Quit speeding and texting and talking

Here’s great advice from the Minnesota Truck Driver of the Year, Milt Lowe, - “Quit speeding and texting and talking on the telephone. When you do that, you can’t concentrate on your driving. When I get a phone call, I get to where I’m going and call back.”

Help for someone online

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Click here for links in case you find someone on social media who mentions suicide http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/online.aspx.

The end of cigarette smoking in our time

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For many reasons, cigarette smoking rates are dropping. Soon less than 5% of adults will smoke. But to make this happen young people need to be strong and not start smoking, because once you start it’s so hard to quit. So be strong and resist-maybe we can eliminate cigarette smoking completely.

“A Scout is brave”

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“A Scout is brave. ” This is part of what was said to 17-year-old Pascal Tessier as he achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout. How brave is Pascal? He is the first publicly gay Eagle Scout and was able to do this because the Boy Scouts now allow gay youth. Weird that it has taken so long, but good for Pascal. Now he wants to be the first gay Scout leader. He’ll probably achieve this goal also.

Michael Sam

I had no luck posting this video of Michael Sam speaking about coming out yesterday. Fingers crossed-I hope it works today.

Michael Sam-owning his truth

Many of you have heard about Michael Sam, the outstanding football player who announced that he was gay. This young man said that he did this because he wanted to own his truth. What an honest and refreshing statement. What of your truth should you acknowledge and own?

The Real Cost

If this doesn’t keep you from smoking cigarettes, nothing will-the Real Cost.

Will it matter in 5 years?

Because I have worked with youth in corrections, I have known young people who have been involved in murders. All of them, if they could have gone back in time, would have made different choices. Can you increase your odds of making the right choice in difficult, high-pressure situations? Yes. In that moment, take that moment and ask yourself if what you are angry about will matter in a year, 5 years or enough to give up your life or take someone else’s.

Help close to home

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I meet a few young people with drug problems and I try to help them get into drug treatment. If you or someone you know uses drugs your healthcare provider is a good resource. I also found a site where you can search for drug treatment programs in your area. Here’s the link: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/searchResults.jspx.

My school meals were never like this

Here’s some good news-more and more schools offer delicious, healthy foods. For example, here’s a link (http://bit.ly/XD2m7q) to a video from the Minneapolis Public Schools about their salad bars. They even explain how to use a salad bar, including how not to sneeze on the food. I hope I get invited to eat in one of the Minneapolis Public Schools. My school meals were never like this.

Like putting vodka in a gummi

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Bottom line-nobody needs candy with marijuana in it. It’s like putting vodka in a gummi bear, why do it? It’s not safe for young people and really dangerous if children get into it. Here’s more about this “great new trend” from my local newspaper, http://www.startribune.com/nation/243117141.html.

Stay warm and safe

Someone told me about a young man who decided to go running outside this week which was not a good idea because it has been really cold here. He didn’t cover his ears properly and they got frostbitten. Poor guy-that must have really hurt! I wrote about frostbite recently, http://drj4teenhealth.com/2014/01/05/its-cold-everywhere-be-careful/. I’m always telling folks to go outside and be active, but sometimes the weather doesn’t allow it. At those times, be active indoors so that you stay warm and safe.

The end of bullying begins with you

Contribute a verse

Oh me! Oh Life!

Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

What would Dr. King do?

What would Dr. King do? He wouldn’t bully and he would stand up against them as explained by students of the Larchmont Charter Schools last year.



“16 and Pregnant” or not

I worried that the MTV show “16 and Pregnant” would encourage young women to get pregnant because of how much publicity the women on the show get. Luckily, that’s not what happened, in fact the show has been shown to decrease rates of teen pregnancy. Who knew that a TV show could do this? It’s great news.

Life can be hard-get the help you need

I keep meeting young people who need counseling for one reason or another, but they refuse. I know some folks think that counseling or therapy is for “crazy” people, but of course that’s not true. Counseling works and if you are going through any type of tough situation, you’ll benefit from therapy. In fact, everyone faces challenges eventually and most everyone would benefit from counseling. Life is hard sometimes-make sure you get the help you need.


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Did you know that 1 out of 5 female college students have been sexually assaulted? In order to address this terrible problem, today President Obama announced an initiative to end campus sexual violence. If you want to know what you can do about this problem, check out Students Active For Ending Rape, SAFER. SAFER has resources for college students who want to change college campus sexual violence policies in order to make colleges safer. Find out more here: http://safercampus.org.

Take care of your mental and physical health

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It’s probably a bit too simple a way of thinking about things, but I think counseling is a good idea for many young people who have chronic medical conditions because there is a strong mind-body connection. We know that if someone is stressed, for example, they might feel it in their body. Maybe they’ll have an upset stomach or feel tired. It works in reverse also. If you are dealing with a medical issue it’s natural for you to feel stressed, anxious and maybe depressed. Because of the mind-body connection, it makes sense to do what is needed to get your body AND mind healthy. So, take care of your mental and physical health, they’re linked.

Injustice must be exposed

“Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

From “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Jr. April 16, 1963

Give your teen a break from you

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I read this interesting article about how we should take time away from social media that included great advice for parents-model the behavior you want to see in your teen. The author recommended that parents, not just teens, put their phones and computers away by a certain time at night. Also, parents should leave their teen alone and not text them all the time. Encourage your teen to a break from technology by giving them a break from you.

