Friday, December 29, 2017

Measuring Quality of Life in People with Disabilities: Implications for Mental Health Clinicians

The University of Northern Colorado is seeking the help of people with disabilities in an effort to improve the quality of mental health care available. Participants in this survey will be asked questions about quality of life, disability identity, and current relationships in order to better inform clinical practices in mental health.

There are no right or wrong answers in this survey, which takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. It does not ask for name or other identifying information; only a few basic demographic questions such as age range or gender, and all data will be reported in aggregate format. It is completely voluntary and one can stop or withdraw from participation at any point in the survey.

If you are a person with a disability, consider contributing your experience to this survey. It could help improve mental health care for people with disabilities. More information is available in the introduction to the survey at the link below.


Image source: Pixabay

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Humpday Hint: Healthy Ways to Enhance Flavour

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

With Christmas just past (While a number of us may be sleeping off our food comas or groaning about falling off our diets), and yet another feasting opportunity is coming up at the end of the month, this may seem a strange time to discuss food flavouring techniques, but think about it. After eating all those rich, tasty, decadent foods, it might be a bit of a let-down to go back to ordinary everyday eating. Except it doesn't have to be ordinary. Try these suggestions to add some sparkle to your meals. You can surprise your taste buds with these healthy, appealing tips.

Add flavor to your meals with herbs, spices, or low-fat marinades—bay leaf, chili powder, garlic, ginger, dry mustard, marjoram, black or white pepper or sage. Skip the salt. You won’t need it.

Poach boneless skinless chicken breasts or fish fillets in low-fat and no-salt vegetable or broth or unsweetened fruit juice. Add fresh herbs to the liquid, such as basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley or thyme, for even more flavor.

Top a broiled chicken breast or poached fish with homemade salsa (chopped vegetables and/or fruits).

If your breakfast cereal or dessert needs sweetening, avoid adding sugar. Instead, add a little cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla.

Bon appetit!

Image sources: Spices photo by Elocin91 (Pixabay) and Trout with Vegetables by RitaE (Pixabay)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Humpday Hint: Windows 10's New Colour Filters

Contributing Author: Flicka Ninetails

One of the new features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update from Microsoft® is called color filters and is supposed to help people with color blindness use the operating system just like anyone else.

The new color filters are applied at system levels and include six different settings to make it easier for color-blind users to differentiate between colors, like red and green.

Furthermore, Microsoft says that its filters can help people with light sensitivity to create and consume content, as they adjust all displayed images no matter if they are part of the operating system or not.

The available filters are Greyscale, Invert, Greyscale Inverted, Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia, and are placed under:

Settings > Ease of Access > Color and High Contrast

Setting them up does not require a system reboot and all changes are applied instantly.

Editor's Note: Photos taken by iSkye Silverweb and uploaded into an album on Virtual Ability's Flickr® site, purely for example purposes.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Shopping? Support Virtual Ability While You Shop!

If you are one of many people who use, you can support Virtual Ability every time you shop. Just use to launch Amazon instead of the usual “”, and Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of your purchase price to Virtual Ability, Inc.® There is no additional cost to you (or to VAI) whatsoever.

Virtual Ability uses the funds generated by this program to help pay for our community services, including our Second Life and InWorldz islands.

Just remember to use this link when you sign into Amazon, and you will be directly helping us!

How does AmazonSmile work?
When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization.

What is the AmazonSmile Foundation?
The AmazonSmile Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation created by Amazon to administer the AmazonSmile program. All donation amounts generated by the AmazonSmile program are remitted to the AmazonSmile Foundation. In turn, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates those amounts to the charitable organizations selected by our customers. Amazon pays all expenses of the AmazonSmile Foundation; they are not deducted from the donation amounts generated by purchases on AmazonSmile.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Final IDRAC 2017 Schedule

The 6th annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference is a professional conference, free and open to the public, where we continue to celebrate progress in the disability rights movement and examine areas where we must continue to find ways to advance the rights of people with disabilities.

Below is the schedule for this year's conference, themed "Who Is Responsible?" We look forward to having you with us at this year's conference, which promises to be a particularly interesting one.
Note, all times given are US Pacific Standard Time.

FRIDAY December 1

Beyond accountability: Moving towards answerability for students with disabilities
Mr. Louis Olander, Doctoral Candidate, Urban Education, CUNY Graduate Center

Access to Health Care and the Liberation of People with Disabilities
Dr. Margaret Nosek, Baylor College of Medicine

Who's Responsible for Inclusion?
Dr. David Wasserman, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health

Are We Empowered Yet? Definitions, Interventions, and Outcomes
Dr. Margaret Nosek, Baylor College of Medicine

Stories from young women with intellectual disability: Meanings of gender and disability
Dr. Amie O'Shea, Deakin University, Australia

Social/Networking After Party

SATURDAY December 2

Human Rights Under Attack: The struggle against cuts and austerity in the UK, 2010-2017
John McArdle, disabled activist, co-founder of the user-led campaign network Black Triangle

Advocate or Mechanic? The Role of the Citizen Practitioner in Social Change
Dr. Christopher McMaster, New Zealand high school educator

Diverse identities, diverse tactics: Bringing disability activist wisdom to all political movements
Ms Katie Tastrom, MSW, Esq., blogger and author

On Speaking and Not Speaking: Autism, Friendship, Interdependency
Dr. Sonya Freeman-Loftis, Morehouse College

"We Are Not Disposable": “Psychiatric”/Psycho-Social Disabilities and Social Justice
Dr. Carol Moeller, Moravian College

Disability Identity Development
Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt, Vanderbilt University

Social/Networking After Party

If you are entering Second Life® for the first time, information about creating an account and your avatar can be found here: How to Attend the IDRAC Conference in Second Life. Once you enter Second Life, to get to the conference venue, click here and click the 'Visit this location' button:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

IDRAC Speaker Spotlight: David Wasserman

The International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference will convene on Friday, December 1, 2017. Under the theme of "Who Is Responsible?" we will hear from speakers from various parts of the country and the world, sharing their observations and thoughts as we look at what the Disability Rights movement has accomplished along with identifying the work that remains to bring full equality to all people, including those with disabilities. This professional conference is free and open to the public to attend.

