Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.


Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

When to see a doctor

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one. Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you know someone who’s in danger of attempting suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person to keep him or her safe. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.


PTSD Symptoms and Causes

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

National American Indian Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month graphic
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.



The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

An Overview       (

There are 573 federally recognized Indian Nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities and native villages) in the United States. Approximately 229 of these ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse nations are located in Alaska; the other federally recognized tribes are located in 35 other states. Additionally, there are state recognized tribes located throughout the United States recognized by their respective state governments.

A Culture of Tribal Governance
American Indians and Alaska Natives are members of the original Indigenous peoples of North America. Tribal nations have been recognized as sovereign since their first interaction with European settlers. The United States continues to recognize this unique political status and relationship.

A Political Relationship
Native peoples and governments have inherent rights and a political relationship with the U.S. government that does not derive from race or ethnicity. Tribal members are citizens of three sovereigns: their tribe, the United States, and the state in which they reside. They are also individuals in an international context with the rights afforded to any other individual.

Tribes as Nations
The governmental status of tribal nations is at the heart of nearly every issue that touches Indian Country. Self-government is essential if tribal communities are to continue to protect their unique cultures and identities. Tribes have the inherent power to govern all matters involving their members, as well as a range of issues in Indian Country.

The essence of tribal sovereignty is the ability to govern and to protect and enhance the health, safety, and welfare of tribal citizens within tribal territory. Tribal governments maintain the power to determine their own governance structures and enforce laws through police departments and tribal courts. The governments exercise these inherent rights through the development of their distinct forms of government, determining citizenship; establishing civil and criminal laws for their nations; taxing, licensing, regulating, and maintaining and exercising the power to exclude wrongdoers from tribal lands.

In addition, tribal governments are responsible for a broad range of governmental activities on tribal lands, including education, law enforcement, judicial systems, health care, environmental protection, natural resource management, and the development and maintenance of basic infrastructure such as housing, roads, bridges, sewers, public buildings, telecommunications, broadband and electrical services, and solid waste treatment and disposal.


Indian Country Demographics  (


  • Total American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) alone population: 2.9 million or about 0.9 percent of the US population.(r1)
  • Total AI/AN population alone or in combination with other races: 5.2 million or 1.7 percent of the US population.(r2)
  • About 32 percent of Natives are under the age of 18, compared to only 24% of the total population who are under the age of 18. The median age for American Indians and Alaska Natives on reservations is 26, compared to 37 for the entire nation.
  • The AIAN population from birth through age 24 makes up 42 percent of the total AIAN population; whereas the under 25 population for the United States is only 34 percent of the total population.
  • States with the highest proportion of American Indians and Alaska Natives: Alaska (19.5%), Oklahoma (12.9%), New Mexico (10.7%).



  • Native people die at higher rates than other Americans from
    • tuberculosis: 600% higher ? alcoholism: 510% higher ? diabetes: 189% higher
    • vehicle crashes: 229% higher ? injuries: 152% higher ? suicide: 62% higher
  • Indian youth have the highest rate of suicide among all ethnic groups in the US and is the second-leading cause of death for Native youth aged 15-24. (r4)


  • Between 1992 and 1997, the number of Native-owned businesses grew by 84 percent to a total of 197,300 businesses, and their receipts increased by 179 percent.
  • The number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses totaled 237,386 in 2007, up 17.9 percent from 2002; total receipts of these businesses were $34.5 billion, up 28.3 percent from 2002. (r5)
  • American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses accounted for 10.0 percent of businesses in Alaska, 6.3 percent in Oklahoma and 5.3 percent in New Mexico.
  • Between 1990 and 2000, income levels rose by 33 percent and the poverty rate dropped by 7 percent, with little difference between those tribes with gaming operations and those tribes without gaming. (r6)



  • The rate of aggravated assault among American Indians and Alaska Natives is roughly twice that of the country as a whole (600.2 per 100,000 versus 323.6 per 100,000). (r7)
  • 1 out of 10 American Indians (12 and older) become victims of violent crime annually. (r8)
  • In 2001 half the tribes in the lower 48 states employed at least one full-time sworn officer with general arrest powers. (r9)
  • About 59 percent of tribes have a tribal judicial system. (r10)
  • More than 25 Indian tribes govern lands that are either adjacent to borders or directly accessible by boat from the border. These tribal lands encompass over 260 miles of international borders – a distance 100 miles longer than California’s border with Mexico.


  • Indian tribes boast nearly a quarter of the nation’s on-shore oil and gas reserves and developable resources and one-third of the West’s low-sulfur coal. Yet, in total, it represents less than five percent of current national energy production.
  • The Department of the Interior estimates that undeveloped reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil on tribal lands could generate nearly $1 trillion in revenues for tribes and surrounding communities.
  • Tribal wind and solar energy potential can provide respectively, 14 percent and 4.5 times the nation’s energy needs.


  • Native Americans are becoming homeowners at an increasing rate, 39 percent more from 1997 to 2001.
  • Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) comprise over 104,000 miles of public roads and are owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Indian tribes, states and counties.
  • More than 65 percent of the system is unimproved earth and gravel, and approximately 24 percent of IRR bridges are classified as deficient.
  • While the number of fatal crashes in the nation declined 2.2 percent over the past 25 years, the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes per year on Indian reservations increased 52.5 percent.


  • There are 302 forested Indian reservations which encompass 17.9 million acres of Indian forest lands – 7.7 million acres of timberlands and 10.2 million acres of woodlands.
  • 199 reservations contain timberlands and 185 reservations contain woodlands.


  • The number of American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in colleges and universities and the number of postsecondary degrees awarded has more than doubled in the past 30 years. (r11)
  • Only five percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have received graduate or professional degrees, compared to 10 percent for the total population, and only nine percent of American Indians have earned bachelor’s degrees compared to 19 percent for the US population. (r11)


Page References

  • S. Census, 2010 Census Redistricting File
  • S. Census, 2010 Census Redistricting File
  • S. Census, 2000; Energy Information Administration, Energy Use and Renewable Energy Development Potential on Indian Lands, 2000; 2006 GAO 06-189 Report , Challenges to Assessing and Improving Telecommunications For Native Americans on Tribal Lands
  • SAMHSA, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003
  • S. Census, 2007 Survey of Business Owners
  • Kalt, J. & Taylor, J. (2005). American Indians on Reservations: A Databook of Socioeconomic Change Between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
  • Rennison, C. (2001). Violent Victimization and Race, 1993-98. U.S. DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, March, (NCJ 176354).
  • 2004 report, American Indians and Crime, A BJS Statistical Profile, 1992-2002
  • S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002 Census of Tribal Justice Agencies
  1. US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002 Census of Tribal Justice Agencies
  2. DeVoe, J.F. and Darling-Churchill. K.E. (2008). Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. (NCES 2008-084).

Check Your Income Tax Withholding

IRS withholding notification

Everyone should check their withholding. Due to tax law changes, it’s especially important to check now if you:

  • Are a two-income family
  • Have two or more jobs at the same time
  • Work a seasonal job or only work part of the year
  • Claim credits like the child tax credit
  • Have dependents age 17 or older
  • Itemized your deductions on your 2017 return
  • Have high income or a complex tax return
  • Had a large tax refund or tax bill for 2017

Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to do a Paycheck Checkup

  • The IRS Withholding Calculator helps figure out if you should submit a new Form W-4 to your employer.
  • Have your most recent pay stub and federal tax return on hand.
  • The calculator’s results are only as accurate as the information you enter.
  • Find the IRS calculator at

Publication 5303 (6-2018) Catalog 71495F Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service

Please Dial-in Number (US): (641) 715-3580 (for audio)
Access Code: 128732 #
Join the Online Meeting: (to view the presentation)
ease be sure to take the time and check your withholding. We will also be holding a webinar in the near future so please check the FEW website and your email for a webinar update!

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2018

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex and granting women the constitutional right to vote.  In 1971, and again in 1973, Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York introduced a resolution to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day which was approved by Congress (H.J. Res. 52) on August 16, 1973.  H.J. Res. 52 stated that “August 26 would be designated as Women’s Equality Day and that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 on which the women in American were first guaranteed the right to vote”.1

Even though there have been many important strides made in the struggle for full and equal participation by women, there is still much work to be done.  We can stand on the shoulders of those who have been the trailblazers and continue the fight for equal rights for women as we near the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.


  1. Text of Public Law 93-105, authorizing the designation of Women’s Equality Day (pdf). August 16, 1973.

August is Family Fun Month

August is….Family Fun Month! No one really knows the origins of Family Fun Month, but what better excuse to enjoy some time with your family before school starts back up!


