Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Health care debate comes to Bayview

An unfettered public discussion between community health experts spotlighted concerns and opportunities associated with health care reform last Saturday. The rare discussion followed a screening of the documentary film The Waiting Room.
Belva Davis, 45-year veteran news person, moderated the panel discussion which included Peter Nicks, the film's director.  The event was produced by the SF Chapter of The Links, Inc., and was introduced by Angelique Tompkins, Pamela Stevenson and Dr. Allison Metz.
Panelists included Tahira Bazille, Dr. Andre Campbell, Supervisor Malia Cohen, Dr. Gina Gregory-Burns, Perry Lang, Andrea Tacdol, Toni Rucker, and Belle Taylor-McGhee.
Many community groups partnered on the event, held at the Bayview Opera House, including Quesada Gardens Initiative which distributed bags of healthy fruit, some of which was donated by the SF Wholesale Produce Market.
Supervisor Malia Cohen remarked that the Bayview's health clinic is in the process of expanding.  She also stated that a 2014 bond measure "will expand clinic services in the Southeast."
That's good news for residents of Bayview Hunters Point where health disparities are so severe that folks live on average 14 fewer years than those who live in more affluent neighborhoods.
Students from Hult International visited Quesada Gardens, and prepared bags of fruit for distribution at the event.  Photo: Footprints
The panel discussion, though animated with perspective, touched on themes of preventing health problems before they develop, the need for grassroots advocacy, the power of film to stir debate, and the need for young people of color in the health care field.
A few healthy bites:
Tacdol:  "I live in Bayview, and have two kids.  As I was watching the film, I kept thinking Those people are my neighbors.  There are many churches and community organizations here that already care about health.  We need to integrate."
Cohen:  "We have to ensure cultural competency.  We need more of this talent (the panelists) in the pipeline to be both advocates and providers."
Lang:  "We should include our youngsters in our own wellness activities.  It's about prevention."
Gregory-Burns:  "We have a lot of advocacy work ahead if we are going to keep the prevention funding in the Act (Affordable Care Act)."
Campbell: "A lot of my surgery patients look like the people in this room.  Folks need a 'medical home.'  It's about total care."
Bazille:  "It's becoming a justice issue.  Change will happen only from the bottom-up."
Nicks: "This film is a tool. What gets lost in the political conversation is the humanity of the people in need." 
Belva Davis closed the discussion saying, "I hope you learned something new ... about how to avoid being in a waiting room."
The Waiting Room is a documentary, filmed in the emergency room at Highland Hospital in Oakland.   The SF Chapter of The Links, Inc. is an organization of professional women committed to service.
Cohen, Davis, and Nicks

Bazille, Taylor-McGhee, and Rucker

Lang and Tacdol

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