Local Midwife Changes the Lives of Many

By ELAINA WRIGHT

ATLANTA— Jennifer Afman, 25, paces the marble halls of Northside Hospital anticipating the beeping of her pager. Every time her pager beeped, it indicated that one of her patients was going into labor.

BEEP BEEP BEEP! Afman unclips her pager to see what room she will be assisting, and then springs into action. It was time to help bring another human into the world.

Afman went to Dalton State College and received an associate’s degree in nursing. After nursing school, she transferred to Emory University where she completed her masters of science in nursing degree.

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Midwife, Jennifer Afman, poses with her five-moth-old daughter, Taylor Rose Afman.

Afman graduated in December 2014, and worked in a small doctor’s office in Acworth, Georgia, until she married her college sweetheart and moved closer to Atlanta in order to pursue her dream career as a midwife at Northside Hospital.

Since then, Afman has delivered about 350 babies into the world, each coming from a variety of different backgrounds and families.

“I always knew I wanted to work with babies,” she said. “I actually started my career as a labor and delivery nurse. Soon after working in labor and delivery, I decided to go back to school because I loved helping my patients through the birthing experience.”

Katie Morgan, 26, and a Northside Hospital midwife, has also developed the same love for her career as her co-worker.

“I love being a midwife,” Morgan said. “My favorite part is watching my patients become moms for the first time. It feels so good to always know you are a part of their birth story.”

When a baby is born, they go through so many changes during the first few hours of their life. Their bodies are learning how to breath, regulate blood sugar, work fluid out of their lungs and cope with their new environment.

After delivery, the baby is placed on their mom’s chest and this is when the two start to bond. While being skin to skin on their mom, the baby’s body can regulate all the functions needed to begin living outside the womb.

The midwife and nurse in the room help monitor both mom and baby during this time to make sure the transition goes smoothly. The first hour outside of the womb is a great time to have the mothers try to breastfeed because it helps with milk production.

After breastfeeding is complete, the baby is taken by the midwives to be weighed, and to have its footprints and vital signs taken. The baby is then returned to the room to spend the next few hours bonding with their new family.

Being a midwife is both rewarding and challenging. Midwives are asked to make some amazing sacrifices in their own lives to ensure that their patients have smooth births. These sacrifices include giving up sleep, time with family, limited vacation time, and being on call to work crazy hours.

“Babies are born at all hours of the day and this requires time away sacrificed from the midwifes own family so that can be hard.” said Afman, who had a baby in January.

Midwives strive to make sure their patients (both mom and baby) are happy and healthy. The job might be taxing, but it is also rewarding.

“The most rewarding part about the job is helping moms through one of the hardest challenges they will ever face,” Afman said. “It feels so good to see a mom feel so happy and accomplished after the delivery of her baby. I hope the physical and emotional support I give to my patients will help make a difference in their lives.

Birth might not be a beautiful or picturesque thing, but the start of a new life most certainly is.

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Local Health Store Treats Sickness Naturally

By Christobel Monago

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Certified natural-health practitioners provide potential treatments for common maladies while traditional health care professionals recommend consulting a doctor before using any un-prescribed treatment.

Amruth Ayurveda is a natural health center in Alpharetta that claims to treat everyday problems and diseases naturally. With treatments based on traditional ayurvedic methods that originated in India over two thousand years ago, it advocates a change in diet, certain herbs and oils as well as other methods as treatment.

While patients may be looking for a fresh approach to health care, Dr. Esther Anosike, a clinical pharmacist, recommends that any sort of treatment be approved by a certified health care provider to ensure safety.

Amruth Ayurveda offers several physical treatments as well as consultations regarding diet and ayurvedic body types for their customers. Usha Pappu, a certified ayurvedic practitioner and an employee at the facility, said that they concentrate on the main forces of nature.

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An array of health products located at Amruth Ayurveda. Photo by Christobel Monago

“There are three main forces we always believe play a part in life,” she said. “It is all based on vata, pitta, and kapha. Everyone has different combinations. Once you know your body composition, which type you fall into, we will know the diet. Once you know your type, then you go with whatever is friendly to you.”

