Black History Month Spotlight – Benjamin O. Davis Sr.

Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was the first black general in the American military. He served for 50 years, including appointment as a temporary first lieutenant at an all-black unit during the Spanish American War. Throughout his service, Davis was as a professor of military science at Tuskegee and Wilberforce University, a commander of the 369th Regiment, New York National Guard, and special assistant to the Secretary of the Army. When he retired in 1948, President Harry Truman oversaw the public ceremony. Davis is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

For most of Davis’s career, the US military was segregated. Although African Americans had participated in every military conflict in American history, the dominate culture perspective of the time was that black and white soldiers should not fight side by side and that black troops should not fight at all, but be limited to duties such as cleaning and cooking meals. Clearly in this environment, there was little opportunity for advancement for people of color. Despite the many barriers, Davis rose slowly through the ranks. He advised military leaders during World War I on integrating forces and he helped resolve racial conflicts, setting the stage for blacks to eventually achieve integration and access to equal status in the armed forces. As Davis, Sr. spent the years during World War II advising the U.S. government on race-related matters, his son, Davis, Jr., was leading the Tuskegee Airmen as they showed what black servicemen could achieve in combat.

Davis’s ancestors were freed blacks who had either earned or been granted their autonomy. His integrated elementary school was named for abolitionist Lucretia Mott. He had both black and white friends in childhood and stated he did not encounter racism until later in his life experience. For this period of American history, his uncommon experience with racially mixed education in his youth reinforced his belief in equality, in himself, and in the benefits of integration to the military and beyond.

Delayed Second Doses Across Nation – COVID-19 Vaccine, information and recommendations.

Information on Delayed Second Doses

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 18: COVID-19 vaccine is stored at -80 degrees celsius in the pharmacy at Roseland Community Hospital on December 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The hospital began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its workers yesterday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Across our region and the nation, weather challenges are forcing some people to delay getting their second dose due to vaccine supply.  While getting the second dose as close to the recommended interval as possible, if delay is unavoidable, the second dose may be administered up to 6 weeks after the first dose.  The following information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can help provide more details and clarify questions. 

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series consist of two doses administered intramuscularly:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (30 µg, 0.3 ml each): 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna (100 µg, 0.5 ml): 1 month (28 days) apart

Persons should not be scheduled to receive the second dose earlier than recommended (i.e., 3 weeks [Pfizer-BioNTech] or 1 month [Moderna]). However, second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated.

The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.

Black History Month Spotlight – Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde: Breaking All the Rules

Audre Lorde dedicated her life and her written work to addressing injustice. Born in New York City to West Indian immigrant parents, she published her first poem in Seventeen magazine while in high school. Lorde commented in Black Women Writers: “I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing. In other words, I literally communicated through poetry. And when I couldn’t find the poems to express the things I was feeling, that’s what started me writing poetry, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen.”

Lorde was a New York City public school librarian throughout the 1960s. She had two children with her husband, Edward Rollins, a white, gay man, before divorcing and meeting her future partner, Frances Clayton. In the 70s she also began teaching as poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College. Her experiences with teaching and established theory as a black gay woman in the white academic world became a major influence on her work. Lorde’s most famous essay shed light on the intersections of race, class, and gender in “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

“I have a duty,” Lorde once stated, “to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain.” She addressed issues we continue to battle to this day. Her poem “Power” was born from her reaction upon hearing the police officer involved in the shooting of a ten-year-old black child had been acquitted. She said: “A kind of fury rose up in me; the sky turned red. I felt so sick. I felt as if I would drive this car into a wall, into the next person I saw. So I pulled over. I took out my journal just to air some of my fury, to get it out of my fingertips. Those expressed feelings are that poem.”

Lorde was poet laureate of New York from 1991-1992 and received a National Endowment for the Arts award. Her creative and political bravery inspires artists, activists, and readers to this day.


The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House


Black History Month Spotlight – Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues

By Vanessa Bryant

I first learned about Robert Johnson in a high school history class where I intended to write a paper about Elvis Presley and the birth of rock and roll. It was then that I got some early education on white privilege and the appropriation of black music and culture by the white mainstream. To my shock and dismay, I learned that the idea of Elvis being the originator of rock music was largely white propaganda. If there is a single person who we might confer this title upon, it is likely Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues.

Although most of his biography is shrouded in confusion, gossip, and mystery, Johnson was believed to be the product of an extramarital affair and born in Hazelhurst, Miss., in 1911. Most of his personal details have been lost to the annals of time, but what’s known is that he learned guitar in his teens, got married and had a little girl who died in childbirth. The death led Johnson to throw himself into his music. He fled to Robinsonville, Miss., where he was influenced by early blues legends Son House and Willie Brown.

What is probably better known than his music is the tale of Johnson selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for his talent. Johnson tells the story in his song “Crossroads Blues.” Playing for tips up and down the Delta, Johnson because locally famous. As he became more popular, he also became a noted philanderer and man of mystery. He was known to walk off in the middle of performances and not be seen or heard from for weeks thereafter.

In 1936 he made his first recordings including “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Hell Hound on My Trail,” and his signature “Terraplane Blues.”

The recordings enabled Johnson to tour nationally and became known for his unique voice and halting guitar riffs. As legend goes, the devil caught up with Johnson in 1938. While playing at a juke joint, he flirted with a woman whose husband, in a fit of jealousy, laced Johnson’s whiskey with strychnine. Although violently ill, Johnson continued to play until he collapsed. He died four days later at age 27 according to some; conflicting accounts claim he survived the poisoning and died later of pneumonia.

Robert Johnson has at least two gravesites, contributing to the mystique around his life and death. Some believe he did not die from poisoning or pneumonia but simply disappeared. “The reason that it’s so powerful a story is because it is the outline of the tragic side of the music that followed,” said music journalist Alan Light. “Some knew him as a musician, others by legend, but his shadow touches everyone who came out of that time and place.”

Viewed through a more woke historical filter, one wonders if stories tying Johnson to the devil weren’t born of racism and dominate culture insecurities. Johnson’s extraordinary guitar virtuosity made him sound like two people playing guitar at once, something those who never got to see him play live may not have even realized. To this day, many of the greatest guitarist of our time have no idea how he did it. Johnson’s distinctive vocal delivery and musical innovations laid the groundwork for what would become known as rock and roll. So the next time you notice someone trying to call Elvis the king, you might drop some knowledge on them about the original king, Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues.

Listen: Come on in my Kitchen

Black History Month Spotlight – Eunice Hunton Carter

“In honor of Black History Month, we will be featuring a different pivotal person in the history of America whom you may not have heard of. This week we are learning about Eunice Hunton Carter, Mob Slayer…

Eunice Hunton Carter, Enemy of Organized Crime

When organized crime was dangerously close to taking over the country during Prohibition, it was not New York City law enforcement but Eunice Hunton Carter who first made the connection between racketeering and petty crimes.

Carter was born in Atlanta in 1899 to activist parents and became a social worker who practiced in New York and New Jersey before becoming the first black woman to earn a law degree from Fordham University. By 1935, she was appointed by New York City’s mayor to study crime in Harlem.  She developed a theory that Harlem streetwalkers were connected to the mob, which led to her role as an assistant district attorney under then-special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. Her investigation revealed that when prostitutes were arrested, they all seemed to have the same lawyers, bondsmen and alibis. Her interviews brought to light that the mob was taking half of the earnings of street prostitutes in the area, providing a major source of income to organized crime. Carter’s questioning lead investigators to New York’s most powerful mob figure — Charles “Lucky” Luciano.

“This was the beginning of the end for organized crime the way it operated,” said Peter Kougasian, an assistant Manhattan district attorney. “It showed that they were not invulnerable, and it also represented an end for major political corruption as well.”

As a result of her achievement, Carter was appointed head of the D.A.’s Special Sessions Bureau. Her later work as a volunteer and in private practice championed the National Council of Negro Women, the United Nations, and the YWCA, for whom she remained a national board member until her death in 1970.

Although many have heard of Dewey for his work in diminishing the mob’s influence during the Depression, without Carter’s hustle and insights, such a huge achievement for law enforcement might never have happened.

