Categories
Accounting

Interpretation of Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Over the course of the decade, there have been many publicized corporate scandals from the much publicized downfall of Enron, to WorldCom, Arthur Anderson, Tyco International, and a host of other major corporations that scandals rocked the accounting world. These companies were cooking the books, hiding accounting practices not reported in audits, and stealing from clients. From the number of corporations involved in scandals, thousands lost their jobs, and millions more lost their trust in major corporations. Out of this mistrust, President Bush acted in a reasonable response by creating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that was enacted in July 2002. This new law targeted other major corporations with the primary goal of protecting investors and the public in providing accurate and true reporting of auditing and accounting services. These were set in place in order to restore confidence in major corporations, and honestly the government that mostly bails these companies out.

Congress actions in passing the law were out of growing public scrutiny of auditing services that were mostly done internally, turning a blind out to the misdeeds of the executives and the heads of the companies. The little guys which were usually the lower level employees were the ones that were left without jobs. This is where the public was most upset about that the CEO’s and executives were riding high, but the lower employees were left broke and without benefits. The requirements in SOX, have shifted the focused on the importance of outside auditing firms double checking the company’s books, and the growing importance of the Securities and Exchange Commission in getting back public trust.

According to the textbook, Irwin suggest that Sarbanes-Oxley Act was to hold businesses accountable for their auditing duty. When all these scandals happen the bigger question was, “where were the auditors?” (Louwers, 2013) This question is crucial in understanding the importance of how these companies were able to commit fraudulent activities long before being caught. Attention was only brought because of whistleblowers, or suspicions from the SEC. Auditing is the key in holding businesses to the standards that the SEC has entrusted in them to follow the letter of the law in operating within the United States. Internal audits that are done by the company is how most of the companies are able to get by. Internal audits are supposed to ensure the public of a company’s honesty. “Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity that adds value to and improves and organization’s operations.” (Louwers, 2013) The end result of the SOX is to provide insurance to investors that the company is operating legitimately.

The impact of the law for the future is meant to be positive for investors, studies have proven that SOX has not only instilled faith in investors, but has uncovered other scandals, such as Value Line, that was committing fraud for over 20 years was discovered by the SEC credit from the SOX. (Bhaktavatsalam, Condon, 2009) However there has been criticism that SOX has prevented IPO’s and foreign investors from entering the market. Many representatives have asked for a repeal that feel are hurting the U.S economy. However the future impact is unseen as many have believed including investors that the law supports a market and business culture that breeds honesty in operations that show the public that they are able to remain successful and turn a profit in a legitimate fashion that contributes to the economy.

References

Bhaktavatsalam, Sree Vidya, Condon, Christopher. “Value Line Settlement Marks End of Buttner Reign.” (2009). Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aPpxj3FdB0uM

Landers, Guy. “What is Sarbanes-Oxley?” (2003). McGraw-Hill. New York, NY

Louwers, T. Auditing & Assurance Services. 5th edition. (2013). McGraw-Hill

Categories
Business

The Art of Negotiation

Negotiations of a contract to gain consensus between parties is ultimately the clarification and agreement on what is going to be provided regarding the requirements and what will be exchanged for meeting those requirements prior to the actual efforts taking place.  The process to arrive at the desired end state is a balance of the art of negotiation and science of managing psychological and behavioral activities to manage and control the negotiation and communication.  The art of negotiation involves understanding how to create the behavioral and psychological reactions and interactions of the parties involved and to establish the bond or relationship between the parties of the negotiation.  In regard to the science or tactical side of the negotiation, it is imperative to understand the tools available to the negotiator as well as the knowledge and understanding of what negotiations actually involve. 

There are two types of negotiations, the integrative and distributive.  The distributive negotiation sees negotiation as dividing a fixed amount of items and is by definition finite.  This is representative of haggling for the best price or the best offer.  This is a tug-of-war between the buyer and the seller in which only a certain amount of ground can be gained or lost.  The distributive negotiation is more about keeping key information secret and not allowing any leverage to the other negotiation party.  Integrative negotiations are based on cooperation collaboration for a mutually beneficial objective.  These types of negotiations provide a win-win scenario which is normally used in trouble-shooting, problem solving or finding a resolution to a complex issue with multiple facets.  Distributive negotiations would be used when buying a vehicle or purchasing a house whereas integrative negotiations would be used when selling land to a new corporation that will bring new business opportunities to a community.

Understanding the two sides of negotiation will allow the negotiator to focus on the interactions between themselves and the other parties.  It is important for the negotiator to fully understand the requirements of the negotiation as well as they process required to achieve the requirements.  By understanding the process and ensuring a level of preparedness prior to negotiation the negotiator can focus on those behaviors that can provide a benefit or advantage in the negotiation.  There are certain triggers and reactions that a negotiator can focus on to place the other party at ease and build a bond between each side.  The negotiator must build a relationship while also watching for the pitfalls or roadblocks that could obstruct the pursuit of the desired end state.  These roadblocks include but are not limited to situations such as unsolicited criticism, whether good or mal-intentioned, and potential diversification issues that could lead to barriers in communication, understanding or acceptance of the proposed negotiations.  The negotiator must understand with whom they are communicating with, how their communication is interpreted and if it is received as intended.  Communication is key to negotiations.

Understanding the two sides of negotiation will allow the negotiator to focus on the interactions between themselves and the other parties.  It is important for the negotiator to fully understand the requirements of the negotiation as well as they process required to achieve the requirements.  By understanding the process and ensuring a level of preparedness prior to negotiation the negotiator can focus on those behaviors that can provide a benefit or advantage in the negotiation.  There are certain triggers and reactions that a negotiator can focus on to place the other party at ease and build a bond between each side.  The negotiator must build a relationship while also watching for the pitfalls or roadblocks that could obstruct the pursuit of the desired end state.  These roadblocks include but are not limited to situations such as unsolicited criticism, whether good or mal-intentioned, and potential diversification issues that could lead to barriers in communication, understanding or acceptance of the proposed negotiations.  The negotiator must understand with whom they are communicating with, how their communication is interpreted and if it is received as intended.  Communication is key to negotiations.

The appropriate communication method is not only a vessel to provide key information but it is also a basis for tactical operations within the negotiation as well as the tool to effectively and efficiently close the negotiation with a beneficial outcome.  Each person receives and perceives communication in different ways.  A message could be misinterpreted through subtle changes in the way the message is received.  The message can be altered in multiple ways.  This includes both verbal and non-verbal cues.  These communicative aspects of the negotiation are tools that can promote the success of the negotiation or derail the intentions.  Tailoring messages to specific parties becomes easier with experience and increased involvement with the parties in the negotiation.  These interactions create the psychological and behavioral bonds needed to achieve an on-going and strategically mutual relationship.  Building the relationships between each party also provides the ability for the negotiation teams to bridge the gaps between distance and culture.  As more communication occurs, the better the teams begin to know and understand one another.  Through this collaboration the bond that is built also facilitates the negotiation (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012).

OUTLINE

Thesis Statement:  Research shows successful negotiations are dependent upon the behavioral as well as psychological triggers of the negotiation process because an agreeable personality is crucial in communication, humans generally do not react well to criticism and cultural diversity will present challenges if not understood.

I.  Introduction to Successful Negotiations

a. Definition of the Negotiation (Templar, Herring, Thompson, & Fadem, 2012).

i. Negotiations of a contract to gain consensus between parties is ultimately the clarification and agreement on what is going to be provided regarding the requirements and what will be exchanged for meeting those requirements prior to the actual efforts taking place (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

ii. Negotiations are a balance between hard and soft skills (Gallagher, R. S. 2009).

iii. It is imperative to understand the tools available to the negotiator (Gallagher, R. S. 2009).

iv. Knowledge and awareness are key tools to the negotiator (Barry, B., & Friedman, R. A. 1998). 

iii. There are two types of negotiations, the integrative and distributive (Barry, B., & Friedman, R. A. 1998).

a. The purpose of Negotiations (Templar, Herring, Thompson, & Fadem, 2012).

            i. The purpose is to create a situation in which a party gains what they need. (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

            ii. The relationship can be win/lose, lose/lose or win/win           (Kochan & Lipsky, 2003).

II. The role of an agreeable personality (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

a. Understanding each side of the negotiation is imperative and allows the negotiator to focus on the interactions between themselves and the other parties (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

b. Understanding the process and ensuring a level of preparedness prior to negotiation the negotiator can focus on those behaviors that can provide a benefit or advantage in the negotiation (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

c. The Negotiator must build a relationship while also watching for the pitfalls or roadblocks that could obstruct the pursuit of the desired end state (Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.) 2012).

d. Communication is critical to successful negotiations (Long, Fisher & McGinn, 2012).

i. Clarity is the key to communication (Patton, 2011).

            ii. Concise communication facilitates negotiations (Patton, 2011).

            iii. The communication must be understood by sender and receiver (Patton, 2011).

 e. Utilizing a straightforward tactic alleviates unnecessary communication and interference that could hinder the process and negate the potential successful conclusion of the negotiation(DeRue, Conlon, Moon, and Willaby, 2009).

f. Straightforwardness sets the tone for the negotiation and creates a slight competitive advantage for the first party by creating a feeling of superiority, credibility and steadfastness (DeRue, Conlon, Moon, and Willaby, 2009).

III. The role of criticism.

  1. Fully understand the requirements of the negotiation as well as they process required to achieve the requirements (Templar, Herring, Thompson, & Fadem, 2012).
  2. Preparedness leads to successful negotiations(Templar, Herring, Thompson, & Fadem, 2012).
  3. Criticism is both a positive and negative tool (Patton, 2011).

i. Unsolicited Criticism puts the other party on the defensive and risks the relationship (Patton, 2011).

ii. Constructive Feedback builds the relationship and moves a potential pitfall to a building experience (Patton, 2011).

  • There are multiple pitfalls in negotiations (Barry, B., & Friedman, R. A. 1998).

i. Unsolicited Criticism (Patton, 2011).

ii. Diversity issues (Gallagher, 2009).

iii. Language Barriers (Gallagher, 2009).

iv. Un-communicated needs (Gallagher, 2009).

v. Misunderstandings (Gallagher, 2009).

III. Cultural diversity.

  1. Key interactions create the psychological and behavioral bonds needed to achieve an on-going and strategically mutual relationship (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012).
  2. There are many aspects of negotiation(Templar, Herring, Thompson, & Fadem, 2012).

i. Communication is important and the ability to create concise, clear and understandable communication is the keystone to the negotiation process (Patton, 2011).

  • Methods of Tactics.

i. The appropriate communication method is not only a vessel to provide key information but it is also a basis for tactical operations within the negotiation as well as the tool to effectively and efficiently close the negotiation with a beneficial outcome (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012).

ii. Diversity between cultures can lead to natural barriers (Kochan & Lipsky, 2003).

iii. Collaborative efforts create the bond that facilitates the negotiation (Goldman & Shapiro, 2012).

