It was by accident that I came across a copy of Real Health. Luckily, I caught a glimpse of S. Epatha Merkerson’s image on your Winter 2006 cover (“Breathing Easy”). I was held captive by her warm, bright smile. I enjoyed reading her story of personal triumphs and quitting smoking. I was amazed at how she was able to persevere, despite all the people close to her who lost their battle against cancer. That article gave me hope—and also the strength to give up the things that I don’t need in my life, namely cancer-causing products. I was fascinated and delighted to get so much information on how to sustain better health from this magazine. Thank you to the contributors for doing a fantastic job. When it comes to news about black health and wellness, Real Health stands alone.

George Frazier
Napanoch, NY


Thanks for printing Glenn Ellis’ “Trials and Punishment: Why We Should Be Wary of Inmate Drug Testing” (Winter 2006). During the postwar years, prisoners were used in a host of unethical and dangerous medical experiments. They were incorporated in everything from polio and cancer studies to radioactive isotope and chemical warfare trials. The Institute of Medicine now says we can do medical experiments in our burgeoning prison system safely and ethically by incorporating safeguards like prisoner advocates to monitor tests and active institutional review boards. Theoretically, I would agree—but prison walls and razor wire fences tend to keep any hint of ethics at the front door. Are we really that desperate to turn back the clock to a time when an array of vulnerable subjects were commonly used as human guinea pigs? Some, no doubt are, but I would hope most of us are not.

Allen Hornblum
Temple University, Philadelphia

I recently received a copy of Real Health. It is the most comprehensive and informative medical magazine that I have had the good fortune to read in my 47 years. As a result of reading it, I’ve taken a series of tests—for diabetes, cholesterol and HIV to name a few. So far, all of my test results have been negative, for which I am thankful to God. Your magazine is so informative that I have shared it with many prisoners, and I am sending it to my family. I am glad that it exists—it’s giving a lot of prisoners another outlook on life and a more responsible attitude toward their lives and those of others. Thank you for a job well done.  

Kenneth Coleman Sr.
Amarillo, Texas

I am writing in appreciation of your Fall 2006 cover story, “Strength, Courage & Wisdom.” The article was very insightful, and it was also a key to the spirit of India.Arie. Thanks for giving her the platform to share her story and allowing the world to see a richer side of her character, despite what many critics may think of her.

Malcolm L. Huckaby

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