This post originally appeared on the Emory Office of Health Promotion Blog.
If you could put yourself on a diet that promised increased energy, flawless skin, and a scientific basis–all with limited calorie counting–would you? Plenty of people have done just that by adopting the Paleo diet, supposedly based of the diet of our paleolithic ancestors.
The diet advocates cutting out two major things: sugar and gluten. The logic is that neither refined sugar nor harvested wheat were available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors prior to about 10,000 years ago, when humans started intensive agriculture.
Though 10,000 years seems like a lot, in the scheme of human evolution it’s a drop in the genetic bucket, and Paleo proponents argue that human bodies have not caught up with these fairly recent dietary changes.
I’ve spent a lot of this past summer looking at information accessibility. I work in two very different university departments (one focused on student technology use, and the other focused on sexual assault prevention/response) and both groups spend a substantial amount of time looking at how to make information as accessible as possible to the targeted population–in this case, students.
This discussion gets tricky when administrators are talking about youth–the ways that make information accessible and useable for people who are in an administrative age bracket can be totally different from the ways that students would choose to access this information. This becomes very important when we’re talking about things that have public health implications. The best pamphlets in the world are useless when no one reads them.
I would argue that this shows a really strong need to have (multiple!) members of your target population involved (at the very least) with discussions about information that’s targeted to them. This can be difficult. For example, undergraduate students do not typically have the public health training needed to analyze population-level effects of a marketing campaign.
As part of my summer internship with Emory University‘s Respect Program, I recently attended an ATIXA training on how to investigate sexual harassment/assault claims as mandated by Title IX. It was an interesting training, but (at least for me) it raised more questions than it answered.
First, some background: Title IX, the federal law prohibiting educational discrimination on the basis of sex for programs that receive federal funding, turned 40 this year. For most of its existence, it has been used to justify (among other things) gender* parity for things like school sports–and it is for this that the law is best known.
However, in 2011 the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published what is known as the Dear Colleague Letter, or DCL. DCLs are published fairly regularly on a variety of topics, but this particular letter has become the DCL, and that’s because it mandated a major overhaul in how federally-funded schools (k-12 institutions and any university that receives federal assistance, which is most of them) handle sexual assault and harassment.
Because these issues are gendered violence–women are much more likely to be the victims, and the violation is sexual in nature–the OCR ruled that failing to address sexual assault/harassment at an institutional level is a violation of Title IX. It leads to a hostile educational environment based on sex.