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Food insecurity is an issue many college campuses continue to face. Recent surveys suggest that out of 195,000 students at four-year colleges, nearly 30% have reported that they struggle to feed themselves and their families. For students at two-year colleges, that percentage is even higher. To help ease the burden, colleges and universities across the nation have used grants and other funding opportunities to create food pantries that provide students and faculty with food, drinks, and other basic essentials. The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Bear Essentials Food Bank has seen the impact the pantry has had on its community. Wendy Holbrook, assistant vice president for student affairs, oversees the pantry and knows how essential their services are to families who struggle to have their basic needs met.

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In today's world, the impact of health disparities and social determinants of health on population well-being cannot be overlooked. To combat these challenges effectively, it is essential to utilize advanced technological tools. One such tool is ArcGIS, a powerful geographic information system (GIS) software that enables professionals in the health care field to better understand and address health disparities and social determinants of health. Dr. Kristy Bondurant, AFMC’s epidemiologist and director of data sciences and public health programs departments, and Sydney Lewis, supervisor of AFMC’s data sciences team, both know the impact ArcGIS can have on presenting near real-time data to the public in an impactful way.

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In the world of health care, it is crucial for professionals to understand the unique challenges faced by patients with sickle cell disease. Beyond the physical symptoms and complications, these individuals often endure a silent battle against the stigma surrounding their condition. With a higher pain threshold and the ability to carry out daily tasks despite chronic pain, they are often met with skepticism from health care workers who struggle to comprehend their level of suffering. Moreover, the emotional toll of witnessing their loved one’s struggles and grappling with their own mental health issues further exacerbates their already complex situation. Dr. Sunny Singh, hematologist and oncologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, helps shed light on the stigma and discusses the importance of empathy and support from health care workers.

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According to the Health Resources Services Administration, as of 2023, 72 of Arkansas’ 75 counties are partially or fully considered Health Professional Shortage Areas. More than 500,000 Arkansans live in HPSAs. Nationwide, by 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians. Some states, including Arkansas, have begun to implement solutions to this primary care shortage, such as bolstering the responsibilities and skills of nurse practitioners. Ryan Cork, executive director of health care for the Northwest Arkansas Council, and his colleagues have implemented a plan to help patients still receive care despite the shortage while lessening the burden on emergency departments.

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Between managing the cost of student loans, stagnant wages, and inflation, many students are struggling to afford to pay for basic essentials, such as food. According to a Hope Center survey at Temple University in 2020, out of 195,000 students at four-year colleges, nearly 30% reported experiencing food insecurity. For students at two-year colleges, that number is nearly 40%. With the end of the public health emergency in May, eligibility requirements for federally funded hunger relief programs have changed. Now, students who relied on federal funds for the last three years have to find a new way to get food. To help ease the burden, some colleges and universities have used donations, grant money, and student funds to build food pantries on campus.

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The healthcare sector has experienced a dramatic digital shift in recent years, powered by remarkable advances in technology. Central to this transformation is the rapid integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into our daily lives. One fascinating application of AI that has captured the attention of the medical community is ChatGPT, a sophisticated large language model launched by OpenAI in November 2022. Leveraged ethically and appropriately, this technology holds the potential to redefine the way medical professionals engage with patients, access information, and provide personalized care. This blog will explore the exciting possibilities offered by ChatGPT in the medical field.

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