Today we feature David Wasserman, of the National Institutes of Health, who will discuss the importance of universal social welfare reforms to achieve full inclusion for people with disabilities, and how individuals and society efforts can make this happen.

Speaker Spotlight: David Wasserman, JD, MA

David Wasserman, JD, MA, is at the Department of Bioethics, National Institutions of Health. Previously, he was Director of Research at the Center for Ethics, Yeshiva University (New York City, NY). He has written extensively on ethical issues in biotechnology, neuroscience, disability, reproduction, genetics, and health care. He is the co-author of the book, Disability, Difference, Discrimination.

Presentation: Who's Responsible for Inclusion?

In his words: "I argue that both individual and collective efforts are necessary for meaningful accommodation. But I conclude that full inclusion is only possible through universal social welfare reforms that must be collective undertakings."

Mr. Wasserman will present at 11:00am US Pacific Time on Friday, December 1, 2017, in Second Life®.

IDRAC Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Carol Moeller

The International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference will convene on Friday, December 1, 2017. Under the theme of "Who Is Responsible?" we will hear from speakers from various parts of the country and the world, sharing their observations and thoughts as we look at what the Disability Rights movement has accomplished along with identifying the work that remains to bring full equality to all people, including those with disabilities. This professional conference is free and open to the public to attend.

Today we feature Dr. Carol Moeller, of Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, who brings her perspective on social justice where it comes to people with “psychiatric”/psycho-social disabilities. Don't miss this presentation!

Speaker Spotlight: Carol Moeller, PhD

Carol Moeller, PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA), where she currently teaches courses in ethics and philosophy. She is interested in the ethics and philosophy at the intersection of gender, race and disabilities, and has written extensively on social justice issues experienced by persons with intellectual disabilities. She was a Fulbright-Hays Scholar in Ghana in 2000, and was the Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University (2001-2003).

Presentation: "We Are Not Disposable”: “Psychiatric”/Psycho-Social Disabilities and Social Justice

How does social justice for persons relate to psycho-social or “psychiatric” disabilities? I draw upon and theorize from my own experience – working to develop transformative ways of thinking and living with “psychiatric”/psycho-social disabilities. Investigating several different activist and service organizations, as well as voices and representations of people with “psychiatric”/psycho-social disabilities, I ask which are truly empowering. Following Tobin Siebers and Margaret Price, I critique the “ideology of ability” and its tendency to de-humanize people with “psychiatric”/psychosocial disabilities. I argue for expansive liberatory practices that embrace neurodiversity and work toward a world of social justice more enabling of human flourishing. I link Audre Lorde’s social justice vision to these concerns. People with “psychiatric”/psycho-social disabilities are such bodies that “do not fit” with the reigning “ideology of ability” (using Siebers’ terms). It is precisely in our not fitting that we reveal barriers, harms, injustices, moral-political insights, and need for revolutionary change. In reading and unpacking how we do not fit we can identify obstacles that point to blueprints for such changes.

Dr. Moeller will present at 12:30pm US Pacific Time on Saturday, December 2, 2017, in Second Life®.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

IDRAC Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Margaret Nosek

The International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference will convene on Friday, December 1-2, 2017. Under the theme of "Who Is Responsible?" we will hear from speakers from various parts of the country and the world, sharing their observations and thoughts as we look at what the Disability Rights movement has accomplished along with identifying the work that remains to bring full equality to all people, including those with disabilities. This professional conference is free and open to the public to attend.

Today we spotlight Dr. Margaret Nosek, of the Baylor College of Medicine, who will share her insights twice on Friday, on two different topics. Be sure to mark your calendar for these two very worthwhile presentations.

Speaker Spotlight: Margaret A. Nosek, PhD

Margaret (Peg) Nosek, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and Senior Scientist at TIRR Memorial Hermann (Houston, TX, US). She is the Executive Director of the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD). She holds an additional position as Adjunct Professor in the College of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University, Houston. Her doctorate is in rehabilitation research from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Nosek’s main research interest is on improving the health of women with physical disabilities, especially developing interventions disparities in reproductive health and access to healthcare services. She has conducted many large funded studies, several of which have taken place in Second Life. She is the author of numerous publications and the recipient of several prestigious awards, from organizations such as the American College of Physical Medicine and the Rehabilitation Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Nosek lives with spinal muscular atrophy, a severe congenital physical disability, and is a disability rights activist. She has worked closely with Justin Dart and others in the independent living movement. She has been honored as a “Disability Patriot” by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Presentation: Access to Health Care and the Liberation of People with Disabilities

Current debate in the US about health care reform has not covered issues related to the well-being of people with disabilities. This presentation compares healthcare financing under the current US system versus a single-payer national health program from the perspective of people with disabilities and factors affecting their life options.

Dr. Nosek will speak on this topic on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 9:30am US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Presentation: Are We Empowered Yet? Definitions, Interventions, and Outcomes

The word "empowerment" is used very freely in advocacy, healthcare, and social services, but definitions and measures of it are rare. This interactive presentation invites audience members to name and prioritize elements and strategies that lead to the empowerment of people with disabilities.

Dr. Nosek will speak on this topic also on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 12:30pm US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Editor's Note: Due to a change in the conference schedule, Mr. John McArdle of Black Triangle in Scotland, United Kingdom, will speak in the early morning US Pacific Time on Saturday, December 2nd. Upon receiving confirmation of the presentation time, we will publish an updated conference schedule.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

IDRAC 2017 Speaker Spotlight

The International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference is coming up on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2, 2017. Under the theme of "Who Is Responsible?" we will hear from speakers from various parts of the country and the world, sharing their observations and thoughts as we look at what the Disability Rights movement has accomplished along with identifying the work that remains to bring full equality to all people, including those with disabilities. This professional conference is free and open to the public to attend.

Today, we feature a speaker who will present on Saturday, December 2nd. Read on, then plan to attend with us!