The different body types have different diets and sleep schedules. Pappu said that balance is the goal of ayurvedic treatment.

“According to ayurvedism, the healthy person should eat well, should sleep well, should eliminate well,” she said. “All the sensory organs, tissues, and digestive system should be in balance.”

The shop opened in December 2016 and Pappu studied for two years to get her certification. She said this has not always been a requirement.

“The history is passed from teacher to student. Initially, there was no official system, but we had to mix with modern technology.”

Amruth Ayurveda sells different herb blends and oils with some of them in the form of soaps, shampoos and lotions for topical applications. It sources its herb selection from American as well as Indian companies and brands such as Mountain Rose Herbs, which specializes in sustainable and organic certified herbs tinctures, and oils.

While natural health solutions may provide help for patients, Anosike, the pharmacist, highlights risks associated with natural treatment

“You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist before you take any medication. Prescribed or OTC (over the counter),” she said. “You want to know what you’re taking. You want to make sure that there won’t be any interactions with any drugs you’re already taking and with the food you eat.”

With natural treatments getting more mainstream and widely sought after, vitamin and natural health food shops are popping up everywhere. It provides more options for affordable and do-it-yourself health care which has its pros as well as its cons. There are also limits to natural health care as very few of them claim to cure juggernaut disease like AIDS or cancer.

Though there are limits, consumers have more choices now than ever before. It is their responsibility to know which choice to make regarding their health.

Georgia legislation allows pharmacists to carry overdose medication

By COURTNEY MAZZA

The 2017-2018 legislative session in Georgia will include a legislation from Georgia Overdose Prevention, or GOP, which would allow pharmacists to carry and dispense the overdose prevention medication, Naloxone, to people without a prescription.

In 2014, Georgia amended state laws with the passing of Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law and Expanded Naloxone Access Law, providing immunity, or protection from arrest, to those who seek medical assistance for themselves, or another person, who is experiencing a drug or alcohol related overdose. The bill also protects minors seeking medical attention for certain underage drinking offenses.

Not only does the law provide immunity for possession of certain drugs, probation and parole violations, drug paraphernalia and alcohol consumption, but the law also increases access to the treatment for opioid overdose, Naloxone. The GOP created and testified for the success of this law.

“After our law passed, we focused our efforts on educating Georgians about our law and the protection it provides, and on distributing Naloxone rescue kits and training to anyone at high risk of opioid overdose,” said Laurie Fugitt, co-founder of Georgia Overdose Prevention.

461 lives were saved by the GOP and Association of Human Resource Management, or AHRM, when kits were administered by community members, including relatives, friends and former drug abusers. These kits allow more time for a victim to receive proper medical attention to prevent death from an overdose.

The Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, Frank Rotondo, has been a long supporter of Naloxone programs for law enforcement, testifying his support of the 911 Medical Amnesty and Expanded Naloxone Access Law, and distributing information to all

Georgia police chiefs, encouraging the Naloxone programs.

“The support of these programs is a no-brainer from my point of view,” Rotondo said. “A very clear example was a police lieutenant whose daughter died of an overdose, and she couldn’t assist her daughter. Friends left her daughter on the side of the road after partying. She died when she could have been saved.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, since 1999 sales of prescription opioid drugs have increased, and deaths involving these drugs has quadrupled. The abuse of heroin in young adults ages 18-25 has more than doubled in the past decade, with 45 percent of heroin abusers also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. In 2013, more than 8,200 people died of a heroin-related overdose.

According to a graph from Georgiaoverdose.com, people of all ages and ethnicities are dying in Georgia due to the abuse of opioid drugs. The lack of knowledge on medical amnesty laws and the availability of Naloxone are common reasons.

mapGeorgia Overdose Deaths from 2010-2015 (Photo courtesy of Georgriaoverdose.com)

University police departments across Georgia have also taken part in establishing Naloxone programs. As of 2016, 12 Georgia colleges’ law departments are equipped with Naloxone, including the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University.