Negotiations expand beyond the requirements of one party and the acceptance of requirements by the other.  There is an underlying requirement to ensure the appropriate method of communication is used while also presenting that communication in a straightforward manner.  This straightforward method of communicating the requirements of what one needs enables a slight advantage in the negotiation.  The clear, concise and accurate description of the requirements establishes a level of credibility in the knowledge and understanding of the negotiating party and creates a scenario that is slightly in favor of the straightforward party.  This type of tactic utilizes the psychological and behavioral tendencies of negotiating parties to create an advantage and every advantage in a negotiation will help facilitate the ability to achieve the desired results.  Building relationships is also crucial in taking the negotiations to a higher level of expectations and results.  Understanding how people communicate and what cultural and diversity issues can strain interactions between parties will allow the ability to mitigate those risks and work on the core negotiations.  Eliminating the noise of communication and the barriers of poor delivery and receipt of that communication allows for a pure and focused negotiation on the key points of the requirements.  Understanding what negotiations include, maintaining a prepared and straightforward negotiation style while also maintaining clear and unobstructed communication will all play into the art of negotiation.

References

Barry, B., & Friedman, R. A. (1998). Bargainer characteristics in distributive and integrative negotiation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(2), 345. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/74/2/345/

DeRue, D. S., Conlon, D. E., Moon, H., & Willaby, H. W. (2009). When is straightforwardness a liability in negotiations? The role of integrative potential and structural power. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(4), 1032. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/94/4/1032/

Gallagher, R. S. (2009). How to tell anyone anything: breakthrough techniques for handling difficult conversations at work. American Management Association, New York. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aY6OR71CvIAC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Gallgher,+R.+S.+(2009).+How+to+tell+anyone+anything:+Breakthrough+techniques+for+handling+&ots=wo-QGSdsQJ&sig=aa6IcwyopTAXs5ngHDI_afZ7nTA#v=onepage&q=summary&f=false

 Goldman, B. M., & Shapiro, D. L. (Eds.). (2012). The Psychology of negotiations in the 21st century workplace: new challenges and new solutions. Routledge Academic. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Zz-h37LKklcC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=The+Psychology+of+Negotiations+in+the+21st+Century+Workplace:+New+Challenges+and+New+Solutions+&ots=jTyVPMfh9o&sig=D6WOkfyn9Vosg_3fv-1e6iPADkk 

Kochan, T. A., & Lipsky, D. B. (2003). Negotiations and change: from the workplace to society. Cornel University Press, New York. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=jj2UzQLKfUcC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=Negotiations+and+Change:+From+the+Workplace+to+Society+&ots=h28DsMzMGS&sig=JJ3eBQvrdyDl8dVaGKmDgzOdrbA 

Kulik, C. T., & Olekalns, M. (2012). Negotiating the gender divide lessons from the negotiation and organizational behavior literatures. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1387-1415. Retrieved from: http://jom.sagepub.com/content/38/4/1387.short

Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Minton, J. W. (1999). Negotiation: readings, exercises, and cases. Irwin/The McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1998-07764-000 

Long, E. L., Fisher, C., & McGinn, K. L. (2012). Negotiation processes as sources of (and solutions to) inter-organizational conflict (No. 12-107). Harvard Business School Working Paper. Retrieved from: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6983.html 

Patton, B. (2011). Gaining ground in difficult negotiations: training advanced negotiation & difficult conversations (Vol. 1). Maklu Pub. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xiZYUMw6j70C&oi=fnd&pg=PA6&dq=+Bargaining+for+Advantage:+Negotiation+Strategies+for+Reasonable+People+2nd+Edition+by+G.+Richard+Shell&ots=Tx4jWs2iKk&sig=aQveGPNVHIB0ht_-JIPUJzPwEdI#v=onepage&q=Bargaining%20for%20Advantage%3A%20Negotiation%20Strategies%20for%20Reasonable%20People%202nd%20Edition%20by%20G.%20Richard%20Shell&f=false 

Templar, R., Herring, J. J., Thompson, L., & Fadem, T. J. (2012). Negotiating to win: strategies and skills for every situation (collection). FT Press. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=tPBSj1WlQpIC&oi=fnd&pg=PT1&dq=The+Truth+About+Negotiations+by+Leigh+L.+Thompson&ots=CrLodMnsdL&sig=Lgik2nUr2f21s8wEI_9SsPtNk5w   Thompson, L. L., Wang, J., & Gunia, B. C. (2010). Negotiation. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 491-515. Retrieved from: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100458?journalCode=psych

Categories
American History

A New Look at the Failures and Successes of Reconstruction

The era of U.S. history known as Reconstruction brought rapid and significant changes to the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. While the moderate policies of Abraham Lincoln, and later Andrew Johnson, supported a deliberate and relatively slow process of promoting political and economic change in the South, a more radical contingent of Republicans pushed for rapid change and a virtually complete overhaul of the politics and economics of the South. These Radical Republicans supported the rights of post-slavery Freedmen, affording them the right to vote and to engage in political activity. By most accounts, the era of Reconstruction was a failure, and many of the policies and changes pushed by the Radical Republicans were quickly reversed. Historians disagree about what forces were primarily responsible for the failure of Reconstruction; some maintain that individual and institutional racism undermined the Reconstruction efforts, while others assert that larger economic policies were the root cause of the failure of many components of Reconstruction. The truth seems to lie somewhere in between these competing views or Reconstruction: racism, economics, and politics were all factors in the failure of some aspects of Reconstruction, though it may be too simple to say that any one factor was the most significant, just as it may be an oversimplification to see Reconstruction as a complete failure.

            LeeAnna Keith writes about the battle at the Colfax Courthouse in Louisiana, and points to this event as a tipping point when the efforts by the Radical Republicans to overhaul the political and economic systems of the Southern states began to fail. The Colfax Courthouse had become a symbol to many disgruntled Whites in the South of the newfound political and economic freedoms afforded to the Freedmen (the former slaves) by the Radical Republicans in Congress. Anger and distrust was building among many Whites, and an organized group of men, some of whom belonged to groups like the “Old Time Ku Klux Klan” attacked the Freedmen who were holed up in the Courthouse on April 5, 1873. Dozens, or possibly hundreds, of Blacks were killed in the attack. According to historians such as Keith, this assault and slaughter became a symbol and a rallying cry for the Whites who opposed Reconstruction, and would mark the beginning of a growing movement to bring an end to the changes imposed on the South by Congress.

            Historian Heather Cox Richardson takes a different view on the failures of Reconstruction, claiming that political and economic circumstances in the North had as much or more to do with the situation as did the racism of Southern Whites. Richardson argues that Whites in the North opposed aspects of the labor movement associated with Freedmen, such as the redistribution of property and other decisions that the Northern Whites believed showed special favoritism to Southern Blacks. While many Whites in the North supported the notion of granting “Civil Rights” to Blacks, these rights were specifically about the rights to own property, to vote, to use the legal system, and other similar processes. At the same time, many Whites in the North believed that Freedmen, as well as some politicians, were attempting to write and pass legislation that would afford Blacks privileges that had not been individually earned. The opposition to this was based on the belief that Whites had to earn their own places in society and that the laws should not be used to grant Blacks special favors or privileges.

            Discrimination against Blacks by Northern Whites may not have been as strong or as violent as that of Southern Whites, but many in the North still opposed the idea that Blacks and Whites were socially equal, and believed that Radical Republicans who were trying to enforce the rights associated with labor were also trying to push for social equality for Blacks that was not earned. In a sense, the racism of Southern Whites and Northern Whites helped to undermine Reconstruction, and when combined formed a force of opposition that was too great for the changes of Reconstruction to withstand. Despite the fact that many of the changes brought about by Reconstruction were undone or reversed, however, those few years of relative freedom for many Blacks gave them a glimpse of the possibilities that could be theirs. This realization did not die with the end of Reconstruction, and would serve to support the eventual rebirth of the civil rights movement in the following century. By that measure, then, Reconstruction was not entirely a failure, though it would take nearly a century before the rights of Blacks that had been lost at the end of reconstruction would eventually be restored.

Categories
Technology

Disseminating Organizational IT Security and Troubleshooting Best Practices

Categories
Computer Science

Hypervisors

Although hypervisors are useful because they allow different operating systems to share a single hardware host, there are several technical advantages and disadvantages of using a hypervisor in an enterprise. According to vconsulting.us, hypervisors are what is responsible for making the Cloud possible. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of hypervisors are dependent upon the types being used (Bredehoeft, 2012).

            Type 1 hypervisors are installed directly onto “bare-metal hardware” and they don’t require an additional operating system. There are several types of type 1 hypervisors and they include several names that are familiar even to people who don’t regularly deal with computers. These brands include VMware ESX and ESXi, Citrix Xen Server, Linux KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, MokaFive, and XenClient. The advantages of using a type 1 hypervisor include installing on Bare-Metal Hardware so that the hypervisor is able to directly access the hardware, the system is thin so it is optimized to have a minimal footprint and enables us to give resources to the host, it is more difficult to compromise the system and therefore provides increased security, it is useful for testing and lab settings, it is capable of supporting more than one virtual machine on hardware, and hardware failures will not affect the operating system.

            There are also several disadvantages associated with using a type 1 hypervisor. Very large virtual machines are not supported (ex. 1000+ GB), it requires particular hardware components, there is a cost associated with the license or support, there is a bad console interface, and not every operating system can be run.

            Type 2 hypervisors are more of an application that can be installed on an operating system rather than directly on the bare-metal. Examples of type 2 hypervisors include parallels, VMware fusion and player, VMware workstation, VMware server, Microsoft Virtual PC, Virtual Box, Linux KVM, and Citrix Receiver. The advantages of using a type 2 hypervisor include their ability to run on a greater variety of hardware because the host operating system is controlling the hardware access, it has an easy to use interface, it can be run in a Windows operating system, it is good for lab testing and development, it allows the use of several operating systems within a single operating system, it creates an easier management paradigm for desktops which is useful for enterprises, it doesn’t have to provide hardware to every user so a company would be able to run their own, and data can be secured on the desktop.

            The disadvantages of type 2 hypervisors include decreased security because of interaction with the VM container and its ability to copy this for additional use, large overall footprint, the type 2 hypervisor must be installed in the host operating system which is straightforward but can sometimes become complex, there is a loss of centralized management, and lastly, type 2 cannot support as many VM’s as type 1 can.

            Microsoft (Hyper-V), VMware (ESXi), and Hitachi’s (Virtage) are commonly used hypervisors in enterprise. Hyper-V was formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization and allows for platform virtualization on x86-64 systems. The architecture of Hyper-V allows the isolation of virtual machines using a partition. At least one parent partition needs to be running Windows Server in order for the hypervisor to be able to access the hardware. Supported guest operating systems include Windows 7, Windows Server, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. This hypervisor has several disadvantages including the fact that it doesn’t support virtualized USB or COM ports, audio hardware is not virtualized by Hyper-V, optical drives virtualized in the guest VM are read only so it’s impossible to burn media to CDs and DVDs, there are reported issues with graphics performance on the host because the translation lookaside buffer is flushed frequently, Windows Server 2008 doesn’t support the maintenance of network connections and uninterrupted service during VM migration, there is a degraded performance for Windows XP users, link aggregation is only supported by drivers that support NIC teaming, and there is no support for home editions of Windows (Conger, 2012).