Speaker Spotlight: Anjali J. Forber-Pratt

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. Her research agenda adopts a social-ecological framework looking at issues related to identity development, school safety, social-emotional learning, the impact of gang presence and school climate particularly for individuals who are different in some way, with a large focus on disability. She presents regularly at state, national, and international conferences and is author on 16 peer-reviewed journal articles and several chapters. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has also recognized her as an emerging leader within the national disability community. She was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change in 2013 and had an opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with President Obama about disability policy issues.

Presentation: Disability Identity Development

This presentation will explore the term “disability identity” and present current and ongoing research. The presenter will first situate herself within the disability rights and disability community, as a researcher with a disability. Disability occurs across the lifespan and is cross-cultural making it complicated to study. Additionally, the presenter believes that we must be inclusive in our definition of disability for this type of research. Disability is then defined broadly and including individuals with apparent or visible and/or less apparent or hidden disabilities across as many disability groups as possible (i.e., physical, intellectual, learning, mental illness).

Disability identity is unique because disability often occurs in individuals who do not have others with disabilities around them. People with disabilities, then, shape an identity around a particular impairment or difference that their families, immediate circles and communities likely do not share. A coherent disability identity is believed to help individuals adapt to disability, including navigating related social stresses and daily hassles. By providing an overview of the existing models of disability identity, including seminal work from Carol Gill (1997), a description of how this body of work has informed the development of a new measurement tool of disability identity will also be discussed.

Dr. Forber-Pratt will close the conference with her excellent topic on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2:00pm US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

How to Attend the IDRAC Conference in Second Life®

A Little Bit about Second Life
Second Life (also known as SL) is a virtual world created in 2003 by Linden Research (also known as Linden Lab). Second Life is an interactive, simulated environment populated with avatars that is similar in some ways to online games (multi-user, interactive between users and objects, is immersive and three-dimensional) but with some significant differences. It has no clear objectives, goals or points; it serves as a platform for communities, educational institutions and nonprofits. Viewer software is installed on a user's computer in order to access the virtual world.

Hardware Requirements
You need a computer or laptop with a minimum of 512MB of RAM available and a powerful video card with a high-speed internet connection. The operating system can be Windows, Mac or Linux. See more details about system requirements, here:

For voice chat capability, you need at least a microphone and speakers. Using a headset is the preferred option. The Logitech Premium USB Headset 350 is one example of a headset that works well with Second Life, Voice-over-IP (such as Skype), recording podcasts and online games. When using a headset you will need to indicate this in your Preferences (found under the Me menu at the top left in your viewer).

Personal Capability Requirements
These are the basic skills needed to navigate Second Life well, all of which can be performed with assistive technology if needed.

  • Typing text
  • Seeing the computer screen well enough to read text
  • Pressing and holding down keyboard one or more keys for several seconds
  • Pressing two keys on opposite sides of the keyboard
  • Moving the mouse and pressing mouse buttons
  • Moving the mouse and pressing mouse buttons

Entering Second Life
There is a short process in which you will create a Second Life user account with your avatar name and a password. Then you will choose your avatar, download and install the viewer software. Next you will log into Second Life, and when you log in for the first time, you will find yourself at the beginning of a 3D orientation course that will take you through some basic skills including those mentioned above. This orientation course is on Virtual Ability island, near the auditorium where the IDRAC conference will take place.

When you come into Second Life to attend the conference, there will be mentors and greeters available to assist with any questions and to direct you to The Sojourner Auditorium.

This page on Virtual Ability's website has more details:

We look forward to having you with at Virtual Ability's sixth annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference, at The Sojourner Auditorium in Second Life, December 1-2, 2017.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

IDRAC 2017 Speaker Spotlight

The International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference is coming up on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2, 2017. Under the theme of "Who Is Responsible?" we will hear from speakers from various parts of the country and the world, sharing their observations and thoughts as we look at what the Disability Rights movement has accomplished along with identifying the work that remains to bring full equality to all people, including those with disabilities. This professional conference is free and open to the public to attend.

As we continue to receive information from our presenters we will share it here. Today, we feature two speakers who will present on Saturday morning, December 2nd. Read on to learn about them and their presentation topics, then plan to attend with us!

Presenter Spotlight: Ms. Katie Tastrom

Katie Tastrom is a disability lawyer, writer, activist, and sick person. Her work has been featured at Slate, Ravishly, and The Establishment, and she is a former content writer for The Body Is Not An Apology. She has a website at, and she spends her days working to get disabled people in the US the benefits they are entitled to.

Presentation Description
Diverse identities, diverse tactics: Bringing disability activist wisdom to all political movements

Disabled-led activism has been transformational in enhancing the rights and lives of disabled people, though we have an incredibly long way to go. As people with lived experiences of disability we have skills and talents that can be helpful in furthering the rights of other marginalized people, and it is crucial that we use these skills. We have multiple identities and even though we may be oppressed in some ways due to our disabilities, we need to always think about areas we are privileged and how to leverage those privileges to create change. This presentation will talk about why and how we can do this.

Ms. Tastrom will present on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 9:30am US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Presenter Spotlight: Ms. Sonya Freeman-Loftis

Sonya Freeman-Loftis is an associate professor at Morehouse College. She is the author of two books: Shakespeare’s Surrogates and Imagining Autism. Her work on autism is strongly influenced by her personal experiences as an autistic, while her work on Shakespeare is inspired by her deep and abiding and unyielding and boundless passion for Shakespeare. Her essays on drama and disability have appeared in many journals, and she currently serves on the editorial review board for Disability Studies Quarterly and Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal. In 2015, chapter three of Imagining Autism received honorable mention for the Society for Disability Studies Irving K. Zola Award for “best emerging scholar in the field of disability studies.” Sonya is also a wife and mother. Her husband is not jealous when she says that Shakespeare is “the light of her life.”

Presentation Description
On Speaking and Not Speaking: Autism, Friendship, Interdependency

This collection of autobiographical fragments explores the subject of autistic voice. Juxtaposing moments when autistic communication is recognized and understood with moments in which it isn’t, this work of creative nonfiction examines ideological tensions between independence and interdependency, the potential lines (or lack of lines) separating friendship and support, and some of the inevitable problems that are created when one person speaks for another. The piece also explores the dangers that may arise when social systems and authority figures fail to recognize autistic voices.