In 2017, Georgia State University will also begin carrying Naloxone.

nalaxoneNaloxone is administered by injection (Photo courtesy of Google Images)

According to Lieutenant Ben Dickens, the Athens Clarke County Police Department, or  ACCPD, used Naloxone eight times in the past year, with seven successful reversals.

“We only had a small number of kits to officers during this last year,” Dickens said. “We are now pushing it out to all patrol officers and expect the usage rate to go up.”

According to the GOD, Cobb County, Fulton County and Gwinnett County, are all experiencing the highest drug overdose rates in Georgia. Gwinnett County, one of the 57 Georgia law enforcement departments carrying Naloxone, experienced 406 overdose deaths between 2010 and 2015, while Fulton County has experienced 696 known overdose deaths during those same years.

Earlier this year, at the urging of District Attorney Paul Howard and the Fulton County Heroin Task Force, the Fulton County commissioners voted unanimously to allocate $49,000 to fund Naloxone for first respondents.

Rotondo believes that every law enforcement agency should carry Naloxone, but city and county budgets limit these resources.

“It is probably one of the simplest decisions I had to make, to say that’s a very good bill, all law enforcement agencies should have it, it’s reasonably priced,” Rotondo said. “Why all don’t have it is a question of money, because the reality of it is that all law enforcement agents feel the same way I do. It’s better to save people.”

Local church ministry expansion plans include Kennesaw State

Local church ministry helps students deal with stress

By JOURDAN HUNTER

LITHONIA, Ga. – Local church-based organization, Joshua Generation Campus Ministry, has plans to expand their local organization over the next five years to include chapters within Georgia universities, including Kennesaw State.

Based on its constitution, the purpose of the ministry is to equip college students with the drive to become leaders by preparing them to pursue and fulfill God’s purpose on their college campuses.

The leaders of Joshua Generation hope to increase support and membership through their future expansion plans. Their goal is to establish a chapter on every Georgia university campus and to have an affiliated student for each chapter.

Georgia State University was the first chapter to be established, with leaders planning to move on to Kennesaw State University next.

“Joshua Generation helps students by making sure they are doing well in all aspects,” said Joshua Generation director Holbert White.

Having provided guidance and support for struggling college students for 26 years, some of the group’s key values include accountability, communication and integrity.

Students receive support through church-based teachings

Located at Cross Culture Church in Lithonia, Joshua Generation was established by assistant pastor Gregg Johnson in 1990.

One of the main differences between Joshua Generation and other support groups is the fact that it’s church-based. All of the ministry’s themes and messages are backed by Godly advice and scriptures.

Other differences include the willingness of its leaders to come up with new ways to help students and the level of accountability kept in place there.

“Level of accountability refers to staff members making sure that students have something that is guiding them through both the easy and the difficult decisions that they have to face in life, as a college student, while on their respective campuses,” White said.

Joshua Generation members support one another

Joshua Generation helps its students in various aspects, including personal life, school, relationships, finances and spirituality. Kennesaw State University student, Angelina Allen, is a part of Joshua Generation and said she loves the ministry.

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Angelina Allen (Submitted photo)

Allen said she loves the care and effort put forth by the staff members. When Allen is going through a hardship, she said she feels most comfortable talking to Holbert White’s wife, Nicole White. When they aren’t speaking over the phone, Nicole White and Allen update each other on current events after church on Sundays.

Allen said another benefit of being a part of the group is having a family who will always lift her up in prayer and being able to do the same for other students.

Support and messages come in many forms

Most outside communication is done through the social app, GroupMe, where students and staff post encouraging links and prayer requests.

“We always encourage each other,” Allen said. “We fellowship with one another and have good food and great conversations.”

Allen said she loves when staff members come to visit Kennesaw.

