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Doctor accused of sexual abuse receives prison sentence for fraud

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: Tremont, Sheldon, Robinson, Mahoney

A doctor, who was accused of alleged sexual abuse by multiple women, was recently sentenced to prison for fraud.

Recently, a doctor accused of abusing many of his patients received a nine-year prison sentence for fraud and the requirement to pay $2.7 million in restitution. Although the doctor was charged with fraud at the most recent sentencing, the trial for charges brought against the doctor for criminal sexual assault are still pending.

An investigation revealed that as early as 2009, the police received reports for the doctor’s alleged sexual misconduct from 20 women. However, charges were not brought against the doctor until 2015. Many more women came forward and reported alleged abuse after learning the doctor was being charged for Medicare fraud in federal court starting in 2014. Although federal authorities were allowed to bring up sexual abuse claims in the doctor’s fraud trial, he will be tried separately for these charges.

Why doctors continue to exploit patients

Although this doctor’s case may seem significant, it is not abnormal for doctors to sexually abuse their patients and cause them undue harm. Many doctors continue to do so because some victims are intimidated, embarrassed or confused by what occurred so they say nothing. Some patients also believe that their word may not mean as much compared to a doctor’s.

In other cases, accusations of sexual abuse are brushed off by healthcare organizations or hospitals. Rather than notifying the police or licensing agencies, the accused doctor is quietly removed from his or her position.

The scope of the problem

As of present, not enough accurate data exists to determine just how widespread patient sexual abuse is. However, a year ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution launched an investigation in Georgia and discovered that two-thirds of doctors in the state were allowed to continue practicing after being disciplined for sexual misconduct.

After launching an additional investigation that involved uncovering documentation and tracking certain cases thoroughly, the AJC discovered that physician sexual misconduct is tolerated to some degree in every state in the U.S. During this investigation, over 100,000 disciplinary documents were analyzed to find cases where sexual misconduct by a physician could have occurred. In these cases, offenses ranged from bargaining drugs for sex to lewd comments spoken during exams.

Reach out to an attorney

Would you recognize sexual abuse if you saw it? What would it look like? What should you do?

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NY doctor charged in serial sexual assaults on patients

A former New York gynecologist accused of sexually abusing dozens of patients, including the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, now faces federal charges

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and JIM MUSTIAN
Source: Associated Press / ABC News
September 9, 2020, 8:04 PM

NOTIFIED: Jan. 8, 2021
Source: Associated Press / ABC News
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

NOTIFIED: Jan. 8, 2021

NEW YORK — A former New York gynecologist accused of sexually abusing dozens of patients, including the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, was charged Wednesday with attacking girls and women for nearly two decades using the cover of medical examinations.

Prosecutors described the doctor, Robert A. Hadden, 62, as a “predator in a white coat,” accusing him of singling out young and unsuspecting victims, including a young girl he’d delivered at birth.

The federal charges will be the second time Hadden is prosecuted over alleged abuse of patients. He surrendered his medical license in a 2016 plea deal with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. that didn’t require him to serve any jail time.

Outrage over that light punishment built as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and more women told their stories publicly, including Evelyn Yang, who earlier this year told CNN that Hadden assaulted her in 2012, including when she was seven months pregnant.

Hadden was arrested at his home in Englewood, New Jersey, a community 10 miles outside Manhattan.

He pleaded not guilty at a court hearing Wednesday evening to six counts of inducing others to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and was ordered released on $1 million bail over the objections of a prosecutor who said he should be held as a threat to flee.

Isabelle Kirshner, Hadden’s attorney, declined comment.

One of the women who says she was abused by Hadden spoke at the hearing, and unsuccessfully urged the judge to hold him pending trial.

“I don’t think he deserves any opportunity to prevent justice in whatever means he could potentially do that,” Jessica Chambers said. “He has injured many, many, many women and he has to be held accountable for that.”

The Associated Press generally withholds the names of sexual abuse victims from stories unless they have decided to tell their stories publicly, which Chambers and Evelyn Yang have done.

Wednesday’s charges represented the second recent instance when federal prosecutors in Manhattan sought to revive a concluded sex abuse prosecution criticized as lenient. Financier Jeffrey Epstein faced federal sex trafficking charges last year after a Florida state prosecution and accompanying federal non-prosecution agreement was criticized as lax. He then killed himself in a federal jail.

Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said Hadden, had “inappropriately touched, squeezed and even licked his victims” and subjected a young girl he’d delivered as a baby “to the same sort of sexual abuse he inflicted on his adult victims.”

“He used the cover of conducting medical examinations to engage in sexual abuse that he passed off as normal and medically necessary,” Strauss said. “His conduct was neither normal nor medically necessary.”

The indictment said Hadden sexually abused dozens of patients, including multiple minors, at his medical offices and Manhattan hospitals from 1993 through at least 2012 while he worked as a medical doctor at Columbia University and at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

The indictment detailed what it described as the abuse of one minor female and five adult women who traveled from out of state to see Hadden. It said Hadden invited his victims to meet with him alone in his office, where he frequently raised “inappropriate and irrelevant sexual topics” and asked women questions about their own sexual activities.

Strauss and William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of New York’s FBI office, urged victims who had not reported their abuse to call the FBI.

Sweeney called the alleged crimes “just outrageous” and said Hadden manipulated dozens of women including several minors who had “no understanding of what to expect, what was normal and what was not.”

After Hadden’s arrest, Andrew Yang tweeted: “So proud of @EvelynYang – this guy belongs behind bars. Thank you to everyone who supported her.”

Previously, Evelyn Yang had called Hadden’s earlier punishment under the state plea deal, under which he admitted to forcible touching and one count of a criminal sex act, a “slap on the wrist.”

Hadden faces a civil lawsuit brought by more than two dozen accusers who say he groped and molested them.

Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance, said state prosecutors provided “substantial assistance” leading to federal indictment. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is still conducting its own “intensely active” investigation into “potential failures by Dr. Hadden’s employer and hospital to disclose additional incidents of abuse to our office and to regulators when required.”

Marissa Hoechstetter, another Hadden accuser, has said Vance’s office misled her about the statute of limitations in Hadden’s case and was already negotiating the plea deal when she was still talking to prosecutors about testifying at a potential trial.

The federal indictment Wednesday “only puts into high relief the betrayal I and his other victims experienced by the Manhattan DA,” she said.

“I hope that through the course of this, the world will finally see the full extent of Hadden’s decades of sexual abuse and the institutional cowardice that protected and enabled him for so long,” Hoechstetter said in a statement to The Associated Press. “He and his enablers must be held accountable if we are to make change in a system that harms those it is meant to protect.”

Vance has defended his office’s handling of the case, saying his “career prosecutors do not shrink from the challenge of prosecuting powerful men.”

“Because a conviction is never a guaranteed outcome in a criminal trial, our primary concern was holding him accountable and making sure he could never do this again – which is why we insisted on a felony conviction and permanent surrender of his medical license,” Vance said in a statement.

———

Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this story.

Would you recognize health care fraud if you see it? How can health care fraud lead to sexual assault? What would you like to see happen to the people who use the mask of health care to commit sexual assault? How can new technologies in neuroscience involve those who sexual assault? How can they use these new technologies to assault? Do these doctors get informed consent? Are you apart of a neurological experiment and don’t even know it? What roles do social media platforms like Facebook play in these new technologies. Many have reported being apart of medical experiments without being made aware: the Tuskegee men for example. Facebook has opened a neuroscience center focused on marketing.

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Why Elon Musk’s pigs are a legal headache

Elon Musk (credit: Duncan.Hull via Wikimedia Commons) and Gertrude
Source: Legal Cheek
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
William Holmes, Legal Cheeck
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

By William Holmes
on Dec 16 2020 9:18am
Source: Legal Cheek

Bristol University student and future trainee William Holmes explores the challenges ahead for brain-computer interface (BCI) systems

Elon Musk’s pig, Gertrude, looks like any other pig. But the coin-sized chip Musk’s company Neuralink have placed in Gertrude’s brain makes her a key part of a ground-breaking experiment to discover if technology can enable us to do things with thoughts.

The chip is a brain-computer interface (BCI) which picks up neural activity. Musk hopes to decode this neural activity so that it can be understood as instructions for a computer, allowing BCI users to control a computer with their minds. In other words, BCIs can transform a thought into an act.

For many who have lost certain bodily functions, BCI technology is a scientific miracle. The technology has the potential to treat neurological conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s, restore paralysed individual’s ability to control their bodies and even allow the blind to see again. But for prosecutors, judges and policy makers, BCIs are a troubling legal headache.

Proving criminal responsibility for most crimes requires the prosecution to prove both a defendant’s criminal act (actus reus) and intention (mens rea). So, how would this work for a defendant who used a BCI to commit a crime? An act is defined in most legal systems as “a bodily movement” (the quote here is from the US Model Penal Code). But a crime committed using a BCI involves no bodily movement. Nevertheless, if we take a neuroscientific approach, this is not an insurmountable obstacle for a prosecutor.

The chain of causation for a BCI user is as follows. First, the BCI user imagines an act that they want the computer to perform (I shall refer to this as a “mental act”). Second, neural activity is triggered by the mental act that is input for the BCI. Finally, the BCI interprets this neural activity and performs the act. Just as a finger pulls the trigger on a gun, neural activity triggers the BCI. Therefore, the neurons that fire and produce measurable neural activity could plausibly be considered the actus reus in cases involving the use of BCI technology. So, it appears that a legal loophole in prosecuting disembodied acts can be avoided. But at a price.

By finding actus reus in the activity of a defendant’s neurons, we have been forced to expand the law into the mental sphere. This is a sphere which, in keeping with the Roman law maxim that “nobody shall be punished for thoughts” (cogitationis poenam nemo patitur), is not regulated by the law. In the UK, this doctrine is a right enshrined in article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Given the repercussions for our freedom of thought, is it acceptable to regulate BCIs? If not, can legal systems that only regulate outward behaviour properly maintain the rule of law in BCI cases?

The middle ground between a BCI Wild West and criminalising thoughts is granting BCI users the ability to waive their right to freedom of thought. For those that this technology offers the most, for example tetraplegics, this may well be a right they are happy to waive. Should an individual be allowed to take such a decision? Legislators would have to step in to clarify who can use BCIs and judges would have to recognise implied consent from BCI users to waive this right to freedom of thought.

When deciding this, we must not ignore how significant this expansion of government regulation would be. For the first time, certain thoughts or mental acts would be outlawed. As a result, law-abiding BCI users will be forced to think before they think, regulating themselves in an unprecedented way. This is the immediate ‘legal headache’: BCIs force us to consider the merits of breaking a human right that is fundamental to democratic society and individual liberty in order to avoid criminal loopholes.

There is, however, a second long-term ‘legal headache’. Using the brain’s neurons to establish responsibility forces us to reconsider how we determine responsibility more broadly. How we attribute responsibility is (and has always been) a social decision. In some societies in the past, if an act was compelled or inspired by a divine force, then the law did not deem the individual responsible. In societies where an artist considered the muses responsible for their work, an acceptable waiver of responsibility was the excuse that “God made me do it”.