SMART Goal Setting

It’s that time of year again. A fresh start in 2021. Did you have a resolution? How’s it going so far? 

Change and self-improvement are HARD. Being healthy looks different for every single person. There is no one size fits all. If you were able to incorporate 10 healthy lifestyle habits this year, wouldn’t you consider that great progress? 

Time, energy, and finances are just a few of the many barriers we face when attempting to improve our lifestyle habits. Just 10 minutes of practicing your goal setting skills can increase your chances for success exponentially. Set aside time to think about what you want to accomplish and the steps it will take to achieve. 

Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be spending countless hours doing cardio and/or in the kitchen meal prepping to eat the same boring chicken, broccoli and rice all week. Rather than the “all-in” approach where you unrealistically attempt to drastically change every aspect of your lifestyle to a HEALTHY one, consider setting a series of small, realistic, and sustainable goals. If the lifestyle habit isn’t sustainable, neither are the results. 

SMART Goals 

Smart goal setting is a well-established approach to ensure goals are clear and reachable. Each goal should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Realistic (relevant, reasonable, results-based)
  • Timely (time-based, time-bound, time-sensitive)


  • Instead of “I will work out more,” try “I will move my body for 30 minutes 3x/week or more for the month of February.” 
  • Instead of “I will eat healthier,” try “I will include at least 5 colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables on weekdays for 1 month,” or “I will scratch make a dinner meal 3x/week for 6 weeks.”
  • Instead of “I will spend more time with family,” try “I will turn off all screens 3 nights a week for 1 hour in the evenings after dinner until daylight savings.”

Choose 3 small goals to work on over the next month and leave room for growth! Divide the goals up so that you start with the easiest. After 10 days, incorporate the 2nd goal and 10 days after that, the 3rd goal. If you haven’t achieved a goal after 10 days, give yourself some grace. Maybe the goal needs to be adjusted to make it more achievable or maybe the goal just needs more time. Find a place to keep track of your progress for increased accountability. Look for an app on your smart phone or keep a journal.

Having an end date for your goal will help it seem more achievable and increase accountability. Chances are, if the goal you set was SMART, you’ll end up adopting the healthy lifestyle habit on a more permanent and sustainable basis. 

By Alison Fenske, MS, RDN. 

CHAS Health Homeless Memorial 2020

Each year on December 21st, CHAS Health hosts a Homeless Memorial to remember those who have died during the year while experiencing homelessness.    The memorial is held on the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.  This event serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles of those who are experiencing housing insecurity and is also a call to action to help end homelessness.  Traditionally, over 150 communities across the nation hold similar events. 

Studies across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia have confirmed a relationship between a lack of housing and increased mortality rates. Homeless persons are 3-4 times more likely to die than the general population. On average, people with housing in the U.S. can expect to live to age 78. Our long-term homeless neighbors can expect to live to about the age of 50. This day focuses attention to collectively recommit efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths among our homeless neighbors.

In a typical year, this memorial would gather community leaders, clients, and CHAS Health staff to honor these lost lives.  This year, we are sadly unable to hold an in-person event with our community due to the current healthcare crisis.  In lieu of an in-person remembrance, we are taking this this ceremony online.  The CHAS Health Homeless Memorial includes a visual representation of those members of our homeless community who have died this year with individual names placed on a tree outside the downtown CHAS Health Denny Murphy Clinic located at 1001 W. 2nd Ave.

We ask that those who would like to join us in remembrance take a moment to reflect on this day of the lives lost in the past year and consider the challenges that our homeless population faces. 

CHAS Health is proud to have a homeless outreach team that spends their time working with this community.  This team works to stay connected with this vulnerable population and spends their time checking on the wellness of others, providing much needed support, and handing out supplies. CHAS Health employees recently donated more than $7,000 to purchase warm winter gear including gloves, socks and sleeping bags to support members of our homeless community this year.   The outreach team will be passing out lunches and winter survival items to the homeless around its Denny Murphy Clinic throughout the day.

If you have any questions regarding our memorial or outreach efforts, please contact us at

Thank you for your support of this very important cause. Please help us spread the word by sharing this video or blog.    

