Healthy Aging in Sonoma County

Jan 23, 2015

  As Sonoma County’s adult population grows older, additional programs and supports will be needed to serve them. A “Healthy Aging Collaborative” is underway to map those needs and find ways to address them.

See the summary that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors here. The item should be taken up around 10 am  Tuesday.

Brain Health Registry

Dec 22, 2014

  A new online registry allows participants to monitor their own cognitive abilities, while also becoming part of a pool of people who might be part of future research projects studying human brain health.

State of the Latino Community 2014

Oct 2, 2014

  Los Cien, an emerging Sonoma County Latino leadership group, held its first “State of the Latino Community” forum yesterday, where the main topics were poverty, education and health. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson was there, and has this summary.

  You can hear David Grusky’s full keynote talk from the Los Cien gathering Thursday morning. It’s posted below.

VeloMed Watches Out For Injured Cyclists

Sep 15, 2014

   No one is in a better position to aid an injured bicyclist than another rider—especially when that other rider is also a doctor or nurse. So that’s what Velo-Med was created to do.

  From concept to active reality, Velo-Med is less than a year old. And founder Dr. Stephen Meffert says it has been a definite learning curve for both organizers and participants.

One of those learning areas. Meffert adds, has centered on managing the scene when a fall or accident has happened.

An Opportunity for Children with Autism

Aug 14, 2014


  Autism is a mystifying and growing issue for children worldwide. Here in Sonoma County, a unique partnership between the California State University and a local family-oriented non-profit is educating parents, caregivers, and future professionals about the many facets of autism. And they are looking for some additional children to include in the program.

Inside a Cannabis Dispensary

Aug 12, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  As medical marijuana use his migrated from the shadows to the sunlight, the patient experience has also become increasingly normalized. On today’s report, we walk through that process.

  In addition to running his business, Peace in Medicine owner Robert Jacob is also a member of the Sebastopol City Council. When his turn as mayor came around earlier this year, his dual role earned him worldwide media attention, at least briefly. He sees it all as a reflection of the way his trade is gradually shedding the “stoner stigma” and gaining mainstream acceptability. 

Inside The Medical Cannabis Business

Aug 11, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Medicinal cannabis has become big business in California over the past 17 years. Today, the North Bay Report takes you inside one local dispensary operation to see how it runs like other retailers—and how it is quite different.

  While growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is more widespread than ever, Corey Rider, who manages product intake for Peace in Medicine, says the quality and efficacy can vary widely, depnding on the knowledge and intention of each individual cultivator.

'Gluten-free' Labeling Standards Now In Effect

Aug 8, 2014

  Nearly 10 years in the making, new FDA rules governing what is required for products to be labeled as “gluten-free” took effect this week. That’s become a popular dietary preference for many consumers, but for some, it can literally be a matter of life and death.

The Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California has more information about the gluten-free labeling issue on their website.

West Nile Dangers Steady in Drought Summer

Aug 5, 2014

  Dry weather this summer doesn’t mean fewer mosquitoes, so the potential for cases of West Nile Virus in northern California is still a concern. But so far, that’s all it is -- though preventative measures are still important. Here’s more, from the Marin Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Gay Blood Drive Presses for End to Donor Ban

Jul 11, 2014

  When the call for a blood drive goes out, there is one sizable group of willing donors who are routinely excluded. Gay men are prohibited from giving blood, due to a decades-old ban that is now being questioned. Today is the second National Gay Blood Drive, here in Sonoma County and across the nation, organized to press for a change in that prohibition. Here’s more about it.

The Cancer-fighting Properties of Cannabis

Jul 8, 2014

  The boldest frontiers involving medical marijuana are all about getting well, not getting high.  Today’s archival North Bay Report, from July 201, looked at some of the most remarkable possibilities that medical cannabis has to offer.

Len Richmond’s film, “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer?” can be viewed in full here. The trailer for it is posted below.

Analyzing the Health of Sonoma County's Population

Jun 8, 2014

  A detailed demographic Portrait of Sonoma County shows where residents are healthy and where they are not, and, more importantly, identifies the reasons underlying those differences.

A summary of the report can be found here. Or click here to access a PDF of the entire document.

Making Prosthetics Globally Affordable

May 20, 2014
Daria Price

  It’s more important for an artificial foot to work like the limb it is replacing that to look like it, says the man who invented the carbon fiber Flex-Foot prosthetic. Now he's working to bring the price down to make them affordable worldwide.

"Out on a Limb"

May 20, 2014

  Technological advances are rapidly changing the capabilities of artificial arms, legs, hands and feet. But their cost is growing even faster than the need for them.

  Many of the recent advances in prosthetics technology have focused on creating mechanical hands, devices that can not only simulate the many-jointed movements of a human hand, but can be controlled by the wearer’s nerves, and eventually their thoughts. Filmmaker Daria Price continues to monitor progress in the field she documented over the past seven years in Out on a Limb.

Why Palliative Care is Growing

May 5, 2014

  Hospice care, for people with terminal illnesses, is well established now. Palliative care is not as well known, but can actually do more.

In many ways, says Dr. Gary Johanson, Director of Memorial Hospice and Palliative Care Service for St. Joseph's Annadel Medical Group, the modern practice of palliative care is a return to the care-giving philosophy that prevailed before the era of modern medicine.