Today, we consider acting people to be responsible. But this could change in the future, especially if BCIs help to promote neuroscience to the forefront of the legal system. A recent example that highlights the influence of neuroscience on policy is Holland’s adolescent criminal law that came into force in 2014. This law allows those aged between 16 and 22 to be tried as an adult or as a juvenile at the court’s discretion. The underlying rationale is based on neuroscience: Holland’s new system hopes to take into consideration the mental development of defendants when sentencing them. This represents a social shift that sees the brain as the responsible agent.

This shift, which was famously critiqued as “brain overclaim syndrome” by Stephen J. Morse, could have some troubling consequences. The data recorded by BCIs (especially from the amygdala which regulates emotion) offers temptingly persuasive evidence for a defendant’s mens rea and mental state. The question for judges is whether this data is admissible evidence.

A neurocentric legal culture would encourage a judge to admit such evidence. If admissible, a high level of cross-examination is vital to ensure that there is clarity around neuroscience’s technical and interpretive limits. For example, there is evidence that factors like parenting and socio-economic status change the way the amygdala and prefrontal cortex function. The fact that neuroscientific technology is overwhelmingly tested on students from Western Educated Industrialised Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) population means that there is a possible bias in interpreting neuroscientific information. Unquestioned, these limitations allow lawyers to cast uncertain aspersions based on competing expert testimony which could lead juries to jump to false conclusions.

Furthermore, if the brain is considered responsible for criminality, then a reform of the penal system is implicit. The chances of recidivism and the methods with which guilty prisoners are treated — be it regenerative or punitive — would no longer be based on human nature and character. Instead, neuroscience would nuance our understanding of criminality and how to treat it. And the result might not be dissimilar to the Ludovico Technique, a type of psychological treatment that Antony Burgess portrays in his dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange.

Gertrude the pig is just the start of a technology that could rewire the legal norms of responsibility and radically change the legal concept of action. In light of this, policy makers and judges must prepare the criminal justice system for advent of BCIs. There is currently no regulation that is specific to BCI technology in the UK, as the British government acknowledged in a report published in January 2020. That is because the technology is still being developed and there are no clear solutions yet. But one thing is for sure: Elon Musk’s pigs promise to be a complex legal headache for scholars, lawyers, judges and legislators for decades to come.

William Holmes is a penultimate year student at the University of Bristol studying French, Spanish and Italian. He has a training contract offer with a magic circle law firm.

BCI is cutting edge and so are the criminals who use it to commit crimes. The health care industry is not stranger to crime such as sexual assault, fraud and stalking all in the name of health and science. How do parents protect their children from criminals? How does society protect women? How do you protect intellectual rights? How do you prevent hacking? Will humanity always prevail or how can this technology be used to put technology over people in the hands of criminals?

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Securing medical devices: Can a hacker break your heart?

Why are connected medical devices vulnerable to attack and how likely are they to get hacked? Here are five digital chinks in the armor.

Cameron Camp

Cameron Camp

Source: We Live Security

There’s virtually no realm in healthcare today that isn’t adopting more technology. From real-time wireless access to your own health parameters through smart watches and wearables to implanted devices inside your body, technology is coming. But can we secure it all?

Several years ago at Black Hat, we saw an insulin pump being hacked. And whether the lion’s share of software on that device was off the shelf, regulators say that the integrator is responsible for security up and down the stack, including the underlying operating system (OS), even if it that OS has a good security track record. In other words: Device manufacturers bear the responsibility, no matter what technology they use.

While that casts the burden of security on the manufacturer, it also steeply increases the cost and complexity of bringing a device to market. As a result, while market pressures lean on companies to produce devices quickly, the road ahead looks rocky and expensive. Also, it can unknowingly put patients on the defense.

And what about patches, who’s responsible for those? According to the FDA, the manufacturer does that too. With some medical devices expected to be around for many years, that’s a long time to pay to support gear in the field.

What makes the devices vulnerable and how likely are they to get hacked? As this week’s theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on the security of internet-connected devices in healthcare, here are five digital chinks in the armor:

  • Bluetooth

Many medical devices integrate monitoring and interaction via Bluetooth, which has a long history of vulnerabilities. And while there may be patches, it’s hard to determine the real adoption rate and timeline in the field. Meanwhile, if your blood sugar measurement gets spoofed, you could be in real physical danger if you try to adjust blood glucose levels based on false readings.

  • Windows

Many hospitals have management computers for their medical equipment which run on older, unsupported Windows versions due to lagging updates from the manufacturer that did the integration. A manufacturer can’t simply push the latest Windows patch before extensive testing on their units to see integration issues, so patch vetting can be tricky. Would-be attackers have the advantage here, since ell-known exploits can be deployed as soon as they come to light, and long before the manufacturer can react.

  • Cloud

Many implanted devices “phone home” to medical clinicians through cloud connectivity to facilitate health status updates and trigger events where patients may need to seek attention. As we saw this year at Black Hat and DEF CON, cloud security can be less than stellar. It’s unlikely the patient would have a way to know about potential vulnerabilities, but attackers are quick to seize on known exploits, pumping them through their attack frameworks quite rapidly. In some cases, patients have opted out of external communications with their pacemakers citing hacking fears, but cloud adoption for implanted devices has strong tailwinds pushing further adoption.

  • Ethernet

Many medical devices plug into medical TCP/IP networks via Ethernet, but it would be very difficult for many clinicians and patients to notice a network tap placed inline with existing connections. By exfiltrating data across wireless links embedded in such a tap, attackers could snoop traffic and craft exploits. This way, attackers only need one-time physical access, and don’t necessarily have to return to retrieve the device if it’s deemed dangerous, due to their low cost.

  • Wireless keyboards

Keyloggers have been standard fare for logging keystrokes from wireless keyboards for some time now, posing as fake USB chargers plugged into outlets, while simultaneously snooping for signals and exfiltrating them across industrial 4G wireless cards. This allows the capture of sensitive data like typed passwords, but can also allow attackers to attempt to download and install remote backdoor exploits by bypassing warning prompts from security products.

