In 2006, I traveled to North Korea.
The “other half” of my ethnic heritage had been a long held fascination. The American media had presented images of laughable authoritarian figures, strange rituals, and helpless suffering. My parents had instilled a fear of “the other” that they were taught as children in South Korea. So I went to find the truth.
37 years ago, at the very tail of the civil rights movement, my community health center (CHC) was established in Oakland to fill an unmet and urgent need. A growing population of immigrants were settling in downtown Oakland and had few choices for health care. Community surveys conducted by local leaders confirmed that residents received significantly less health care than the rest of the population largely due to a shortage of providers and limited English proficiency. And so a group of volunteers and students opened a make shift clinic with a volunteer doctor and an optometrist available for two days a week. As demand grew this little clinic expanded hours and added staff one at a time. Almost four decades later, the clinic has grown to 40+ doctors seeing 20,000 patients who speak any of 10 different languages.
What if I were to tell you that Washington is trying to balance the budget by making cuts to a program that covers 70% of the nation’s nursing home costs and 43% of all births in California? Well they are.
The rancorous debate over how to balance the federal budget includes drastic cuts to Medicaid. And while this program may seem distant to people in power and the general public, the reality is that cuts will effect far more people than you expect and may even impact you or someone you know.
“I don’t study because it gets in the way of my video game time”, 15 year old patient.
Sorry mom and dad, video games are here to stay. In my clinic, this is a topic of discussion every day……actually every hour:
“How many hours of screen time does Mikey get every day?” I ask.
“Tell the truth”, Mom says looking at Mikey.
“brmfbr mbbrm”, says Mikey looking away.
Mother turns to me with the familiar look that telegraphs, “Please tell him something because he will listen to you!”
But what if we could turn the powers of video games for “good” rather than “evil”? How do we manipulate the seductive power of video games to get our kids (or even ourselves) to do things we know are good for us but somehow never gets done?