            VMware ESXi is a type 1 (bare metal embedded) hypervisor that is used for guest virtual servers that run directly on host server hardware. This hypervisor is unique because its placed on a compact storage device, which makes it different from VMware ESX. As previously stated, the VMware ESXi hypervisor’s architecture is built to run on bare metal. In addition, it uses its own kernel rather than a third party operating system. The VMware kernel connects to the internet using hardware, guest systems, and a service console. For VMware ESXi to be able to virtualize Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, the hypervisor should be 5x or greater (VMware, 2004). There are several limitations of this system including infrastructure, performance, and network. The infrastructure requirements include RAM guest system maximum of 255 GB, a RAM guest system maximum of 1 TB, 32 hosts in a high availability cluster, 5 primary nodes in ESX Cluster high availability, 32 hosts in a distributed resourced scheduler cluster, 8 maximum processors per virtual machine, 160 maximum processors per host, 12 cores per processor, 320 virtual machines per host, and ESXi prior to version 5 will not suppor the latest Microsoft operating system Windows 8 and Windows 2012. The network limitations primarily involve the use of the Cisco Nexus 1000 distributed virtual switch and cause the following limitations: 64 ESX/ESXi hosts per VSM (Virtual Supervisor Module), 2048 virtual ethernet interfaces per VMWare vDS (virtual distributed switch), a maximum of 216 virtual interfaces per ESX/ESXi host, 2048 active VLAN’s (one to be used for communication between VEM’s and VSM), 2048 port-profiles, 32 physical NIC’s per ESX/ESXi (physical) host, 256 port-channels per VMWare vDS (virtual distributed switch), and a maximum of 8 port-channels per ESX/ESXi host (CISCO, n.d.). The performance limitations include an increase in the amount of work that the CPU has to perform in order to virtualize the hardware. According to VMware, the Virtual Machine Interface was developed to correct this issue using paravirtualization, although only a few operating systems support this program.

            According to storageservers, Hitachi offers the “world’s first server virtualization software capable of running on multiple instances” (storageservers, 2012). It has functions that will allow logical petitioning and is useful for multi-tenant style cloud computing. To initiate virtualization, the system integrates Kernel based Virtual Machine technology which runs on top of Hitachi Virtage and is a base for the Hitachi BladeSymphony Server Line. Since this product is relatively new, there aren’t many known disadvantages of the system so users will be selecting to use this hypervisor at their own risk. While the older hypervisors have many known limitations, there are some known ways to enhance these systems; when considering Hitachi Virtage, buyers should be aware that this is not the case. Despite this, the article argues that this hypervisor is useful for reducing the total cost of ownership because it uses server virtualization technology. The article also states that this hypervisor will have a high level or hardware stability and it is compatible with high level Linux systems. It is expected that as this system is used, it will continue to be upgraded and made to be more user friendly and meet the needs of the consumer.

            Certain use of hypervisors could lead to a decrease in total cost of ownership for enterprise. According to the TechTarget article “Time to consider multiple hypervisors?”, many companies are finding that using a single hypervisor isn’t enough for their data centers. Despite this, adding an additional hypervisor can add several risks, so it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using one hypervisor versus many (Bigelow, n.d.). One of the major reasons that the article argues for using a second hypervisor involves a decrease in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an enterprise.  In 2010, TechTarget surveyed a series of information technology professionals about their hypervisor choices. They found that cost efficiency was a big issue for a majority of experts, and this drove their decisions; this was mainly a factor when participants wanted to consider an alternative to VMware virtualization. The reasoning behind this involved their need for more features and functionality, want improved interoperability, and desire to avoid a vendor lock-in; although VMware is a good hypervisor, it is expensive and the lock-in would lead to consistent purchasing of only VMware brand products which is a disadvantage if budgets are tight.

            Information technology professionals argue that the cost involved in hypervisor selection isn’t due to the actual hypervisor that is chosen and rather is involved with the virtualization management strategy. While companies that run uniform x86-based servers will be able to get by using a single hypervisor for a good price, they must keep in mind that it will not run as well or offer all of the features on the mainframe, RISC, or SPARC-based servers. Therefore, there is a need to develop a better hypervisor for these systems. To solve this issue, it is useful to use a single hypervisor for server visualization and a separate one for desktop virtualization. The article also notes that organizations may want yet another hypervisor to support their private clouds. In addition, utilizing several hypervisors can be cost effective depending on the company’s technological evolution and acquisition of these systems. For example, a company may start out with a basic hypervisor to suit their needs. As the company evolves and needs a hypervisor that can support different capabilities, they should switch the old hypervisor to a new function instead of replacing it altogether. Now the company will be running two hypervisors and be able to virtualize information more efficiently without wasting any money.

            Considering the direct cost of hypervisors is an additional issue in an enterprise. Most hypervisors are free to try and some even come with the Windows Server operating system. However, it is important to understand that acquiring a hypervisor costs more than just obtaining the software license. The cost comes into play mainly when considering the features that come along with the hypervisors in addition to the management tools needed to keep track of the virtual data center. In addition, running several hypervisors increases cost because more IT resources will be needed to support and maintain these platforms. As a consequence, enterprises that considers a second hypervisor need to carefully think about the features and capabilities of their second hypervisor. If the second hypervisor leads to more efficient or better performance in terms of computing, this will save the company money overall because they will be able to perform their basic job functions more accurately.

            Unfortunately, using a single hypervisor or multiple ones is not a one size fits all cost-saver across the board. Companies that use more data and have many systems will likely benefit from using multiple hypervisors while smaller companies that don’t require a lot of data will benefit from using only a single hypervisor. When considering total cost of ownership for hypervisors, it is essential that an enterprise takes all of its computing needs into consideration before making the decision. Additional costs that companies will have to consider before budgeting for one of many hypervisors is the cost of replacement for when they will need to purchase a new hypervisor to completely replace an existing one. They should calculate the costs that business disruptions will cause in addition to considering that data may be lost or that overall performance may decrease depending upon their hypervisor selection and the physical installation process.

            The implementation of hypervisors has a clear impact on system administration. If a company needs to maintain their current hypervisors, replace, or add a new one, the information technology department of their company will need to remain highly involved for several reasons. First of all, the system administration should review the choices they have for hypervisors and pick the ones most suitable for their company’s needs. It is unlikely that any other department would fully understand the technical implications of the hypervisor; depending on which one is selected, there may need to be changes in the operating systems that the company’s network is using in addition to installation of software that would be compatible with the hypervisor. In addition, even if the IT department isn’t responsible for physically installing the hypervisor, they need to be made fully aware of how it was installed and what to do to troubleshoot and optimize the system should the need arise. Lastly, the IT department would be responsible for deciding whether the company would be better off using a single hypervisor, multiple hypervisors, and which kinds.

            Since the system administration is generally responsible for computer and network safety, they should be especially concerned with using hypervisors. Although they can increase efficiency, they could potentially provide a security threat; therefore, additional system administration is essential in order to ensure that all employees know how to protect their company’s computers against these threats. Malware and rootkits can take advantage of hypervisor technology by installing themselves below the operating system which makes them more difficult to detect. In this situation, the malware is able to intercept any of the operations of the operating system without anti-malware software being able to detect it. While some information technology professionals claim that there are ways to detect the malware using a hypervisor-based rootkit, this issue is still up for debate (Wang et al., 2009). This technology is relatively new and we cannot truly be certain that these security issues can be removed.

            A second reason why the systems administration would require additional training would be due to the use of x86 architecture that is typically used in PC systems. Virtualization is generally difficult on this type of system and requires a complex hypervisor; to solve this issue, CPU vendors have added virtualization assistance to their hypervisors such as Intel products and AMD’s. These provide support to the hypervisor which allow it to work more efficiently. Other solutions to this issue include modification of the guest operating system to make system calls to the hypervisor using paravirtualization and the use of Hyper-V to boost performance. It is essential for the information technology staff to be aware of the price hypervisor their company is using in addition to any potential modifications that can be associated with it. Therefore, additional training and troubleshooting to resolve matters related to their hypervisors would be useful.

References

Bigelow, SJ. (n.d.). Time to consider multiple hypervisors?. SearchDataCenters. Retrieved from             http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/tip/Time-to-consider-multiple-hypervisors

Bredehoft, J. (2012). Hypervisors – Type 1/Type 2. Retrieved from http://vconsulting.us/node/24

CISCO. (n.d.). Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches Data Sheet. Retrieved from             http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps9441/ps9902/data_sheet_c78-     492971.html

Conger, J. (2012). Video: Microsoft Hyper-V Shared Nothing Live Migration. Jason Conger     Blog. Retrieved from           http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2012/07/23/shared-nothing-live-            migration-on-windows-server-2012.aspx

Storageservers. (2012). Hitachi offers world’s first Server Virtualization software capable of     running on multiple instances. Retrieved from     http://storageservers.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/hitachi-offers-worlds-first-server-     virtualization-software-capable-of-running-on-multiple-instances/

VMware. (2004). Support for 64-bit Computing. Retrieved from Vmware.com

Zhi W, Xuxian J, Weidong C, Peng N. (2009). Countering Kernel Rootkits with Lightweight     Hook Protection. Microsoft/North Carolina State University. Retrieved from             http://discovery.csc.ncsu.edu/pubs/ccs09-HookSafe.pdf

Categories
Literature

Response Essay(A Story of an Hour)

           The piece of literature “The Story of an Hour”, written by Kate Chopin, is a very important, and layered short story about a woman who receives news about her husband’s untimely death, and her immediate thoughts afterwards. Louise, the main character, is informed by her sister that Louise’s husband had been killed in a tragic train accident. After she immediately begins crying, she runs upstairs, seemingly to be by herself and lament the death of her husband in peace.

            While contemplating the implications of his death near an open window, she becomes very aware of one thing. Although she definitely loved her dead husband, named Brently, in some sense, she was having trouble suppressing an overwhelming feeling of happiness. At first unexplainable, the author paints a vivid picture of the open window and a breeze, clearly used to illustrate the new freedom Louise was envisioning for herself. A married woman was very often subject to the will of their husbands, regardless of love or a lack of love. This idea of freedom overwhelms her, and she is actually happy at her new life. She dreams of all the prospects and doors now open to her.

            Tragically, when coming downstairs with her sister, he seemingly dead husband walked through the door. This caused an immediate stress reaction, and Louise had a heart attack, and was pronounced dead. Chopin was clearly trying to illustrate the extent that women were subject to men unfairly.

            The poem “Woman” by Nikki Giovanni, however, is very empowering with regards to women. When Chopin seemed to show despair in the character of Louise, by the time Giovanni wraps up the poem a very different message, tone, and idea is conveyed–showing a strong woman as a whole.

            The entire poem is about a woman clearly seeking approval, or in some way needing it, from her love interest or significant other. It is clear that the man in her life does not support her in her ventures and decisions, and she seems to be codependent on him in some sense. Much of the poem is a descriptive narrative of different true and metaphorical ways the author attempted to grow as a person, and was stunted by this man, as well as her attempt at cultivating a real relationship with the man. He was clearly not receptive to any and all of her advances, but the final stanza illustrates the theme of the poem as a whole.

            Giovanni says that although the woman decided to be a woman, and the man refused to be a man (possibly with regards to maturity), the woman was okay with that. She was content with herself, and her identity as an independent woman.

