Welcome to PSR-LA's November E-Newsletter! As an environment and cost-saving measure, our newsletters will now be primarily distributed online.
Our first important announcement of this issue: PSR-LA has a new website! Take a moment to browse through the articles, events, and actions in this newsletter, and visit our new website today: www.psr-la.org
With a proven record of changing local and national policies, and raising the voice and profile of physicians and health advocates who are committed to social responsibility, we ask that you continue to support PSR-LA -- make a donation, become a member, or renew your membership today.
-All of us at PSR-LA
In this Issue
An Inspiring Evening - PSR-LA's 2009 Gala Review, Photos, and Video
Peace and Security
Health and Human Rights
An Inspiring Evening - PSR-LA's 2009 Gala
"Heroes for Health: PSR-LA's 2009 Annual Dinner" was held at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on June 7th. Physicians, medical school students, board members and volunteers came together to celebrate progress for the "prevent what we cannot cure" aphorism we so strongly hold true. Honored were Her Majesty Queen Noor, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Ph. D., and Dr. Jose Quiroga, M.D. A musical tribute was presented by Jacqueline Fuentes.
The gala dinner was dedicated to the memory of Dr. James Curren Warf, Ph. D., a Manhattan Project scientist who became a lifelong peace activist and scientific resource and advisor for PSR. Read more, see photos and video.
Nov. 23 - Dr. Peter Katona - Pandemic Swine Flu: Is the Response Justified?
Join infectious disease expert Dr. Katona for an informative discussion at the monthly meeting of the Global Security Seminar on Monday, November 23rd at 6:30pm. RSVP to email@example.com by November 20, 11am.
This is a most novel pandemic. We have an unusual and new strain. It started at the wrong time of year. There is uncertainty about severity. Many show a distrust about recommendations from the government about the vaccine, especially about it's late delivery. Young people are disproportionately affected. There is widespread illness, some severe, and it is socially disruptive, especially for schools. How do we handle all this uncertainty when historical perspective is lacking?
Dr. Peter Katona is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in viral diseases where he investigated both domestic and international outbreaks. Read more and RSVP.
PSR-LA Featured in Two Reports on Reproductive and Environmental Justice
PSR-LA's movement building and policy change work at the intersection of reproductive and environmental justice has been featured in two select reports: Fertile Ground: Women Organizing at the Intersection of Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice, published by the Movement Strategy Center, and Climate of Opportunity: Gender and Movement Building at the Intersection of Reproductive Justice and Environmental Justice, published by the Women's Foundation of California.
Using the twin lenses of environmental justice and reproductive justice, PSR-LA is a featured group that is finding new ways to connect, frame, communicate, and organize around the issues that matter most to communities - the health of children, families, communities, cultures, and land. This intersectional approach is creating new alliances, political opportunities, and concrete wins.
Read more about PSR-LA's role in thes reports on our website.
Dec. 5 - Pesticide Exposures in Urban Settings: How to Recognize and Manage Pesticide Illness
Join PSR-LA's Environmental Health Ambassador Program on Saturday, December 5, 9am-2pm, at a health professional training on how to recognize and manage pesticide illness, conducted by pesticides expert, Dr. Michael O'Malley of UC Davis. Also, learn how to get involved in state-wide policy reform to protect human health from pesticides.
This training is jointly sponsored by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), UC Berkeley. 2.5 CME Category 1 Credits available.
More than half of pesticide-related poisonings cases in California are due to non-agricultural use, including home use insecticides. In California, urban use of pesticides in and around our homes, schools, workplaces and communities equals or exceeds all in-state agricultural use of these chemicals. Over the long-term, exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancers, birth defects, reproductive and developmental harm, damage to brain function, and disruption of the body's hormone system - health impacts that can occur months or years after exposure. Read more, and download the training flyer (pdf).
Toxic Chemicals Found in Doctors and Nurses - New Biomonitoring Report by PSR
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) in partnership with American Nurses Association (ANA) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) released the "Hazardous Chemicals In Health Care" report today, detailing the first investigation ever of chemicals found in the bodies of health care professionals. The study found that all of the 20 study participants had toxic chemicals associated with health care in their bodies.
Each participant had at least 24 individual chemicals present, four of which are on the recently released Environmental Protection Agency list of priority chemicals for regulation. These chemicals are all associated with chronic illness and physical disorders.
"The health care professions want to understand the role of chemical contamination on health outcomes and health inequities said Martha Dina Argüello of PSR-LA "Nurses and doctors volunteered for this study because they believe it is their responsibility to better understand how chemicals impact human health," explained Kristen Welker-Hood, ScD, MSN, RN of Physicians For Social Responsibility co- principal investigator and a co-author of the report.
Read more. Download the full report: "Hazardous Chemicals In Health Care" (pdf)
California State Assembly Fails to Pass BPA Ban
This legislative session in Sacramento, the state Assembly failed to pass PSR-LA co-sponsored SB 797, which would have banned bisphenol A, or BPA, from food and drink containers designed for children ages three and younger. BPA, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to breast cancer and other serious health problems, is used in some plastic baby bottles and sippy cups, as well as in the lining of infant formula cans. The bill may be taken up again by the Assembly as soon as January.
PSR-LA executive director, Martha Dina Argüello said, "Too many Assembly members abdicated their responsibility to protect the health of infants and children from exposure to BPA. There is no justice when some consumers have the power to buy their way out of BPA contamination while others do not."