Ms. Freeman-Loftis will present on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11:00am US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Coming into Second Life® for the First Time?

If you are coming to attend the IDRAC conference and it is your first time, we encourage you to create an account and your avatar as soon as possible, to get oriented and able to arrive at the conference venue comfortably. Your account and avatar are completely free. Virtual Ability, Inc.® has created a signup process that helps you through it all, by giving you some important information, then you can sign up for your account. When you first enter Second Life, you will arrive at the start of Virtual Ability's award winning, accessible orientation course which will help you learn the basics of navigating and doing things in Second Life. To create your account and avatar, begin with Virtual Ability's Second Life signup process.

Presenters' images source: Ms. Tastrom from her blog; Ms. Freeman-Loftis from her page at Morehouse College; Second Life image taken by iSkye Silverweb.

Monday, November 20, 2017

IDRAC 2017 News: Opening Speakers!

Virtual Ability, Inc.® is pleased to announce the speakers who will open each day of the 6th annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference coming up December 1-2, 2017. They are Mr. Louis Olander and Dr. Christopher McMaster.

Presenter Spotlight: Louis Olander

Louis Olander is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Education program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and teaches graduate and undergraduate students about inclusive education and assessment of students with dis/abilities in the Special Education department at Hunter College.

His research interests are in universal design, appreciative inquiry, and critical participatory action research. Previously, he taught special education in New York City, and now lives in Yonkers with his wife and two kids. His email address is

Presentation Description
Beyond accountability: Moving towards answerability for students with disabilities

In the United States, accountability has broadly become the dominant paradigm for accommodating the needs of individuals with disabilities and for addressing equal education. While those paradigms have been useful in the past in promoting a modicum of equality, they have often prevented any movement beyond mere compliance. Moreover, accountability movements have elevated what Danforth (2014) calls technocracy, obscuring social justice arguments for meaningful inclusion. In this presentation I will talk about my dissertation research, in which I hope to help teachers outgrow technocratic, compliance, or accountability frames through teacher inquiry that is appreciative of their existing strengths and critical of structures that sustain exclusion. In so doing, I hope to promote what Patel (2015) terms answerability, reframing questions of what exactly educators are responsible for.


Danforth, S. (2014). Technocracy and inclusive education in the United States. In F. Kiuppis & R. Hausstatter (Eds.), Inclusive Education Twenty Years after Salamanca. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Patel, L. (2015). Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability. New York: Routledge.

Mr. Olander's presentation will open the conference on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 8:00am US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Presenter Spotlight: Dr. Christopher McMaster

Dr. Christopher McMaster is a writer and educator living in New Zealand. He completed a PhD in education from the University of Canterbury based on a critical ethnography of developing inclusive culture in an Aotearoa New Zealand high school. He designed a thesis topic that incorporated two of his passions — community activism and inclusion — and builds on the experience of 15 years as a teacher and 25 years as a parent. This study was recently adapted and published as Educating all: Developing inclusive school cultures from within by Peter Lang. This presentation draws upon that research, as well as subsequent work.

Christopher received a Master of Arts from the University of London, before becoming a primary teacher in the UK. Returning to his native US he specialized in special education, earning a postgraduate diploma from the University of Alaska Southeast. Christopher was recently an Assistant Professor of Education, Special Education at Augsburg University, in Minneapolis, USA. He has since returned to his adopted home of New Zealand where he teaches in the local community, developing a model of alternative education within a mainstream high school. Christopher can be contacted at

Presentation Description
Advocate or Mechanic? The Role of the Citizen Practitioner in Social Change

This talk will explore the role the professional plays in the process of social change. How responsible is the professional, in their professional capacity, to act as an agent of change? Two terms will be used, advocate and mechanic. If it is true, as Gamsci asserts, that there is no such thing as neutrality, then the professional is faced with a clear choice: accept and thus defend the status quo, or continually question and challenge that status quo in their professional role. This apparently simplistic dichotomy will be open for discussion and challenge.

The basis of this talk will be research undertaken at a mainstream high school and published as the book, Educating All: Developing Inclusive School Cultures from Within (Peter Lang). The role I assumed as researcher was that of the critical ethnographer — not there to simply observe the school culture, but to play an active role in helping to change it. Working with the most minoritized population of the school (students with so-called ‘special needs’), change happened, but only so much. I got to return to the school three years later in a different role and work with another part of the school population. I noticed that once an advocate for change was not there, the change process was affected. In Educating All, I identify five elements of inclusion. Maybe advocate was the most important? Maybe it needed someone to be responsible.

Dr. McMaster's presentation will open the second day of the conference on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 8:00am US Pacific Standard Time, in Second Life®.

Presenters' images source: LinkedIn.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ComingUp: IDRAC Conference 2017

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Virtual Ability, Inc.® presents the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which will take place December 1-2, 2017. This is an annual professional conference held online, that is free and open to the public. The conference will take place in Second Life® at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability.

This year's theme is "Who Is Responsible?" This theme is broad and open to interpretation by the presenters we invited to this year's event. If past conferences are any indication, we look forward to lively discussions and information sharing among presenters and our very interested and interactive audience.

Below is an at-a-glance schedule of the presenters who will share their observations of the progress, benefits and challenges in disability rights in different parts of the world as applied to the current theme. We will provide more information about the speakers and their presentations as it becomes available. Note: All times are listed in US Pacific Standard Time.

Friday December 1

Mr. Louis Olander, Doctoral Candidate, Urban Education, CUNY Graduate Center
Dr. Margaret Nosek, Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. David Wasserman, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Margaret Nosek, Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Amie O'Shea, Deakin University, Australia
Social/Networking After Party

Saturday December 2

Dr. Christopher McMaster, New Zealand high school educator
Ms Katie Tastrom, MSW, Esq., blogger and author
Dr. Sonya Freeman-Loftis, Morehouse College
Dr. Carol Moeller, Moravian College
D. Anjali Forber-Pratt, Vanderbilt University
Social/Networking After Party

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Heads Up! Windows 10 Upgrade for Assistive Tech

Contributing Author: Flicka Ninetails

If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues their efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31, 2017.

