Blogs from 2018

By CHHS Extern Kaitlyn Holzer  Two years ago, Russia interfered with the United States presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s server and engaging in a series of online campaigns through false social media accounts. Today, voters wonder if the midterm election faces similar challenges. Federal and state officials are closely monitoring today’s election by surveying voting and registration systems across the country. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security installed ALBERT Sensors in 39 states. These sensors detect traffic on an election system’s network and alert the federal government to suspicious information. Swing states such as Florida have ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Kaitlyn Holzer On October 9th, 2018, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report to the Senate that details the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) weapon systems. The DOD published the report in support of its plan to spend $1.66 trillion to further develop their major weapon systems. The increase of the computerized nature of DOD weapon systems and DOD’s failure to prioritize the cybersecurity of these systems has contributed to the cyber vulnerabilities exposed in the GAO’s report. Historically, the DOD has focused on the cybersecurity of their networks rather than ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Courtney Bennett On October 1, a North Carolina man died from a bacterial infection from floodwater as a result of Hurricane Florence. Like all natural disasters, most families are unprepared for the unexpected water, sewage, and soil contamination after a disaster. After a hurricane, families are always eager to resume their normal routine and repair what remains of their property. In doing so, many people are unaware of the dangers of cleanup efforts and how to maneuver with contaminated floodwater in close proximity. The Center for Disease Control recognizes most infectious diseases may already be present in ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Alison Venable National Preparedness Month Kicks Off with a Bang as Southeastern States Prepare for Hurricane Florence The theme for National Preparedness Month this year is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” This matter-of-fact message could not be more aptly timed as Southeastern States prepare for one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the region since 2004. Meteorologists are still refining the route Florence will take and which areas will feel the largest impact, but it is likely that whichever direction the Category 4 storm heads, Maryland will feel the effects. As of this morning, ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Nicole Kulaga In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, claiming the lives of an estimated 4,645 people. Almost a year later, Puerto Rico and the nation as a whole, are still recovering.  While officials have restored 95% of the power grid, more than 250 schools are set to close permanently, and drug shortages are impacting healthcare providers throughout the United States. Puerto Rico is home to an estimated 101 pharmaceuticals including drugs for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, H.I.V., blood thinners, and IV saline bags. Factories in Puerto Rico “make 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Nicole Kulaga  Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as programs that provide behavioral therapy and medications to patients with substance abuse disorders.  MAT programs treat opioid use disorder with either methadone, naltrexone, or buprenorphine.  Implementing these programs into correctional facilities will reduce relapses, prevent overdoses, and consequently, could help reduce drug-related crimes. A study conducted in Massachusetts found that the “opioid-related overdose death rate is 120 times higher for people who are released from Massachusetts prisons and jails.” This is because while incarcerated, inmates who do not receive ...Read More
How The United States Government Is Taking Action Against Deadly Wildfires By CHHS Extern Nicole Kulaga  In 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018’s new funding structure for wildfire suppression will take effect. This bill aims to correct serious flaws in the way wildfire prevention and treatment are paid for in the United States. After one of the worst fire seasons in the past decade, it was time to make a positive change- and Congress did exactly that. This Act creates a contingency fund that provides up to $2 billion yearly to fight wildfires. Reports of the detrimental impact of ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Tyler Babich On March 22nd, Atlanta's city government announced that it was the target of a cyberattack that effectively shut down most of its computers and internet-connected systems. Criminals successfully perpetrated a ransomware attack that blocked local government employees from being able to use their computers. The result was at least a week of cancelled court hearings, unavailable bill payments, and otherwise ceased or slowed the services that make up the usual functions of Atlanta's government. The impact of the ransomware attack also resonated beyond Atlanta’s boundaries. A regional Federal Emergency Management Agency office and the Georgia ...Read More
By CHHS Extern John Travers Mass shootings are a recurring issue in American society and thus have provided impetus for hospitals to reexamine their ability to respond effectively after such events. The verdict seems to be a mixed bag as administrators, doctors and other professionals struggle to plan for the unthinkable. Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School writes “In moments like these, doctors, nurses, and technicians lean on their training for most of the required actions. But … there are intricacies that could never ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Erika Steele  Like a child trapped in a septuagenarian’s body, artificial intelligence (AI) presents an odd sort of dichotomy, which triggers emotions not seen since the proverbial splitting of the atom, ranging from exuberance to resistance, paranoia to terror, and from hopes for a better life to warnings of Armageddon. The recent Buzzfeed profile, Avid Ovadya, an MIT graduate and Chief Technologist at the Center for Social Media Responsibility and Knight Two Fellow, is not an exception. Therein, Ovadya warns that AI-assisted technology, used maliciously, could spread propaganda, manipulate reality, and in essence effectively compete with real ...Read More
Photo Credit:  RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images By CHHS Extern Kirby McMahon Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida on February 15, 2018, a number of actions have been proposed to help stop the growing trend of gun violence in America. Amid the calls for reform, there is a growing movement to repeal the Dickey Amendment. The Dickey Amendment is a 1996 bill, which provides that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Since 1996, firearms have become something of a taboo ...Read More
By: CHHS Extern Erika Steele Image Source: Jovanmandic/iStockPhoto.com The flu this year has shown a very rapid increase in the number of people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed cases. More alarming, is the fact influenza activity has not peaked, and all states, except for Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread activity. Increased contagion is overwhelming hospitals, impacting schools, and workplaces, and it is having an effect on the nation’s economy. The CDC predicts that 18 million employed adults will miss four workdays due to the flu—an estimated economic cost of at least $15.4 billion in lost productivity due to the flu ...Read More
By CHHS Extern Kirby McMahon Photo Credit: Alison Teal/AFP/Getty Images On January 13, 2018 at 8:07 a.m. local time, the state of Hawaii was sent into a panic, as residents received an alert of an imminent ballistic missile threat. The alert was sent out through the Emergency Alert System and was broadcast via television, radio, and cellphones throughout the state. Residents were informed that the alert was not a drill and were advised to take shelter. It was not until 8:45 a.m. local time, 38 minutes later, that residents were informed that the alert of an incoming ballistic missile was ...Read More