Falling into Seasonal Produce

Falling into Seasonal Produce

Fall.  Autumn.  The change of seasons is marked by changing leaves and Pumpkin Spice flavored…..everything?  This year, don’t let pumpkin spice flavored oreos be your only seasonal food experience.  There are many seasonal vegetables and fruits that can help welcome the feeling of the cooler temperatures into our homes. 

There are benefits to eating produce when it’s in season beyond helping to usher in a new season.  When we choose in season produce we get the maximum nutritional benefits of those foods.  When foods are picked at the peak of ripeness, they contain their peak content of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Some phytonutrients in foods decline when stored for long periods of time. Phytonutrient is just a fancy word for the naturally produced chemicals from plants that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage. This means that they keep us healthy for longer and also looking vibrant.  They reduce inflammation which contributes to chronic illness. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant.  Many of us know that Vitamin C can also be important in reducing the length of a cold or other winter illnesses.  Vitamin C is jam packed into many of our Fall grown produce.  All plants contain phytonutrients.  This includes whole grains, nuts, beans and vegetables and fruit.  Examples of seasonal vegetables and fruits are below, but including a variety of plant foods daily is good for overall health and wellness.

Fruits and vegetables are less expensive when purchased in season.  It takes less time and money for them to get to the store and that savings is passed onto the consumer.  Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do to reduce your grocery budget while bulking up your nutrition. 

When trying to eat healthier, the most valuable thing we can do is make sure that our food is delicious! Eating delicious food every day helps us to sustain our healthier habits.  Eating produce in season is a way to ensure that your fruits and veggies taste their very best.  Lastly, eating in season also provides the opportunity to support local producers.  Supporting local farmers allows for more sustainable food production and also reduces fossil fuels used to transport items from across the world.  Below are some options for including seasonal produce that are usually available locally.  Enjoy the season this year by trying something new or by having a familiar food prepared in a way that is new to you.

Acorn Squash

One serving of Acorn Squash is an excellent source of Vitamin C.  The easiest way to prepare all your winter squash is to halve, scoop out seeds and then bake in the oven until soft.  The tender flesh can be scooped out of the shell and used as a side dish as is.  The shape of the acorn squash also provides the perfect bowl shape for stuffing with goodies such as a combo of Italian sausage and wild rice.  Winter squash is also wonderful for roasting.  Acorn squash can be sliced in strips and roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings to taste.  

Butternut Squash

Another delicious and slightly sweet winter squash, one cup has more than 100% of the daily value of Vitamin A along with being another excellent source of Vitamin C.  After baking, butternut squash makes a delicious, creamy soup.  It’s also wonderful roasted or topped with cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs in a casserole.

Sweet Potatoes

Swapping a baked potato for a baked sweet potato is an easy way to increase your Vitamin A and Vitamin C intake for the day.  If you’re looking for more ways to include this versatile vegetable into every day eating, try slicing them thin and using as “toast” substitute or dicing and making a sweet potato hash. 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts often get a bad reputation for being a least favorite food.  However, when not over-cooked, most people are able to change their opinion of this notorious vegetable.  If you’ve tried Brussels Sprouts before and found them mushy, try a dry heat for cooking.  Slice in halves and roast with olive oil.  You can also try parboiling (boiling for 1-2 minutes and then immersing in cold water to stop the cooking process) and then sautéing.  They can also be steamed, but careful not to overcook. Nuts are a perfect addition to Brussels Sprout.  Try toasted walnuts or almonds on top.


Parsnips look like a white (possibly more boring) carrot and are often overlooked.  Despite their similar shape, they are not from the same family of vegetables.  Parsnips have a lightly sweet flavor but with more of a spiced taste than their orange counterpart. When paired with carrots in a rich beef stew they can add depth of flavor.  They are also delicious when roasted with other fall/winter vegetables. 

Cool weather Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, etc)

Many dark greens such as kale and spinach get an improved, sweeter flavor when exposed to frost.  This makes them a perfect fall, winter and early spring vegetable.  We all have heard of the benefits of brightly colored greens and now is a perfect time to add them to the rotation.  A more hearty, winter salad can be assembled by starting with kale and adding toasted walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries, topped with sliced steak.  Add Kale or Spinach to smoothies or toss greens into soups for a nutrition boost.