            The short poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks gives a different social perspective, though related. Ms. Brooks, a black woman whose life-span was literally the 20th century, frequently wrote poems describing difficulties as a woman, and specifically a black woman.             The poem “We Real Cool” specifically outlines the small African American culture of which she was a part of in Chicago. African-American culture, in many ways, emerged as its own counter-culture. Brooks’ descriptive words illustrate much about the antisocial behavior blacks were attracted to as a product of the injustices they faced daily.

Categories
Creative Writing

Michigan Criminal Justice Budgeting Issue

An online article reports that an average prisoner is spending more time behind bars in Michigan which only worsens the financial burden on taxpayers. While the national average is 2.9 years, an inmate in Michigan spends 4.3 years behind bars on the average, according to Pew Charitable Trust. The number is even greater for violent criminals at 7.6 years versus national average of 5 years. This is a worrisome trend for two main reasons. First of all, it is an unnecessary financial burden on states and the taxpayers. In addition, prison stints do little to reduce the probability of returning to life of crime, according to some experts (Campbell, 2013). I have chosen this article because Michigan has been hit hard by the financial crisis and has been faced with some of the highest unemployment figures in the nation. Given the current circumstances, it is unfortunate that the state is wasting money on keeping prisoners behind bar, a significant proportion of whom may be serving sentences for non-violent crimes such as drug offences. If this trend could be reversed, the freed-up resources could be invested in education and in providing job-related training to those looking for work.

The author seems to agree with the experts he interviewed for this article that much of this has been due to politics because it helps elected officials project tough image. One of the experts interviewed by the author for this article was Eric Lambert who is a professor of criminal justice at Wayne State University. Lambert drew attention to the fact that despite lengthy prison times, Michigan has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. The author also implies by pointing out to Pew’s report that Michigan should go the way of Illinois which has taken the opposite route and yet has succeeded in lowering the crime rate. Illinois reduced average prison time by about seven months to 1.7 years between 1990 and 2005 and saved almost $476 million in the process. The author also reminds us that many politicians are weary of tackling the issue anytime soon because the public also views severity of punishment as an effective means of deterring crime. The author also seems disappointed at the current trend of politicians going tough on criminals including those with non-violent offences but the author also realizes that without a change in public perceptions, it will be difficult to persuade politicians to change their course.

I agree with the author and the experts mentioned in the article that the current criminal justice system in Michigan is in a great need of reformation. But I also realize politicians often put their own interests in front of public interests, thus, one of the best solutions to reducing the financial burden on taxpayers may be to decriminalize drugs such as marijuana. The social costs marijuana imposes on the society are more similar to cigarettes than other harmful drugs such s heroin and marijuana users account for a significant proportion of nonviolent crimes in the nation. Not only this will lower the burden on Michigan’s criminal system but may also help the state create another valuable revenue stream in the form of tax receipts. In fact, some other states have already chosen this path including Vermont (Wing, 2013) and there is growing public support for decriminalization of marijuana. One another course of action that Michigan’s criminal justice system can pursue is to refer offenders to education and rehabilitation programs whenever possible except for the most violent crimes. This course of action may also be more effective in lowering the probability of return to life of crime than prison stints.

References

Campbell, K. (2013, April 26). Longer sentences fuel big budget for Michigan prisons. Retrieved June 13, 2013, from http://www.grbj.com/articles/76707-longer-sentences-fuel-big-budget-for-michigan-prisons

Wing, N. (2013, June 6). Vermont Marijuana Decriminalization Signed Into Law, Reduces Penalties For Possession Up To An Ounce. Retrieved June 13, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/vermont-marijuana-decriminalization_n_3397266.html

Categories
African-American Studies

Zombie Culture: From African Legend to Modern Movies

In the 1960s, the movie “Night of the Living Dead” introduced a new kind of monster in horror movies: the zombie (Kay, 2008). Over the last several decades, movies and television shows featuring zombies have become more and more popular. The zombies that are depicted in most modern horror movies and shows are dead bodies that somehow have come back to life, usually from some sort of contagious virus or an environmental catastrophe (Kay). These zombies do not speak or even think; the only thing they care about is eating living things –usually human beings. In most zombie movies and shows, the bite from a zombie will turn the victim into a zombie as well, thereby spreading the zombie plague (Kay). These zombies may only exist in the movies, but the idea of the dead coming back to life as zombies has actually existed for centuries, and is rooted in the religious histories of Africa and Haiti.

            The earliest stories and traditions about zombies originated in parts of Africa, where some people believed that witch doctors had the power to bring the dead back to life (Davis, 1988). Some researchers believe that these witch doctors may have used various plants and herbs to create potions and poisons that could temporarily simulate death in those who took them. Other researchers have theorized that witch doctors and shaman used psychoactive chemicals derived from various botanical sources to induce trancelike states in people. When under the influence of these psychoactive drugs, it has been claimed, the victims would be very open to suggestion, in much the same way as someone who was in a hypnotic trance. The witch doctors would supposedly control the spirits of their victims, and would offer to bring them back to life or to release their spirits from captivity in the victims or their families paid for their release from the witch doctor’s control.

            The word “zombie” is believed to have come from the word Nigerian word “nzambi,” which can mean “god” or “spirit” (Davis). The religious practice of the witch doctors that created zombies was known as Vodun (rhymes with low-dun) (Davis). During the centuries where African slaves were shipped to the West by the thousands, many of the religious traditions of their homelands were brought over as well. The descendants of African slaves who lived in Haiti kept the many of their ancestor’s traditions alive, and the practice of Vodun in Africa gave birth to the Vodu (rhymes with low-doo) traditions that still exist today in Haiti (Davis).

            Vodu, which is still sometime referred to as Vodun, is a religious practice involving shamans who use drums and psychoactive drugs to enter into trance states. During these trance states the shaman can commune with the spirit world and bring back messages to the living. Some people believe that these shaman, like the shaman and witch doctors in Africa, have the power to bring the dead back to life, and to enslave these zombies until they decide to return them to the grave (Brown, 2010).

            Researchers who have studied Vodu and Vodun in Haiti believe that the zombie legends there are similar to the zombie legends from African history. Vodu shaman may use psychoactive plants or trance-inducing poisons to send victims into a state of partial paralysis and suggestibility. The strong influence of the cultural beliefs associated with Vodu may help to reinforce the state of suggestibility, meaning that the poisoned or drugged victims may actually believe that they are dead, and willingly follow the orders they are given by the shaman (Davis). Some researchers have doubts, however, about how long a shaman could actually induce such a state in a victim (Davis). The zombie legends of Haiti describe shaman who have raised people from the dead and kept them in a zombie-like state for years, though most experts believe that this is impossible, or at least very unlikely. What is more likely is that some shaman have induced trance states in victims for a matter of hours or even days, and the legends and stories told about these supposed zombies have been exaggerated over time.

The television shows and movies that depict zombies as the victims of some sort of pandemic or other disaster may not be exactly like the zombies of Haitian Vodu, but it is clear that stories of the dead coming back to life capture the imagination of people from all different cultures and backgrounds. In an age where the threats of nuclear attacks, biological warfare, and terrorism are a reality of life, the idea of a “zombie apocalypse” reflects our deepest fears about a world gone mad (Kay). Just like zombies themselves, the legend of zombies looks like it will be very hard to kill.

 References

Brown, N. R. (2010). The complete idiot’s guide to zombies. New York, NY: Penguin.

Davis, W. (1988). Passage of darkness: The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombie. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Kay, G. (2008). Zombie movies: The ultimate guide. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review Press

Categories
Technology

Current and potential uses of technology for the global success of business objective

In a world where global competition is a common ground for ongoing business operations, technology becomes an element of operational success. Considerably, the modern world of business has began to embrace the fact that it needs to thrive in the constancy of making well established connections with other organizations from all around the globe. Establishing alliances and expanding towards the outskirts of the traditional locations of the organizations has become a sign of growth and business progress. In this case, technology becomes the bridge that connects the gap between business and branches as they entail to accept the mandate of operating globally and expanding their market control through affecting the global response to what they have to offer the public with.

            For organizations like the Microsoft Company, technology plays a primary role in the hope of gaining the attention of the global market while it operates on different parts of the world. The desire to expand has already become a reality for the company. As of now, its retaining power  in the industry still depends on the manner by which it is able to effectively manage technology as a source of its primary strength. To note, it utilizes technology for three primary operations. One is to connect its branches around the globe through a networked system of communication between its people. This way, it is able to establish a common organizational culture amidst the distance of its branches. Another process is that of its marketing. It entails to reach out to the market it hopes to serve through social media and other forms of technological operations such as that cloud computing to be able to make sure that its operation is able to mandate the growth of its market scope to the best of its ability. Third is operating its transaction with the clients it serves through the internet. Microsoft Company hopes to retain its market control through maintaining close control on its assets especially relating to how it functions with the technology it uses to manage major corporate operations.

Reference

Gremberge, W. Van , and S. De Haes, “A Research Journey into Enterprise Governance of IT, Business/IT Alignment and Value Creation”, International Journal of IT/Business Alignment and Governance, Vol. No. 1, 2010, pp. 1–13.

De Haes, S. and W. Van Grembergen, “An Exploratory Study into the Design of an IT Governance Minimum Baseline through Delphi Research”, Communications of AIS, No. 22, 2008, pp. 443–458.

Categories
Nursing

Global Health Issues

Global health issues affecting undeveloped countries have long been on the radar in the public eye, due to numerous infomercials and televised awareness campaigns to raise money for people in poor countries so that they have access to food, water, and healthcare. These awareness campaigns often report on millions of people in undeveloped countries dying due to the lack of resources and healthcare (Shah, 2011). This is an inequity in life that still exists in many parts of the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that almost 80 percent of noncommunicable disease deaths occur in lower income countries. In 2008, it is reported that 57 million people, globally, died from noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, lung, and cardiovasular diseases, and about 25 percent of these deaths were people under 60 years of age. In addition, it is stated that improved healthcare, detecting diseases early, and getting people treated in time would result in a reduction of these deaths (WHO, 2010).

Scope of the Problem

            According to the Council on Foreign Relations, disease and death in undeveloped countries continues to rise inspite of new medical technologies and improved conditions in sanitation, nutrition, housing, and education. This is not just related to noncommunicable diseases; infectious diseases such as malaria, AIDS, SARS, the flu, and tuberculosis are also culprits and much of these occur in developing countries (CFR, 2013). The scope of this problem involves factors such as environmental health, maternal and child health, nutrition, ethics, and human rights issues.

            As it relates to environmental health, global health issues are often caused or made worse by negative environmental impacts such as pollution and health hazards caused by a lack in adequate sanitation of waste and water supplies. Satisfactory maternal and child health is affected by lack of resources, education, and healthcare access. Nutrition issues stem from low or non-existent food sources and little access to healthy food choices. In addition, ethics and human rights issues are related to all of the above. There is an unfair disparity in access to basic human necessities such as food, water, and healthcare, in undeveloped countries, and this speaks to a lack of ethics on the part of developed countries as well as of the governments of the undeveloped countries.

Solutions to the Problem

            As mentioned, improvements in healthcare access, early detection, and timely interventions are keys to eliminating much of the problems surrounding global health issues. However, most developing countries depend on health system funds from donors, which is not always reliable. Many developing countries receive up to 40 percent of their financial help from donor funds; however, there are times when the developing countries’ governments reduce their resource allocation, by up to 43 percent, to their needy when receiving assistance for health from other countries. Furthermore, many health systems in developing countries are undermined because of a shortage of healthcare professionals (less than 2.3 per thousand people), and this causes disparities in delivery of care (CFR, 2013).