In closing

The medical field has been on its heels – security wise – for years. And while it may be making important strides, many medical devices have been performing fine all those years, lessening the perceived need to act. It will be a challenge to “modernize the fleet” for some years to come. Even so, medical folk have started to lean into the process and get the technical chops on staff to start moving the needle. Meanwhile, it might be wise to get to know any vulnerabilities that might affect your medical devices, especially if they are critically involved in your health care, as so many are.
Cameron Camp

The medical device industry is in full swing lacking much needed regulations and testing. Should regulation be proactive or reactive? What are the consequences of reactive regulations? Could this approach lead to unnecessary death?

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Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture to disrupt health care, is disbanding after 3 years

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

PUBLISHED MON, JAN 4 2021, 12:21 PM EST
UPDATED TUE, JAN 5 2021, 11:56 AM EST
Hugh Son@HUGH_SON
Source: CNBC
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Hush Naidoo

  • Haven began informing employees Monday that it will shut down by the end of next month, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
  • Many of the Boston-based firm’s 57 workers are expected to be placed at Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway or JPMorgan Chase as the firms each individually push forward in their efforts, the people said.
  • One key issue facing Haven was that each of the three founding companies executed their own projects separately with their own employees, obviating the need for the joint venture to begin with, according to the people, who declined to be identified speaking about the matter.

Haven, the joint venture formed by three of America’s most powerful companies to lower costs and improve outcomes in health care, is disbanding after three years, CNBC has learned exclusively.

The company began informing employees Monday that it will shut down by the end of next month, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Many of the Boston-based firm’s 57 workers are expected to be placed at AmazonBerkshire Hathaway or JPMorgan Chase as the firms each individually push forward in their efforts, and the three companies are still expected to collaborate informally on health-care projects, the people said.

The announcement three years ago that the CEOs of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase had teamed up to tackle one of the biggest problems facing corporate America – high and rising costs for employee health care  – sent shock waves throughout the world of medicine. Shares of health-care companies tumbled on fears about how the combined might of leaders in technology and finance could wring costs out of the system.WATCH NOWVIDEO02:19How insurance premiums and deductibles work

The move to shutter Haven may be a sign of how difficult it is to radically improve American health care, a complicated and entrenched system of doctors, insurers, drugmakers and middlemen that costs the country $3.5 trillion every year. Last year, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett seemed to indicate as much, saying that were was no guarantee that Haven would succeed in improving health care.

Shares of UnitedHealth GroupHumana and CVS Health each climbed more than 2% after the Haven news broke.

One key issue facing Haven was that while the firm came up with ideas, each of the three founding companies executed their own projects separately with their own employees, obviating the need for the joint venture to begin with, according to the people, who declined to be identified speaking about the matter.

Coming just three years after the initial rush of fanfare about the possibilities for what Haven could accomplish, its closure is a disappointment to some. But insiders claim that it will allow the founding companies to implement ideas from the project on their own, tailoring them to the specific needs of their employees, who are mostly concentrated in different cities.WATCH NOWVIDEO03:15Why health-care venture Haven is disbanding after three years

The move comes after Haven’s CEO, Dr. Atul Gawande, stepped down from day-to-day management of the nonprofit in May, a change that sparked a search for his successor.

Brooke Thurston, a spokeswoman for Haven, confirmed the company’s plans to close and gave this statement:

The Haven team made good progress exploring a wide range of healthcare solutions, as well as piloting new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable,” Thurston said in an email.

“Moving forward, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of our individual employee populations and locations,” she said.

How do you think health care cost could be lowered? How do you think health outcomes can be improved? Why are health care outcomes at consistently such low levels?

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Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots

By BERNARD CONDON, MATT SEDENSKY and CARLA K. JOHNSON
January 8, 2021
Source: Associate Press

Source: Associate Press, Jae C. Hong
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo, a nurse puts on protective gear in a COVID-19 unit in California. The nation’s biggest immunization rollout in history is facing pushback from an unlikely source: health care workers who witnessed COVID-19′s devastation firsthand but are refusing shots in surprising numbers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the U.S. is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: Surprising numbers of health care workers who have seen firsthand the death and misery inflicted by COVID-19 are refusing shots.

It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be a guinea pig,” said Dr. Stephen Noble, a 42-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon in Portland, Oregon, who is postponing getting vaccinated. “At the end of the day, as a man of science, I just want to see what the data show. And give me the full data.

Alarmed by the phenomenon, some administrators have dangled everything from free breakfasts at Waffle House to a raffle for a car to get employees to roll up their sleeves. Some states have threatened to let other people cut ahead of health care workers in the line for shots.

“It’s far too low. It’s alarmingly low,” said Neil Pruitt, CEO of PruittHealth, which runs about 100 long-term care homes in the South, where fewer than 3 in 10 workers offered the vaccine so far have accepted it.

Many medical facilities from Florida to Washington state have boasted of near-universal acceptance of the shots, and workers have proudly plastered pictures of themselves on social media receiving the vaccine. Elsewhere, though, the drive has stumbled.

While the federal government has released no data on how many people offered the vaccines have taken them, glimpses of resistance have emerged around the country.

In Illinois, a big divide has opened at state-run veterans homes between residents and staff. The discrepancy was worst at the veterans home in Manteno, where 90% of residents were vaccinated but only 18% of the staff members.

In rural Ashland, Alabama, about 90 of some 200 workers at Clay County Hospital have yet to agree to get vaccinated, even with the place so overrun with COVID-19 patients that oxygen is running low and beds have been added to the intensive care unit, divided by plastic sheeting.

The pushback comes amid the most lethal phase in the outbreak yet, with the death toll at more than 350,000, and it could hinder the government’s effort to vaccinate somewhere between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population to achieve “herd immunity.