Time for some Lemony Snicket

“They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”

Lemony Snicket

It’s funny because it’s true

It’s funny because it’s true:

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Circle of 6 app

I showed some parents the Circle of 6 antiviolence app today. It really is great for everyone. Here’s more about the app.

Parents can stop teen prescription drug abuse

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E-cigarettes-help to stop and but not start smoking

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I know a young person who had trouble quitting smoking until she tried e-cigarettes. I know that there are lots about e-cigarettes that we don’t know, but they seem to help some people quit smoking. Unfortunately, some e-cigarette companies are trying to get young people who never smoked to start smoking e-cigarettes. Don’t let these companies trap you and get you hooked on tobacco. Use e-cigarettes to stop smoking, not to start.

Free to be what you want

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

Mohammad Ali

Personal pep talk

Here’s a video from the Reach Out organization with ideas that may help you when you are feeling down on yourself, or maybe help you start the day on a positive note-a personal pep talk.

Worry about the regular flu, not the bird flu

I just read that someone died of bird flu in Canada recently. The bird flu is unlikely to harm most of us, but the regular flu can. Are you prepared? Have you gotten your flu vaccine?-this is something you need to worry about and can do something about!

What if you weren’t afraid?

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Ask yourself-what would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing, of what others would say, of what others may think? Think of what you would do and then, if it is at all worthwhile, make it happen. This is exciting! I can hardly wait to see what you do!

Starting the year the right way

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It’s the beginning of a new year, not the school year. Nevertheless, these ideas for Freshmen that I found in an issue of Urban Eyes, the newsletter from Minneapolis Public High Schools City-wide Student Government, may help those returning to school after winter break. Actually, most of them are good ideas for all of us.


-This way you’ll get comfortable in your own skin and you can strut your stuff!


-You will make a ton of friends and it will help you build your confidence


-This is helpful when you need someone to talk to, or you just simply need help with your homework. It will also make you feel more comfortable in the classroom.


-This will be useful when you need to get to class quickly without having to deal with all hallway traffic.


-Keeping your GPA up will make your road to graduation that much easier.


-It makes everything so much easier when you have all you homework for the day all in one place. Staying organized is key.

First aid for frostbite

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In most parts of the US it is freezing, actually far below freezing. So most people should be outside for very short periods of time if at all or they could get frostbite. What should you do if you do get frostbite? Here’s first aid for frostbite information from my hospital.

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It’s cold everywhere-be careful!

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It’s cold everywhere! Be careful so that you don’t get frostbite. What is this and how to avoid it? Learn more here:

My wish for you this year

Here’s my wish for you this year:


Resolve to solve our gun violence problem

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In 2014 I hope we resolve to solve our country’s problem with gun violence. Did you know that every day about 32 Americans are murdered with guns and 51 people kill themselves with a gun? We have a huge problem that can only be solved if we work to change laws and change behaviors.

Would you do everything you could to protect yourself from HIV?

I keep thinking about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, PrEP, which is a pill that when taken daily protects against HIV. I wrote about PrEP recently, but I’m surprised about one thing I read about PrEP-very few people are using it. I wonder why that is? Why if someone is at risk for getting HIV, why wouldn’t they do everything they could to protect themselves? I guess the same question could be asked about condoms-why wouldn’t someone simply use a condom to decrease their risk of getting HIV or any STD? I don’t get it.

New year, new possibilities-make the most of them

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Pre Exposure Prophylaxis

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Have you heard of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP? PrEP is a once a day pill that protects against getting HIV. The drug, Truvada, is used to treat HIV, but since 2012 it has been approved by the FDA to be used for HIV prevention. PrEP should be used by people who are risk for getting HIV, such as young gay men, people who have sex with those who have HIV, and those who have sex for money. PrEP doesn’t mean you don’t have to use condoms or get tested for HIV-it is just more protection against HIV. Like they say on commercials, ask your doctor about PrEP.

What you should accomplish

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

John Wooden

Be smart, be prepared-get your flu vaccine

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The flu season is here-are you ready? Or, are you one of those people who don’t get a flu shot because you think it’s possible to get the flu from the flu vaccine. I know someone who also refused to get the flu vaccine because she thought she would get the flu from it. Then one day she unfortunately got the flu and realized how sick you get when you have the flu. Don’t let this be you. Be smart, be prepared, and get your flu vaccine.

Designated Driver Services

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DrinkingAndDriving.org has a National Directory of Designated Driver Services. This directory lists 530 companies in 307 counties in 45 states that offer sober rides for those who may not be sober and need to get home. This is a great resource any time, but especially with New Year’s Eve coming next week.

4-H, not just in rural areas anymore

I realized a few years ago that 4-H clubs are found in urban as well as rural areas. Click here to find out what a Minneapolis 4-H club has been up to. http://www.startribune.com/video/237060011.html?chan=/video&pn=1

No family is perfect

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Perchance to dream

I know this doesn’t directly relate to health, but I enjoy watching this video and think you might also, just click this link.


Squat-to-ride ticket machine

The winter Olympics are in Sochi, Russia next year. In order to get encourage activity by citizens, machines have been set up that give tickets for free subway rides in exchange for 30 squats. Check out how it works here:

Children Learn What They Live

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Have you had sex in this car yet?

I also love this video from Bedsider.org. What a Grandmother!

Talking about your vagina from Bedsider.org

I was showing a young person the Bedsider.org site today and found this funny video.

How strong you are

Great saying seen in a store today: