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35 minutes | Aug 3, 2021
E83: The Opioid Crisis Revisited
We are revisiting our Opioid Crisis podcast from May 3, 2021 as a report was released that overdoses surged in 2020. As we have throughout the pandemic, it’s time to check in on a community health issue that pre-dated COVID and has only become more pressing since. As you’ll hear more about from our guests, 2019 was supposed to have been a peak level of opioid addiction and misuse, but things look much different now. There is a pernicious shift from dirty heroin to clean prescription drugs, but that clean perception is deceptive, given the power and peril that an opioid like Fentanyl delivers. In basic grade school economic terms, we are witnessing more supply and more demand than ever before. Opioids are a nearly ubiquitous threat to Arizonans, and this crisis is very much worthy of deeper discussion. You’re about to hear from two long-term warriors in the fight against addiction and overdose – one from an innovative and lifesaving recovery center, and one from the center of Arizona’s acute care and addiction medicine leadership. So let’s get to it. Together, we’re about to get updated on the opioid and opiate landscape, its frustrations and surprises, treatment options, and even a couple of drop the mic moments regarding the Opioid Crisis, as of May 3, 2021.
40 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
E82: Arizona's Eviction Crisis Revisted
We are revisiting our Eviction Crisis episode from January 11, 2021 as the eviction moratorium comes to an end in just a few days. We’re taking a look at the potential powder keg of pending evictions in Arizona. Even as the pandemic is putting an enormous strain on health care systems, its economic impacts are profound and equally difficult to fathom. According to the National Council of State Housing Agencies, upwards of 250,000 renters are currently in danger of eviction. We’ve said it many times before. Housing IS health. So, how do we work to avoid yet another potential health crisis triggered by evictions? That is the half-a-billion dollar question. Landlord communications, rental assistance, utility assistance, and legal assistance are all parts of the equation. Help is on the way for landlords and renters. To make sure people are aware of what’s going on and what’s possible, we’ve got three great guests from the legal realm and a new website to talk about at azevictionhelp.org. It’s time to talk about the pending wave of evictions and Arizona. Most importantly, it’s time to talk about resources to help stem that tide, as of January 11, 2021. Links: azevictionhelp.org State Bar of Arizona Community Legal Services DNA-People's Legal Services Southern Arizona Legal Aid
6 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
E81: Transitions, A Podcast Update
Today we’re connecting with you, our listeners for whom we are so grateful, with a brief message to talk about what’s next for this summer, and for this podcast.
48 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
E80: Health and Housing Update - 7/6/21
in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, here are two truths that will be at the heart of today’s episode: (1) housing is health; and (2) the dearth of supportive, affordable, and workforce housing in Arizona continues to rear its head when it comes to Arizona residents and their ability to be well. Never was the idea of housing as health made more obvious than during the worst moments of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Those moments were an exclamation point on what the data already has told us for years: Health outcomes are dramatically better – and health care costs are dramatically lower – when Arizonans have affordable quality housing for shelter and respite. The pandemic continues (particularly with the rise of the delta variant), extreme heat has already left its first mark on Arizonans, and yet the struggle for more housing that’s available to more people continues. You’re about to hear from three Arizona experts about why that is the case, and what we can do about it. (Spoiler alert: a big element that we’re missing rhymes with “analytical skill.”) Our experts have a lot to share, including multiple publications and an important toolkit, links to all of which are found in our show notes. So let’s get to it: It’s time to talk about inclusionary zoning, LIHTC, nimbyism, ADUs, teacherages, a trust fund, and so much more, as of July 6, 2021. Links: Arizona Housing Coalition Best Practice Toolkit for Municipalities, for Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housing How School Districts Can Create Attainable Housing Opportunities Policies for Investment Without Displacement Executive Summary
45 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
E79: Celebrating Pride Month 2021
As Pride Month 2021 comes to a close, take the time to hear from two awesome Arizonans who are our favorite kinds of folks for you to meet. You might think, “yeah sure,” here come people who are clearly passionate about something that matters to them. But listen carefully to this conversation, and we’d wager that you’ll discover two people who connect, invest, collaborate, and advocate because they care about all of us together. They care about our entire state’s health and well-being. They model the behaviors they seek. So let’s get to it: It’s time to talk about the power of inclusion over exclusion, Non Discrimination Ordinances over Ballot measures , movements over marginalization, mega-tents over megaphones, and much more, as of June 28, 2021.
