Gas Grilling vs. Charcoal Grilling

Grilling pic

As a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital-Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok strives to maintain a safe, therapeutic environment for patients. Outside of his job, Todd Belok loves to cook and is particularly skilled on the grill.

One of the most heated debates among grilling enthusiasts is whether to use a gas grill or a charcoal grill. The answer is not a simple one and depends on what you want in a grill.

As for price, there is no clear winner. Both gas and charcoal have standard options in the $125-$300 range. While you can buy a cheap charcoal grill for about $30, the quality may be disappointing. One caveat is that charcoal is typically cheaper than propane gas.

As taste goes, charcoal is the clear winner. A charcoal grill gives the meat a smoked flavor that cannot be reproduced on a gas grill.

As to convenience, the gas grill pulls ahead. Starting a gas grill is as simple as pressing a button, while a charcoal grill requires you to arrange and light the charcoal and wait up to 20 minutes for the coals to be ready.


Alpha Phi Omega Seeks to Empower Volunteers


Alpha Phi Omega  pic
Alpha Phi Omega

A former emergency medical technician (EMT) with American Medical Response and the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Todd Belok serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alongside his career in health care, Todd Belok has given back to the community through the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.

First envisioned after World War I by Frank Reed Horton, H. Roe Bartle, and Herbert G. Horton at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, Alpha Phi Omega came into existence to promote service across university campuses. Today, the fraternity continues to assist students in connecting with the community and one another through leadership, friendship, and service.

In 2017, Alpha Phi Omega hosted its national volunteer conference in Dallas, Texas. The conference takes place every year, in addition to the fraternity’s regular convention, as a way to promote giving back to local communities.

The fraternity also offers alumni an opportunity to gain further education through its Volunteer University. With eight different tracks, or colleges, the Volunteer University provides volunteer training and support for its members.

For more information about these volunteer support opportunities or to learn more about Alpha Phi Omega, visit

Talking to a Person with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia pic

With a master’s in biomedical science, Todd Belok currently serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia. In this role, Todd Belok works with patients diagnosed with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Talking with a person who has schizophrenia requires both patience and compassion. The disorder causes an altered perception of reality that can be difficult for people with normal cognition to understand. The most important thing is to try to understand the person’s perceptions of the world and accept that whatever they are experiencing is real to them.

Individuals with schizophrenia often find it reassuring when a conversation partner repeats back what they have said and validates their experience of the situation. It is important not to argue with their beliefs but rather to consistently reassure them that they are safe and cared for. If possible, caregivers can remove the individual from a situation perceived as frightening, giving simple and straightforward directions if necessary.

Caregiver can offer to talk or provide help, but they should know that the individual may be suspicious or jumpy. To appear more trustworthy, caregivers can give the individual plenty of space and explain their actions in advance. A simple preparatory statement, such as “I’m going to pull this chair over,” can help to reduce fear and affirm a sense of safety.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep pic
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

When he is not working as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok enjoys reading. One of Todd Belok’s favorite authors is Philip K. Dick, writer of the seminal cyberpunk novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream? focuses on two major characters, Rick Deckard and John Isidore, as they deal with questions regarding their own personal isolation and the morality of hunting fugitive androids. This book served as the basis for the successful movie Blade Runner, which retells the novel in a more focused manner. Though it earned little attention in its time, the story’s unique tone helped inspire other famous science fiction and fantasy writers and led to other film adaptations of Philip K. Dick novels such as Minority Report and Total Recall.

The novel’s core question deals with humanity and what constitutes being a creature worthy of moral consideration. The androids, despite being nonhuman creatures, display traits that are typically associated with being human. Some of the mortal characters, conversely, lack traits like empathy, leading the reader to question the humanity of these flesh-and-blood people.

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

depressive disorder
depressive disorder


As a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Todd Belok draws on experience with patients diagnosed with a wide variety of mental illness. Also a former psychiatric technician at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington in Washington, DC, Todd Belok applies a knowledge of major depression and other similar disorders.

Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, causes serious changes in mood as well as a loss of interest in everyday activities. The person may experience the lack of ability to feel pleasure and may notice consistent sadness, anxiousness, and feelings of emptiness.

The individual with clinical depression is likely to feel worthless, guilty, or hopeless. Diminished levels of energy may lead to slowness in movement and speech, although some people instead become restless and cannot sit still for extended periods of time. Similarly, while some patients experience difficulty sleeping, others sleep to excess.

In a patient with major depressive disorder, some or most of these symptoms are present on a daily basis for at least two weeks. Symptoms may lead to suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, at which point the disorder is at its most dangerous. It is important for patients with depressive symptoms to see a qualified health care professional, as depression often responds to an appropriate course of treatment.

A Brief Overview of the Life and Work of Phillip K. Dick

Phillip K. Dick pic
Phillip K. Dick

An experienced health care professional with a background in emergency medicine, Todd Belok serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys a range of activities, including reading. He particularly enjoys the work of author Phillip K. Dick.

Born in Chicago in 1928, Dick was a prolific science-fiction writer who penned 44 novels and more than 120 short stories during a literary career spanning three decades. In his novels, Dick explored a range of philosophical, sociological, and political themes through plots that focused on monopolistic corporate greed, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness.

Dick’s work was heavily influenced by the paranoia and drug use that he dealt with for much of his adult life. Many of his stories feature an intermingling of the real and the imagined, a phenomenon that Dick himself experienced on many occasions. Although he underwent what some would call a psychotic breakdown in 1974, Dick continued to produce highly creative work up until his death in 1982.

During his lifetime, Dick lived in near-poverty, despite the fact that his work was quite respected in the science-fiction community. He received the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1962 and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel in 1974. Since Dick’s death, the popularity of his work has grown considerably. Many of his stories and novels were adapted into popular films that include Minority Report, Scanner Darkly, and Blade Runner.

Safety Tips for Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail pic
Appalachian Trail

A mental health technician by profession, Todd Belok is an avid outdoorsman in his free time. Todd Belok has hiked and camped along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

When you hike along the Appalachian Trail, you may at times be far from medical or police assistance. This requires you to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, particularly if you find yourself in a social situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Experts recommend that you avoid anyone who seems dangerous or intoxicated, and that you always avoid insinuating that you are hiking alone.

Situational awareness also extends to weather, which can come up suddenly on the trail. Hikers should know how to spot electrical storms and how to seek shelter when one appears to be coming. Similarly, all hikers should know the terrain challenges inherent in the areas they wish to hike, and should plan routes according to party members’ abilities.

Health may also be a concern, particularly as camping often involves communal eating and living. Medical professionals warn hikers to avoid sharing food or utensils, wash hands before eating whenever possible, and filter drinking water. Regular body checks are likewise important, as tiny deer ticks can spread illness to even the most conscientious hiker.

Finally, whether alone or in a group, it is important that you convey your location to someone off the trail. This should be a person with whom you are comfortable checking in on a regular basis, and who is willing to follow a pre-determined procedure if a scheduled check-in does not occur.