Black & White: Death & Dying by Race & Ethnicity

Is health black and white?

Before you answer… Did you know that there are differences in death rates based on race? On average, at birth a white person may expect to live 5 years longer than a black person in the United States. This gap grows to a 10 year difference when comparing life expectancy of white women (81 years) to black men (71 years) [1, 2].

Why is this the case?

Well for starters, the leading causes of death differ down both race/ethnicity and gender lines. For instance, homicide makes the list as one of the top five killers of black men, but does not make the list for white men (nor either group of women). Diabetes makes the list as one of the top five killers of black women, but does not make the list for white women (nor either group of men) [3]. However, when comparing death rates between blacks and whites for the same disease, blacks still tend to have worse health outcomes. In fact, according to 2012 data, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Heath states “the death rate for African Americans was generally higher than Whites for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide” [4].

But really, why is this the case?

It comes down to what researchers refer to as ‘social determinants of health’. This term translates into how where you live, work, and play shapes your health. Moreover, these differences may in part be explained by health inequity, “difference or disparity in health outcomes that is systematic, avoidable, and unjust” [5]. For instance, it is common knowledge that many black people in America are living in poverty. This fact is tied to societal oppression dating back to slavery. Poverty manifests in predominately black neighborhoods, leading to limited access to resources such as healthy food, safe environments for physical activity, and quality health care services. As declared by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” BUT, poverty does not explain it all. Even when a 2015 study compared breast cancer survival rates between low socioeconomic status white women with high socioeconomic status black women, black women still suffered from worse health outcomes [6]. Thus, factors beyond poverty, such as racial discrimination (e.g. subconscious differences in treatment by health care professionals) must be considered.

What can be done?

First and foremost, health education and health inequity awareness must become common knowledge. Children and adults, men and women, black and white must all understand what constitutes health, so that health is not only seen as the physical absence of a pathogen, but more holistic and inclusive of mental, emotional, environmental, and social health. Professionals and patients must work together to actively address gaps in sociocultural competence/humility through being open and honest with each other. Particularly, physicians have a responsibility to treat “humanity as [their] patients” [7]. Thus, systematic discrimination must be deconstructed for the assurance of ‘justice for all’. While health policy should be at the forefront of the conversation to combat these issues of social justice, communities must also consider their power in determining their destiny. Black communities, as they have done in the past, must begin to gather, organize, and mobilize to persevere.

Now, with all of this in mind… you tell me, how long should health continue to be black and white?

Rhoda Moise is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health and a passion for health promotion. She has been trained to approach health from an interdisciplinary perspective from proteins to people. Through her doctoral studies as a PhD student at The University of Miami, she intends to combat health disparities by conducting research which provides empirical evidence that demands alteration in standing policy.







6 Keegan, T. H., Kurian, A. W., Gali, K., Tao, L., Lichtensztajn, D. Y., Hershman, D. L., … & Gomez, S. L. (2015). Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in short-term breast cancer survival among women in an integrated health system. American journal of public health, 105(5), 938-946.


Black & White: Death & Dying by Race & Ethnicity

Let It Go…

As a marriage and relationship coach and mentor, every week of every year I engage people who are at their wits end in their relationships. In most cases, the frustrated party makes contact with me in order to hear me say something that will encourage them to remain committed to the process of building a solid relationship.

Tension in relationship is the genesis of the creating healthy boundaries, and it fosters earnest dialogue which establishes the framework for meaningful relationship. I have discovered that, in any relationship in which there are no arguments, disagreements, nor tension, someone has been successfully oppressed.

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

Apostle Paul

In many cases, I find that I genuinely believe in people and in their relational potential more than they do, and in a strange kind of way, I think, this proclivity is perhaps by design, so that they will feel genuine hope, when they leave my counsel. However, there are rare circumstances in which, to not officially pronounce the relationship as dead, would be a miscarriage of relational justice to the party that foolishly thinks otherwise.


  1. Love interest has been diverted elsewhere.
  2. Emotional abuse has become the norm.
  3. No interest in cultivating and improving.
  4. Hope has been exchanged for tolerance.
  5. Communication is heartless, empty and meaningless.
  6. Time is best spent elsewhere.
  7. Patience has been replaced with loathing.
  8. Impossible to agree on anything.
  9. Sex is completely undesired.
  10. Someone is living as if they are leaving.

Where there is the preponderance of the above behaviors observed in relationship, it’s more than likely, over.

Let it go.

Dr. Mark T. Jones Sr.


Let It Go…

LoveHER: The 3 R’s: Refocus, Reinforce & Reboot


Delicately purposed for the nation’s Black women; brown girls, black girls; light-skinned, brown-skinned, and dark-skinned:

Many of us have set goals for the year 2016. Whether it was to lose weight, eat healthy, budget finances, pursue a degree, seek guided counseling; whatever change you wanted to experience this year was on your mind. Some of us may be doing great with our goals and others may be experiencing roadblocks. As I have wondered and I’m sure others can relate, how can I refocus, reinforce, and reboot my goals?