Administrators and public health officials have expressed hope that more health workers will opt to be vaccinated as they see their colleagues take the shots without problems.

Oregon doctor Noble said he will wait until April or May to get the shots. He said it is vital for public health authorities not to overstate what they know about the vaccines. That is particularly important, he said, for Black people like him who are distrustful of government medical guidance because of past failures and abuses, such as the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

Medical journals have published extensive data on the vaccines, and the Food and Drug Administration has made its analysis public. But misinformation about the shots has spread wildly online, including falsehoods that they cause fertility problems.

Stormy Tatom, 30, a hospital ICU nurse in Beaumont, Texas, said she decided against getting vaccinated for now “because of the unknown long-term side effects.”

“I would say at least half of my coworkers feel the same way,” Tatom said.

There have been no signs of widespread severe side effects from the vaccines, and scientists say the drugs have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands and vetted by independent experts.

States have begun turning up the pressure. South Carolina’s governor gave health care workers until Jan. 15 to get a shot or “move to the back of the line.” Georgia’s top health official has allowed some vaccines to be diverted to other front-line workers, including firefighters and police, out of frustration with the slow uptake.

“There’s vaccine available but it’s literally sitting in freezers,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “That’s unacceptable. We have lives to save.”

Nursing homes were among the institutions given priority for the shots because the virus has cut a terrible swath through them. Long-term care residents and staff account for about 38% of the nation’s COVID-19 fatalities.

In West Virginia, only about 55% of nursing home workers agreed to the shots when they were first offered last month, according to Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association.

“It’s a race against social media,” Wright said of battling falsehoods about the vaccines.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said only 40% of the state’s nursing home workers have gotten shots. North Carolina’s top public health official estimated more than half were refusing the vaccine there.

SavaSeniorCare has offered cash to the 169 long-term care homes in its 20-state network to pay for gift cards, socially distanced parties or other incentives. But so far, data from about a third of its homes shows that 55% of workers have refused the vaccine.

CVS and Walgreens, which have been contracted by a majority of U.S. nursing homes to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, have not released specifics on the acceptance rate. CVS said that residents have agreed to be immunized at an “encouragingly high” rate but that “initial uptake among staff is low,” partly because of efforts to stagger when employees receive their shots.

Some facilities have vaccinated workers in stages so that the staff is not sidelined all at once if they suffer minor side effects, which can include fever and aches.

The hesitation isn’t surprising, given the mixed message from political leaders and misinformation online, said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in the science of vaccines.

He noted that health care workers represent a broad range of jobs and backgrounds and said they are not necessarily more informed than the general public.

“They don’t know what to believe either,” Chen said. But he said he expects the hesitancy to subside as more people are vaccinated and public health officials get their message across.

Some places have already seen turnarounds, such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“The biggest thing that helped us to gain confidence in our staff was watching other staff members get vaccinated, be OK, walk out of the room, you know, not grow a third ear, and so that really is like an avalanche,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer. “The first few hundred that we had created another 300 that wanted the vaccine.”

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Candice Choi in New York; Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Why are so many medical professionals one of the main communities hesitant to take a vaccine created within their own industry? Some say it was politicized? Others say it has not been adequately tested? What do you say?

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12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado

Source: Health Line
The avocado is a rather unique fruit.

While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in healthy fats.

Numerous studies show that it has powerful health benefits.

Here are 12 health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research.

1. Avocado Is Incredibly Nutritious

Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree, scientifically known as Persea americana (1Trusted Source).

This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.

These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties (2Trusted Source).

There are many types of avocado that vary in shape and color — from pear-shaped to round and green to black. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).

The most popular variety is the Hass avocado.

It’s often called alligator pear, which is very descriptive, as it tends to be pear-shaped and has green, bumpy skin like an alligator.

The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.

Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (3):

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
  • It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 net carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.

Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. This is why they are favored by some experts who believe these substances are harmful, which is a debated topic, however.

SUMMARY

Avocado is a green, pear-shaped fruit often called an “alligator pear.” It is loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients.

2. They Contain More Potassium Than Bananas

Potassium is a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of (4).

This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in your body’s cells and serves various important functions.

Avocados are very high in potassium. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving packs 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high-potassium food (5).

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Potassium is an important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Avocados are very high in potassium, which should support healthy blood pressure levels.

3. Avocado Is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Avocado is a high-fat food.

In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.

But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.

Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.

SUMMARY

Avocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a heart-healthy fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.

4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber

Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in.

It’s indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is known for feeding the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine, which are very important for optimal body function (14Trusted Source).

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of avocado packs 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the RDA.

About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Avocados tend to be rich in fiber — about 7% by weight, which is very high compared to most other foods. Fiber may have important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.

5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world (16Trusted Source).

It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.

This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.

Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.

These studies showed that avocados can (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source21Trusted Source22Trusted Source23Trusted Source):

  • Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
  • Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
  • Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
  • Increase HDL (the good) cholesterol by up to 11%.

One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile (24Trusted Source).

Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.

SUMMARY

Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like total, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

6. People Who Eat Avocados Tend to Be Healthier

One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados.

They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the US.

Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat this fruit.

They had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes (25Trusted Source).

People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

However, correlation does not imply causation, and there is no guarantee that the avocados caused these people to be in better health.

Therefore, this particular study doesn’t carry much weight.

SUMMARY

One dietary survey found that people who ate avocados had a much higher nutrient intake and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

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7. Their Fat Content May Help You Absorb Nutrients From Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters.

You also need to be able to absorb these nutrients — move them from your digestive tract and to your body, where they can be used.

Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized.

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, along with antioxidants like carotenoids.

One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption 2.6- to 15-fold (26Trusted Source).