To display the relative roles of varying forms of medical care, Dr. Johanson has prepared the Venn diagram below.

Greenery is Good For You

Apr 29, 2014

Time spent in the great outdoors is good for us. That’s been confirmed by a recent study out of the University of Wisconsin, that says the benefits of living or spending time near greenery are measurable—and it doesn’t much matter what kind of greenery it is. Bruce Robinson talks with the study’s lead author in today’s Exchange segment.

Whooping Cough on the Rise in Sonoma County

Apr 23, 2014
courtesy Sebastopol Union Elementary.

With outbreaks of whooping cough reported in 6 Sonoma County Schools, parents and public health officials are on edge. In the last 15 years vaccination rates have decreased sharply over concerns about possible side effect. On today's North Bay Report, we speak with public health and school officials about the resurgence of diseases that can be prevented with vaccines.  

The Consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Apr 10, 2014

  A traumatic childhood often results in an adulthood with health complications and a lowered life expectancy.  But even decades after the fact, there may be a way to diminish those harmful consequences.

   When asked, Dr. Felitti cites the full list of the 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences incorporated in his research.

While other experiences can certainly be traumatic, he adds, they don't cause the same kind of severity of life-long complications as the ten on his list. The table below shows their comparative frequency.

Sonoma Ranked 12th Healthiest County in California

Apr 10, 2014

From a health reporting standpoint, the quality of life in Sonoma County is our greatest strength, but we score lowest in our collective behaviors around eating, drinking and smoking. More from that study, and local reaction to it, on today’s North Bay Report.

Homeless Survey to ID Most Vulnerable

Apr 7, 2014
Courtesy Flickr user Blodeuwedd. Licensed under Creative Commons

  The worst of the winter weather is past for this season, which is good news for the homeless in Sonoma County. But the people who provide services to that population are already thinking ahead to next winter. Today they’re starting a weeklong process to find out who among the homeless are most vulnerable. Bruce Robinson talks with the coordinator of that effort.

The Sour Effects of Sugar-saturated Drinks

Apr 2, 2014

A local ad campaign is out to combat the big budgets of soft drink makers , using basic math to reveal just how much sugar those beverages contain.

  Although they are also often very sweet, fruit juices can be a healthier choice than sodas or energy drinks. But Jasmine Hunt cautions, you have to check carefully to be sure you’re getting real fruit, not just added sugar.

Another alternative for some, are diet sodas. They don’t contain the unhealthy amounts of sugar, says nutritionist Nora Bulloch, but they may pose other problems.

Campaign Seeks More Healthy Choices in Smaller Stores

Mar 5, 2014

  A county-by county survey has listed the stores where tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks are sold, which ones are close to schools, and which ones offer healthy alternatives. The next step is encouraging them to make changes, for the good of their customers.

Local ticks carry multiple diseases, study finds

Mar 2, 2014
courtesy Lia Gaertner/Bay Area Lyme Foundation

For many, checking for ticks after coming back from a hike is a ritual. Now there is an extra reason to be cautious, as Stanford researchers report finding local ticks are carrying a newly detected disease. 

Lia Gaertner, an advisory board member of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, helped collect some of the ticks. 

Promoting Organ Donation in Russia

Feb 3, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

A Russian film crew visited Bodega Bay over the weekend to recapture the story of 7 year-old Nicolas Green, with the intent of boosting organ donation rates in their home country. 

The issue of organ donation—and the huge need for donors—is far bigger than the story of Nicholas Green, says his father, Reg. So he helped the visiting Russian film crew expand their focus during their visit to northern California last weekend.

Californians Overdosing on "Self-medication"

Jan 22, 2014

  A new study finds that  millions of Americans drink too much, but few are honest with their doctor about it Lori Abbott has more on this issue in California.

Study: California is Failing its Children

Jan 8, 2014

  A new study finds California needs to do a better job meeting the health, education and economic needs of its children. The annual 2014 California Children's Report Card from Children Now, looks at advancements made last year as the governor and Legislature begin to plan their agendas for the year. Lori Abbott reports.

A Portrait of Sonoma County

Jan 7, 2014

 A detailed map of three key indicators in all 99 Sonoma County census tracts is expected to help guide efforts to make ours the healthiest county in California. The census data includes educational attainment, income levels and overall life expectancy.

Dental Sealant Program Begins

Oct 25, 2013

  It’s hard to learn with a toothache. So a new preventative program, beginning Monday in Santa Rosa, is offering low-income kids a free and painless way to ward off cavities.

CPR Training in Junior Highs

Oct 12, 2013

  Junior High students across Sonoma County are getting trained in CPR, to boost the number of people prepared to respond when an emergency situation arises.

  The first of more than 40 instruction sessions at Sonoma County Junior High Schools was held Friday, and instructor Lauri McFadden is gearing up for a schedule she expects will intensify as the school year progresses.

Image courtesy Redwood Empire Food Bank

Nine years ago local public health officials faced sobering statistics: low-income children in Sonoma County suffered from much higher rates of anemia than children in the rest of the state. As KRCB reports, years of work by community and governmental organizations seem to be paying off as county numbers slowly improve.

Programs such as the  Megan Furth Harvest Pantry were created to serve communities suffering from high rates of anemia. To date, the Redwood Empire Food Bank estimates the Harvest pantry has distributed nearly 4 million pounds of fruit and vegetables.