Refocus your goals. This simply means adjusting your priorities. For example, one of my goals for 2016 was to manage my calendar more effectively. I am realizing that it is not so much of me writing down everything in my planner, it’s more about prioritizing. Refocusing your priorities better shape how you will attain your goals that you have set. A great way for me to prioritize and still meet my goal of managing my calendar more effectively is labeling my priorities for each day. You can label, color code, and or only write down what your priorities are. I believe acknowledging your priorities will allow room for things that happen in the spur of the moment.

Reinforce your enthusiasm. Just because you have not been on track to reach your goals thus far or if you are and you feel you are losing momentum, take some time to not only refocus but to strengthen your enthusiasm. You may feel all over the place as if you have no direction but the support and encouraging words of friends or family may help you realize that it’s only January, there are eleven more months in 2016!

Reboot your game plan. In order to reach your goals, you should have a timeline of objectives. Objectives allow you to measure your progress in attaining your goals. If you are in a similar situation that resembles mine, I am definitely off track with my timeline. It’s nothing wrong with being off track because things happen! The best way to keep your enthusiasm in reaching your goals is to reboot the plan. This may mean adjusting your timeline to reflect when you have refocused priorities, reinforced enthusiasm and are ready to reboot.

January is almost over and you still have eleven more months to blossom in 2016. Just remember to Refocus, Reinforce, and Reboot to reach your goals!





LoveHER: The 3 R’s: Refocus, Reinforce & Reboot


of a feeling, (especially love) not returned or rewarded

As a marriage mentor, I regularly encounter individuals who feel that they go “above and beyond,” in loving and engaging a partner, who seems aloof to the need to reciprocate the love, attention, and affection that is being bestowed upon them by their significant other.

“If I am for you, and you are for you, then who, in this relationship is for me?”

In marriage mentorship, I am often asked, “why should I continue to love and to support someone who does not offer me the same level of commitment?”

Inevitably, when asked these types of comparison based questions, I redirect the individual back to the drawing board of self assessment.

  • To what qualities in your spouse were you initially drawn at the beginning of your relationship with them?
  • Are those qualities still being demonstrated?
    (Invariably, nothing has changed, except what the plaintiff has chosen to focus upon)
  • If so, and you are no longer accepting of them (just as they are), then what redirected your focuses from those qualities to some deficiencies in them?

“The quality of our relationships improve, with the quality of questions that we ask of ourselves while engaging them.”

When love is unrequited, to love less is to be inauthentic. We were created to love and be loved. So, our only satisfactory recourse is to love deeply, from the heart, with the expectation that we will eventually, reap what we sow.

Dr. Mark T. Jones Sr.
Loving deeper



Is It Really Success?

Having traveled for many years to various parts of the world I have gained a much broader perspective as to what success, in life, really is. I am blessed with a number of extremely poor friends and partners, however, many of them have relationships to be envied because of the obvious value and depth of love and kindness contained therein. I am also blessed with extremely wealthy and famous friends who have no relationships of value per se. I have even had friends who have reached the pinnacle of their given fields, only to be removed from this life prematurely because of poor health conditions.


    Where there is a design, there is always a designer. It is clear that the Creator designed each one of us differently, and on purpose. I believe that our differences are what give us the capacity to fulfill distinctive design. When our lives are spent accomplishing the intent of our designer, I would call that a success.
    To gain the world, then to have no one to share it with is futile. True success is not to be gained despite family and friends. In fact, I believe that it is family and friends that help us to maintain personal balance and keep us grounded as we rise.
    What good is money, if one is too sick or feeble to enjoy it. Solid healthy choices should accompany any ambition to accomplish good or gain in life.
    It is impossible to help the poor, if you are one of them. While I do believe in material success, the greatest joy in life comes from giving to others, knowing that they can do nothing for us in return.


Dr. Mark T. Jones Sr.
Sincerely Seeking


Emotional Well Being In Relationships

Where would society be if there were no laws?

We all understand the necessity of having laws as a means of maintaining order. With nearly 8 billion people on this planet, it is difficult for me to understand why so many people will allow one individual to ruin and to devastate them emotionally. It is possible to engage relationships in a way that does not devastate oneself. In order to do so, I suggest that you develop your own or adopt these emotional laws as means of governing yourself while engaging others.


  1.  As an emotional being, there are maintenance requirements that must not be neglected in order to maintain my emotional well being. I must understand those requirements, and not make any excuse for not performing that maintenance.  ( alone time, book reading, workouts, silent sorting, etc….)
  2. It is never someone else’s responsibility to make me happy.
  3. I have the right to interpret events in life in ways that favor me.
  4. I will only spend today’s emotional energy on today.
  5. Love and forgiveness are my only options, they are my freedom.
  6. I give no one authority to harass me with their opinions of me.
  7. I refuse to allow thoughts that could only destroy me to live in my head.
  8. No human has the right to control my emotions.
  9. I am not an emotional hoarder, therefore I choose to let stuff go.
  10. Passion is intense emotion aimed at something worthwhile, I will be passionate, and I refuse to be petty.

Where there are no laws, anarchy rules, so it is imperative to our own emotional sense of well being to have something governing our emotions as we engage others, and allow them access to our hearts.


Dr. Mark T. Jones Sr.

It is well, with my soul.

Emotional Well Being In Relationships