can answer people questions and again become a leader in your area. Becoming an expert can be really quick and easy. Now again I am not advocating spending every waking moment on this but having a ‘look see’ every now and again will really help in the credibility stakes. Don’t forget that members who are impressed by the quality of your answers may end up becoming clients. You could expect lots of inquires about your services and turning those answer seekers into new clients and it’s much easier than cold calling.
  14. One of the great things I found out about LinkedIn really early on was that it’s a fantastic SEO (search engine optimisation) tool. I can say that most of the time, when a LinkedIn profile for your business is up and running correctly, it is shown at the very top of a search. Having a LinkedIn profile helps your company be more visible on Google and search sites.
  15. If you are running an event, and I do all the time, LinkedIn is a great place to promote an event. It’s a very effective way of getting attendees. Once a member chooses to attend, that RSVP will be shown on his home profile, making it visible to all his connections. It’s fantastic word of mouth advertising.
  16. Don’t be shy because LinkedIn has a lot of built-in apps which can be utilised to promote and sell your services. Use the SlideShare app to upload a presentation about your business and the services you offer. Have a good dig about on LinkedIn because there are some really cool things going on that will really boos your business.
  17. I would urge you to join groups and seek out customers. Groups comprise members who share the same interests. Sign up for those that reflect the profile of your target market and interact with them. Do not hard sell but rather build your reputation with them at a steady pace that suits both parties. Making comments in the group will allow you to form connections with the subscribers of that group and build strong connections.

Because LinkedIn is a business network, it is made up of professional people seeking to make new and meaningful connections. By leveraging the power of LinkedIn, organizations will be able to achieve significant growth in their business.

  1. Finally build a killer profile that will really help propel you and your organization. I have said this before on earlier posts but it bares saying again that adding a profile picture is the single most important thing you can do. There is nothing worse than looking at a profile and trying to figure out if it’s the right person you want to connect with or not.

So that’s some of my killer tips for LinkedIn I hope you use some or all of them to boost your business and I hope you leave a comment on how you are using LinkedIn and other social networking platforms. Till next time…

Scalia Calls Voting Rights Act of 1965 A Racial Entitlement

by Deona Hooper, MSW

State of the Union
Desiline Victors at the Presidential State of the Union 2013

After opening arguments at the US Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it appears the landmark civil rights legislation is in trouble. Justice Antonin Scalia called the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement” which drew large criticism from onlookers as well as other Supreme Court Justices. This statement is especially polarizing after Desiline Victor, the 102 year old African-American woman,  who was in line for six hours to vote in the presidential election 2012. Many Americans, both white and of color, were outraged at the voter restriction legislation put in place by Republican led legislatures in order to reduce democratic turnout in battleground states. Democratic voters of all ages and color went out in record numbers to vote with a vengeance. President Obama won 11 out of 12 battleground states with the exception of North Carolina which was lost with less than 100,000 votes.

Despite a popular vote win with 2.6 million votes over Mitt Romney, many state legislatures retained Republican control or gained a Republican super-majority which means the House, Senate, and Governor are controlled by the GOP. Did the massive lines single to Republicans that the American people will not stand for voter restrictions laws? No, it only singled to them that their plan is working which may bring them the desired effect in another 10 years which is a gerrymandered federal election. The GOP has utilized think tanks for decades planning not only for the next four to 8 years. They were planning for the next forty years to return this country back to the status quo of whites only making decisions and running all levels of government as well as the private sector.

The civil rights movement occurred because it was a joint effort between whites and people of color, and the GOP did not plan for another mass exodus of White Americans in Election 2012 who have embraced equality and diversity for all in this great country.  It’s time for progressives to do more than sign petitions and starting strategically planning for the next couple of decades to restore a balance of power back to our local governments and state legislatures. Will the US Supreme Court seek retribution for the right after upholding the Affordable Health Care Act as constitutional? Stay tuned for the summer block buster for diversity and equality with both DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Voter’s Rights Act of 1965 before the Supreme Court.

Chuck Hagel Finally Confirmed As US Defense Secretary

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Photo: AP Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing
Photo: AP Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing

Today, the United States Senate finally confirmed Chuck Hagel as the US Defense Secretary with a 58 to 41 vote after a grueling confirmation hearing. With sequester cuts looming on the horizon, Hagel’s confirmation couldn’t have come at a better time with the deep cuts slated for the defense department on March 1st.  No surprise that the Senate voted largely along party lines, but the confirmation is being seen as a win for the Obama Administration. Chuck Hagel became the first Secretary of Defense in US History to be filibustered on order to prevent a confirmation vote. However, the GOP claims that it was not a filibuster more than a prolonged inquiry.

MacCarthyism was mentioned quite a few times during the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings largely due to accusations made by freshman Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.  MacCarthyism was named after Republican Senator Joe MacCarthy who made accusations that the State Department had been infiltrated by communist during the Truman Administration without any basis or evidence. The Washington Post did an extensive article on some of the accusations made against Hagel. Here is an excerpt:

Even before Hagel was formally nominated, conservative media had publishedallegations that the former Republican senator from Nebraska was anti-Semitic. The innuendo reached a whole new level when freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) suggested at a Senate hearing that Hagel may have received speaking fees from “extreme or radical groups,” adding: “It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.”

Next, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave credence to a hoax, published credulously in the conservative press, that Hagel had received funds from a fictitious group called Friends of Hamas. Asked about this by radio host Hugh Hewitt, Paul replied: “You know, I saw that information today, also, and that is more and more concerning.”

Read More

Jonathan Fast Clinical Social Worker Appeared on MSNBC as an Analyst

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Jonathan Fast, Clinical Social Worker, is an associate professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, at Yeshiva University. He has provided valuable insight and scholarly research focusing on adolescents, aggression, and violence. His latest book, Ceremonial Violence: Understanding Columbine and Other School Shootings, is now available on Amazon for purchase.

