I Don’t Want to FaceTime My Gynecologist on My Lunch Break

According to the Associated Press, Walmart is now offering its employees coverage for telemedicine, a cheaper and seemingly more convenient form of urgent care. In short, telemedicine is basically a Skype call with your doctor. I personally had never heard of telemedicine prior to reading about Walmart’s recent initiative, and I believe that, even in the digital age, the idea of a virtual doctor’s visit is a bit questionable.

Imagine if your doctor told you that they attended medical school 100% online. Now ask yourself, how seriously would you be able to take a diagnosis given over online video chat. Although the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has been around since 1993 and they provide its members and the public with safety and best practice guidelines, you can still consider telemedicine something I’ll need a little bit more convincing on.

I was curious to hear what others thought about telemedicine and Walmart and other companies’ push for insured employees to embrace it, so I reached out to two colleagues who work in the field of public health to get a more sophisticated opinion on the matter.

Stephanie Green, a project coordinator for the National Partnership for Women and Families, says she is okay with virtual medicine visits in combination with an initial in-person visit. “You can go to your actual appointment and then do virtual follow up,” she said. Stephanie also offered that she feels that virtual visits may also cut down on workers calling out, which creates a favorable situation more for the employer, or more for the hourly employee or both.

And that is when I pictured myself in the ladies room at my job on FaceTime with my gyno, posing like a gargoyle in a stall so that they can get a good angle for my tele-pap smear.

via Tenor

That simply is no life that I desire for myself.

New York-based HIV prevention specialist, and dear friend, Yaw Amonfoh, brought up a few more points that I hadn’t considered.

“What if you have to have conversations in places you can’t be that vulnerable in?” Yaw asked. Yaw was was curious as to what Walmart planned to do with all the money they were looking to save by paying for more telemedicine and less traditional doctors’ visits.

“Not everyone has Internet, a phone, or a consistent phone line. Even if they have a job,” my friend went on to say. “And it’s not like [Walmart] pays their employees well.”

I took a brief, sacred moment to indulge in my freshly brewed Earl Grey.

After these conversations, my main concern now is whether or not a time will arise when people are forced or coaxed into embracing a form of care that they may not be familiar or comfortable with.

Luckily, telemedicine is still just optional for insured employees and doesn’t appear to something employers are forcing or manipulating employees into part take in. It should also be noted there are telehealth services covered by Medicaid.

The ATA’s mission and the thought process behind telemedicine are rooted in the desire for affordable and accessible care for everyone. After hearing different perspectives and doing a little more research, I’m more willing to spread to the word to folks about this alternative.

With all of that said, I must know, are gynecologists participating in this growing phenomenon?


downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.

Not Having Kids? Not Buying a Car?: My side of the Story

I recently learned that I might very well be contributing to the decline of the natural born U.S. citizens. As a college-educated urban millennial woman, I find myself on the edge of my seat these days, itching to learn what new institutional-crushing superpower market researchers and journalists have uncovered about me.

I’m 26 years old and, in addition to not having or planning on having kids, I don’t own a house or even a car. I use to feel ashamed of my lack of control over my life and how I was potentially letting down my family by not actually manufacturing a life for myself to mirror that of my mother and grandmother (women who firmly believe that children are what make life complete).

I  have no idea what my life will look like in 3 years, let alone 6 months, and I’ve recently accepted that I really don’t have time right now to think about it. Long story short, here are 5 reasons why I’m told need to have kids and why I absolutely will not.



You need to pass on your legacy.

Seeing as you likely skipped the intro, I’ll reiterate the fact that I don’t own any property of value such as a house or vehicle and have no desire to. So, if I died today, what exactly would I be leaving to pass down? My refurbished laptop? An Instagram account of barely 50 followers?

You would make such cute babies. 

My S.O. (significant other) is cute and she thinks I’m cute. But I am literally a meat sack of recessive genes and, well the logistics of us reproducing aren’t readily plausible logistically.

You will have more people to share the fruit of your success with.

My over-21 friends have loads of fun attending brunch and paying for alcoholic beverages with our hard-earned money.

Babies smell good.

That is a very very strong argument. Babies do in fact smell heavenly. Sometimes, when I’m feeling down, I will randomly request to hold a baby. Babies are wonderful. They love you unconditionally and they can’t walk into the kitchen steal your leftover Thai food when you’re not looking. However, a 6-year-old can, a 15-year-old can, and so can the 23-year-old college grad who will inevitably be living in your basement rent-free for another 5 years. I’m good.  

Children are a reflection of the love you and your spouse share.

Please see #3. The love of my life, too, enjoys the brunch. We drink mimosas and talk about our feelings.

It’s the Only Scholarship for HIV Positive Scholars, with Less Than 30 Days To Apply

The HIV League, a New York-based nonprofit is currently accepting applications for the 2019 HIV League Scholarship, which will award up to $7,000 to a handful of deserving post-secondary part-time and full-time scholars living with HIV. The deadline to the submit is January 31.

The scholarship initiative appears to have been around for at least two years and has awarded scholarships to six fortunate individuals out of over 720 applicants since 2017, including people as young as 17-years-old and as old as 64-years-old. It is also reported that the applicant pool represents a diverse group in terms of racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identity. Nicole Begay, a 2017 HIV League Scholar writes:

I am so proud to be doing what I do and pursuing my dream of becoming a designer. It has been a struggle throughout these past four years of high school, but I have learned how to stick with what I love no matter what people say and to be determined, motivated, and persevere through anything. I believe that anyone can do anything as long as they put their best efforts forward and never give up. No one can stop me from pursuing my dream except for myself.  –hivleague.org

According to the statistics backed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with Secretary’s Minority AID Fund, it was approximated that in 2016 over 39,000 Americans had been newly affected with human immunodeficiency virus, otherwise known as HIV. Roughly half of young adults age 13-24 with the diagnoses were unaware that they had been infected.

The HIV League was founded in 2015 by Daniel Szymczyk, a 2014 graduate of Appalachian State University. Daniel is also a youth counselor who is heavily involved in a number of capacities in servicing the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV.

A few important things to note include the fact that the HIV League Scholarship is reportedly the only scholarship initiative of its kind and scholarship recipients are given the option to decline public recognition.

For more information on the HIV League Scholarship, visit http://www.hivleague.org/scholarship/.


downloadJiell Richardson is a web designer/developer, fat yogi padawan, and blogger based in Washington, DC, USA.