During the spring 2016 semester, Holbert and Nicole White made bi-weekly trips to Kennesaw State University to sit and talk with Joshua Generation students. The meetings involved food and message-guided games. The messages covered a variety of topics, including finances, romantic relationships, time management and career paths.

In addition to their expansion plans, the leaders of Joshua Generation want to host annual retreats, hold weekly bible studies via Skype and to, generally, become more prevalent on college campuses.

Local church ministry helps students deal with stress

KENNESAW, Ga. – Church-based organization, Joshua Generation Campus Ministry, assists college students seeking help for stress management.

Kennesaw State University psychologist, Dr. Josh Gunn, described stress as a normal human experience that everyone experiences differently.

Gunn said there is good stress that motives people to get things done and bad stress, which causes people to feel bad. Bad stress can cause lack of sleep, lack of motivation, over or under eating and irritability.

“Unfortunately, students stop doing exactly what will help them relieve stress when they start to feel stressed,” Gunn said.

One of Joshua Generation’s services to its students includes ways to learn how to relieve stress.

Gunn said different things can relieve stress, such as exercise, a balanced diet and good sleeping habits. Additionally, Gunn said social interaction with friends and support groups can also help with stress relief.

Joshua Generation is a Christian support group that caters to the needs of college-aged students. Joshua Generation director, Holbert White, said there are currently around 30 students that the group caters to.

Kennesaw State University student, Angelina Allen, is one of the 30 students benefiting from the group. Allen said she loves Joshua Generation because she feels it’s a safe place where she can always be herself.

Bodybuilding, a woman’s business

By LE’DOR PHOENIX

ROSWELL, Ga. – Professional body-builder and trainer, Gina Shabazz, improves both women’s physical physique and their self-esteem by helping them to achieve their fitness goals.

Shabazz is the owner of Roc Fit, in Roswell, Georgia, formally known as Fitness Pro Wellness Center.

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Gina Shabazz lifting weights at Roc Fit in Roswell, Ga. (Photo by Le’Dor Phoenix)

Shabazz said that the beauty industry is tough, but the fitness industry is even tougher, particularly for women. She also said she believes that women going through bad break ups, divorce, job changes, or problems stemming from their youth can experience weight gain due to stress.

“Ninety percent of the time, women are crying in my consultation meetings,” Shabazz said.

Shabazz considers herself strong in both character and physical stature, but said she empathizes and relates to other women’s body images and fitness challenges.

After having two kids in her thirties, Shabazz weighed in at 165 pounds at just five feet tall, and said she decided to make a lifestyle change.

“I was fed up with my body, so I took off running for miles, everyday, to find my balance,” Shabazz said.

Later, Shabazz met her current husband, Roc Shabazz, and gained much of her training experience by helping him to begin, and sustain, a winning streak of prestigious body building competitions, ranging from the popular NPC Nationals to Olympia.

Roc Shabazz, an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Professional (IFBB) calls Gina Shabazz his “rock.”

“It takes so much out of you to be so consistent when you prep for such a prestigious show,” Gina Shabazz said. “The best looking bodies in the entire world do this show.”

Their hard work proved not be in vain when the duo placed sixth in world at the 2008 Olympia.

Shabazz, as the operations manager, support trainer and a certified National Physique Committee judge (NPC), said she understands that women are obsessed with the images portrayed in media and fashion magazines.

“Young women in their 20s are doing liposuction, butt injections and breast augmentations, but are not working out,” Shabazz said. “They’re skipping the training part. Squats build your butt and bringing down your waistline will improve the look of your butt.”

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Shabazz (center) with clients (Photo by Le’Dor Phoenix)

Now that Roc Shabazz has retired from competing, the couple focuses entirely on their by-referral-only business.

Roc Fit is home to many NFL, NBA and IFBB professionals such as Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and Simona Douglas, to name a few. Day-to-day, Roc Fit has more than 75 people training between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

“You come with a plan and I will give you the blueprint to achieve it,” Shabazz said. “This is where change happens.”

For more information on Roc Fit, you can visit their website, here.