The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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BSU warns of health risks

The CSUN Black Student Union and campus officials are looking to raise awareness about health issues with African-American students.

The BSU created a pamphlet to inform students about the dangers of diabetes, high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS and STDs to African-Americans.

The handout included statistical information, such as African-Americans having the greatest chance of developing cancer in comparison to any other race or culture.

Sharonda Johnson, senior sociology major and BSU historian, said she researched several websites, including the American Red Cross, and put the pamphlet together.

Johnson said she became concerned about health issues because of what she had heard from her parents, school and the media. Also because “(her) main thing was to get other people to know (about these issues).”

The BSU sponsored a health table on Feb. 6 to promote more awareness about major health issues within the African-American community.

Along with promoting awareness through handouts, the BSU also encouraged students to sign up for HIV/AIDS testing and to donate at an American Red Cross blood drive that occurred on campus Feb. 9.

Brandy Wilson, junior sociology major and BSU president, said though only a few people signed up for testing and blood donations, she said they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We did promote more awareness,” Wilson said.

Dr. David Huang, a radiation oncologist who works at the Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center on the Urban Latino African American Cancer (ULAAC) Disparities Project, said people should know about diseases that disproportionately affect their racial group and the history of diseases that run in their family, because “it does impact their life and their life spans.”

Huang suggests that people see their physicians yearly and especially if anyone in their family has ever been diagnosed with any medical problems.

Monica Turner, Pan-African Studies professor, who is chairperson of CSUN’s Black History Month, said in her Fundamentals of Public Speaking class she tries to incorporate topics regarding health into her students’ speeches, because she believes health in general affects a student’s performance in school and their “success in college.”

A Culture and Health class is available to graduates and takes into consideration cultural practices and health, said Professor Ronald Fischbach from CSUN’s Department of Health Sciences.

Wilson said she would like to see a class at CSUN that concentrates on health issues in the African American community.

“That would be beautiful if (it) were to happen,” Wilson said, but added that she thinks every culture should be aware of the health issues that particularly affect their community.

Michelle McDow, a senior Pan-African studies and communication studies major, said she believes preventative information needs to get out to people early so diseases can be dealt with and tackled early.

“Don’t wait ’till we’re 50 years old,” McDow said.

Jen Balao can be reached at

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