Here are some fun ideas to take Family Fun Month to the next level!

  • Go to the movies: The newest Winnie the Pooh installment, “Christopher Robin” comes to theaters August 3rd. Celebrate this timeless classic, great for all ages.
  • Take a trip to the zoo: Whether you’re on the East Coast or near the Rocky Mountains, the zoo is the perfect day trip for the family. Check out this list of the top zoos in America and see if one is close to you.
  •  Have a backyard bonfire:This is an easy and inexpensive way to have some family fun. Make s’mores, roast hot dogs, tell ghost stories by the fire, there are countless ways to have fun in your own backyard. You could even consider having an outdoor movie night:
  • Go on a scavenger hunt:A scavenger hunt can be as simple as finding different things around the house or take it outside and explore your local mall or neighborhood. Have younger children? Split up into teams or have another family come join you for the fun! Here are some fun ideas for a mall scavenger hunt.


Other ideas could include:

  1. Go on a picnic
  2. Visit a water/amusement park
  3. Take a trip to the local children’s museum
  4. Play a game of charades
  5. Run through the sprinklers (at home or at a playground)
  6. Make s’mores
  7. Put a jigsaw puzzle together
  8. Go on a treasure hunt (try a scavenger hunt at the grocery store)
  9. Play hide and seek
  10. Play miniature golf
  11. Go to the beach and build a sand castle
  12. Have a fashion show
  13. Sit down and have a sing-a-long; teach your children some of your favorite childhood songs
  14. Build an indoor fort, tent or teepee
  15. Have a water balloon fight
  16. Go to library story time
  17. Go through your childhood pictures and share a special memory with your child
  18. Make a backyard obstacle course
  19. Blow bubbles (you can even make your own)
  20. Go horseback riding
  21. Have a tea party
  22. Toss a frisbee around
  23. Cook as a family
  24. Spend an evening star gazing
  25. Go to the zoo or aquarium

Take the time to turn off the television, put away all the electronic gadgets that attract attention but discourage interaction, and enjoy one another.  Think of the memories you could create!



Federally Employed Women: Soaring to New Heights

FEW organizations bring together as many professionals in and around government – for the purpose of advancing women and minorities – as Federally Employed Women (FEW). FEW is a nonprofit advocacy group that works to improve the status of women employed by the federal government. The organization was founded in 1968 shortly after the government issued executive order 11375, which added an employee’s sex to the list of prohibited discrimination in federal government.Now, a year after the birth of the global #MeToo movement on social media (bringing sexual assault and harassment to the forefront of discussions and policy), FEW is celebrating a legacy of 50 years.In celebration of those 50 years and the progress the organization has made, FEW is holding its 49th annual National Training Program (NTP) that will bring together thousands of professionals across the country in and around government. The NTP aims to help government employees advance professionally and improve their workplaces through training on a range of topics, including senior executive core qualifications, compliance with the Equal Pay Act and affirmative employment, grant writing and professional development in the workforce.Whether in federal or state and local government, there are plenty of reasons for every professional to attend the NTP. This year’s training takes place in Atlanta from July 16 to 20, with #MeToo resonating as a strong theme throughout.

To look back on the 50-year legacy of FEW and gain a peek into the future of the organization, GovLoop sat down with Executive Vice President and incoming National President of FEW, Karen Rainey.

For Rainey, her role is particularly rewarding because of the opportunity to foster strategic partnerships with a host of organizations and government agencies that support the important work that FEW does. “FEW tends to lead you into creating better leadership strategic plans or projects to help you move forward in your career,” Rainey said.

One crucial focus for Rainey’s administration is fostering outreach to more communities and younger demographics, as well as enhancing membership benefits. “In order to enhance our membership, because we are the organization of a diversified workforce, we are trying to reach out via social media to younger demographics and create more partnerships with media organizations like GovLoop,” she said.

Looking 50 years and beyond, Rainey is hoping that FEW “soars boldly to new heights.” “FEW is the organization that represents the voiceless of those who seek opportunities or a seat at the table within the federal sector,” she said. “We work to add diversity, equity and inclusion of women, to serve in leadership roles within our federal agencies and outside of them.”

For Rainey, soaring to new heights also means “working to impact the communities in which we live by building strategic leaders,” she said.

