Category Archives: Health and Wellness

The Equity Kids

Have you seen this image before? Many presenters at events hosted by the foundation where I work have used several variations to help describe what equity versus equality might look like. Some are pixilated, some are done themselves, some are stick figures, and some detailed like the one below.

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Wearing my communications hat, I am often asked who created these images and/or if I will forward them to participants at our events. Being the recovering academic that I am, I have already scoured the net looking for attribution and for better quality versions long before people ask, but to no avail. I find the images, but they always lead to twitter or pinterest and have no attribution.

Early on I came across a version that included a third panel. The first time I saw it I had to take a second look, and let it sink in. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Who put the fence there in the first place, and why doesn’t anyone look at the structural upstream barriers that are put in place by our society? If we would start making some real systems change maybe our talk of accommodations to overcome these barriers wouldn’t be needed in the first place.

1193727_crpd

Well yesterday I was noodling/doodling around online at the ‪#‎NMKidsCount‬ conference, prompted by the usual two panel equality/equity image that came up in a presentation or two. I think I may have found the source of my favorite version of this illustration. And if that weren’t enough, it came along with a great bonus of a 4th blank box!

The Center for Story-based Strategy and the Interaction Institute for Social Change teamed up to do some Imaginaction work that they are calling #The4thBox. I think it’s a great exercise to just look at the image and consider each scenario and what each element in the image might represent, and how we might rewrite the story.

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The thing is that the team who created these panels have also made available a great paper-doll image/kit that you and your group can use to work through your own rewriting process. Be sure to download and use their image/kit in your work “to spark conversations. Use it to discuss the importance of not just telling a different version of the same story, but of actually changing the story (by challenging assumptions).”

What other story could be revealed in this setting?

What other “psychic break” could you make up?

What other underlying assumption here could you challenge?

Who built that wall in the first place and/or who took it away?

If you or anyone you know uses this kit be sure to have them share here, tag their new stories with the #‎The4thBox‬ hashtag, and share New Mexico specific stories with the ‪#‎The4thBoxNM‬ hashtag. I would love to see what people come up with, and the team that developed the kit would like to see the new stories too.

While you are there, be sure to check out the Center for Story-based Strategy’s other great materials. I am enjoying diving into their great theory, strategy, case studies, values, and principles. As I make my foray into Medium to see what it can do and if it’s right for the foundation, I may pull out some pieces from the Center for Story-based Strategy’s site that stand out. Stay tuned.

Remember, share ideas here or by using #The4thBox or #The4thBoxNM

Dueling Car Corps

An interesting juxtaposition creating a needed response and message, car culture aside.

A: Cadillac made this gag/vomit worthy ad:

B: Ford had a pretty great response!

C: Who will step up to address the assumed need for cars, and inherent car culture of both ads? 

 

 

 

Expanded Medicaid to Restrict Psychiatric Medication?

Update: It is apparent that this is in fact still happening and expanding to more patients and more programs. That they have decided to expand this national dereliction of duty and institutionalized malpractice to Medicaid is born out by the concerns expressed in the New York Times article Plan to Limit Some Drugs in Medicare Is Criticized

Leaders of numerous patient advocacy groups said they were worried that patients could be harmed if the policy changed.

“The proposal undermines a key protection for some of the sickest, most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries,” said Andrew Sperling, a lobbyist at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Under the proposal, Mr. Sperling said, a Medicare drug plan could have a list of preferred drugs with just two medications to treat schizophrenia. That is inadequate, he said, because antipsychotic drugs work in different ways in the body, and have different side effects. “You get much better outcomes when a doctor can work with patients to figure out which medications will work best for them,” he said.

As I had stated originally, I have been receiving disturbing reports regarding New Mexico Centennial Care’s disastrous roll out. I am prompted to share some of these issues due to a dire situation that appears to be a national Medicaid policy that I recently learned of. I have my own experiences with the so called “Medicaid Expansion” to share, but first the alarming situation of restricting psychiatric medications for those who need them.

Mental health has been in the national news a lot lately with all the mass shootings at schools and other public places. New Mexico made the list with the Berrendo Middle School shooting in Roswell. The nightly news is full of domestic violence, homicides, and other violent crimes. Perfect timing for restricting psychiatric medications. Since my original write up, New Mexico has received national attention for the “U.S. Department of Justice finding that the Albuquerque Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” – koat.com

Encounters between Albuquerque police officers and persons with mental illness and in crisis too frequently result in a use of force or a higher level of force than necessary. The DOJ said the problems dealing with mental health is a failure of the entire community and needs to be addressed. – koat.com

What is so concerning in light of all this is that I am hearing direct patient reports that over the past month (January/February), a majority of psychiatric patients have been required to get a pre-authorization  in order to receive their medications. Many patients are going without medication as this process can sometimes take weeks. The entity that is reportedly enacting this practice is Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc. (see the Drugs Requiring Prior Authorization, and the What if my drug is not covered? pdfs, under the Prescription Drug Benefits section at that link. Those are the documents that are being used to restrict psychiatric medications from many New Mexicans in need).

Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc. has set up a system where insurance providers are effectively prescribing alternate medications to patients without seeing the patient or consulting with the patient’s physician. What is happening is that doctors are prescribing medications and if those are not on an approved list, the medicine is not covered and the patient is left to either take a medication that does not work for them and that their doctor has not prescribed, obtain the money for expensive medications on limited income, or go without.

