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The Power of Validation

June 13, 2013

The term “validation” means a lot of things to a lot of people. For Naomi Feil, who founded and developed the Validation method in 1982 as a method for communicating with very old people who have certain forms of dementia, it has three distinct elements:

A basic, empathetic attitude

Principles that guide our actions and words

Nonverbal techniques that we use to communicate

In simple terms, it’s a way to move beyond initial conversations so you defuse confused interactions and get to the heart of the matter.

Recently I contacted Feil and her daughter, Validation master teacher Vicki de Klerk, who’s worked with her mother for almost 30 years, to learn more.

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Fair Pay in Best Interests of Home Care Consumers

May 7, 2013

California home care workers and consumers won a major victory when an agreement was reached to limit proposed cuts to service hours in the In-Home Supportive Services program for fiscal year 2014. Yet home care workers in California – and across the nation – still await another critical decision that will affect their paychecks and their dignity: whether a federal labor law will continue to exclude home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections.

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A chronic disease that targets women

May 5, 2013

Imagine being unable to do the things you love to do, like playing sports, writing, or holding hands with someone you love. For most of us, that seems unimaginable, but for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) it’s a painful reality. That’s because RA systematically attacks the body joint by joint causing inflammation so bad, it’s often tough to even walk.

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April 3, 2013

Preventive measures and an active, healthy lifestyle are without question the best way to maintain good health and keep down health care costs for everyone, and the California Endowment and UC Davis want to spread that message far and wide.

The Endowment’s Health Happens Here campaign promotes the idea that people live longer, healthier lives when communities have access to healthy and affordable choices where they live, work, play and learn.

UC Davis is following the Health Happens Here model to help its students achieve healthy, vibrant lifestyles in an integrative wellness campaign that can be replicated at college campuses everywhere.

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Electric vehicles are good for our health

February 13, 2013

Want to improve your health? Drive an electric vehicle. Ok, so maybe that is overstating it a bit. Beyond improving your psychic well being, an electric car will have a negligible impact on your individual health. However, if everyone were to start driving Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs), the cumulative impact on public health would be dramatic.

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Oakland Army base re-use could yield thousands of jobs

January 22, 2013

For two years, Jessica Lopez, 17, went to campaign meetings after school and on weekends, attended city council hearings late into the night, and did her homework after that. As a youth leader in the Oakland organization Urban Peace Movement (UPM), Jessica was among the community members who helped push for a landmark good jobs agreement in Oakland’s Army Base redevelopment plan—the largest development project Oakland has seen in decades.

At first, Jessica knew nothing about the Oakland Army Base, which had been closed since 1999 and locked in years of redevelopment planning since the city took it over in 2002. The former military base, which once served as a major deployment station for U.S. soldiers shipped to Vietnam, is now being turned into a shipping, packaging and distribution center for the adjacent Port of Oakland. With this makeover come potentially thousands of new jobs that have been the target of a bold and nationally precedent-setting campaign.

The landmark jobs agreement, won by a broad coalition called Revive Oakland!, is the first in the nation to set labor and community standards around the rapidly growing and notoriously low-road warehouse and distribution industry. Oakland, organizers say, is being watched in other parts of the country as a model for setting standards that could begin to shift this sector, which supplies big retailers across the country and employs an estimated 200,000 workers in California, into one capable of providing middle-class jobs.

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Broader Support Needed to Boost Kids’ Health

January 10, 2013

While California’s schoolchildren were looking forward to winter break last month, the federal government made a major announcement: 31 school-based health centers in the state received more than $14.3 million in grants. Since 2011, the government has invested nearly $200 million in school health, and California has received more than $30 million – the most funding received by any state.

This support is the right investment at the right time. It has arrived as many of California’s communities are reeling from the deepest economic downturn in decades. Without this support, many of the neediest children struggle to get health care.

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Fresh & Easy’s Demise: What Does it Mean for Food Access in California?

January 6, 2013

Fresh & Easy’s Demise: What Does it Mean for Food Access in California?

When news broke last month that British supermarket giant Tesco is getting ready to drop its Fresh & Easy grocery store chain, the announcement came as a blow to many nutrition advocates here in California. The chain had built a reputation for bringing small-scale food stores to neighborhoods across the state that have little or no access to supermarkets, like South LA and San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point.

Does the demise of Fresh & Easy mean healthy food stores can’t make enough of a profit to survive in these neighborhoods?

Far from it. And with other major retailers now testing out small-footprint grocery stores in low-income communities across the country, lessons from Fresh & Easy’s experience in California will be critical for business and health alike.

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Two mayors: Using prevention to save lives, and health costs

August 6, 2012

America spends an astonishing amount — at least $2.5 trillion — on health care each year, yet we aren’t as healthy as we could or should be.

For every dollar we spend on health care, less than a nickel goes toward policies and programs aimed at public health and prevention, such as community farmers’ markets and wellness initiatives that encourage healthy living for all ages. We need to shift the focus of the U.S. health care system from treating illness to creating an environment that is conducive to better health.

It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and our unlikely pairing may be Exhibit A: the Republican mayor of Hernando, Miss., and the Democratic mayor of Wyandotte County, Kan. We may be 500 miles apart and have traveled different paths on this journey, but we both share a passion for helping those who live in our areas become healthier and more productive. As in most cities and towns across our nation, our residents fight tooth and nail to make ends meet. But we’ve both found that investing in health and prevention not only helps our friends’ and neighbors’ quality of life, it also gives our limited budgets the most bang for their buck.

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Making restaurants healthier in California

July 9, 2012

New York City is making headlines right now with its proposal to limit the sale of large sugary drinks in the city. But California leads the nation when it comes to statewide policies aimed at making restaurants healthier – and there’s plenty more we can do.

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