The bill, introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, was a response to mounting scientific evidence that exposure to even extremely low levels of BPA can impact health. More than 200 scientific studies show that BPA exposure, particularly during early infancy, is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects in later life. In addition to breast cancer, BPA has been linked to prostate cancer, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity. A main route of human exposure is through the leaching of BPA from food and beverage containers. Once in food, BPA moves quickly into the body. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are still developing.
Read the September 11th article on our website. See photos and actions from PSR-LA.
Tova Fuller Addresses the International Youth Dialogue on Nuclear Disarmament
On October 26, 2009, PSR-LA Board Member, Ambassador, and Student PSR Representative Tova Fuller delivered the following speech during the International Youth Dialogue on Nuclear Disarmament. This conference was organized by the Project for Nuclear Awareness, and her speech was published on the IPPNW's Peace and Health Blog. Thank you, Tova for representing Los Angeles, PSR, and IPPNW!
Below is an excerpt of her speech. Read the full speech on our website:
"...Much has been said regarding this unique window of opportunity for nuclear abolitionists, and certainly this crowd is aware that the stars are aligned for our movement. In the post-Prague speech era, there have been real signs of commitment to abolition, such as the cancellation of the missile shield in Eastern Europe. I am not a wonk, and I'm not about to give a wonky speech. What I would like to talk about briefly is the special responsibility our generation has, and give you my best advice for youth activism and organizing. Now, let's state the obvious. It would seem as if we had no reason to fight for disarmament. After all, we didn't live through the dropping of fat man or little boy, and we don't remember the cold war. We didn't create these weapons of mass destruction or set the stage for their use. Plenty of other causes such as climate change and universal healthcare appear to be competing for our attention. Hopefully I don't have to convince you that we inherit the problems of our parents' and grandparents' generation and the responsibility that creates as a group. But I would like to impress upon you that you are at this dialogue because you have self-elected yourself as a youth leader. That carries tremendous personal responsibility..." Read the full speech.
Rethinking Afghanistan - Op-Ed by Dr. Bob Dodge
Dr. Bob Dodge's Op-Ed on Afghanistan was published by the Ventura County Star and Truthout, among other print and online news sources. A tireless advocate for non-violence and nuclear abolition, we're proud to have Dr. Dodge as a long-time PSR-LA board member and Peace and Security Ambassador.
An excerpt of this Op-Ed is below. Read the full piece on our website:
"President Obama is reviewing the way forward in Afghanistan. His decision will define his presidency much as Vietnam defined the legacy of President Johnson's presidency in the 1960s.
At a time when so much opportunity and necessity for change is at stake from health care reform to climate change legislation, education and nuclear weapons policy and the economy, the war and its costs will trump all." Read the full Op-Ed .
PSR-LA Ambassador Natalia Koteva featured on UN website
PSR-LA was thrilled to learn that Peace and Security Ambassador Natalia Koteva is featured on the United Nation's website.
UN members were asked to submit videos telling President Obama what he should focus on at his first United Nations meeting in September. Natalia, a UN-LA member and PSR-LA Peace and Security Ambassador, made a video asking the President to focus on nuclear disarmament.
Natalia's video was perfectly timed - Obama recently introduced an historic resolution that was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council. The resolution calls for states with nuclear weapons to continue disarming, to ratify a ban on testing, and to agree to a treaty stopping the production of fissile material. In return, non weapons states should accept stronger safeguards to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. (See fact sheet on UNSC Resolution 1887.)
Natalia is a Physical Therapist who recently graduated from California State University Northridge. Emigrating to the United States from Bulgaria, Natalia brings a unique perspective to PSR-LA's work. We congratulate Natalia on having her video chosen and bringing PSR-LA's message of nuclear disarmament to the UN and the world!
Planning for a Healthier South LA with the California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities Initiative
This year, PSR-LA has taken a leadership role in planning for a healthier South Los Angeles through the California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities strategic initiative. As the Endowment points out, where we live, work and play directly impacts our health. The evidence shows that for California to thrive, our communities must have more than available health care. Affordable housing, good jobs, safe schools, clean air, parks and playgrounds, walkable streets, markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and strong social networks are also crucial to a healthy California.
Read more on PSR-LA's website and visit the The Endowment's Building Healthy Communities website: www.calendow.org/healthycommunities.
PSR-LA Committee,Therapists for Social Responsibility, Hosts Jackie Goldberg for Discussion on Healthcare Reform
On October 31st, PSR-LA Board Member Ruth Tavlin, Dr. King Reilly, and Susam Romo hosted former Assemblywoman and lifelong activist Jackie Goldberg for a discussion on the current state of healthcare reform. The Saturday afternoon brought a room full of healthcare advocates, therapists, physicians, educators, and more, to discuss how each individual can effectively engage in healthcare advocacy work.
Thank you Ruth Tavlin, Dr. King Reilly, and Susan Romo for hosting this event!
Take a look at the national statement released by PSR on healthcare access earlier this year, and browse through related articles and events on our website.
Dec. 10 - Unveiling the South Los Angeles Declaration of Health & Human Rights
Join us on International Human Rights Day to unveil the South Los Angeles Declaration of Health & Human Rights. This event will take place at Martin Luther King Hospital on Thursday, December 10th, 5:00pm.
PSR-LA was a co-convener of this summer's South Los Angeles Health & Human Rights Conference, where attendees convened to help advance the understanding of health and human rights, and began to form this declaration. Read more about the conference.
Learn more about this declaration at www.southlahealthandhumanrights.org.