Pears are an excellent source of fiber with a good mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Getting enough of both fiber types can help regulate blood sugar, increase satiety, improve bowel regularity and keep Cholesterol in a healthy range.  Pears make for a perfect snack on their own anytime but also can be added to smoothies, as a topping for oatmeal or as a salad topping.   And don’t forget pear desserts such as crisps or carmelized pears as a topping for ice cream.


It would not be the Fall season without trips to the pumpkin patch and apple picking.  The Northwest is home to many apple varieties.  Apple cider simmering on the stove immediately makes the home feel like Autumn.   This year, try apple chips baked in the oven at a low temperature until they dry and crisp.


Cranberries are always featured on the Thanksgiving table but not given much thought the rest of the year.  Washington and Oregon are two of only about five states that grown cranberries in the U.S.  Fresh cranberries can be added to baked goods and in crisps.  Dried cranberries are wonderful in fall-themed salads and as a topper for oatmeal.  They can also be tossed into savory dishes such as stuffed squash to add a hint of sweetness. Cranberries are a phytonutrient rich berry in the same family as blueberries.  Their bright red color signals hidden nutrition benefits. 

Aren’t we glad to live in a world with fall and all the bountiful produce that it delivers to our tables?

by Heather Blazier, RD, CDE

Why get a flu shot?

CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and limit flu exposure to others.

Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. People of all ages can catch the flu, and now more than ever, no one wants to expose others to illness-causing germs.

Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics

This year CHAS Health will be hosting Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics on Saturdays in the months of October and November for you and your kids. These Drive-up clinics are available for patients and non-patients of CHAS Health. It is as easy as driving to the location for that Saturday and receive your flu shot. All from the comfort of your car! Dates and locations are as follows:

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Washington)

October 10thValley Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 10thMaple Street Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm
October 17thNorth Central Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 24thNorth County Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 24thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stPerry Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thSouthgate Clinic9:00am – 12:00pm
November 7thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thCheney Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm
November 14thMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 14thValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Idaho)

October 17thLatah Community Health9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thLewis & Clark Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm

If you are unable to make one of our Saturday Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics you can stop by at your medical primary care clinic beginning October 1st. Simply drive up and follow the directions.

COVID-19 & Influenza

Influenza kills and hospitalizes thousands of adults and children every year. COVID-19 can also be deadly and there is no vaccine available at this time. Both viruses are respiratory pathogens. It is possible to be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, a situation to be avoided for everyone, not just the elderly or those with chronic diseases. If you have questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due to any illness, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Telling the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some symptom differences:


Often the flu includes a fever while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. Fever is the most common reason adults stay home from work and why most parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, however some schools and daycare centers have their own standards. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and the ill person’s temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.

Upper Respiratory

Adults and children may contract several different cold viruses each winter. Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. Most people with these symptoms can participate in school without restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, and to practice proper hand washing techniques to limit the spread of germs.

The flu is similar to a cold, but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms that diminish the body’s ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea (who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own), may go to work and school if they don’t have other symptoms.

Illnesses are a normal part of life for both adults and children, but they are no fun to experience. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, yet we want to minimize the spread of germs to others. That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.

For more information about the 2020-2021 flu season, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Are you ready to Vote?

While it may seem odd that a health center is reaching out to you to make sure you are registered to vote and participate in this year’s election, it actually makes perfect sense. On the ballot every year, there are initiatives and positions that directly impact our communities and patients. Policymakers at all levels of government greatly impact health care funding and delivery in our communities. 

Many initiatives and important decisions at local, state, and federal levels are critical to providing access and support to our patients. A recent example is the CARES Act at the Federal level, which helped increase access to our patients in these unprecedented times.

Your voice really does count when helping to decide policies and who will be making those decisions, and your vote matters!

If you aren’t registered to vote, it’s a quick and easy process and can be done online at

If you are registered to vote, research candidates, proposed measures and initiatives. Vote at every opportunity and vote as soon as you are able to.

Voter resources: