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Many of us are working on goals for a healthier new year, whether it’s dropping a few pounds after overindulging in December or creating long-term plans to help improve ourselves physically and mentally. For suggestions on how we can all get back on track for 2015, I interviewed Bill Snook of the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department.
1. How long have you been with the Kansas City Health Department, and what is your current position?
I am the health and social marketing program manager and have been at the department for 15 years. My master’s degree is in exercise physiology.
2. What does your typical day look like?
A typical day in my position is to expect the unexpected. On any given day, our team may need to react immediately to media requests, work with program managers on ways to raise public awareness of health issues and resources available, or engage in creating new tools for the public to use, or work on strategies to keep residents safe from the effects of extreme heat in the summer. There are no two days alike in my job.
3. What is the biggest health issue threatening the Kansas City LGBTQ community? Is it still HIV/AIDS?
HIV is still an issue, but to be honest, I believe the biggest health issue facing our community is that we are not visible. Research is sporadic and disjointed, focusing on a few topics such as HIV or tobacco use. There was a time that medical journals would not publish your work if you used the words gay or lesbian. Most medical intake forms at your doctor do not even ask if you are LGBTQ. Medical providers sometimes don’t understand or realize that as LGBTQ, we may need different tests, questions and services. With all the gains we have seen socially, there is still a long way to go.
4. How does the Kansas City Health Department work to educate LGBTQ people about current health risks?
Starting with the Pulse in 2003 and 2006, which was one of the first comprehensive LGBT community health assessments ever done, we have continued to work with local, state and national organizations to promote the need for more research, funding and culturally and community competent care.
5. What do you find the most challenging in your work?
I would probably say … the challenge to ask better questions, find workable solutions to achieve better health outcomes.
6. What do you enjoy the most about working with the K.C. Health Department?
The department has allowed me to explore, innovate and continue to learn. When we did the LGBT community survey, it had only been done one time before. The community took a traditional survey format and turned it on its head. The marketing committee was brilliant and committed. Because of everyone who filled out a survey or promoted it, we had data that allowed organizations to use it to get funding for more research or services! The University of Missouri – Columbia was able to get a lot more funding to do more surveys from the Missouri Foundation for Health because of the Pulse. Nationally, the most complete data on LGBTQ health is found in Missouri. I have been thankful that my job allows me to be a part of that.
7. The holiday season can be extremely stressful for LGBTQ people, especially when interacting with family. Do you have any suggestions on how to maintain emotional health during this time of year?
Maintaining emotional health is needed year-round, not just at the holidays. My best advice is to know what triggers your stress and make a plan. Deep breaths, stepping away from the situation, exercise, yoga, meditation can all help, but don’t be afraid of asking for help. The LGBT Affirming Therapist Guild can be a valuable resource to help combat stress and other issues.
8. On Jan 1, many of us are all set to make life changes, whether it’s going to the gym, quitting smoking, or making healthier eating choices. Most of us have dropped these goals by Jan. 30. How might a person stick with these changes?
It doesn’t have to be a New Year’s resolution. It is about taking a positive step toward your goal. Just remember that change requires effort. I usually ask, “what small changes can I make that would help me move toward my goal?” You have to build a habit. For example, if you want to work out, find out what you like to do, such as lift weights or do cardio, and commit to doing it twice a week for 30 minutes on certain days. If you do well, then add time or another day. If you have a setback, it is OK. Just scale back and try again.
9. Many in our community still smoke. Is the e-cigarette a healthful solution to begin the move from smoker to non-smoker?
LGBTQ [people> have one of the highest smoking rates. It is usually around 35 percent to 38 percent in the LGBTQ community, compared to about 18 percent in the national data. E-cigs are not classified by the Food and Drug Association as a stop-smoking aid. E-cig products are not regulated, and the health risks and benefits have not been fully studied. If you want to quit smoking, there are programs to help you quit and products to help minimize the withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to help you quit.
10. Do you have any goals set for yourself for the new year?
Whether it is work and home, or listening to my body if I push too hard at the gym, my goal is about finding a balance, relaxing, and enjoying life.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.