So, not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.

This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

SUMMARY

Studies have shown that eating avocado or avocado oil with vegetables can dramatically increase the number of antioxidants you take in.

8. Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.

This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health (27Trusted Source28).

Studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source).

Therefore, eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term.

SUMMARY

Avocados are high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

9. Avocado May Help Prevent Cancer

There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in cancer treatment and prevention.

Test-tube studies suggest that it may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes (31Trusted Source).

Avocado extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory (32Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that these studies were done in isolated cells and don’t necessarily prove what may happen inside people. Human-based research is unavailable.

SUMMARY

Some test-tube studies have shown that nutrients in avocados may have benefits in preventing prostate cancer and lowering side effects of chemotherapy. However, human-based research is lacking.

10. Avocado Extract May Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of this condition, which are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.

Multiple studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts — called avocado and soybean unsaponifiables — can reduce osteoarthritis (33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

Whether avocados themselves have this effect remains to be seen.

SUMMARY

Studies have shown that avocado and soybean oil extracts can significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

11. Eating Avocado May Help You Lose Weight

There is some evidence that avocados are a weight loss friendly food.

In one study, people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours, compared to people who did not consume this fruit (35Trusted Source).

Should this hold true in the long term, then including avocados in your diet may help you naturally eat fewer calories and make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits.

Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

SUMMARY

Avocados may aid weight loss by keeping you full longer and making you eat fewer calories. They’re also high in fiber and low in carbs, which may promote weight loss.

12. Avocado Is Delicious and Easy to Incorporate in Your Diet

Avocados are not only healthy, they’re also incredibly delicious and go with many types of food.

You can add them to salads and various recipes or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain.

They have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients.

A notable mention is guacamole, which is arguably the most famous use of avocados. It includes avocado along with ingredients like salt, garlic, lime and a few others depending on the recipe.

An avocado often takes some time to ripen and should feel slightly soft when ripe. The nutrients in avocado can oxidize and turn brown soon after fleshing it, but adding lemon juice should slow down this process.

SUMMARY

Avocados have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients. Therefore, it’s easy to add this fruit to your diet. Using lemon juice may prevent cut avocados from browning quickly.

The Bottom Line

Avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet.

They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible.

What did you learn about avocados? How could they contribute to your health? How can you introduce them into your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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THE HUNGRY SWIMMER: WHAT I EAT IN A DAY AS A ‘SWAMMER’

If you’re still lost on what to eat as a former swimmer, check out some meal ideas below as I walk you through what I eat in a typical day as a swammer! Current photo via Zoe Gregorace

The Hungry Swimmer: What I Eat in a Day as a ‘Swammer’
Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

TW: disordered eating  

Swimmers are notorious for being big-time eaters. I mean, grueling practices and dry-land workouts definitely work up a massive appetite! And of course, as a high performance athlete, it’s imperative to give your body the fuel it needs to complete all that yardage. But, what happens after you hang up the goggles?…

Throughout my 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, my relationship with food was complicated. Food was constantly on my mind and my thoughts revolved around what and how much I would eat before practice, after practice, before the meet warm-up, in between prelims and finals, etc. It is also worth noting that as an athlete, my relationship with food not only evolved but was shaped by a variety of factors. From middle school to high school and well into college, this relationship looked completely different. The accumulative pressure of societal expectations, peer comparison and anxieties associated with growing up took a major toll, impacting the quantity and quality of food I consumed and affecting my performance as an athlete.

After I hung up the goggles in 2018, I was confronted with the single most dreaded thought of (most likely) every swimmer: Am I going to get FAT?!?

Well, I am here to report that this is certainly not the case, in fact, I am excited to share some newfound wisdom with you all as an almost 3-year swammer. After shedding my identity as a swimmer and leaping into a completely new world with a lot less chlorine, I will be the first to admit that the swammer road was quite a difficult one to navigate. Yes, I felt lost at first, but was excited to continue exploring my passion for competitive physical activity (think cross fit, spin and boxing). And while my career in the pool had come to an end, I was able to think more about my relationship with food and rebuild. I’ve learned to appreciate and listen to my swammer body, discover the foods that make me feel my best and avoid peer comparison. It is important to remember that every person is unique and the corny saying rings true, comparison IS the thief of joy.

So, you’re still lost on what to eat as a swammer? Check out some meal ideas below as I walk you through what I eat in a typical day as a swammer!

Breakfast

Soure: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

9:30 AM: Right now, I am on a HUGE avocado toast kick and I’ve been loving sourdough bread. I like to toast the sourdough until it’s nice and crispy then mash the avocado on top and add a tiny drizzle of olive oil on top before adding my seasoning. My avocado toast seasoning preferences are always changing, but I can promise you that the Everything But the Bagel seasoning and red pepper flakes will never go out of style. As for the eggs, I alternate between preparing them over easy or sunny-side up. I also love adding some greens to boost the nutritional density of the meal- today I sauteed a big handful of baby spinach along with the eggs. If you want to spice things up, I highly recommend topping your toast masterpiece with a generous drizzle of your favorite hot sauce. Along with this beautiful plate, I had two cups of drip coffee with a splash of almond milk.

Lunch

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1:00PM: I’m not a huge fan of lunch, but when I’m feeling it, I like to make a vibrant greens bowl with filling healthy fats and added nuts or berries for a burst of flavor. For this bowl, I combined baby spinach, sliced cucumbers, drained and rinsed chickpeas, a few slices of avocado (can you tell, I’m addicted!), some pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. I mostly went for the leftover produce I had in my fridge and took advantage of this opportunity to exercise some culinary exploration! And to my surprise, this flavor combination “slaps”, as the kids say. I finished the bowl off with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper.

