3 Government Databases You Must Know About to Stay Safe

3 Government Databases You Must Know About to Stay Safe

For over a decade, the United States has been on high alert to terrorist attacks, just as other parts of the world have too. There are so many world conflicts taking place that a country must take the proper precautions to protect its citizens.

In an effort to keep our country safe, the United States Government has put together several government databases listing known criminals, terrorists, products, and companies that may not do import and export business with the U.S. This also means that individuals or entities in the U.S. are forbidden to do business with any person or business that have been blocked, denied, and debarred and appear in these databases.

Where Do I Find the Government Databases?

There are websites that one can access easily to view the government databases. There are over 80 known lists to cross check whether a person or entity has been banned from doing business with the United States. When a U.S. company is conducting business with a foreign entity, it is the company’s responsibility to do their due diligence to ensure the safety of its country.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s site will provide several links to lists providing information on blocked and denied entities, as well as a debarred persons lists.

The agencies the site refers to are the Bureau of Industry and Security which will provide a Denied Persons List and Entity List

The Office of Foreign Assets Control which provides a Special Designated Nationals and Blocked Person List

The Office of Defense Trade Controls, which gives a Debarred Parties List

The U.S. Government Printing Office, which will provide the Federal Register. 

  • Each of these agencies is responsible for keeping its lists up-to-date. The purpose of the lists is to provide exporters with companies, entities, and persons sanctioned by the U.S. Government and are forbidden to export goods from the U.S. It is the job of the exporter to be sure they are conducting transactions using the proper procedures and that exports are authorized properly.
  • The U.S. Department of State is another site that can provide useful information to ensure the safety of the country. The site provides links to the following lists: The Foreign Terrorist Organizations List (FTO), which provides a list of names of individuals or organizations that are or have been known to conduct business with terrorist groups or themselves are part of a terrorist group. Once these targets are listed, they will not be allowed to travel in the U.S. and any financial accounts with U.S. institutions are frozen.The State Sponsors of Terrorism is a list of countries that have been directly involved with support of terrorist groups. Currently there are four countries on this list, which are Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Executive Order 13224, which was signed by President Bush in 2001, designates that the U.S. Government can impede terrorist funding. They have the power to stop financial support networks and block assets of foreigners or business that have given support to terrorists or pose a threat of doing so. The last link this site provides is to the Terrorism Designations Press Releases page, which lists the announcements from the Office of the Spokesperson as new terrorists or organizations are identified.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides a list of companies and individuals that are debarred under sections 306(a), (b)(1) and (b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which is published in the Federal Register. Not only does this site provide the names of the offenders, but it gives the effective date they were added to the list, how long they are barred, and in most cases, a document about the case is provided from the Federal Register.

All of the sites referenced not only have links to the various lists, but also provide detailed information on how the lists are determined and used. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of individuals and businesses to use reasonable care and due diligence when conducting business affairs with foreign countries.

Using Online Databases to Find Doctors

Online Databases to Find Doctors
If you’ve recently moved to a new region, or you just want to switch doctors, you can start using online databases to find doctors. Internet databases make the process of finding the right doctor easier. Many such databases now exist, and many are free to use.

Reliable doctor databases should tell you mostly everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision, including a given doctor’s;

  • specialty
  • educational background, training and place of residency
  • years of experience
  • insurance coverage

 Where do I start my search for a new doctor?

You might start your search for a doctor by looking at a basic database which supplies the items listed above, such as the one maintained by the American Medical Association.

You could also try the WebMD Physician Directory. The information WebMD’s directory provides is updated twice every year, and includes directions to the offices of each physician it lists. If you’re on Medicare, you’ll find a list of Medicare-enrolled doctors through the government-run website called Physician Compare. On this site you can search for doctors according to a number of different criteria. You may search, for instance, for a doctor by gender, or for doctors who speak languages in addition to English.

Once you have put together a short list of doctors who are available to you, you’ll probably want to delve deeper and examine quality of care issues for each name on your list. Vitals.com is one website that can help you with this task. Its review system asks volunteer reviewers to rate doctors on intriguing criteria, such as: How accurate are a doctor’s diagnoses? How well does she follow up? How easy is it to make an appointment with him? How’s her bedside manner? The descriptions of doctor experiences which patients provide are often very detailed here.

Online Databases to Find Doctors

The Rate MDs website makes for compelling browsing as well. For one thing, it includes regional “top ten lists”: for example, the top ten best dentists – as reviewed by patients – near Wichita, Kansas. And its store of patient reviews is enormous, among the most extensive of any doctor database. Users can even add their own photos of doctors to the site.

It’s also important to search the Internet for malpractice databases – that is, databases that compile lists of malpractice complaints formally lodged against doctors. For instance, Health Grades is a public database informing site visitors of doctors’ histories of malpractice claims, including court rulings and settlement facts and figures.

And the federal government runs a similar database called the National Practitioner Data Bank. However, the NPDB, which comprehensively tracks malpractice actions taken against doctors, has been the subject of controversy.

In fact, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), kept this database shut down for a time, a move supported by the American Medical Association. And even when the NPDB went online again in late 2011, it did not provide the names of doctors with histories of malpractice lawsuits. Rather, it simply referred to those doctors by identification numbers. Many public health advocates and journalists, however, have fought for full disclosure on this website regarding those accused of malpractice. Whichever way this battle ultimately gets resolved, you should look at this database or similar databases to see what information you can glean.

A few words of warning are in order. Beware of medical databases which aggressively try to sell you medical products or insurance plans, and databases which doctors must pay to get listed on. And remember that patient reviews, like all reviews, are highly subjective. Different people bring to their doctors different expectations. Further, in most cases there’s no way to confirm that an online reviewer who claims to have been a patient of a particular doctor actually was a patient of that doctor.

