Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Issue: Health education is not mandatory in U.S schools
Audience: State of Boards of Education members and leaders

We live in a nation where it is normal for high school students to engage in sexual intercourse, even though some don’t know how to correctly use a condom. According to the CDC and the School Health Policies and Practices Study, among U.S. only “39% taught how to correctly use a condom in a required health education course” (CDC). And according to Healthy People 2020 " Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended" with only 39% of high schools teaching their students how to properly use a condom, it is no wonder why almost half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.
Hello, my name is Desirae Tainatongo I am a public health promotion major and I am here to say that there needs to be a law that health education be mandatory in every high school in the U.S. I am going to talk about what percent of states have mandatory health education, what high school students are/are not being taught when it comes to health education, reasons why some people do not want health education to be mandatory in school, and statistics about certain health problems that can be decreased with health education.
In all the school years leading up to 12th grade it was only required that I take one health education class for two semesters during my 9th grade year. Even though one year of health education is not enough, I consider myself lucky that one year was required, because compared to many other high schools across the nation one year of health education was more than other students were getting. Of all the high schools in the U.S. in 2006 only “69% required students to receive instruction on health topics as part of a specific course” (CDC). In some states health education is only a one semester course that is mandatory to graduate while other states it is not a mandatory course and therefore is sometimes not taught at all.
When it comes to health education in high school, proper health education is shockingly low. Of the high schools in the U.S. according to the School Health Policies and Programs Study in 2006: 

- 87% taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other  STDs in a required health education course.
- 85% taught how HIV is transmitted in a required health education course.
- 53% taught 14 nutrition and dietary behavior topics in a required health education course.
- 38% taught 13 physical activity topics in a required health education course.
- 58% taught methods of contraception in a required health education course.

Many people see other subjects such as math, science, English, and history being superior to health education; however according to the CDC “Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Research also has shown that school health programs can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviors among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance” (CDC). Such health risks that can be reduced by health education in high schools are obesity, sexual risk behaviors, and substance abuse. To shed more light on some of these health risk behaviors the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that among U.S. high school students:
- 6% had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years.
- 15% had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life.
- 40% did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse.
- 16% were never taught in school about AIDS or HIV infection.
- 13% were obese
- 22% drank alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse.
- 2% used a needle to inject any illegal drug into their body one or more times during their life.
          Although other school subjects are equally as important, if people in the U.S. want to live long enough to follow their dreams to become a surgeon, an engineer, a psychologist, a teacher, etc. health education should be mandatory so that everyone knows how to properly take care of themselves in order to live a long healthy life. With proper health education being mandatory in high school, students can be educated about such health risk behaviors which can lead to them making smart and healthy choices. When these smart and healthy choices are made, they can greatly lower rates of death, teen pregnancy, STD’s, unintended pregnancies, and obesity; and with all these rates lowered, life expectancy will greatly increase.
        I myself am in my junior year in college and a public health promotion major, and I am still learning about health education. I am proof that health education needs to mandatory in high school, because one year in high school of health education and three years in college still is not enough. Let’s have our nation live longer and healthier lives starting with proper mandatory health education in high school. Thank you.

Sources and more information about adolescent health and schools: 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Speech Exercise/Rhetorical Analysis

Condoms Activism Speech (Funny)

President Obamas Speech On Birth Control !


Rhetorical analysis of Condoms Activism Speech (Funny):

(The audience for this speech seems to be a classroom of teenagers at a high school.)
The speaker, who like the audience, is wearing casual clothes possibly to appeal to the audience, to show the audience that he relates to them. The speaker starts off his speech with the attention grabber by shouting "SEX!" using this he has used pathos by surprising the audience with such an opening. Noting now that he has their attention he goes on to addressing the audience by saying that "Mostly all of you are going to want to have sexual relations with your partner like Marvin Gay's song Let's Get It On." here he is using pathos and logic, or logos, it may not be statistically accurate but it is logos. The use of pathos is used with him using comic relief to keep the audiences attention. Throughout his speech he uses ethos and logos with the use of  credible statistics and quotes about condoms. He also uses pathos and logos at the same time by mentioning how many girls at the school have been pregnant/have had children since starting at that high school. Although the speaker is not presenting his speech in a serious manner, the facts, statistics, and enthusiasm used proves that he does take the topic seriously.