Snack

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

3:30PM: This limbo time between lunch and dinner is what I like to call snack time! If you know me, you know thatI have a serious sweet tooth. So, instead of daydreaming about chocolate and completely cutting it out of my diet, I allow myself to enjoy it without going overboard. I typically like to make a snack mix and munch on this a few hours before I make my dinner. For this mix, I combined my favorite gluten-free pretzels (the crunch on these are INSANE), pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpea snacks and dark chocolate chips.

Dinner

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

6:30PM: Salmon and a bunch of roasted vegetables is one of my favorite dinners to prepare! It’s easy, quick and nutritious. I’ll either plate the salmon and veggies or, layer this on top of a big bowl of greens if I have them on hand. For this bowl, I started with a base of baby spinach and added roasted bell peppers, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and salmon. I also added some feta cheese, hummus, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika on top.

After dinner, sometimes I’m still hungry. And even if it is “late” or close to bedtime, I will listen to my body and eat if I’m hungry! I typically go for a yogurt bowl, some form of nut butter on toast or reach for a sweet-tooth satisfier I have on hand (the Chewy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Cups are my favorite!)

Check out my page for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your swammer eats with me @whatzoeeeats (https://www.instagram.com/whatzoeeeats/).

Avocados are one of our favorites too. What did you think of Zoe’s meals? What did you like? How could this be beneficial to your diet?

<strong>Zoe Gregorace</strong>
Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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How to Keep a Christmas Cactus Alive Forever

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Elizabeth Yuko
12/26/20 9:00AM
Source: Life Hacker
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Aaron Burden

When you’re going grocery shopping this time of year, it makes sense to want to get in and out as quickly as possible. So if you’ve breezed past the seasonal plants that usually live at the front of the store near the shopping carts and hit the aisles Supermarket Sweep-style, there’s a good chance that you’ve missed the Christmas cacti. (They’re the ones that aren’t poinsettias.)

They may not look very Christmassy—especially since many of them are varying shades of pinks, oranges and yellows—but that’s actually a good thing, because these plants deserve a spot on your windowsill year-round. Actually, there are reports of Christmas cacti living more than 100 years, so there’s a chance that grocery store plant could outlive you. Here are some tips for making that happen (or at least keeping it healthy).Use Chopsticks to Aerate the Soil of Your Houseplants

Whether you’re more of a casual houseplant owner who’s happy if you remember to water it, or are so

How to care for a Christmas cactus

If you picked up or were given a Christmas cactus this year, don’t throw it out at the beginning of the year, as you might a live Christmas tree. It’s basically part of your family now, so it’s time to learn how to take care of it.

In an interview with Tulsa WorldDr. Tom Ingram, a horticulturalist at Oklahoma State University, shared some tips for keeping that colorful cactus alive. (Which probably takes more effort than you think).

First of all, Ingram explains that Christmas cacti are what those in the plant business call “short day plants”—meaning that for them to produce flower buds, they need reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures. This works outdoors in Brazil, where the cacti are native, but not so much indoors in the winter. But there are ways to make it work. Per Ingram:

  • Keep the cactus in a cool, bright indoor location where daytime temps are between 65-70 degrees and evening temps are between 55-65 degrees. (That might mean on a drafty windowsill or somewhere that doesn’t get as much heat as the rest of your place.)
  • If the cactus is kept somewhere that doesn’t get down to around 55 degrees at night, it will need a minimum of 12 hours of darkness each night for about six weeks before they will bloom.
  • Make sure the pot has good drainage. Don’t overwater, but also keep in mind that this type of cactus doesn’t retain water like its succulent colleagues.
  • Re-pot your plant approximately every three years, but not more frequently than that. (They like to set down roots.)

How to Keep an Indoor Plant Alive

Keeping an indoor plant alive means providing it with what it needs on a long-term basis. Keeping…Read moreSubscribe to our newsletter!Type your emailSign me upBy subscribing you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Ingram offers more detailed advice in the article, but if nothing else, these tips will keep you from putting your Christmas cactus on top of the radiator because you assume it wants as much heat as possible and pretend like it is at home in a desert.Elizabeth YukoPostsTwitter

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone & CNN.

How was this article helpful? What works best for you with your house plants? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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The 8 Best Indoor Plants: Top Picks From Plant Experts

Leah Koenig, Contributor
Source: Forbes

When it comes to caring for house plants, some folks are born with a green thumb while others swear they could kill a cactus. As a member of the latter category (or so I thought), I understand the hesitation that goes along with becoming a plant parent. I loved the idea of filling my space with the best indoor plants, but I was scared to end up with a bunch of dead foliage.

Indoor house plants from The Sill
Source: Forbes
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Then two years ago, a friend (who is also a gardening teacher) brought over a plant clipping to my apartment. She helped me settle it in a pot and shared advice on how to care for it. That gifted plant ushered me into the wide world of indoor greenery—my collection has grown to 11 house plants spread over three window sills—brightening my home and offering fulfillment along the way.

For aspiring plant parents who feel apprehensive about embarking on their own plant journeys like I once did, know that there are plenty of great indoor plant options for every skill level and environment. I sought out the advice of a few notable plant experts: Eliza Blank and Erin Marino, founder and marketing director, respectively, of The Sill; Christan Summers, CEO and co-founder of Tula Plants & Design; and Summer Rayne Oakes, founder of Homestead Brooklyn and Plant One On Me. They not only shared their extensive flora wisdom, but they also offered their picks for the best indoor plants, for beginners, less than hospitable conditions and beyond.

Check out their recommendations below, then read on for their expert tips on how to care for all your indoor plants.