In short, using databases to find doctors is a great start. Try reading at least several reviews, as together they should provide an overall impression of a certain doctor. On the other hand, don’t place too much trust in any single review.

Databases For Churches

Databases For Churches: There are certain things every place of worship needs: among them a faithful leader, a worshipful congregation and a computer database.

databases for churches

If that last item sounds strange to you, consider all the benefits computer databases can offer a church. With databases, church leaders can keep lists of the entire congregation, allowing them to instantly see who has recently made major contributions requiring  thank-you letters. They can also see which parishioners are sick and in need of home visits and extra prayers, and even which members haven’t been heard from in a while. They can use a database to keep track, too, of which religious instructors have taken classes in child protection. The list is endless.

Easy Contacting

When the leaders of a church set up a database, they have an easy way to contact every parishioner, every volunteer and every religious education student. With a database, emailing a particular group of people is easy to accomplish. If you have to cancel a Thursday night adult Bible class at the last minute, for instance, you can reach the entire group with a click of the computer mouse. You don’t have to worry about neglecting somebody, and you also don’t have to worry about bothering people who are not members of that class with an extraneous group email.

Scheduling

Databases are ideal for creating detailed weekly, monthly or even yearly church schedules, sharing those schedules with everyone who needs or wants to see them, and updating them as often as necessary. And if your church ever holds an event without much advance notice – maybe one week the Pope suddenly decides to drop by – you can send an urgent notice to everyone on your database.

Studying Demographic Patterns 

Church databases also make it easy to study the demographics of church attendance, which in many faiths has been on the wane in the last twenty or thirty years. Indeed, you can discover patterns at a glance. For instance, maybe you find that once many of your parish’s young people get married, they rarely show up at Sunday services afterwards. In that case, you could develop a program specifically aimed at retaining young married couples. For instance, maybe you would make it a point to sit down with every couple before they hold their wedding ceremony in your church, and tell them how much you’d miss them if they were to stop showing up on Sundays. The personal touch often works wonders – you might even say “miracles.”

What to Look For

So what specific qualities should you look for in a database for your church? Among the most important qualities are that:

  • It’s affordable.
  • It’s compatible with both PC’s and Macs.
  • It’s web-based. (That’s so you won’t have to worry about maintenance.)
  • You feel comfortable using it. Remember, a database is supposed to make your life easier, not create additional challenges. To that end, you might want to test a number of databases before arriving at a final selection.

Examples

There are many fine databases for places of worship, but you might want to look in particular at Church Community Builder, OneBody, FellowshipOne, Connection Power, ChurchInfo and Stafftool.

Final Note

As you might already be aware, many senior citizens in your parish may not be especially adept at using computers, and seniors tend to make up a significant percentage of regular church attendees. As a result, many of your older members might not receive your electronic communications. Perhaps you would consider addressing this issue by offering a weekly computer course geared towards seniors at your parish hall or recreational center – you might find a volunteer instructor among your flock.

Searching and Creating Databases for Reunions

If you have been tasked with organizing a class or a family reunion, you might discover that databases are incredibly helpful tools in this process. You can search existing databases to reach long-lost relatives, or to find classmates with whom you haven’t been in contact in a long time. And you can create your own databases which attendees will be able to search, databases with information about everyone who plans to attend the reunion.

Searching and Creating Databases for Reunions

You might wish to employ an Internet service which, for a reasonable fee, will do your searching for you. For example, ClassQUEST allows reunion organizers to locate the whereabouts of hard-to-find classmates. ClassQUEST, founded in 1999, says that in its storehouse of information are billions of individual records – so many records, in fact, that even police investigators occasionally use the service to find people. Searching a ClassQUEST database, or any database similar to it, is a simple process. What it usually entails is that you send them everything you know about a certain person you’re looking for, and two to four days later they will send you a file containing that person’s address, current name and phone number, or, if applicable, information about that person’s death. And you can automatically save this information on a spreadsheet file for later use.

Once you’ve found all the information on potential attendees that you can, you can finalize your own searchable database. Before you publish anyone’s personal info on your database, however, you’ll probably want to get their permission. Send a group email or message via social media, and make some phone calls if you have to, requesting this permission. (By the way, it usually makes things more efficient if you set up an email account specifically for the purposes of planning the reunion.) In these messages, you can also ask people to fill in any of the informational gaps you might have. If you’re especially ambitious, you might even ask everyone to send you recent photos of themselves and/or their families.

So what specific kinds of information should you include in the reunion database or directory that you develop? Possible items include:

  • people’s first and last names at the time they graduated
  • the current names of everyone who’s changed theirs over the years
  • attendees’ current addresses – or if you don’t want to include addresses, you might supply just the city and state in which people now live
  • email addresses
  • Twitter handles
  • attendees’ careers and the companies for which they work.
  • a special “in memoriam” list of dearly departed classmates or relatives.

It helps if each of your database’s categories is searchable, too. If someone were an engineer, for example, she or he might want to use the keyword ‘engineer’ to find other classmates who are engineers. This information helps people do some networking at their reunion, in addition to having fun.

You don’t need advanced programming skills or expensive tools to create such a database, either. A Microsoft Excel workbook or similar program will do just fine, especially if you want to keep your database simple and easy to peruse. Once it’s complete, you can post this workbook on your official reunion website, and a link to it on a Facebook page or other social media pages devoted to the reunion. Use your group email and social media accounts to let people know about the database’s existence, too, so that they can learn as much about their classmates as they want to before they show up at the reunion. This information should really help get some conversations started!

As a final piece of advice, you might save a version of this database on your computer. On your personal version, however, you can add an additional column next to the column of names. You can use this column to keep track of who’s already paid for the reunion and who hasn’t paid yet!