“We must continue to keep our standards high and live true to the inclusion of women and all people who are voiceless in their agencies,” Rainey concluded. “Each year we host the National Training Program where we offer courses that meet the needs of Office of Personnel Management Executive Core Competencies, which means we lead the opportunity for change. FEW helps lead people, we build coalitions and we create business acumen.”

Read the original article on GovLoop.

Federally Employed Women: Why You Should Attend the National Training Program

Mark Hensch  June 15, 2018

The role of women in the federal government’s workforce has changed drastically since 1967, a landmark year in the fight against gender discrimination. Former President Lyndon Johnson signed Executive Order 11375 that October, banning sex discrimination within the federal government.The march of progress has since lead to the #MeToo movement, a global phenomenon sparked on social media last year.

#MeToo is an ongoing reckoning about sexual assault and harassment – including within the government workforce – that strives to help victims and end sexual violence.

Federally Employed Women (FEW) is a nonprofit advocacy group that has seen these changes firsthand since launching in 1968 after Johnson’s measure.

FEW works to ensure federal agencies do not discriminate against their female employees, and the organization has become a force for government women since starting nearly five decades ago.

Adrianne Callahan, FEW’s National Training Program (NTP) Chair, said this history is not lost on her organization, which is approaching its 50th anniversary.

The NTP is FEW’s annual training conference aimed at helping government employees advance professionally, improve themselves and navigate their workplaces.

“We’ve seen attendance numbers as low as 250 to as high as almost 3,000 to 4,000 attendees,” she said of the NTP’s success over the years. “The organization of course has been in existence for 50 years.”

“It’s an outstanding accomplishment for a nonprofit organization, one of the few organizations that has been working on behalf of advocating for federally employed women within the federal government,” she added.

This year’s NTP takes place in Atlanta from July 16 to 20, and #MeToo is a significant topic at the event.

“Each year we pick an issue, an organization, something to lend our support, to show how we stand in solidarity,” Callahan said. “And this year, FEW is supporting the #MeToo movement.”

Callahan said NTP attendees are encouraged to wear black on Tuesday, July 17 to honor #MeToo, while purple is the recommended color for Wednesday, July 18.

Purple represents activities raising awareness about sexual abuse and harassment, Callahan continued, and the 2018 NTP will also feature #MeToo-related trainings for attendees.

Training Sessions Focus on Hard and Soft Skills

“FEW maps every training session to the guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management’s Senior Executive Service, Executive Core Qualifications (Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions) and the underlying fundamental core competencies,” according to this year’s event description.

Callahan noted the 2018 NTP is open to everyone, including men and professionals outside the government.

“[Everyone can] find a course or two or three that fits their training needs,” she said. “We focus on leadership, communication skills, team building and even political savvy.”

“[There are] lots of different areas which are included within the OPM competencies that you can apply not only to a federal government career, but to any career,” Callahan added.

Callahan said NTP sessions also focus on grant writing, professional development and retirement planning after leaving the federal workforce.

The 2018 NTP, she added, will specifically update attendees on how society is complying with the federal government’s laws against workplace sex discrimination.

“We focus on equal opportunity, the Equal Pay Act, affirmative employment, policies and procedures, things of that nature usually covered under compliance,” she said. “And this year our speaker will focus on where we are in today’s society with that particular focus area.”

Callahan said speakers at next month’s conference include motivational speaker Rhonda Hight.

Hight is the founder of Let’s Talk, LLC, a company dedicated to human resources consulting, leadership and professional development.

The 2018 NTP’s sessions offer feds a wide range of hard and soft skill training programs aimed at boosting their personal and professional growth.

Sessions focused on practical skillsets include “Excel Advanced Formulas and Functions,” “Data Analytics with PowerPivot in Excel 2016,” and “Visio Essentials.”

Events centered on navigating workplace culture, meanwhile, include “The Power of Assertive Communication,” “Mindfulness,” and “Positive Approaches to Difficult People.”

FEW is also conducting several sessions concerned with discrimination, including “Prevention of Workplace Harassment,” “Bullying/Cyberbullying,” and “Diversity and Inclusion.”

Feds concerned about their future, meanwhile, can attend several seminars addressing topics like health care and post-career planning.

Callahan said the benefits of FEW’s NTP draw from expertise inside and outside the government to help both rookie and veteran feds.

“We have trainers that are both within the public and private sector,” she said. “We have some of our sponsors who provide training and that can be from career development to personal development.”