Microsoft is making its upgrade path extremely generous: "We are not restricting the upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies," the company says. "If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the upgrade offer."

All you need to do is visit the assistive support page in question, assert that you use assistive technologies, and then download the upgrade tool to Windows 10.

The web URL for the assistive support page is:

Remember, this offer expires on December 31, 2017.

Image source: Pixabay

Monday, October 16, 2017

International Infection Prevention Week:

Contributing Author: iSkye Silverweb

This week, October 15-21, is International Infection Prevention Week.

It is worldwide in scope, celebrated the third week in October every year. There is a lot of very useful information for both healthcare professionals and for patients, families and just everyone, compiled and offered for distribution on a website operated by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). This site is chock-full of information! You'd be surprised, many of the concepts are surprisingly simple and doable by virtually everyone. This year's theme is Antibiotic Resistance. It may not sound exciting, but it is quite important as an issue, with the increasing ability of bacteria to mutate and become impervious to various antibiotic medications.

The first, simplest, and most basic thing you can do to prevent infection in the first place is to wash your hands. There is more you can do! Thanks to the APIC, there is a wonderful infographic that explains why this can make such a difference in health. The infographic below is by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control, and it is one of many very useful and helpful infographics available on their website for your use and to share with others.

In case the image is not readable, here are ten things people can do to prevent infections:

  1. Speak up for your care.
  2. Clean your hands often.
  3. Ask about safe injection practices.
  4. Keep your room clean (or ask to have it cleaned).
  5. Ask questions about your medications.
  6. If you are scheduled for surgery, ask if you should shower before the surgery.
  7. If you use one, ask if you need a catheter, each day.
  8. Ask about vaccinations so you can stay healthy.
  9. Get to know an infection preventionist.
  10. Educate yourself about healthcare associated infections.

There is a lot more information in that website on many related topics. Be sure and visit, and share the information you find to your friends and family through your social media networks.

Graphic displayed by permission from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)

Friday, October 13, 2017

October Displays on Healthinfo Island

After you drop off your pizza recipes in the collector at the Healthinfo Island Farmer's Market (you DID do that, didn't you?), you can take a short, scenic walk across the river to the Healthy Living displays. They are highly informative and worth your while. The topics of the displays and their locations in SLURL format are listed below. Once in world, teleport to the central pavilion on Healthinfo Island and explore, or you can teleport directly to the display locations.

October is...

Displays Remaining from September:

Other Displays of Interest:

While you are there, click the title poster of the exhibit or display to get a full text notecard. Click each poster for live links and text chat.

Thanks to Mook Wheeler for creating the exhibit and display materials for Healthinfo Island.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It's Flu Season - Protect Yourself!

Contributing Author: Alice Krueger

Follow these suggestions to protect yourself from flu:
  • Most important: wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Frequently. If you can’t get to soap and water, use a waterless anti-bacterial cleanser.
  • Take care of your overall health. Sleep enough, drink enough water, exercise enough, and eat healthy foods in moderation.
  • Use cleansing wipes before touching shared objects such as shopping cart handles.
  • Avoid being around people who are sick.
  • To be kind to others, stay home if you are the one who is sick.

In some areas, your local drugstore or pharmacy may have flu shots available, often free - these inoculations can provide a measure of protection against this year's predicted flu strains. Check with your doctor first to make sure you have no conditions that prevent you from getting it.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Monday, October 9, 2017

Safety With Fresh Foods

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Fresh foods include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. They should all be handled carefully to maintain health and safety, beginning while shopping and continuing through storage, thawing, preparation, cooking, serving, and care for leftovers. Safe food handling can protect you from many food-borne illnesses. It is not possible to see, smell or taste harmful bacteria in foods; your only protection is careful food preparation.

Shopping for Perishables
Purchase all your non-perishable items before adding perishables to your cart. Pay attention to “Sell By” and other expiration dates. Check that the packaging of mea, poultry, fish and diary products is not torn or leaking.

Once you have bought your groceries, be sure that perishable foods are refrigerated (or frozen) within 2 hours. They should be safely stored within 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 ºC).

Storing Perishables in Refrigerator or Freezer

Check that your refrigerator and freezer are operating at the proper temperature. Use an appliance thermometer to maintain the temperature inside the refrigerator at 40 °F (4 ºC) or a little below, and the freezer at 0 °F (-18 ºC) or below.

Before and after handling perishable foods, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

Wrap meats, poultry and fish securely to maintain their quality while in storage, and to prevent leaking juices from getting onto other foods.

Fresh poultry, fish, ground meats and variety meats should be cooked or dozen within 2 days from purchase. Other meat should be cooked or frozen within 3-5 days from purchase.

Meat and poultry that can not be cooked right away can be frozen in the original packaging. Wrap the package with an additional layer of foil or plastic wrap to protect food quality.

Thawing Frozen Food
Three methods are available for thawing frozen foods.

  1. Allowing the food to thaw slowly in the refrigerator is the safest method. Be sure the food is thawing in a container to catch any juices that might drip onto other foods in the refrigerator.
  2. Foods can also be thawed in cold water. This method is faster than thawing in the refrigerator. Place the frozen item in a leak-proof zip-type plastic bag. Submerge it completely in cold water. Change the water every half hour to keep it cold. Once the food is thawed, cook it immediately.
  3. Some food can be thawed in the microwave, following manufacturer directions. Cook micro-thawed food immediately.

Preparing Food
Remember, always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after you handle meats and other fresh foods.

Be aware of the dangers of cross-contamination between different types of raw foods, and between raw and cooked foods. Keep raw meats, poultry and fish (and any juice from them) away from all other foods.

After cutting raw meats, wash the cutting board, knives and counter tops with hot soapy water.

Sanitize counter tops, cutting boards and kitchen utensils with a solution of 1 Tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.

If meat or poultry is being marinated, do it in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Never marinate meats at room temperature.

Cooking Food
The safest way to know that food is cooked properly is to test its internal temperature. An instant-read thermometer is ideal for this. Put the probe into the thickest part of the meat to test its temperature.

The minimum temperature at which the following meats are considered cooked are shown on this chart.