Conclusion

            Unfortunately, it seems that there really is no immediate solution to the problem of global health issues, as long as obstacles such as governments blocking needed help from their countries and issues with poverty, sanitation, nutrition, education, and access exists. Poverty is the main cause of many global health issues. Poorer countries are often victims of the wealthy such as powerful pharmaceutical companies which is an example of a human cause, due to politics. Not all causes are natural causes. Addressing the problem of global health issues, therefore, is more a matter of social, ethical, and political factors that need to be changed before the world sees a reduction in unnecessary poverty, diseases, and deaths.

References

CFR. (2013, June 6). The Global Health Regime. Retrieved from Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.cfr.org/health-science-and-technology/global-health-regime/p22763

Shah, A. (2011, September 12). Global Health Overview. Retrieved from Global Issues: http://www.globalissues.org/article/588/global-health-overview

WHO. (2010). Global status report on noncommunicable diseases. World Health Organization.

Categories
Nursing

Heart Disease in Baltimore

Introduction

            The development of a successful framework for managing heart disease in any community requires an effective understanding of the demographics and the challenges that groups face in support of developing strategies to improve outcomes. In particular, heart disease is a challenging condition that must be considered and evaluated in order to reduce risks and improve outcomes for community members. The following discussion will evaluate heart disease in Baltimore, MD in order to identify different strategies that might be useful in expanding knowledge and information regarding this condition to prevent serious complications.

This discussion will also address the importance of communication within nursing practice as a means of exploring the different dimensions of care and treatment that is required for communities such as Baltimore, MD. Nursing possesses a series of different ideas and expectations within the culture that must be addressed in an effort to produce successful outcomes in the area that emphasizes various communication strategies. These efforts will provide support in determining how to best utilize group communication as well as one-on-one communication to identify and solve problems effectively. These efforts will demonstrate the importance of nursing communication in supporting successful patient care and treatment outcomes at all times.

Part 1: Community/State Demographics     

            Baltimore, Maryland is a very diverse community with many different health concerns and a strong necessity to facilitate health promotion activities. Heart disease is a number one killer throughout the United States and carries a high degree of risk for many communities, including the Baltimore area. With the 2012 Census, the city of Baltimore had approximately 621,342 residents, of which 52.9 percent are females and 63.6 percent are African Americans (US Census Bureau, 2012). Whites make up 31.5 percent of the population and only 4.3 percent are of Hispanic or Latino origin (US Census Bureau, 2012). Almost 80 percent of this population has a high school diploma and 26 percent has earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher, with 50% owning their own homes (US Census Bureau, 2012). The median household income for 2007-2011 was $40,100 and 22.4 percent of the population is below the poverty level (US Census Bureau, 2012).  

            In the State of Maryland, there are 5,884,563 residents, with females comprising 51.6 percent of the population, while 61.1 percent are White, 30 percent are African American, and 8.4 percent are Hispanic or Latino (US Census Bureau, 2012). Within the State, 88.2 percent of the population has earned a high school diploma and 36.1 percent has earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, with a home ownership rate of 68.7 percent (US Census Bureau, 2012). Finally, the median household income for the State is $35,751 and 9 percent of the population lives below the poverty line (US Census Bureau, 2012). Based on these statistics, the City of Baltimore faces greater socioeconomic challenges than those of the State of Maryland, including the potential for greater health disparities. Therefore, it is important to identify these disparities and to address cardiovascular disease within the City as a serious health issue and a formidable threat to this population.

Part 2: Health Status

            The Baltimore City Health Department routinely provides reports regarding the health status of its local residents and identifies specific health disparities that require further consideration. Although some areas have experienced slight improvement, there continue to be many health disparities that must be addressed to improve outcomes throughout the city (Baltimore City Health Department, 2010). In general, the city fares worse than the State of Maryland in such areas as heart disease and infant mortality; therefore, the City must utilize its available resources in order to accomplish improved health outcomes throughout this community (Baltimore City Health Department, 2010).

Within Baltimore County, cardiovascular disease claims approximately2,000 lives annually; therefore, this community must identify methods to better manage existing disparities and to encourage greater compliance to improve health and wellbeing (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). An agenda was established by the City Health Department in an effort to reduce the risks associated with cardiovascular disease and included such topics as reducing salt intake, expanding blood pressure screenings, enhancing health education by using Faith-based approaches, and smoking cessation efforts (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). These efforts demonstrate the important impact of health promotion for this population group in order to reduce disparities and to improve outcomes (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009).

Within the City of Baltimore, there were approximately 200 deaths per 100,000 members of the population as a result of coronary heart disease in 2008, which is 53 deaths above the state average (Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 2009).These findings suggest that Baltimore residents do not manage their overall cardiovascular health and face critical challenges that require additional education and guidance from community members (Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 2009).Within the City of Baltimore, evidence also demonstrates that African Americans experience higher rates of death as a result of cardiovascular disease as compared to other population groups, thereby mandating additional education and prevention efforts within this community (Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute). Furthermore, African Americans within the city have a higher rate of obesity than Whites (Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute). These statistics provide further evidence that cardiovascular disease in Baltimore is higher in some population groups than in others, supporting the belief that these groups experience greater health disparities (Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute).

In an examination of statistics evaluating specific neighborhoods of Baltimore, every single neighborhood that was evaluated, from wealthiest to poorest, reported heart disease as the leading cause of death (The Baltimore Sun, 2011). Therefore, it is important to identify different methods to promote the expanded delivery of healthcare services and health promotion activities to improve outcomes for this population group (The Baltimore Sun, 2011). In addition, it is important to recognize the value of surveys and discussion groups to identify health disparities in order to improve outcomes and to reflect on existing frameworks to achieve greater results. According to a study conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in public housing units in Baltimore, “Public housing residents had a preexisting knowledge and awareness of heart healthy lifestyles and CVD risk factors…One cardiovascular risk behavior, cigarette smoking, is pervasive among the demographic groups probed (excluding teen females) and accordingly smoking cessation is a critical element of any community outreach strategy that would be developed. Stress, from environmental and personal stimuli, is also cited by participants as a major barrier to improving health, including young adults ages 15–18. In fact, many participants cite stress as a primary risk factor for heart disease and a barrier to heart disease prevention” (NHLBI, p. 2). Based upon these indicators, it is necessary to evaluate the conditions that are evident within this community in an effort to improve knowledge and prevention strategies to reduce cardiovascular risks (NHLBI). The efforts that are made to conduct interventions throughout Baltimore are likely to be effective in providing knowledge and information to local residents who might improve their own health outcomes in the process.

One of the most staggering discrepancies in Baltimore regarding the health of its population is life expectancy, which differs by 20 years in some communities (Cohn and Marton, 2012). For example, the Roland Park community has a much higher life expectancy rate and a higher median income at $90,000, while Upton has a much lower life expectancy rate and a lower median income at $13,000 (Cohn and Marton, 2012). Nonetheless, heart disease is the number one killer in both communities; however, prevention and awareness of the disease vary dramatically (Cohn and Marton, 2012). These findings suggest that the residents of Baltimore in throughout all communities must be aware of the risks associated with heart disease, but that those in lower income communities must be provided with greater interventions in order to improve their cardiovascular health and wellbeing over time (Cohn and Marton, 2012). It is important to recognize these disparities and how to overcome the discrepancies in the health of Baltimore residents so that the risks associated with heart attack, stroke, and other conditions are reduced as best as possible (Cohn and Marton, 2012). In addition, this population group must be provided with the appropriate level of access to healthcare screenings and services in an effort to produce successful outcomes for individuals and families who are at the greatest risk for cardiovascular disease (Cohn and Marton, 2012).

            Finally, the development of a successful approach to prevent heart disease and improve disease management to prevent high mortality rates requires an effective understanding of the disparities that exist throughout Baltimore, particularly those that occur across minority groups. Since there are significant discrepancies in Baltimore in regards to specific populations, it is important to evaluate these differences and to take the steps that are necessary to provide local residents across different communities with     the tools and resources that are required to improve their health and reduce their risk of heart disease through healthy lifestyle choices and other factors that will improve their health and wellbeing in different ways.

Part 3: Communication Methods

            Nurses must exercise different methods of communication in the workplace and in working specifically with patients. One of the key factors to consider in this practice is time because there is typically limited time to address concerns with patients and with colleagues in the face of significant workload concerns (Hemsley et.al, 2012). Therefore, time is a critical component in managing communication between nurses and patients in different settings and in supporting the development of new perspectives to ensure that patient care is not compromised as a result of time constraints (Hemsley et.al, 2012). These efforts are important because they provide greater evidence of the ability of time to play a substantial role in how communication is addressed between nurses and their patients in different ways (Hemsley et.al, 2012).

            In the context of quality patient care, nurses must demonstrate their willingness to communicate with their patients through the utilization of structure and leadership in supporting effective communication between patients and with colleagues (Baird et.al, 2012). Nurse leaders must recognize that communication is a critical component of nursing practice and that nurses must identify areas of strength and weakness to ensure that patient care is not compromised in any way (Baird et.al, 2012). In addition, nurse leaders must establish the tone and an example for other nurses to follow in their efforts to develop effective communication in group settings and in one-on-one exchanges (Baird et.al, 2012). Also, nurses must develop effective skills to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues to promote greater quality of care and treatment in these settings (Coeling and Cukr, 2000). Collaborations of an interdisciplinary nature are designed to strengthen knowledge and address weaknesses within team-based settings to facilitate improved quality of care over time (Coeling and Cukr, 2000). Similarly, team-based environments often encourage new approaches to common patient care problems and facilitate holistic strategies to promote care and treatment that not only support patients, but also clinical staff members in their own learning (Kvarnstrom, 2008).

Effective Communication Strategies

            Communication throughout nursing practice requires an effective understanding of the different elements that support idea sharing and positive outcomes. To be specific, “The main intention of communication and interaction in the health setting is to influence the patient’s health status or state of well-being… The process of communication is often described with a phase model; communication often happens during other interventions and tasks. In general, influencing factors can be organized into the categories of provider variables, patient variables, environmental and situational variables” (Fleischer et.al, 2009). From this perspective, it is important to demonstrate that nursing communication strategies are dependent on specific models and indicators that are grounded in other experiences to ensure that patient care experiences and interactions are not compromised (Fleischer et.al, 2009). At the same time, it is important to identify the specific phases of communication that are common in nursing practice in order to accomplish the needs of patient care and treatment in different ways to improve patient wellbeing (Fleischer et.al, 2009).