“FEW has prided itself on providing informal networking opportunities as well as informal mentoring throughout the years,” Callahan added of the NTP’s benefits. “We have a great time. We have fun.”

Original article on GovLoop

Federally Employed Women: Paving the Way for Equal Opportunity

Danielle Poindexter  May 31, 2018

Since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, government has continued to crack down on discrimination through laws and regulations such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restricts compensation discrimination. Recently, however, more and more women are speaking out about issues of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination across workplaces, including federal government. While there are protections in place, discrimination continues to be a major issue. How do government employees know that their agencies are complying with equal opportunity regulations? And who can government personnel turn to if their agency does not comply?Thankfully, people like Connie Coleman-Lacadie work to prevent non-compliance and help women and minorities attain equal opportunities in the federal workforce. In an interview with GovLoop, Coleman-Lacadie discussed her work as Vice President of Compliance for Federally Employed Women (FEW).FEW’s Efforts for Equality

In 1968, the government issued Executive Order 11375 which added sex discrimination to the list of prohibited discrimination within federal government. FEW was founded as a member-driven, non-profit organization shortly after the EO, when many women feared that agencies would not comply with the order.

Coleman-Lacadie explained how FEW serves as an advocacy organization for female feds and minorities by supporting members that report their agencies for non-compliance. “Compliance is really conformance on the part of the federal department or agency with the EEO laws and the federal personnel system,” Coleman-Lacadie said. “FEW has a memorandum of understanding with two law firms in the D.C. area that provide consultations, counseling or intercession on behalf of members in place of formal discrimination complaints.”

As VP of Compliance, Coleman-Lacadie provides regular trainings on anti-discrimination laws at the local level through numerous online mediums to increase accessibility. FEW also requires that members participate in annual compliance training to ensure agencies adhere to laws and regulations.

Working Toward Federal Compliance

Before joining FEW, Coleman-Lacadie was involved in other advocacy organizations. “I was blessed to have a boss that allowed me to get involved with the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) and activities with the Civil Rights Office,” she said.

When Coleman-Lacadie was a part of FWP in the 90s, it was a standalone program among federal agencies. “FWP was very strong, and it helped provide some insight into sexual harassment in a different format, so that the employees could come and learn a little about it,” Coleman-Lacadie said. “They felt safe there. We would talk about sexual harassment and what it looked like as well as what it didn’t look like.”

Coleman-Lacadie’s involvement with these groups helped her recognize the areas in which her agency and fellow employees could improve on compliance. But with only seven states participating, Coleman-Lacadie felt that FWP could increase their membership. “When I became a chair for FWP, I looked around and thought ‘We could do more with this.’ I enlisted members from each of the offices throughout those seven states to be a part of the conversation,” she said. “We grew to about 50 people.” With the growing membership, FWP was able to implement numerous new projects across agencies in different states.

As a chair of FWP, Coleman-Lacadie worked with other leaders to make creative vignettes about harassment and other compliance issues to personalize the learning process for employees. The trainings also included legal representatives, human resource professionals and EEO employees to answer questions from the group.

“I think it really made a difference in our employees’ understanding, because it was not just mandatory training, it was interactive,” Coleman-Lacadie explained. With the original vignettes, the audience could participate and see examples of harassment play out in real time, giving participants a better idea of the negative impacts of harassment as well as how to prevent it.

FEW Today

After attending FWP conferences that overlapped with FEW events, Coleman-Lacadie transitioned to working for FEW. This year she looks forward to FEW’s upcoming National Training Program, which will celebrate the organization’s 50th year with additional training sessions and dynamic keynotes related to diversity and inclusion.

FEW’s existence and advocacy today ensures that there will always be a source of support for female federal workers. Above all, Coleman-Lacadie hopes that her efforts can make an impact by reducing instances of sexual harassment and other compliance issues. “I value the FEW organization and I think that if more women and men did trainings they would be better informed.”

This article is part of a GovLoop series with Federally Employed Women

Original Article on GovLoop

Alzheimer’s Awareness

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a type of a dementia that slowly deteriorates a person’s memory, thinking, and behavior. It is caused by abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fiber in the brain, along with the loss of connection between nerve cells. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. Symptoms develop slowly, and begin to worsen over time. People with Alzheimer’s live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others. Alzheimer’s is a global epidemic affecting 47 million people globally, and is the 6th leading cause of death in America. Although there is no known cure, it is still being researched extensively and treatment has developed to slow down symptoms.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information. As the disease progresses, symptoms worsen. People with Alzheimer’s may experience;

  • Impaired reasoning or judgment
  • Trouble doing everyday tasks such as cooking a meal or paying bills
  • Disorientation
  • Mood/behavior changes
  • Suspicions about loved ones
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, walking

People with the disease may not even recognize that they have any of these symptoms. It is important that if friends or family notice any of these symptoms, they seek out medical help for their affected loved one.