Raw beef and pork roasts, steaks and chops145 °F (63 ºC)
Ground meats160 °F (71 ºC)
Poultry165 °F (74 °C)

Some people will prefer meat cooked to a higher temperature, for well-done meat.

Let meat rest for 3-5 minutes away from the heat source once proper internal temperature has been reached before serving and eating it.

Serving the Food
The old saying is correct: “Keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold.” Hot food should be kept at and internal temperature of 140 °F (60 °C) or warmer. Cold food should be held at 40 °F (4 ºC) or colder.

You can maintain the temperature of foods in insulated containers like a good-quality thermos for packed lunches or slow cookers or warming trays for buffets. A good thermos works to keep cold foods at proper temperature, as do ice bowls on a buffet table.

Do not leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F (32 ºC), these foods should not be left out over 1 hour.

Caring for Leftovers
Food that has remained at room temperature for over 2 hours (or 1 hour in hot conditions above 90 °F (32 ºC)) should be discarded.

Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers and immediately put into the refrigerator or freezer. They need to be cooled rapidly, and a large mass of food will take too long to cool in the center of the mass.

Cooked leftovers should be used within 4 days, or frozen for longer storage. Reheat the leftovers, whether refrigerated or frozen, to an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).

It is OK to refreeze defrosted raw meats and poultry before cooking if it has been thawed in the refrigerator. If thawed in cold water or the microwave, cook the meat before refreezing it.

Check the cold storage chart at the bottom of the page at this link to find short safe storage times for refrigerated foods. Frozen foods will keep indefinitely, but will lose quality if kept beyond the time indicated in the chart.

Whenever you work with fresh perishable foods, follow the four steps of the Food Safe Families campaign to keep food safe:

  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate — Don't cross-contaminate.
  • Cook — Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill — Refrigerate promptly.

NOTE: The link for Food Safe Families is

1. Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.

Harmful bacteria are everywhere, including your on your hands, in food, and on your counter tops, cutting boards and cooking utensils. Wash you hands with soap and running warm water for at least 20 seconds to clean them. Wash your utensils and the cutting board and counter top after cooking with them. Sanitize the counter top when finished preparing the food. Rinse fruit and vegetables (but not meet, poultry or eggs) with running tap water before peeling or cutting them.

2. Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate.

If possible, use separate cutting boards and plates when working with produce and working with meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Never put ready-to-eat food on a surface that has not been cleaned after being in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs.

Keep meat, poultry, fish and eggs in separate grocery bags. Don’t allow juices from meat, poultry or fish to contact other food in the refrigerator.

3. Cook - Cook to the right temperature.

You can’t tell by the color or texture of cooked food if it is properly done. The safest way is to use an instant-read thermometer to take the internal temperature of cooking foods. Check the recipe for the recommended internal temperature to know when a dish is done cooking.

As cooked foods cool, bacteria multiply. Keep hot foods hot in a slow cooker or on a warming tray.

4. Chill - Refrigerate promptly.

Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria, so be sure to return cooked foods to the refrigerator within 2 hours of completing cooking them. Raw meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cut fruits and vegetables should not be left out at room temperature; put them in the refrigerator as soon as you return from the store.

Don’t thaw or marinate foods at room temperature.

Follow these steps when cooking with meats, dairy products and fresh produce and you will be less likely to come down with a food borne illness.

Photos Source: Pixabay

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Combat Allergies, Room by Room

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Allergies are your body’s reactions to allergens, specific items in your environment. To avoid having to deal with symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes, keeping your house allergen-free is the best solution.

Bedroom and Living Room

The main sources of allergens in these two rooms are animals- your pets, and dust mites.

Pet dander from many types of animal pets can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you are one of them, keep the pets away from where you spend most of your time in the home. To sleep allergy-free, keep your bedroom door closed with the pets on the other side.

Dust mites are tiny pests that live deep inside carpets, furniture cushions, mattresses and pillows. Wall-to-wall carpet will harbor more dust mites than will smaller throw rugs. Bare floors will have the least number of dust mites. Remove dust from the floors regularly with a HEPA vacuum.

Enclose your bed and pillows in dust-proof zippered covers. Launder bedding and washable carpets in hot water weekly.

Consider getting a free-standing HEPA filter for these two rooms where you spend so much time.

And don’t forget to change the filter in your furnace/air conditioner monthly.

Bathroom, Laundry, Basement

These three rooms are usually the dampest in the house. Dampness allows mold and mildew, a very common allergen, to thrive. Check for plumbing leaks regularly in these rooms, and get them repaired immediately.

Mold likes to hide, so don’t use wallpaper in these areas; instead, paint the walls. Mold lives on soap and body oil scum, so scrub the sink, tug, tiles and grout at least monthly to get rid of it. Launder washable shower curtains with bleach or replace them regularly. Always turn on the exhaust fan when showering to remove excess moisture.

Keep the floor and all hard surfaces in the laundry clean and dry. Be sure all laundry is completely dry before folding it and putting it away. Damp fabric can promote mold growth.

If your basement is humid, consider using a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Seal stored items in plastic containers to keep out moisture.


Although some people have allergic reactions to various foodstuffs, scented cleaning products, and even to smoke or particles emitted by cooking food, the most common allergen in kitchens is cockroaches.

Keep your kitchen spic and span to deny the roaches a food source. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wipe down appliances and counter tops with unscented natural cleaning products daily, and sweep the floor. Mop the kitchen floor weekly to remove all roach attractants. Never leave food or garbage uncovered. Check the refrigerator for “expired” food weekly and throw it out.

Following the above housekeeping strategies will cut down on the number of allergens in your home and make for a safer and healthier life.

Image Sources:
Dust Mite - Pixabay
Tumble Dryer - Pixabay
Dirty Kitchen - Pixabay
Allergy - Pixabay

Monday, September 11, 2017

Is Your Doctor Listening to You?

Contributing Author: Alice Krueger

Research into doctor-patient communication has shown that the average time a doctor listens to a patient before interrupting is between 12 and 23 seconds. That’s not enough time for anyone to express their concerns about their health and wellness.

What can you do to address this situation? Part of the answer lies in your preparation, and the rest in how you act while in the doctor’s office.

Before the date of the office visit, write down your concerns and questions. Update your note to yourself as more thoughts come to you that you might want to share. Prioritize everything on your list. You probably won’t have time to go through the whole set of concerns in one visit, so be sure the most important issues are addressed first.

When the doctor enters the exam room, offer a handshake and friendly short greeting. This helps make an honest human connection. Doctors generally respond well to common courtesies.

It is important that you understand everything the doctor is saying to you. Don’t hesitate to ask her to repeat what she said, or you can say it back to her in your own words and ask if that is correct. You also can ask her to put it in writing, especially is she’s using specialized terminology.

Many doctors have email accounts, so ask yours for the address where you can send questions that you think of after the appointment ends.

You always have the right to a second opinion, of diagnoses and of suggested treatments. Ask your doctor if he would recommend someone to provide a second opinion. Be suspicious if he says you don't need one, or only suggests others in his group practice.

It’s important to be honest with your doctor. Let her know if you can’t afford the suggested treatment. She may have options that would be more affordable. Also, tell her if for some reason you can’t follow her directions. If she’s recommending three sessions a week and transportation is an issue, speak up. If she says you should quit smoking, and you’re tried and failed several times before, admit it.

Last but not least, be sure your doctor is aware of your Advance Directive. Ask him if he has a copy in your file. If he’s not sure, hand him another printed copy. And then give the receptionist another copy on the way out and ask him to put it in your record.

With these preparations and actions, your doctor is more likely to hear what you have to say.

Image Source: Pixabay - Patient Care and Pixabay - Patient Care 2

Friday, September 1, 2017

September is National Yoga Month

Yoga is a mind-body exercise that combines both active (moving) and passive (held) poses and stretches with specific breathing and relaxation techniques. Yoga exercises can be done individually or as a class.

Yoga originated in India in the 6th or 5th centuries BCE as a meditative spiritual practice and philosophical discipline. Many styles or schools of yoga exist: hatha, iyengar, kundalini, bikram, etc. You will want to try different styles to see which one best meets your needs.

Simple yoga exercises are a great way to calm your nerves from daily stress.
Calm your nerves with relaxation exercises:

Yoga can stretch and strengthen muscles, and may be used as part of recreational therapy following hospitalizations.
Pain rehabilitation:

Yoga can be part of an integrated therapeutic approach to chronic pain. It allows you to have more control over your response to pain, because it is an active therapy that you can use whenever it is needed.
Integrative Approaches to Pain:
Beyond Opioids: Other options for treating chronic pain -

Yoga can even help you sleep better! It is an effective relaxation exercise to try before bedtime.
Remedies for sleep problems due to aging:

Yoga has been recommended in the treatment of health conditions as disparate as:
Your local library may have books or DVDs about yoga. You can find many articles and videos describing various yoga exercises online. Here are a few to get you started.

For more potential benefits of yoga, please see:
11 Unexpected Health-Promoting Benefits of Yoga

As with all physical activities, please check with your healthcare professional to be sure you are ready to begin doing yoga.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Humpday Hint: How Sharp is Your Hearing? As Sharp as Your Mind?

Contributing Author: Alice Krueger

Maybe you think that hearing loss is inevitable with aging. Did you know that maintaining your hearing as you age can protect your brain health?

Older adults with good hearing were found to be more mentally fit than older adults with hearing loss in research conducted around the world 1. However, the causal link between hearing loss and dementia is not yet understood 2.

In terms of quality of life, older adults who sought treatment for hearing loss had a higher level of satisfaction than those who did not 3. This may be due to improved social and emotional functioning and communication capabilities 4.

There is little to be risked by getting assessed for age-related hearing loss, and treating it has definite health benefits 5.

What are you waiting for?


  1. Davies, H. R., Cadar, D., Herbert, A., Orwell, M. & Steptoe, A. (2017). Hearing impairment and incident dementia: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, prepub; Deal, J. A., Betz, J., Yaffe, K., Harris, T., Purchase-Helzner, E., Satterfield, S., et al. (2017). Hearing impairment and incident dementia and cognitive decline in older adults: The Health ABC Study. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 72(5), 703-709; Heywood, R., Gao, Q., Nyunt, M. S. Z., Feng, L., Chong, M. S., Lim, W. S., et al. (2017). Hearing loss and risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia: Findings from the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 43(5-6), 259-268.
  2. Lin, V. Y. W. & Black, S. E. (2017). Linking deafness and dementia: Challenges and opportunities. Otology & Neurotology, 38(8), e237-e239.
  3. Manrique-Huarte, R., Calavia, D., Huarte Irujo, A., Giron, L. & Manrique-Rodriguez, M. (2016). Treatment for hearing loss among the elderly: Auditory outcomes and impact on Quality of Life. Audiology & Neuro-otology, 21 Suppl 1, 29-35; Yamada, Y., Svejdikova, B. & Kisvetrova, H. (2017). Improvement of older-person-specific QOL after hearing aid fitting and its relation to social interaction. Journal of communication disorders, 67, 14-21.
  4. Fortunate, S., Forli, F., Guglielmo, V., De Corso, E., Paludetti, G., Berrettini, S., et al. (2016). A review of new insights on the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline in ageing (in Italian). Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica, 36(3), 155-166.
  5. Golub, J. S. (2017). Brain changes associated with age-related hearing loss. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery, prepub.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Monday, August 28, 2017

Psoriasis: More Than Skin Deep

Contributing Author: Alice Krueger

Visibly, psoriasis is an itchy skin condition with sore red patches of thickened dry skin, called plaques. These plaques occur most often on the scalp, face, elbows, palms, back, knees and feet. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s body attacks healthy skin cells, causing inflammation that leads to changes in skin structure and function.

Psoriasis is an unpredictable condition. Some people have remissions lasting several months without symptoms. Flares of increased symptoms seem to happen without warning and can be any severity level. Flares can be caused by stress, cold weather, dry skin, colds and respiratory infections, and smoking.

There is no known cure for psoriasis; treatment is symptomatic, striving to slow down the growth of skin cells. Topical treatments are the first intervention to be prescribed. These can be over-the-counter items (lotions containing salicylic acid or coal tar to cause skin shedding, or lotions containing aloe vera or jojoba to moisturize the skin) or by prescription. Nonsteroidal topical prescriptions containing synthetic vitamin A or D3 slow the production of skin cells. Corticosteroid prescriptions can thin the skin.

