Monthly Archives: July 2012

Health Care in the U.S.: Although We Are Far Away from Germany’s System, Hope Can Be Found in Iran

Dr. Aaron Shirley of Jackson Medical Mall and HealthConnect

For those of you who may not truly believe in the desperate state of our health care crisis and the urgent necessity of thoroughly changing it, the following article will provide you with more insight. The complexities, interlinked issues and conditions brought forth in this article on the lack of health care provide a sketch of the wide-reaching debilitating, systemic and vicious cyclical effects of poverty.

For those who already know and/or are already directly affected by this negligient system which I consider to be a “health industrial complex”, please pass this on to those who refuse to see the truth for whatever reasons.

Here is an excerpt which I find highly interesting and leads me to hope that upon publication and wide dissemination of this article that our government might reconsider how and to whom it gives its grants. This health-house network would not only save and/or improve lives immediately but it could serve as a model program nationwide as a pre-cursor to universal health care. Moreover, I believe a modified version of this system could serve as a model program for urban areas as well.

Shirley, Shahbazi and Miller haven’t had an easy time getting large-scale financing for their health-house network. They enlisted a Mississippi congressman, Bennie Thompson, to write a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services. They applied for (but did not receive) one of those grants awarded by the Innovation Center; Jack Geiger wrote the recommendation letter. They talked it up in Mississippi.       

The three men — and many Mississippians I spoke to — complain that a lot of federal and grant money goes to research, not actual services. “The delta people have been studied to death,” Shirley says. Also, as they point out, funding rarely goes to entire systems. But the group is hoping that the idea of Iranian-style health houses in the United States might inspire good will between the two countries.”

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Energized from the national Children’s Defense Fund Conference!


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Returned Enlightened and …




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Dreaming: The Green Impact Zone in Kansas City

A Convenient Truth

I am very excited about developments here in Kansas City as regards the introduction of a green zone into one of its most dilapidated areas. The Green Impact Zone has great potential to change the face of the city and its prospects. While visiting the website:, I began to imagine what could grow out of this project…

Since the early 1990s, I’ve been interested in Jaime Lerner’s work in Curitiba, Brazil where they used innovation and common sense to make up for lacking finances to build a future forward city. Curitiba has continuously proven that instituting green policies is not only a way to protect the environment but to provide its residents with education, training and employment opportunities. An environment of long-lasting opportunity as well as more social equality and mobility amongst its residents has, thus, been created in a city which once was unspectacular in almost every way: To me, the city’s Lighthouses of Knowledge program symbollically represent how I feel about Curitiba, a “Lighthouse of Knowledge” that so many can learn from.

While researching Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone program, there was, in my opinion, one fundamental element that was missing in its first year of planning, namely, schools. I know that what has been planned up until now is huge and, in fact, probably only a skeletal framework of things to come. I am hopeful that this particular issue will be addressed soon as the need for quality education is great, especially in light of the fact that Kansas City schools have lost their national accreditation. Also, within this 150 block zone, there is only one (1) school which is a high school.

I began to imagine what a Geoffrey Canada “from the cradle to college” managed school system could do in an environment that city leaders are trying to cultivate here… All of a sudden, Finland’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) EduCare, elementary & secondary education environment does not seem so impossible in an urban setting which will be receiving much needed attention and funding to recreate itself. In fact, it would be a worthwhile endeavor that would not only achieve momentous results but would lead to city-wide adoption and be introduced into urban & rural areas in need across the nation.

Youth Within the Green Zone – They Need Schools in Their Neighborhood

For Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone & Finland’s pre-school to  college/vocational training educational system, please see:


Today’s Curitiba started with six (6) city blocks:

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Congratulations Nkosazana! Thank You Africa!

True Beauty

She embodies so much more than hope… Let’s send her all of our positive energy, thoughts and support whichever way we can!

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Why Fighting For Women’s Reproductive Rights Is Essential

In societies such as ours, where birth control has become a divisive hot button for controversy as Family Planning is increasingly being systematically and continuously portrayed as solely a Pro Choice or Pro Life issue in political rhetoric, access to contraception has given women the freedom to pursue their dreams. This freedom gives us the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life, from education…to work…to life partnerships…to motherhood.

My mother’s career and opportunities profoundly affected my life in that I was raised in a family where a woman’s role and her rights to the same opportunities as the males in the household were never questioned. The role she played professionally and privately provided the foundation for my own expectations of what I could achieve. I will continue to pass on this intergenerational perspective to my son who will grow up expecting the same from women as he would from himself and sharing experiences with them in which he views them as equals.

The story that the following links will tell you is that poverty is overwhelmingly and adversely linked to women’s lack of empowerment. What also becomes clear is that ensuring women’s reproductive rights serve as a cornerstone to reversing maternal and infant mortality, child & sex trafficking as well as structural and intergenerational poverty. Simply put- if women and girls are given this basic right, they will be able to break the cycles of educational and employment impoverishment as well as physical enslavement internationally and here at home.

Melinda Gates’ Response to Contraception Program Controversy:

David Cameron’s Comments:

UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health  UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health

United Nations Population Fund Annual Report UNFPA 2011 Annual Report

An important upcoming conference on December 4th-5th in London:

… and a few more important links to organizations effecting change:

Every Woman Every Child Global Movement:

United Nations Population Fund link:

Half the Sky:

UN Women:

UN Millennium Campaign:

International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC):


Apne Aap:

Girl Up (UN program uniting girls worldwide):

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Thank You Melinda!

We live in a country where the majority of women can still gain access to various types of contraceptives to help us determine our futures. Imagine that you live in a society and/or culture where this access is denied…  Your life expectations, your aspirations and your opportunities would look different. They would be drastically curbed.

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