This situation is based on eyewitness reports. Updates will be posted as they arise.

When is it ever a good idea to restrict psychiatric medication from patients in need?

Sources

Agave Health, Inc.
https://www.agavehealth.org/

Expanding Health Coverage for Low Income Adults: The Medicaid Opportunity under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
http://conalma.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/EP-Medicaid-Expansion-and-Centennial-Care-2013.06.pdf

Koat News
http://www.koat.com/news/us-department-of-justice-releases-findings-on-albuquerque-police-department/25413344#ixzz2ymCBcbLn 

New Mexico Centennial Care
http://www.hsd.state.nm.us/Centennial_Care.aspx

Plan to Limit Some Drugs in Medicare Is Criticized
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/22/business/plan-to-alter-medicare-drug-coverage-draws-strong-opposition.html?partner=yahoofinance&_r=0

Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc.
https://www.phs.org/insurance-plans/our-plans/employer-offered-plans/Pages/state-of-new-mexico.aspx

Iceland Helps Icelanders Not Banks

I am often wondering about how we here in the US, and the world over, can recover and thrive in the wake of the recent financial crash. I have been following the story of Iceland from the beginning and it seems to consistently be one of resilient recovery. Would this work on a global scale?

When Iceland’s banks went under, and the economy with it, many homeowners were put under water over night. Instead of foreclosure deserts like Americans saw, the government stepped in to prevent Icelanders from losing their homes.

The banks’ first task was restructuring the loans of companies and households that could no longer pay them. The government passed a law mandating that loans had to be reduced to no more than 110 percent of the underlying property — helping homeowners who had ended up underwater. source

This kept people afloat while they restructured their mortgage and found new jobs in the recovering economy. Without the government intervention, many Icelanders would have been reduced to poverty and potential homelessness.

More here

If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year)

Interesting idea: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/blue-republican_b_886650.html?page=2

I am aware that the main objection to Ron Paul from the left concerns his belief that private charities and individuals are more effective in maintaining social welfare than the government. To this I ask one question. Do you believe so much in the effectiveness of our current centralized delivery of social welfare that it is worth the war making and the abrogation of civil rights supported by both Bush and Obama’s administrations? Moreover, while Ron Paul would look to transition out of the huge federally run welfare programs in the long-run, that’s not where he wants to start: his immediate fight would be to bring our forces back to the USA and to re-implement the Bill of Rights.

Koerner hit it right on here. This is one of my main concerns with Ron Paul. Another huge and far reaching concern is that he would deregulate like there is no tomorrow, which will end in an ugly corporate rule. I don’t see how he is all that different in the end. I see the same results as any other candidate, just a different road to get there.

Or am I mistaken?

~~~

 Related Links

 http://peoplesworld.org/why-progressives-should-not-support-ron-paul/?commentStart=40

http://fitnessfortheoccasion.wordpress.com/2007/06/26/why-ron-paul-is-a-corporate-candidate/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Gross National Happiness?

The Four Pillars of GNH
• the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
• the preservation and promotion of cultural values
• the conservation of the natural environment, and
• the establishment of good governance.

Softainability

From the blog @ http://www.transcendbodywork.com/Blog… A quick tip on the Body Economy of sustainable comfort + tribute to the person I feel most greatly influenced my awareness of economy of motion: Bruce Lee. Thanks Bruce for teaching to be water.

Punk Rock Permaculture e-zine

About Punk Rock Permaculture e-zine

via http://punkrockpermaculture.com/about/

escape mental slavery

…the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens.

If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.

Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”  – – Bill Mollison

Hey all you permies in the blogosphere my name is Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) , I’m 25, I live in wonderful Olympia WA, and I’m the lead editor of punk rock permaculture e-zine.

I have a passionate love for permaculture, street art, guerrilla gardening, cooking veggie food, folk punk, harmonica wailin’, and riding bikes with friends.  In the Spring of 09′ before I graduated from Evergreen State College I received my permaculture design certification under the instruction of the lovable Scott Pittman of U.S. Permaculture Institute.  During the spring and summer of 2010 I did a 3 month Advanced Permaculture Design Internship with Ethan Roland of Appleseed Permaculture and Gaia University.  Currently, I’m the US correspondent with Permaculture Magazine and a affiliate producer with Permaculture.tv . Gaia Punk Designs is a full service permaculture design co-op I’m working on with some close friends in Olympia.

In Olympia I also work locally with Terra Commons, Ecocity Olympia, the Cascadia Guerrilla Gardening Brigade, and the Raccoon arts collective on community projects.

My intention for this e-zine is that it will act as link between the personal and communal showcasing examples of all the beneficial work  being done for the earth around the world.  This is a e-zine about a regenerative culture full of resistance and  inspiring creativity.  Anyone is welcome to become a syndicated submitter and add relevant posts, articles, art, stories, and multi media to this blog just email thejulianeffect@gmail.com with the subject:

“Punk Rock Permaculture”

Mindfulness Mediation Can Change Brain Structure

via: http://technoccult.net/archives/2011/02/06/study-mindfulness-mediation-can-change-brain-structure/

meditation Study: Mindfulness Mediation Can Change Brain StructureMeditation by oddsock

Yet another study on the effects of meditation on the brain, this one focused on mindfulness meditation:

Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study’s senior author. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

PhysOrg: Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks

(via Boing Boing)

However, this study had a VERY small sample size: just 16 participants.

Previous coverage of meditation.

Photo by Odd Stock