Biologic drugs for psoriasis are derived from live cell cultures and are administered by injection or IV. They block the action of the immune system that is overactive and misdirected in psoriasis. Phototherapy focuses UV or laser light on affected skin areas. Systemic medications, usually reserved for people with moderate or severe psoriasis, are taken in pill form or by injection. They work throughout the body, not just at the site of the psoriasis.

Psoriasis is associated with common symptoms of emotional distress, including sleep disorders and general anxiety 1. This indicates a lowered quality of life. The National Psoriasis Foundation states that 24% of people with psoriasis also have depression 2, which can lead to numerous other health and wellness issues. Young adults with psoriasis are at increased risk for suicide 3, especially if it causes them significant emotional distress, impairs their daily activities, causes them to have a negative body image or creates difficulty in establishing or maintaining close relationships.

Other serious health issues may be related to psoriasis. Although it is not clear which is cause and which is effect, metabolic syndrome is found in 40% of persons with psoriasis 4 while only 21% of the general population has this set of health problems. Metabolic syndrome is indicated by high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high blood sugar, and too much fat around the waist. The increased risk of persons with psoriasis having metabolic syndrome may explain their increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer.

The link between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease seems to lie in the inflammatory response 5. Inflammation can damage blood vessels, resulting in the formation of plaques (not the same kind as psoriasis plaques) in arteries leading to the heart. This can result in heart attacks or strokes.

People with psoriasis whose treatment included biological agents or methotrexate had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than did those with other treatment regimens 6. This might be due to systemic treatments reducing proteins that signal inflammation.

The direction of the relationship between obesity and psoriasis is unclear, and there is little evidence that diet affects psoriasis. However, a study showed that obesity increases both the risk of getting cardiovascular disease and of having psoriasis 7. Therefore it is doubly important to eat a healthy diet if you have psoriasis.

A study in the UK found an increased risk for psoriasis patients to get lymphoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and other cancers 8. The cancer risk seemed highest for those who received systemic treatments (e.g., phototherapy or methotrexate). It is important for persons with psoriasis to avoid risk behaviors that can lead to cancers, including smoking, excessive sun exposure, and alcohol abuse.

If you have psoriasis, it is wise to keep up with regular screenings for other health conditions, including depression. Ask your dermatologist to help you create a preventive program based on your medical history and additional risk factors.

To learn more about psoriasis during the month of August, visit the exhibit on Healthinfo Island in Second Life (SLURL: ).


  1. Pärna, E., Aluoja, A. & Kingo, K. (2015). Quality of life and emotional state in chronic skin disease. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 95(3), 312-316.
  2. Kimball, A. B., Gladman, D., Gelfand, J. M., Gordon, K., Horn, E. J., Korman, N. J., et al. (2008). National Psoriasis Foundation clinical consensus on psoriasis co-morbidities and recommendations for screening. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 58(6), 1031-1042.
  3. Picardi, A., Lega, I. & Tarolla, E. (2013). Suicide risk in skin disorders. Clinics in Dermatology, 31(1), 47-56.
  4. Love, T. J., Qureshi, A. A., Karlson, E. W., et al. (2011). Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in psoriasis: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. JAMA Dermatology, 147(4), 419-424.
  5. Gu, W.-J., Weng, C.-L., Zhao, Y.-T., Liu, Q.-H. & Yin, R.-X. (2013). Psoriasis and risk of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. International Journal of Cardiology, 168(5), 4992–4996.
  6. Aheloff, O., Skov, L., Gislason, G., Lindhardsen, J., Kristensen, S. L., Iversen, L., et al. (2012). Cardiovascular disease event rates in patients with severe psoriasis treated with systemic anti-inflammatory drugs: A Danish real-world cohort study. Journal of Internal Medicine, 273(2), 197-204.
  7. Carrascosa, J. M., Rocamora, V., Fernandez-Torres, R. M., Jimenez-Puya, R., Moreno, J. C., Coll-Puigserver, N., et al. (2014). Obesity and psoriasis: Inflammatory nature of obesity, relationship between psoriasis and obesity, and therapeutic implications (in Spanish). Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas, 105(1), 31-44.
  8. Fuxench, Z. C. C., Shin, D. B., Beatty, A. O. & Gelfand, J. M. (2016). The risk of cancer in patients with psoriasis: A population-based cohort study in the Health Improvement Network. JAMA Dermatology, 152(3), 282-290.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Friday, August 25, 2017

Virtual Ability Works With Other Nonprofits in Virtual Worlds

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Virtual Ability, Inc.® was the first organization that began as a Second Life® community and then became a legally chartered nonprofit corporation. At the time the Virtual Ability community was forming in Second Life, a wide variety of nonprofit corporations from the physical world were coming into Second Life to do awareness, outreach, and fundraising. They formed a group called NonProfit Commons, sponsored at that time by TechSoup®. Virtual Ability became an early active corporate member of the NonProfit Commons (NPC) group in Second Life.

In addition to attending weekly meetings (Friday mornings at 8:30am Pacific), Virtual Ability members have given presentations, greeted newcomers to the NPC, mentored about virtual worlds and nonprofit functioning, and assisted several Second Life groups to apply for nonprofit tax status.

The mission of the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life is to create a community of practice for nonprofits and those doing social-good, cause-based work to explore and learn about virtual worlds, foster connections, and discover the many ways in which nonprofits might utilize these unique environments to achieve their missions. NonProfit Commons is now peer governed and funded.

This Friday, August 25, NonProfit Commons is celebrating its tenth anniversary in Second Life. Find out more about NPC's history at or join the parties at 8:30am or 5pm Pacific in the NPC Amphitheater on Plush* (SLURL: ) in Second Life.

Please email any questions about NonProfit Commons to

Editor's Note: Plush is a virtual location in Second Life with a special kind of link to get there. You will need to create an account and an avatar to use in the environment. If you are entering Second Life for the first time, visit this page to get started.

Image Credit: Rhiannon Chatnoir