This morning, he appeared on MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt to analyze the recent school shooting in Newton, Connecticut at Sandy Brook Elementary. Mr. Fast is also a blogger for the Huffington Post, and you can view his latest article entitled Why the Gay Teen Suicide Rate in the Anoke-Hennepin School District is the Highest in the US.

Here is an excerpt:

This summer two lawsuits were filed on behalf of six students in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin school district. The students had endured “slurs, were stabbed with pencils, shoved into walls and lockers, punched, called names and urinated on by classmates because of real or perceived sexual orientation,” according to the Star Tribune.

Eight students in that district have committed suicide in the last two years. (Many school districts go for decades without any suicides.) Classmates of the deceased believe that half the students were gay or questioning. The number may be more. LGBQT students attempt suicide two to four times as frequently as other teens, according to the CDC. Read More

Photo credit: Yeshiva University

Domestic Violence: Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins

“The tragic suicide of Jovan Belcher” is a line that has appeared in many news articles in the past weeks detailing the death of Kansas City Chief’s NFL football player at the team’s facility. People were shocked, saddened, and maybe even confused by this tragedy. However, the first couple of articles I read barely mentioned Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, whom Jovan Belcher killed before taking his own life.

The usual narrative after an event like this includes various media outlets throwing up their hands (so to speak) and saying something along the lines of “How could this happen?”

In fact, we know how this could happen because similar events happen every day. What’s missing from this narrative is an accurate description of the events that took place that Saturday morning: a domestic violence murder-suicide.

To put this in perspective, every day in the US more than three women are murdered by their partners or ex-partners. Murder-suicides are less common than outright murders, but when an abusive man does commit suicide, he is more likely than a non-abusive man to kill his partner as well.

About 10 murder-suicides occur each week in America, and about two-thirds of those involve an intimate partner.

Reading between the lines in the Jovan Belcher-Perkins story, it isn’t especially surprising to anyone who understands the dynamics of domestic violence that Belcher ended up killing his girlfriend. According to one article, “Belcher and his girlfriend had been known to argue in the past and had argued the morning of the shooting.” (“Argue” is often a euphemism in mainstream media for abusive behavior.) And what do Perkins’ friends think set off the incident? She stayed out at a concert later than Belcher would have liked the night before. Already, the red flags pointing to abuse are everywhere.

Furthermore, Jovan Belcher has a history of violence; he punched out a window during an argument with a previous girlfriend in 2006, badly injuring his hand. In 2007, neighbors called the police due to concern over his and a girlfriend’s raised voices. From what the police report describes, it sounds like that argument started because his girlfriend didn’t contact him when she said she would–very similar to what set off the “argument” that ended in Perkins’ murder. Monitoring his partner’s social life, punching walls and windows, and yelling are all very typical behaviors of abusive men, but they are often misinterpreted by society (and, sadly, friends and family) as merely markers of a “turbulent” or “troubled” relationship, rather than a pattern of abuse.

Many of Belcher’s teammates took to Twitter to express their condolences, including encouraging fans to donate to a suicide prevention foundation. Of course, that is a worthy cause. But their recommendation fails to grasp that domestic abuse was one of the central components of this tragedy. It’s understandable that the Chiefs players mourn the loss of their teammate, but I wish they would pay equal attention to the woman he murdered and the child he orphaned.

Gay Widowers: A Social Role that Lacks Attention

The loss of a loved one, especially a spouse or a partner, is a unique experience that leads individuals into social roles that they are not prepared for; they have had no specific directions on how to become widows and widowers.

51fs6RfThuL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Being gay and a widower is a determinant indicator of disenfranchised grief which is also grief that is not usually recognized by the social world. Let me elaborate on this with an example. Just a year ago I started a project to examine how gay men become widowers; how does that experience deliver for their lives and what the meanings and social supports are.

During this journey, of listening to grieving individuals, someone told me that he cannot fill out the social services’ forms anymore. It is unbearable. Why? Because he is a widower, but he was told that as long as there is no legal proof for that, he is just unmarried.

Experiencing a disenfranchised grief indicates three main things. One is lack of recognition of the relationship that existed, so two gay men being together and being married. Secondly, lack of recognition of the loss that is experienced. and finally, lack of recognition of the new social roles that the loss has brought. It is self-explanatory how these three core determinants interconnect and overlap; one becomes the extension of the other.

Gay men are experiencing grief and loss differently than their heterosexual counterparts. Gay grief may lack recognition based on the given society, and when it does the individual moves towards a complicated process of grieving which may lead social work practitioners in clinical practice (as well as other professionals) to interpret certain behaviors as “abnormal” (for lack of a better word) or pathological.

Gay men are struggling with issues of survival after the death of their spouse or partner. Was the marriage recognized? Is the loss recognized? Is there a social support system for the person left behind? How important becomes the social recognition of the grief and the loss per se, in order for the individual to follow through with a healthy process of bereavement as opposed to dwelling on the lack of opportunities that he faces in his community/society?

Social workers work with gay people in any setting, and they can make a difference, starting from understanding the concepts and the meanings of those concepts, that their client-systems deal with. Awareness of possible scenarios may raise skills and knowledge which are crucial in social work practice.

Bereavement should be a free matter, not a socially constructed fashion! One should be able to grieve and mourn for thy loved one, and not hide it behind the social norms that cannot be fair at the time. I will close this post with something that a very close friend of mine in the US told me recently, as he is a gay widower himself.

“Losing my husband was one unbearable thing. But realizing how unwanted I am in my city, made this experience just the worse” – Gay Widower

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