42 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
E78: Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops
Today, our topic is first responders and behavioral health. More specifically, we’re diving into an amazing documentary called Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops. As you’re about to hear, documentary filmmaker Jenifer McShane spent years following the work of two members of the San Antonio Police Department’s Behavioral Health Unit. Viewers of the film walk in their shoes, as well as in the shoes of the people that these officers are assisting. It is nothing short of powerful filmmaking regarding a transformational approach to mental health crisis response - and we should note that this film exists thanks to significant support from Arizona’s own David and Lura Lovell Foundation. In this episode you’re going to hear directly from Jen and officer Ernie Stevens. At the end of this podcast, we’re going to give you information on how to stream Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops. And more importantly, how all first responders nationwide can experience this fantastic film for free right now. So let’s get to it: It’s time to talk about first responders, the people they’re called upon to help, the connection and empathy that is central to a better outcome, and much more, as of June 14, 2021. Links: Ernieandjoethefilm.com The David and Lura Lovell Foundation
44 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
E77: COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 6/7/21
Today’s COVID-19 Roundtable is set against the backdrop of continued, mostly positive developments in Arizona. U.S. case rates have hit the lowest point since the pandemic began, Arizona case rates are lower but stubbornly plateauing, while vaccination rates are consistently declining. The Federal goal of 70% vaccination by the 4th of July has been reached by 12 U.S. states. Projections tend to show that Arizona will not join them. Meanwhile, data shows that unvaccinated Arizonans with no antibodies from previous infection face the same risk of infection as ever. Of course, from a population health perspective that group of Arizonans becomes smaller by the day. There is still a lot to process, a lot to learn from, and a lot to improve upon. So let’s get to it: it’s time to talk about the public health value of school closures, comparison of the current COVID impact to the typical flu season, the future of telehealth and telework, variants, vaccines, the worldwide pandemic context and more, as of June 7, 2021
42 minutes | May 26, 2021
E76: COVID-19 Roundtable Update -5/24/21
This pandemic certainly isn’t over yet, but sharper edges of uncertainty are finally starting to round off somewhat, which gives us more space to think, to process what we’ve been going through, and to learn – or to at least identify what we want to learn more about. The focus now is on achieving herd immunity, drawing upon data and lessons, and building a better future. This is our first episode since the CDC changed masking requirements, allowing vaccinated Americans to generally put their masks aside, while putting the rest of us on the honor system to stay masked if not vaccinated. Some are happy, some are frustrated, others are annoyed. Polling indicates that Americans don’t trust each other to do the right thing. Daily life is still a negotiation of will vs. rules, of grace vs. anger, and of individual rights vs. public space. So let’s get to it. It’s time to talk about retail vaccine strategy, return on sacrifice analysis, the multiple aspects of the schools conundrum and more as of May 24, 2021.