Rhetorical analysis of President Obama's Speech On Birth Control:

(The audience of this speech is everyone presiding in the USA)
The speaker in this speech is President Obama, he is dressed in a suit and tie (ethos) to appeal to the audience as an authority figure. This speech is very professional and appears to be using ethos and logos throughout the speech. He uses both with the use of statistics from credible sources such as from "experts at the institute of medicine" and with the use of facts about birth control and the health care reform. Towards the middle and end of the speech he appeals to the audience by naming professions such as janitors, by naming average professions he uses pathos. Pathos is also used when he mentions the Catholic church, the principle of religious liberty, and a personal experience he has had when he worked at a Catholic church, with these he appeals to peoples emotion and religious beliefs. This speech because of the facts, statistics, and seriousness of the tone make it clear that President Obama also takes this topic seriously.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Physician Assisted Suicide is it murder or a right? 


By Desirae Tainatongo
March 12, 2013

In physician-assisted suicide (PAS), physicians allow terminally ill adults to end their own life with the aid of a prescription for a fatal dose of oral barbiturates. When it comes to PAS Americans are almost split in half on the subject, with 55% for it and 45% against it. Some are for PAS because it relieves the terminally ill of their pain, while others are against it because it is against their religion. The subject being a controversial topic is only legal in three states (Oregon, Washington and Montana) of the United States of America’s (USA) fifty states.

In the USA there are many rights the people have including those stated in the First Amendment such as the right of free speech and free exercise of religion, however the right to die without suffering is not found in any amendment or found in all states. Although Americans have free exercise of religion, why are Americans making decisions about PAS based on religion? The terminally ill and those without religious beliefs or with different religious beliefs should not be limited to their rights to die in peace because of religion.

As the younger population ages it seems with time PAS might become legal in more states. Based on a survey done by NPR, the 65 years and older people who were surveyed were mainly opposed PAS (44% for and 56% against), but with the younger group of 35 years and younger were mostly for it (59% for and 41% against). These findings are probably because the younger population is becoming more tolerant with being more exposed to different views through the education. The same study showed that “People in households that made $100,000 or more a year were more likely to support doctors helping terminally ill people to commit suicide. Same for people with at least a college education.” (NPR, 2012)
Although the younger crowds are more for PAS, it does not mean that they also don’t have religious beliefs when it comes to homicide/suicide. With the younger population being more tolerant to PAS, it it possible that they understand that people have different views and beliefs and whether those are the same as their own or not “people deserve the right to end their lives on their own terms, without pain and suffering.” (ABC, 2013) Or that the younger population is more educated about the criteria that must be met in order to die with the aid of PAS. ABC has provided the criteria for Oregon’s PAS below.  

For example, to participate in Oregon, an individual must be: 

• 18 years of age or older 

• A resident of Oregon 

• Capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself 

• Diagnosed with a terminal illness with only 6 months to live 

The attending physician decides if the criteria have been met, but further requirements are then necessary. Some of those include: 

• Two oral requests by the patient, at least 15 days apart 

• A written request by the patient signed by two witnesses

• Confirmation of diagnosis and prognosis by the attending doctor and a consulting physician 

• The attending and consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable of making health care decisions for him/herself 

• Patient must be informed of feasible alternatives 

• Attending physician must request the patient to notify their next-of-kin of the prescription request 

• Physicians must report all prescriptions for lethal medications to the Oregon Health Authority, Vital Records

As shown above, PAS is not something one can easily do just to escape hardships like other forms of suicide. In NPR’s article Dr. Marcia Angell argued for PAS by mentioning that her own father killed himself with his pistol because he could not take the pain his prostate cancer was causing him any longer.

PAS is not "a choice between life and death… It's a choice of the exact timing and the manner of death, because these patients are dying." - Dr. Angell.

