Image Credit: Western University

Across the globe, women, girls, nonbinary, and transgender individuals who menstruate face period poverty or inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products, safe and sanitary spaces to use them, and proper education. Menstruation can also come with shame and stigma. Period poverty poses a great risk to many women and girls’ health, education, and livelihood.

Period Poverty by The Numbers

A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2019 found that nearly two-thirds of low-income women in the United States surveyed struggled to afford period products. …

The Catalyst: Warren County, North Carolina

The environmental justice movement emerged in the 1980s, gaining traction in predominately African-American Warren County, North Carolina, before blossoming into a national social justice movement. The state government announced its plans to dump 6,000 truckloads of soil laced with toxic pollutants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), sparking outrage among residents. They worried that the PCBs would leak into their drinking water supply, endangering the health of the community. …

Image Credit: Undark

Politicians, such as Donald Trump, suggested there is “tremendous fraud” in government welfare programs, sowing distrust and catalyzing states to employ AI to more efficiently and accurately predict and detect fraud. However, user fraud in these programs is incredibly rare.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food stamps and support to 42 million low-income families nationwide at an annual cost of $68 billion. Less than 1% of benefits go to ineligible households, and when they do, it is often by way of a mistake by recipients, state workers, or computer programmers, confused by the complex regulations and eligibility requirements…

Image Credit: The Face

The Good

Social media continues to play a prominent role in amplifying Black voices, spreading awareness about police brutality and systemic injustices against the Black community, sharing resources and petitions, organizing communities and grassroots campaigns, and ultimately, catalyzing a global social justice movement.

The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education & Research (FASTER) Act H.R.1202 aims to improve the health and safety of Americans living with food allergies and related conditions, such as potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis, and support research exploring new treatments. It would classify sesame as a major allergen and make it the ninth allergen that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires plain-language labeling for. Over 1.5 million people in the United States are allergic to sesame, yet it is not currently required on food labels. This simple addition to product labels could save thousands if not millions of lives.

Further, 32…

Image Credit: Yahoo! News

Across the United States, state laws require immunizations for polio, chickenpox, Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) for children to attend preschool, grade school, and daycare. Herd immunity, which requires a high percentage of the population to be immune to an infectious disease (either through vaccination or prior infection), makes the spread of disease from person to person unlikely and indirectly protects those who are not immune to the condition. Through different levels of population immunity, both polio and smallpox were eradicated in the United States.

Herd immunity against COVID-19 can be achieved…

Image Credit: ADHD Center for Success

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, and it is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in children. An estimated 6.1 million (9.4%) of children (ages 2–17) have ADHD in the United States alone. There is not a single definitive cause of ADHD, but genetics, brain function and anatomy, and the environment all come into play. In terms of genetics, ADHD commonly runs in families, so children with the condition have a ¼ chance that a biological parent has ADHD. Impaired function of the prefrontal cortex in the ADHD brain causes difficulties paying…

Image Credit: PIRO4D/Pixabay

Between 30 and 80 percent of COVID-19 patients experience neurological symptoms, such as memory loss, headaches, difficulty balancing, nausea, or issues concentrating, better known as the ‘COVID-19 fog.’ This phenomenon suggests SARS-CoV-2 affects parts of the central nervous system, not just the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Mild cases of COVID-19 in patients as young as 30-years-old can lead to this COVID-19 fog, and some SARS-CoV-2 survivors continue to experience cognitive and psychiatric issues even after recovery. COVID-19 patients “forget the names of people they know well, they can’t follow along during business conversations, prioritizing and planning is suddenly difficult, they…

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is one of the fastest-growing fields, but it is underscored by racial and gender disparities. According to the National Science Foundation, black women make up about 6.5% of the United States’ population but only 2% of the STEM workforce.

A study by the University of Illinois found that racial microaggressions and a lack of representation of people of color discourage minority students from pursuing STEM majors and thus, perpetuate the racial disparities we see in STEM education programs and later the workforce. …

Image Credit: Exceptional Individuals

First coined in 1998, neurodiversity is a relatively new concept that highlights the diversity of human brains and views the differences in how our brains are “wired” as natural variations. Instead of seeing the neurodiverse community as “suffering from deficit, disease, or dysfunction in their mental processing,” neurodiversity highlights differences in learning and thinking. It is an umbrella term encompassing conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome, and dyslexia. Neurodiversity is actually quite common: about 1 in 7 people are considered neurodiverse.

An issue that has largely gone unnoticed during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Natasha Matta

Covering the intersections of STEM and social justice.

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