            Many different communication strategies are available to nurses to enable communication to be effective in their associations with other nurses and with patients. Therefore, one strategy to consider is collaborative communication, whereby “Collaborative communication and teamwork are essential elements for quality care and patient safety. Adverse patient occurrences are an extremely common outcome of communication failures…Although improving communication has been included as a Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal for hospitals since 2003, in 2006, handoff communications were included as a specific communication subset” (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). Under these conditions, it is expected that effective nursing care and treatment will be achieved through the continued efforts by nurses and nurse leaders to exercise effective communication at all times and to demonstrate the importance of collaborative communication in supporting all aspects of patient care at all times (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). In particular, situations involving handoffs of patients to the next shift are particularly important in demonstrating that nurses are capable of handling communication in an effective manner (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). These efforts are also important because they convey the importance of specific needs and challenges that patients face when nurses are unable to communicate effectively with their colleagues and with patients (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). For many organizations, the basic task of shifting communication styles is important because it provides significant evidence that there are improvements in patient communication by nurses once these strategies are rolled out (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). Therefore, it is important to identify the strategies that are likely to be most effective in this process and to ensure that they are executed as best as possible in nursing settings and across all population group (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009). This practice is essential to the discovery of new ideas and techniques to demonstrate the successful impact of patient care and treatment in a manner that is consistent with nurse professionalism and strength (Beckett and Kipnis, 2009).

Barriers to Communication

            In working with specific population groups, nurses must also demonstrate their ability to engage patients by expressing communication with respect to culture and language differences. Therefore, nurses must be able to effectively communicate with all patients and to recognize that in some cases, there are likely to be barriers to this communication unless interventions are conducted for these patients, such as the use of an interpreter for patients who speak a different language (Fatahi et.al, 2010). This is particularly important when providing technical information to patients to remove language barriers whenever possible so patients better understand what is taking place (Fatahi et.al, 2010).

            Oncology nurses, for example, barriers to communication are a common phenomenon that is characterized by the development of specific limitations in communication as a result of the poor translation of information by other healthcare providers, perhaps on different shifts or in different departments, thereby leaving patients and their family members confused regarding the information that they have received (Wittenberg-Lyles et.al, 2013). In addition, the article indicates that “Physician assumptions about nursing left nurses feeling uncomfortable asking for clarification, creating a barrier to team communication processes. Patient-centered communication and care cannot be actualized for nurses unless team roles are clarified and nurses receive training in how to communicate with physicians, patients, and family” (Wittenberg-Lyles et.al, 2013). This example demonstrates that there are significant barriers to effective communication by nurses to patients and their family members, often based upon confusion created by other healthcare providers (Wittenberg-Lyles et.al, 2013). These efforts are important because they convey that there are considerable weaknesses in the communication practices of other nurses and physicians, thereby creating much communication across different departments and nursing units (Wittenberg-Lyles et.al, 2013). As a result, it may be difficult for organizations to overcome these barriers unless additional training and clarification is provided to nurses to ensure that these barriers are eliminated or minimized as best as possible (Wittenberg-Lyles et.al, 2013).

            For nurses working with children and parents, there are other types of barriers and challenges that may exist that must be addressed as best as possible. However, some nurses might not possess the appropriate method of working with these patients and should be sensitive to the needs of this specific population group (Redsell et.al, 2010). Therefore, these needs must be met through the understanding of nursing-based perspectives and how these might influence communication in different ways so that the needs of this population are better met during nursing communication practices (Redsell et.al, 2010). The efforts that are made also demonstrate the attitudes of nurses regarding their patients and the treatments that they receive, because in some cases, these perceptions could be distorted by specific beliefs or judgments that are not beneficial to patients (Redsell et.al, 2010). As a result, it is important to identify the specific indicators of communication that are necessary to ensure that patient care is optimized at all times (Redsell et.al, 2010).

            For nurses seeking to improve their communication skills, it is important to recognize the value of developing new perspectives and approaches to nursing practice that will enhance communication in different ways. This may involve interventions that are likely to identify problems in such settings as chronic care, for example, so that there are sufficient opportunities to recognize problems to improve communication as best as possible (Boscart, 2009). In many organizations, ”Positive nurse–patient communication in chronic care is crucial to the quality of life and well-being of patients. Despite this, patients are dissatisfied with these interactions and nursing staff indicate the need for additional training” (Boscart, 2009). Therefore, it is necessary to identify specific areas where communication might be improved to reduce barriers and to expand patient compliance in chronic care settings (Boscart, 2009).

            Collaborative learning requires successful communication and the elimination of barriers through role clarification and trust amongst team members (U.S. Office of Personnel Management). This is best accomplished through flexibility and a full commitment to the team’s purpose and function (U.S. Office of Personnel Management). Furthermore, the development of effective critical thinking skills is essential in promoting productivity and encouraging a clear approach to a given problem in order to develop an effective solution (Elder and Paul). Higher level thinking and analysis must evolve so that individual contributions to teams and to the patient care experience are effective (Elder and Paul).

Health Assessment

            Baltimore, MD is a large metropolitan community that faces similar health risks to other communities with respect to heart disease and related conditions. It is important to identify the specific population groups that are most affected by this condition and to determine how to best approach disease management in order to facilitate optimal outcomes for this community. The City of Baltimore faces a great risk of heart disease that is not that unique from other communities; however, Baltimore has its own set of population demographics that must be properly identified and addressed so that the proposed action plan will be most effective for this community. Therefore, nurses and other healthcare professionals must take the steps that are necessary to create an action plan that will target this community and provide the necessary benefits as effectively as possible. An effective community-based assessment is critical to the success of a given strategic approach to improve public health initiatives and wellbeing (Williams, 2009; Walker et.al, 2011). Health assessments also require an analysis of specific populations in order to improve health promotion activities across these groups (Harris-Roxas and Harris, 2011).

            From an environmental perspective, it is important to identify specific indicators that may impact health assessments and promotion activities within communities (Collins and Koplan, 2009). Team-based activities are critical during the assessment process and support the expansion of activities for a given purpose (Elder and Paul), while also considering the impact of these activities in the team setting (U.S. Office of Personnel Management). Perhaps one area to consider is specific needs assessments for elderly persons versus younger age groups, with the former more likely to require advanced directives due to age and other factors (Taylor, 2012). Miller (2005) demonstrates that communication within a given setting is critical to the success of a healthcare directive and should be utilized in team settings to facilitate positive outcomes. Furthermore, collaborative efforts in a community-based setting should signify a commitment to the initiative and the people that it serves through effective communication channels, rather than weak ones (Kvarnstrom, 2008; Coeling and Cukr, 2000). Laverack (2006) encourages community empowerment through the development of specific initiatives that are designed to promote health and wellbeing. A successful example is the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiative, which has been effective in providing tools to local residents who otherwise might not have access (Cheadle et.al, 2010). Some community members may possess specific beliefs regarding therapies that may support improved health, but these are not always easily understood, including the use of alternative therapies to treat chronic illnesses (Fennell et.al, 2009; Hassan et.al, 2010; Ndao-Brumblay and Green, 2010).

            For the City of Baltimore, approximately 200 deaths occur per 100,000 members of the population resulting from coronary artery disease, which is well above the state average (Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 2009). Therefore, it is strongly evident that many residents in Baltimore who face a greater risk of heart disease may not recognize this risk or are not taking the steps that are necessary to improve and maintain their own health (Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 2009). In particular, African Americans face the greatest risk as a result of this condition and their needs must be addressed as a key component of a larger community-based effort to promote heart health and wellbeing, including the reduction of obesity rates within this population group (Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute).

            According to the Baltimore City Health Department, “Baltimore, home to 637,455 people, is located in the wealthiest state in the nation, yet has nearly 20% of its residents living in poverty. Many of these are the working poor who cannot afford health insurance and who are frequent, but inefficient users of the healthcare system” (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009, p. 4). Under these conditions, it is important to identify the specific factors that play a critical role in the continued growth of the heart disease epidemic within Baltimore, given that poverty impacts approximately one-fifth of the City’s population (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). Under these circumstances, outreach and prevention are difficult to accomplish when this population group do not have access to health insurance and services at all, or this access is severely limited (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). These findings suggest that it is necessary to identify specific indicators that may reduce the risk of heart disease within this population through the development of an action plan that will address these concerns in a comprehensive manner to improve overall awareness of heart disease and the risks associated with this condition throughout the City of Baltimore.

Action Plan

            An action plan to reduce the risk of heart disease for Baltimore residents requires an effective understanding of the specific risks and challenges of this group and their level of understanding of this condition and how it impacts their daily lives. Some of the most important factors to consider include the following: “Cardiovascular disease behavioral risk factors include: inadequate physical activity and exercise, poor dietary habits, tobacco abuse and excessive alcohol intake. Community-based approaches seek to understand and address aspects of the socio-cultural environments that impact behavioral risk factors. Using the affected communities as the setting for intervention allows increased awareness and better understanding of the barriers and facilitators to behavior change” (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009, p. 9). These circumstances coincide with the lack of understanding of the specific factors that contribute to negative outcomes for this population and the challenges that they face, either without any form or health insurance or very limited coverage, both of which may lead to considerable consequences for their health and wellbeing (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). Under these conditions, it is important to identify the specific factors that are represented by these phenomena in order to determine how to best move forward with action plan that is most appropriate for the needs of this population (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009).

            The utilization of local community-based services and principles is essential to the discovery of new perspectives and strategies to improve the cardiovascular health and wellbeing of Baltimore’s population. This is challenging because it requires an effective understanding of the limitations placed on residents due to their lack of knowledge and experience with cardiovascular disease and how it impacts their health in different ways. It is likely that a lack of knowledge regarding diet, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption are key contributors to the elevated risk of heart disease within this community (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009). Therefore, it is recommended that there must be additional factors in place that will promote a successful action plan for widespread implementation throughout this community (Baltimore City Health Department, 2009).

            Baltimore’s population faces risks that are not that different from other communities with respect to heart disease. Therefore, lessons learned across other populations might be useful in developing a strategy for this community and its people. The action plan that is chosen for implementation must consider the following key areas of development: long-term impact, the capacity for continuous development and expansion, improving policy, moving forward with an action strategy, and expanding collaborations with other communities (CDC). It is known that “The economic costs of heart disease and stroke rise each year. These costs include the numbers of people requiring treatment for risk factors or early signs of disease; emergency treatment for first or recurrent episodes of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke; and efforts to reduce disability and prevent recurrent episodes” (CDC, p. 4). These findings suggest that it is more important than ever to develop strategic approaches that will facilitate the support of new ideas and community-based initiatives to encourage cardiovascular disease prevention as best as possible for Baltimore residents (CDC).

            The impact of a strategic action plan to reduce the risk of heart disease also requires an effective understanding of the risks associated with this condition. Behaviors are perhaps the key to understanding how individuals respond to heart disease and in establishing its overall impact on health and wellbeing for a given community. In Baltimore, this appears to be particularly relevant because lifestyle behaviors for many members of the affected population lead to greater risks, including poor dietary consumption, smoking, excessive sodium intake, and limited physical activity, amongst others. Under these conditions, it is important to identify the specific areas where behavioral improvements might occur so that cardiovascular disease risk is significantly reduced.

            An action plan to reduce heart disease risk for Baltimore residents requires a detailed assessment of the population and its current lifestyle behaviors because this practice will facilitate the development of new ideas to promote positive lifestyle behavioral changes for the residents of Baltimore. Due to the costs of prevention programs and their limited impact in many cases, it is necessary to identify the specific factors that are relatively easy to measure and that might have a greater and lasting impact on the community at large. These efforts will demonstrate the importance of specific factors that will support long-term behavioral and lifestyle changes within this population.

            From a public-based perspective, the development of a strategic approach to reduce the risks associated with heart disease requires public support and intervention not only through financial means, but also through the utilization of knowledge and experience that is present within the Baltimore community. This coincides with national public initiatives to improve health and promote awareness of heart disease and other conditions that impact communities throughout the United States. These factors play an important role in reducing these risks and in enabling community residents to better understand how their own behaviors impact their health and wellbeing in different ways. This is an important step towards the discovery of new insights and approaches that will positively influence outcomes for these residents.

            Public health initiatives and other challenges must evolve so that there are significant opportunities for growth and development within communities such as Baltimore. In particular, this community faces significant racial disparities and such factors as low education levels and low incomes that may prohibit access to routine healthcare services (Shaya et.al, 2006). In addition, “People with lower socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to be uninsured, have low-quality heath care, and seek health care less often; when they do seek care, the problem is more likely to be an emergency” (Shaya et.al, 2006, p. 140). Under these conditions, it is expected that there will be significant problems that continue over time that must be addressed through action plan efforts so that local residents will benefit from these initiatives and will improve their own cardiovascular health by utilizing these offerings (Shaya et.al, 2006).

            Establishing an effective action plan for the Baltimore community also requires an effective screening tool that will be utilized on a regular basis within the community to support long-term growth and wellbeing for this population, and in particular, African Americans (Shaya et.al, 2006). These efforts must coincide with other strategies in place within the community and should also reflect a means of expanding knowledge and growth of specific factors associated with community-based support of these offerings (Shaya et.al, 2006). From a behavioral perspective, enabling this community to recognize the benefits of positive behavioral changes may make an important difference in their ability to remain compliant in these endeavors (Shaya et.al, 2006). These creative approaches must demonstrate the importance of specific interventions and other factors that are instrumental in shaping outcomes for this group of residents (Shaya et.al, 2006).

            From a compliance-based perspective, the ability of local residents to accomplish the objectives of the action plan requires a continuous effort from social service and healthcare providers to motivate residents so that they are able to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease over time. This is an important and meaningful accomplishment for the community and requires a greater understanding of the different challenges and limitations that exist in supporting the development of new ideas and approaches to facilitate improvements not only in lifestyle behaviors, but also in the ability to access specific healthcare services within the community setting. This is a critical offering that must be provided through the efforts made with the action plan and should be effective in supporting the development of new ideas and approaches to encourage growth and change within the members of this community, and in particular, those who face the highest risk of cardiovascular disease. With these steps in mind, local residents are likely to experience greater benefits and will be empowered to improve their health and wellbeing through specific lifestyle changes and behavioral modifications to accomplish these efforts in an effective manner.

            Key community organizations and professionals, such as nurses, social workers, pharmacists, churches, hospitals, clinics, schools, and others must identify areas where collaboration might be beneficial in supporting the long-term growth and sustainability of the chosen action plan. It is necessary to identify specific factors that are associated with positive outcomes for local residents that also address disparities in healthcare access, screening, and treatment for this population group. With these efforts in mind, it is necessary to also address methods of developing and sustaining an action plan that is cost effective and appropriate for the population in question and the needs of the local community at large. These efforts will provide significant and meaningful benefits to local residents in their efforts to achieve positive health outcomes for the foreseeable future. Since the risk of cardiovascular disease is significant for many residents of Baltimore, it is more important than ever to address these disparities and to consider the challenges of creating an environment that supports these objectives and developments over the long term.

Conclusion

            The disparities in health in Baltimore are best represented by the development of strategic approaches in community –based settings in order to gather data and to develop specific frameworks that will generate healthier outcomes for this group. Within this context, it is important to recognize the value of interventions that provide education and support to those persons at risk for cardiovascular disease in order to improve outcomes and create new opportunities for expanded health. With a diverse range of life expectancy within the City of Baltimore, it is more important than ever to recognize the different concerns associated with lower income communities and how this impacts health over the long term. From this perspective, it is likely that organizations that work collaboratively towards a set of common goals and objectives will achieve greater than anticipated outcomes in different ways to reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular concerns. For the residents of Baltimore, it is more important than ever to provide them with a framework for the achievement of successful outcomes and the development of healthier lifestyle choices to improve general health and wellbeing over time.

            The identification and development of successful nursing-based communication strategies with patients and colleagues requires an effective recognition of the different challenges that exist in expanding communication to improve the quality of care. Recognizing barriers to communication is important in demonstrating the value of taking the steps that are required to improve communication to improve the quality of care. All populations deserve quality care and treatment from nurses at all times; therefore, continuous efforts must be made to accommodate these needs and to eliminate barriers to communication in order to promote successful outcomes and wellbeing for all patients. These contributions to nursing practice are critical because they shape the manner in which nurses identify with their patients and are able to communicate with them in different ways to ensure that patient care and treatment are not compromised in any way.

            The people of Baltimore face significant risks associated with cardiovascular disease and its impact on their lives. In particular, African Americans face a greater risk of cardiovascular disease due to various disparities within the culture itself and in obtaining routine access to quality healthcare services. Community-based initiatives must be established to expand knowledge and awareness of heart disease and its overall impact on local community residents. It is important for local community members with experience in public health and social services to participate in these endeavors to ensure that local residents are taking the steps that are necessary to improve their health and to minimize their risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, greater access to healthcare services must be achieved to improve lifestyle behaviors, screening mechanisms, and other factors that are active contributors to the reduction of risk associated with cardiovascular disease within this community. Finally, it is important for local organizations and professionals to identify areas where disparities exist and to address those disparities as directly as possible to reduce the long-term impact of heart disease on the community as a whole. These efforts will demonstrate the importance of specific factors and approaches that will facilitate greater outcomes and that will utilize specific community-based knowledge and experience to develop efforts to improve outcomes for local community members that will be consistent and routine over time.

            The proposed action plan must demonstrate that cardiovascular disease in the Baltimore area is taken seriously and requires a collaborative effort from a variety of community-based sources in order to accomplish the desired objectives and to facilitate successful results in reducing disparities and in shaping a healthier community for all residents. These efforts must utilize existing resources wisely and develop new strategies to facilitate growth and change within the Baltimore community setting. With these practices in place, the people of Baltimore will achieve greater than anticipated health outcomes and improved longevity over time.

References

Baird, B.K., Funderburk, A., and Whitt, M. (2012). Structure strengthens nursing                                    communication. Nurse Leader, 10(2), 48-49, 52.

Baltimore City Health Department (2009). Agenda to reduce cardiovascular disease                     

http://www.baltimorehealth.org/info/Keep%20the%20Beat%20-%20Baltimore%27s%20Cardiovascular%20Disease%20Agenda.pdf

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from http://data.baltimoresun.com/baltimore-healthy-neighborhoods/

 Beckett, C.D., and Kipnis, G. (2009). Collaborative communication: integrating SBAR to                     improve quality/patient safety outcomes. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 31(5),                         19-28.

Boscart, V.M. (2009). A communication intervention for nursing staff in chronic care.                            Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(9), 1823-1832.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A public health action plan to prevent heart disease                        and stroke. Retrieved from

http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/action_plan/pdfs/action_plan_full.pdf\

Cheadle, A., Schwartz, P.A., Rauzon,S., Beery, W.L., Gee, S., and Solomon, L. (2010).  The                 Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiative: overview and evaluation design.                     American Journal of Public Health,100(11), 2111-2113.

Coeling, HVE, and Cukr, P.L. (2000). Communication styles that promote perceptions of                      collaboration, quality, and nurse satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 14(2),                 63-74.

Cohn, M., and Marton, A. (2012). City health data illustrates chasm between rich and poor                       neighborhoods. The Baltimore Sun, retrieved from

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Collins, J., and Koplan, J.P. (2009). Health impact assessment: a step toward health in all                       policies. Journal of the American Medical Association,302(3), 315-317.

Elder, L., and Paul, R. Learning the art of critical thinking, pp. 1-6.

Fatahi, N., Mattsson, B., Lundgren, S.M., and Hellstrom, M. (2010). Nurse radiographers’                     experiences of communication with patients who do not speak the native language.                     Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(4), 774-783.

Fennell, D., Liberato, ASQ, and Zsembik, B. (2009). Definitions and patterns of CAM use by               the lay public. Complementary therapies in medicine, 17(2), 71-77.

Fleischer, S., Berg, A., Zimmerman, M., Wuste, K., and Behrens, J. (2009). Nurse-patient                      interaction and communication: a systematic literature review. Journal of Public             Health, 17(5), 339-353.

Harris-Roxas, B., and Harris, E. (2011). Differing forms, differing purposes: a typology of health                      impact assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 31(4), 396-403.

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Categories
Geography

Global Warming

The Natural Resources Defense Council states that global warming is caused by a collection of carbon monoxide and air pollution within the atmosphere. This event causes an effect such as that of a thick blanket covering the earth, by trapping heat from the sun. This is called the Greenhouse Effect and is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Two main sources of these emissions are coal-burning power plants and automobile exhaust (NRDC). According to the National Geographic magazine, global warming cyclically affects climate rhythms and the lives of all living things on earth (Global Warming). In short, the earth is heating up which will continue to threaten life on earth as it is known.

Global Warming Statistics

            Currently, there are no signs that global warming will cease to exist, as the earth is already showing damage from its effects. As reported by NASA, average worldwide earth temperatures have risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.8 degrees Celsius since the year 1880, and the majority of this climb in temperature occurred within recent decades and the rate is increasing. In addition, climate studies show the last two decades of the 20th century had the hottest temperatures during the last 400 years and possibly the last 1,000 years. Moreover, as reported by the United Nations, 11 out of the last 12 years were warmer since 1850, and even scarier is the fact that the Arctic is getting warmer. Average temperatures in this region (which includes Alaska, parts of Canada, and eastern Russia) have doubled the global average, according to a report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment organization (NRDC).

Consequences of Global Warming

With ice melting in the Arctic, polar bears, penguins, and other Arctic wildlife, as well as indigenous cultures are threatened. Also, glaciers and mountain snow tops are also melting such as in Glacier National Park in Montana which is down to only 27 glaciers instead of 150 that were there as recently as 1910. In addition, sea temperatures are rising and coral reefs are dying off at rates of up to 70 percent. Global warming has also caused a record amount of natural events such as tropical storms, tornadoes, wildfires, heat waves, tsunamis, and floods in various parts of the world (NRDC). All of these events create domino effects throughout the circle of life on this planet and affects all living things – animals, plant life, and humans.

Predictions and Efforts to Change Global Warming

            It is reported that the United States is the largest culprit as a source of global warming pollution, producing 25 percent of the problem by burning fossil fuels (NRDC). Clearly, an obvious prevention opportunity is for the United States to curtail its use of fossil fuels. There are technologies in place to help with this effort; however, they are not yet completely mainstream. Using renewable energy sources such as from the wind and the sun will help the global warming problem, and some states have already regulated this to be put in place by large utility companies by 2017 (NRDC). This is a relief; however, this effort needs to be expedited by the United States as well as other nations of the world. Everyone can do a part to conserve energy and not pollute any more than we already have. Too many people are oblivious to the facts about global warming and they do not pay much attention to it. There should be more in-your-face awareness and more broadcasts about the current and future effects of this threat to humanity. Global warming is everybody’s problem.

Works Cited

Global Warming. n.d. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/>.

NRDC. Global Warming Basics. 18 October 2005. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/f101.asp>.

Categories
Business

The Telecommunication Revolution in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Introduction

The African continent has been rapidly investing into the telecommunications industry as its economy continues to grow. Despite the constant conflict in major countries in Africa, as well as poverty and crime remaining in society, the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market resides inside Africa, although the mobile phone market has only become popular in the last decade. In particular, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the largest importers of mobile phones in Africa, and according to recent statistics, mobile phone usage in the region has increased to double the global average. However, a reliable and consistent service provider has yet to be established in the Democratic Republic of Congo; therefore, the implications and benefits of such a service are discussed herein.

Congo Mobile Service Provider

The flawed mythology that treats Africa as a homogenous disaster area is being challenged by investors and economists1. Investors have continued to add to the growing economy in more ways than one. As the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to import mobile phones, the main source of income and growth for the country relies on the production of coltan, one of the materials used in the production of mobile phones. By working alongside the mobile manufacturers in the area, it is possible to get cheaper handsets and thus more affordable service, since the handsets are very easy to produce, and the coltan product used in the manufacturing stage is a readily available resource. Therefore, it is a two-fold strategy in which the manufacturer and the service provider can benefit in cost reductions via a corporate partnership.

Due to globalisation, the coltan material is extracted and exported to the Asian continents, where they are manufactured and packaged, then are sent to major mobile phone company’ headquarters for testing and certification. Once complete, the mobile phones are imported back into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are distributed and sold by mobile phone outlets. As mobile phones are part of the telecommunications industry, it relies heavily on satellite communication for reception and connectivity.

However, there remains the question of a valid service provider. Although corporate giants such as Nokia have office branches in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the service provided by the company is limited, as it is more cost effective to replace a mobile phone than troubleshoot the problem. As such, there is a great need to fill the gap between the supplier and the consumer, as millions of Africans rely on third-party networks for consistent service. As such, the need for establishing a support service that links providers directly to consumers, serving as the middle man, remains.

There are three main influences regarding the establishment of the Congo Mobile Service Provider (CMSP). Firstly, the network on which many of the mobile phones are relying upon needs to be increased. Currently, many of the mobile phones in the Democratic Republic of Congo rely on a roaming network, meaning that the reception and connectivity is inconsistent with the receiving and making of phone calls and text messages. Therefore, the network should be connected to relative countries in proximity, so that carriers can link to nearby networks and establish a consistent connection. This will be routed and provided by the CMSP.   

Secondly, the location of the service base will be an issue that remains to be solved. Although business is booming, the safety of civilians, as well as foreigners, continues to come under threat, even in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Therefore, a suitable location that is still relatively accessible to the public, but within the boundaries of safe premises, will constitute a location that will serve as the service base. It should also be in close proximity to other mobile phone providers, in the central business district, and within distance of the embassy or consulate.

Thirdly, the management of the CMSP should be carefully selected and maintained. Although it is suitable for Congo residents to be employed within the business, the first point of contact should remain as a foreign contact. This is mainly due to the fact that the Congo people value the service of foreigners, especially in such an industry as telecommunications. The Congo employees should be given the responsibility of ensuring that the business is profitable, by engaging in marketing, maintenance and operations of the business; whereas the foreigners should be charged with customer service, liaisons and other related responsibilities.

Successful Service

Labelling of a service as successful or unsuccessful in such a country as the Democratic Republic of Congo relies on the cultural and economic implications, as well as marketing initiatives by the CMSP. Emerging markets are radically different from traditional industrialised societies, and require rethinking of the core assumptions of marketing, such as market orientation, market segmentation and differential advantage2. These three purposes serve the purpose of labelling in the telecommunications industry.

Regarding market orientation, the organisational culture of the CMSP should be an organic one, mainly for the purposes of the company structure. As telecommunications continue to improve, the organisational culture of CMSP should be able to react and handle the changes in the industry effectively, as well as embracing the technology and implementing changes as necessary. This will assist in tapping into the market and increasing the differential advantage, as will be mentioned later.

In terms of market segmentation, the sub-set of consumers who have a need to be met, namely a reliable service provider, will be targeted and strategies surrounding their needs will be implemented to meet them. As there are millions of consumers who have mobile phones, but few have a reliable service provider, there is a consistent need for such a service that CMSP can provide, along with support and assistance when required. The support provides consists of mobile troubleshooting, handset servicing, sim card and battery replacement, Wi-Fi and network connectivity; as well as assistance with replacing or upgrading handsets, customer service, and improvements in mobile user-friendliness. 

Regarding differential advantage, as aforementioned, there are few companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo that provide a consistent service to mobile users. The few that do are not readily accessible to consumers, nor do they provide ongoing assistance; which is where CMSP comes in. The business will provide all three core services to consumers, filling the void between mobile phone providers and the customers themselves. This will become the differential advantage for CMSP.    

Brand Loyalty

As most Africans use mobile phones such as Nokia, CMSP will partner with such companies as their main service provider. By doing so, the brand loyalty that Africans have to Nokia and other such mobile phone manufacturers will assist in the establishment of the business. To enhance the users’ experience, mobile phone brands will be displayed prominently in marketing campaigns and joint business initiatives between Nokia and related companies, and CMSP.

By partnering with a well-known brand such as Nokia and other similar companies, the business will be able to grow and expand to serve a wide proportion of consumers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Furthermore, by partnering with the major mobile phone manufacturers, the CMSP will be able to attract their customers and link them to the company’s service provider. This corporate partnership will be able to increase brand loyalty amongst the locals.

Offshore outsourcing has emerged as a popular competitive strategy, and emerging markets have become increasingly attractive location-wise3. Therefore, CMSP can take advantage of the outsourcing of mobile phone manufacturers by establishing a consistent service and linking customers of their companies to support and assistance when needed. As there is a great need in the Democratic Republic of Congo for such a service, Nokia and other mobile phone manufactures may be open to linking with another foreign company for service provision capabilities.

Product Life Cycle

Such a product as mobile phones is involved in all phases of the product life cycle, as it has many facets. However, the service provision of mobile phones fits into phase four, which is the utilisation stage. In such a stage, communication, management and collaboration are seen as the driving force.

For example, communication channels in the telecommunications industry for the Democratic Republic of Congo are not yet completely established. Therefore, CMSP has an advantage in this area, mainly since they are a new player and can improve on existing issues with communication problems by offering their service provision as a solution.

In addition, the management of CMSP will be completely run by foreigners, since this will ensure that autonomy is delegated to the local employees, while maintaining a high standard of efficiency and effectiveness when dealing with service provision. Customers will be provided with assistance and consistent support, whether they are new mobile phone users or experienced professionals. As research shows, mobile phone technology has been embraced by all income groups, not just low incomes households, in Africa4. Therefore, the population will rely on a service that meets its expectations, such as that provided by CMSP.

Lastly, collaborative ties with major mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia and other similar companies will ensure that strength in numbers is the main advantage for CMSP. As one of the few, if not only, consistent and reliable service providers in the region, the company will provide local expertise coupled with foreign technology and implementation to provide an unparalleled service.

Pricing Objectives

Although there are relatively few competitors, as reliable service providers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are scarce, the main competitor remains as Vodacom. Since the company both produces mobile phones as well as provides service to customers, the business has an advantage in both size and profitability.

However, Vodacom only provides service to mobile phone users that have mobile phones linked to their specific network, or have mobile phones produced by their company. Therefore, the pricing of both mobile phones and the service provision is often bundled in and offered at a local rate. Those outside their market, or those who do not have mobile phones produced by Vodacom, are not part of their consumer base.

Since this is the situation, CMSP can use a pricing strategy such as target rate of return on sales. This pricing objective will utilise Nokia and other related companies’ customer base, linking them to the partnering service provision of CMSP, and using prices consistent with the major mobile phone manufacturers. Therefore, it will be a consistent rate of return, and sales will be aligned with mobile phone packages provided by corporate partners. With such a wide customer base, the target rate of return on sales will be maximised.

Distribution Chain and Strategy

When incorporating CMSP’s service into the distribution chain, the means of distribution itself is quite simple. One the mobile phones are sold to customers by the manufacturer or mobile phone outlet, the customer is then referred to CMSP, which relies on the mobile manufacturer and supplier for products and corporate partnership regarding service provision. This completes the distribution chain.  

In regards to the strategy, a selective distribution strategy should be used, since the producer or manufacturer relies on few intermediaries, or partners, to carry their product. CMSP will be linked to major mobile manufactures, suppliers and distributors, such as Nokia and related companies, for mobile phone production, customer relations, and links to the company’s service provision will be provided to all existing, current and new customers.

When implementing such a strategy in the distribution chain, it is important to add value in every step, from the sale made to the service provided. Therefore, the process will be streamlined so that customers’ issues are met on time and within the company’s mode of operation, so that the business continues to grow and expand.

Traditional Promotion

Although all five of the traditional promotional mix is quite useful in increasing company awareness and enlarging the customer base, there are three specific promotional tools that CMSP can utilise when promoting its exceptional service.

Firstly, advertising the company using mainly print, mobile and in-store advertisements will cover the broad media outlets that customers usually follow. By investing into this cost-effectively, CMSP will be able to capture the captive audience that uses such media, and introduce them to its service provision

Secondly, public relations is an important aspect of promotion, particularly on a corporate level, and can take the form of charitable contributions, issue advertising and even speeches by senior management at joint corporate launches with Nokia and CMSP, along with related companies. By engaging in open presentations of the quality of service the company provides, more customers will in turn be open to utilising such a service.

Thirdly, direct marketing using word-of-mouthinteractive consumer websites, promotional letters and outdoor advertising will enable the CMSP to reach those who are both technology literate and beginning novices. As much of the African population are good story-tellers, with the aid of a targeted marketing campaign, which will include local transportation advertisements, will be quite effective in spreading the word about the company and its quality services. It is argued that growth has been more closely linked to investment5. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to reach consumers and increase the customer base is to engage in such a direct form of marketing.

Conclusion

In summary, the establishment of the Congo Mobile Service Provider will provide consistent, reliable and exceptional service to mobile phone users, including ongoing support, assistance and technical troubleshooting for those in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As potentially one of the only type of service providers in the region, it will provide a unique service to the local Congo people, and will fill the void between mobile manufacturers and consumers, who have no current service provision on such a basis. Therefore, it will not only provide a service to the local population, but will also add value to the telecommunications market and reinvest into the economy of the country.

Works Cited

Robertson, Charles. The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa’s Economic Revolution. Columbia: Renaissance Capital: 2012. Print.

Sheth, Jagdish. “Impact of Emerging Markets on Marketing: Rethinking Existing Perspectives and Practices.” Journal of Marketing 75.4 (2011): 166-182. Web. June 2013.

Javalgi, Rajshekhar., Dixit, Ashutosh., and Scherer, R. “Outsourcing to Emerging Markets: Theoretical Perspectives and Policy Implications.” Journal of International Management 15.2 (2009): 156-168. Web. June 2013.

Esselaar, Steve and Stork, Christoph. “Mobile Cellular Telephone: Fixed-Line Substitution in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication 7.6 (2012): 66-76. Web. June 2013.

Teal, Francis. “Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa: A Review of Channels and Interaction.” Journal of African Economies 20.3 (2011): 50-79. Web. June 2013.

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