  • Best Low Maintenance Indoor Plant: Marble Queen Pothos
  • Best Indoor Plant For Low Light: ZZ Plant
  • Best Indoor Plant For Small Spaces: Snake Plant
  • Best Flowering Indoor Plant: Anthurium
  • Best Indoor Plant for Clean Air: Parlor Palm
  • Best Indoor Plant For Pet Owners: Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Best Indoor Plant to Build Confidence: Philodendron
  • Best “Next Level” Indoor Plant: Monstera

Best Low Maintenance Indoor Plant

Known to be one of the easiest house plants to grow, the Marble Queen Pothos has lovely heart shaped leaves and growing vines that will quickly fill your plant shelf with beauty. Because it can thrive in low-light environments and with less-than-ideal watering practices, this very undemanding species is excellent for beginners or for anyone who is less than diligent about their plant care.


Best Indoor Plant For Low Light

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia, better known as the ZZ plant, is another reliable house plant option for beginners. It can withstand all sorts of less than ideal factors, like infrequent watering or dry air. And, most importantly for apartment dwellers or those who live in other shady spaces, they can easily tolerate low light environments. Attractive as a standalone or grouped with other plants, the ZZ plant is a happy option for the kitchen or bathroom.


Best Indoor Plant For Small Spaces

Available in a number of different varieties, this cheery succulent grows straight up, which makes it a great choice for people with small spaces. Snake plants are also said to purify indoor air, so some folks like them for their supposed purification qualities too. Group a few in different sizes near a bedroom window and you’ll have a nice arrangement to bring a little green to your sleeping space.


Best Flowering Indoor Plant

Known for their lipstick red (or dusky pink) lily pad–like blooms, anthurium are gaining traction on the list of best house plants. “They have a retro, ‘Mad Men’ vibe to them,” Marino says. “And the flowers are actually a modified leaf so the plant is in bloom year round.” Use your anthurium as an entryway or living room centerpiece, or add it to a green collection for a pretty pop of color.


Best Indoor Plant For Clean Air

The Parlor Palm is a tropical choice that’s often touted for it’s ability to clear out benzene and trichloroethylene, two chemicals that are commonly spread from furniture off-gassing. It’s also really low maintenance, thriving in indirect to low light and only requiring watering once every one to two weeks, and pet-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it locked up away from your fur babies.

While the science is still out on whether or not plants really purify the air—one study says that you’d need to have about 93 of them to really notice a significant difference—there’s something about being surrounded by greenery that just makes things feel cleaner and fresher.


Best Indoor Plant For Pet Owners

While ZZ plants and snake plants are inarguably great choices for beginners, they are unfortunately toxic to animals. “If you have a curious kitty or doggy, then I would recommend keeping those plants away from them,” Oakes explains. Instead, choose a Bird’s Nest Fern, a tropical houseplant with ruffle-edged leaves that provides a splash of green while being safe to furry friends.


Best Indoor Plant to Build Confidence

There is nothing like a healthy, quickly growing plant to amp up a new plant owner’s confidence. Philodendron vines deliver on this front, sprouting robust trails of vines dangling with heart-shaped leaves. “Philodendrons are easy to propagate, so before long you can take a cutting and make another plant,” Summers says. “Getting that positive affirmation makes you feel like a pro.”


Best “Next Level” Indoor Plant

Once you unlock your inner house plant mojo, Blank recommends graduating to a Monstera. The vibrantly green leaves are speckled with natural holes and lend a tropical vibe to the room. “They are still relatively easy but have a wonderful texture,” Blank says.


How to Care For Indoor Plants

Each expert I spoke with began with the same basic mantra: Light is food for plants. “Fertilizer offers extra nutrients and water helps, but your plant needs light to survive,” says Marino. She suggests standing near the window in your house or apartment around noon and noticing how hot and bright it feels. “You should be able to estimate if your apartment is relatively low light, medium light or high light at midday,” she explains. Assessing your home’s light situations serves as a guide for which plants you should choose to populate your sill (or mantle, shelf or desk).

“We think of plant buying a bit like matchmaking,” says Blank. We want your plants to fit your home, your style and your lifestyle.” Set yourself up for success by starting with low maintenance plant varieties, like a Marble Queen Pothos or ZZ plant, that can withstand a little accidental neglect while you travel up the learning curve.

Plants need good care in order to thrive, but new plant parents have the tendency to over-care for their plants. “Over-watering is the easiest way to kill your plant,” says Blank. “It’s easier to bounce back from under-watering than from over-watering.” Marino adds, “some people go into diagnosis mode the second they see a browning tip or yellowing leaf.” Her advice: don’t panic. “Just prune it right off and know that shedding is a natural part of the growth process.”MORE FROM FORBES14 Easy Indoor Herb Garden Kits, Plus Expert Tips For Growing SuccessBy Rachel Klein

Summers, meanwhile, advises against repotting plants too frequently. Some plant owners see a plant growing well and think that’s the time to switch it into a roomier pot. But that well-meaning impulse can backfire. “Repotting disrupts the plant’s root system, which means it has to focus on reestablishing its system instead of on new growth. You’re making it work harder than it needs to,” she says. Instead let your plants thrive in their current pots. “When you’re getting absolutely no growth — especially in spring and summer — then it is time,” Summers says. 

Just because some plants don’t need frequent watering doesn’t mean you should forget about them for too long. Take some time each day to touch base with your plant babies. “Developing a routine and ritual is important,” says Oakes. “If you get up to check on your plants when your coffee is brewing or tea is steeping, then you’re on the right path.” 

From YouTube and gardening books, to walking into a shop and chatting up the staff, there are endless sources to continue educating yourself about the house plants in your life. For those who can’t make it to a store, Tula offers robust educational resources like a plant care library. The Sill offers online workshops that answer burning plant care questions. And Oakes recently launched a 12-part mini course called Houseplant Basics that teaches the fundamentals of plant care. 

Which plant do you like for your home? Why? How was this article helpful?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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