Alzheimer’s Risk Factors

Although still little is known about the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, the greatest risk factor for the disease is older age. Some people develop Alzheimer’s at an earlier age, but this is extremely rare. Only about 4% of Americans with Alzheimer’s are under the age of 65. Older women are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s. The estimated risk for women at 65 to develop the disease is 1 in 6. Another risk factor is a family history. If a person has a family member with Alzheimer’s, they are more likely to develop the disease.

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Research is not conclusive on how exactly to prevent Alzheimer’s; however healthy lifestyle choices have been correlated with supporting brain health. Regular physical exercise may directly benefit brain cells. It has known cardiovascular benefits and increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain. The brain and heart health seem to be linked, and current evidence shows that heart-healthy eating may also help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Heart-healthy eating includes a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, and limiting the intake of sugar and saturated fats.

Researchers’ are still studying ways to prevent early-onset Alzheimer’s which is associated with a genetic mutation. People with the gene are guaranteed to get Alzheimer’s, so researchers are testing antibodies on carriers of the gene who aren’t yet showing systems, to see if they can reduce the plaque buildup in the brain and slow down or even prevent Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Nearly 2/3 of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women. Not only are women more likely to have the disease, they are also more likely to be a caretaker for someone who has it. Women account for 60% of caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients, half reporting that the care cause emotional and physical stress.


National Stroke Awareness Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Figure 1:

Stroke happens when a clot or rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die.

Some facts about strokes:

  • A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
  • Every four minutes someone dies from stroke.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented.
  • High blood pressure equals higher risk of stroke.
  • Strokes kill more than 133,000 Americans annually.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.
  • Each year, about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack.

Risk Factors for Stroke

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Diet high in fat and cholesterol
  • Low level of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Peripheral Artery disease
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Heart Disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Age (higher risk as we age)
  • Family history of stroke
  • Race (African Americans at higher risk)
  • Gender (more women than men)
  • Prior stroke, TIA, or heart attack

The National Stroke Awareness Month program places emphasis on making the public aware about Acting FAST.

According to the National Stroke Association, a person experiencing a stroke can be treated if people have acted FAST – 80% of strokes can also be prevented.

FAST is an acronym for things to check in a suspected stroke victim:

  • F – Face / Does the face droop on one side when the person smiles?
  • A – Arm / After raising both arms, does one of the arms drift downwards?
  • S – Speech /After repeating a simple phrase, does the persons speech sound slurred or strange?
  • T – Time / If any or all of the above are observed call for 911 and ask for medical assistance.

Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Can Strokes Be Treated?

There are several treatment options for stroke depending on the cause of your stroke. If you are having an ischemic stroke or a stroke that is caused by a blood clot your healthcare professional may recommend drug treatment.

Drug Treatment

There is only one Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug treatment for acute ischemic stroke. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is given via intravenous therapy (IV) and works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. tPA should be given within three hours (and up to 4.5 hours in certain eligible patients)of the time symptoms first started.

Mechanical Devices

Some ischemic strokes are treated with small mechanical devices that remove or break up blood clots. If clot-busting drugs are ruled out, another option one of the many FDA approved mechanical devices. A surgeon inserts a small mechanical device into the blocked artery using a thin tube. Once inside, the tool traps the clot, and either breaks it up or the surgeon pulls it out of the brain, reopening the blocked blood vessel in the process.

A hemorrhagic stroke (sometimes called a bleed) occurs if an artery in your brain leaks blood or ruptures (breaks open). The first steps in treating a hemorrhagic stroke are to find the cause of bleeding in the brain and then control it. Some of the options for treatments include surgical clips or coils inserted in aneurisms (weaknesses in the blood vessel wall), controlling high blood pressure, and surgery to remove the bleeding vessel and blood that has spilled into the brain.

Medical advances have greatly improved survival rates and recovery from stroke during the last decade. Your chances of survival and recovery outcomes are even better if the stroke is identified and treated immediately.