To the terminally ill it is the only peaceful way to end their suffering, shorten the time of their inescapable death, and not burden loved ones with excessive medical bills. The terminally ill and those without a religion or with different religious beliefs should not be limited to their rights to die in peace because of religion.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Press Release

According to the Los Angeles Times 'Sequester' cuts to hit healthcare hard and MSNBC Sequestration will be hazardous to our health, the sequestrations $85 billion budget cut will greatly affect healthcare, causing loss of jobs, less access to healthcare, and even more public health problems around the world.


By Desirae Tainatongo
March 3, 2013

NORTHRIDGE, C.A. – Issued by the Obama administration there will be federal cuts of $85 billion dollars, healthcare taking the biggest cut for nondefense. The budget cut starting March 1, 2013 is expected to have a major impact on healthcare affecting not just healthcare providers, but people all across the globe.

Even though Medicaid and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) are not going to be part of the $85 billion budget cut this year, children, women, and men in the United States and around the world will still be greatly affected. According to Geoffrey Cowley writing for MSNBC, the sequestration will cause a $2.6 billion in yearly cuts for the State Department and USAID, which will eliminate $600 million in humanitarian assistance and global health programs. And that “The international ONE Campaign estimates that the cuts to global HIV/AIDS programs could force 170,000 people off of their AIDS medications this year, causing 37,000 rapid deaths in poor countries and orphaning 74,000 children.”  Global health programs that help people around the world through education, health services, and food will no longer be. Instead thousands will suffer from untreated or under treated diseases, which can lead to death, which can leave many children parent-less.

National public health will also have its share of cuts; in fact Noam N. Levey of the Los Angeles Times writes that approximately 46,000 public health jobs have been eliminated in the last five years. Now with the new budget cuts even more jobs are expected to be cut. Levey writes that scientists from major universities and medical centers are already being laid off, many who were researching chronic and infectious diseases. With the laying off of these scientists’ many research programs and studies will be coming to a halt or will be delayed.

If limited access to healthcare wasn't hard enough for some people, it will be even more difficult with the cuts affecting services such as tests and screenings. Cowley writes that it is estimated that WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) will have 600,000 to 775,000 women and children who will lose nutrition assistance, 34,000 middle-age women will no longer have federally screening tests, and that 7,400 low-income Americans will be put on waiting lists to receive treatment.

Noam N. Levey of the Los Angeles Times writes that CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that this month’s cuts could cause 424,000 fewer HIV tests by state and local health programs the agency funds. With 424,000 fewer HIV tests many people can have HIV and not know it which can cause a faster spread of HIV than before the budget cuts, only making the jobs of healthcare workers more difficult.

With frequent mass shootings in the past year in schools and public areas, mental health has come to the attention of many Americans who think that more focus needs to be put on mental health. However with mental health taking a hit from budget cuts, more attention and time might not be posible. Crowley writes that “373,000 children and adults with serious mental illness will lose services that help prevent hospitalization and homelessness.”

As for the elderly and the disabled covered by Medicare, it is written by Crowley that the Health and Human Services Department is expected to cut about $15.5 billion, with about two-thirds of that coming from Medicare. This is only a 2% cut of Medicare, however two-thirds of $15.5 billion is still a lot of money that will affect many elerdly and disabled people.

Not only are programs directly dealing with medical research and the public health are affected, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) also has to make major sacrifices. Crowley writes that “By cutting the FDA’s budget by 8%, the sequester will force the agency to cancel about 2,100 inspections of food manufacturing facilities this year.” And with “Contaminated food sicken[ing] 48 million Americans each year…” the rise of this 48 million is expected to increase because of the sequestration.

As MSNBC’s headline states the “Sequestration will be hazardous to our health.”

Desirae Tainatongo is Public Health major at California State University of Northridge who is writing/blogging about political issues dealing with women’s health for her English 306 class.

Contact: Desirae Tainatongo
Phone: ------------


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blog Description

Welcome to my blog, my name is Desirae Tainatongo I am a public health promotion major at CSUN whose interests are in women's health and reproductive health. As previously stated my interests are in women's health and reproductive health, so here you will find that the topics I post will mainly revolve around those. My posts will not only be health related, but they will also be politically related such as health care plans, policies, laws, legislation's, and right's related to women's health. I hope as I learn more about women’s health that readers will enjoy learning along with me though my posts.