43 minutes | May 19, 2021
E75: Redistricting in Arizona
We’re here today to dig into a once-in-a-decade opportunity. It goes by the unsexy, easy-to-overlook term “redistricting,” but do not lulled into complacency by it. In a nutshell, this is about creating the boundaries of the geographic areas that each member of Congress, for example, will be representing. It is, in fact, the next key and crucial step after the just-completed 2020 Census count. And the time to jump in and get this process right is – you guessed it – now. So why, you might be asking, is a health foundation talking about this? That’s easier to answer than it might at first appear, because redistricting has cascading effects on communities’ capacities to be healthy and well. We’re talking about voice, power, and resources – specifically, who’s voices are heard, what community power is reflected in policy decisions, and what resources that support community health are adequately and appropriately allocated to communities. There are no geography lessons in this podcast. Politics are not our interest either. For the partners focused on bringing diverse communities to the redistricting process, this is about people. Representation and voice are core concepts not only of our democracy, but of our health and well-being. So let’s get to it. It’s time to wrap our heads around something that seems conceptually simple but is practically quite complex, and to understand it today because of how much it matters for Arizonans’ health over the next decade of tomorrows, as of May 17, 2021 Link: Why Redistricting Matters
44 minutes | May 12, 2021
E74:COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 5/10/21
For this COVID-19 Roundtable, it probably won’t surprise you at all that we’re going to talk quite a bit about vaccines. We are also going to talk about ASU’s latest predictive modeling results regarding the next four months, and we’re going to paint a picture of how hospitals and health care professionals are trying to process and recover from a very stressful time. Plus, did you ever think a podcast focused on COVID would also talk about pizza boxes? In this episode we will, in fact, check that box. We have reached a state of pseudo-balance. Arizona is still experiencing a moderate to substantial rate of new COVID cases from the much more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant. The balance point comes from a combination of people who have already COVID and those who are vaccinated. There is no guarantee that balance will hold. What’s required is finding ways to get more and more Arizonans vaccinated. As Will notes, we’ll get to herd immunity, but the question is when. And how. So let’s get to it. It’s time to talk about putting all the puzzle pieces together, taking pizza boxes apart, getting people off of fences, and getting shots into arms as of May 10, 2021.
33 minutes | May 5, 2021
E73: Field Notes - The Opioid Crisis
As we have throughout the pandemic, it’s time to check in on a community health issue that pre-dated COVID and has only become more pressing since. As you’ll hear more about from our guests, 2019 was supposed to have been a peak level of opioid addiction and misuse, but things look much different now. There is a pernicious shift from dirty heroin to clean prescription drugs, but that clean perception is deceptive, given the power and peril that an opioid like Fentanyl delivers. In basic grade school economic terms, we are witnessing more supply and more demand than ever before. Opioids are a nearly ubiquitous threat to Arizonans, and this crisis is very much worthy of deeper discussion. You’re about to hear from two long-term warriors in the fight against addiction and overdose – one from an innovative and lifesaving recovery center, and one from the center of Arizona’s acute care and addiction medicine leadership. So let’s get to it. Together, we’re about to get updated on the opioid and opiate landscape, its frustrations and surprises, treatment options, and even a couple of drop the mic moments regarding the Opioid Crisis, as of May 3, 2021.
42 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
E72: COVID-19 Roundtable Update -4/26/21
Two weeks ago we asked you to tell us if the Roundtable is still helpful. You responded with resoundingly positive feedback, and thank goodness because our experts really wanted to keep going – and boy are we going to get into it today. New executive orders, the ins and outs of getting shots in arms, needed policy changes and more. The big and small shocks, the bouts of exhaustion, and the aggrievements of this pandemic continue to reverberate, which means we have more to explore, reflect upon, make sense of, and grow from. While we’re at it, let’s not lose sight of COVID’s worldwide context either. On April 26 New Zealand detailed 3 new cases, the U.S. recorded 34,641, and India reported more than 350,000 new confirmed cases - for the fifth straight day. Here in Arizona, meanwhile, the new case counts are stubbornly not declining, while the daily count of vaccinations is. All of which is to say that there is much to discuss with our roundtable guests, so let’s get to it. It’s time to talk B.1.1.7’s ascendance, what’s going on with hospitals and health care professionals, how COVID is becoming a young person’s disease, how to make vaccines more convenient, and where we might go next as of April 26, 2021.
42 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
E71: COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 4/12/21
This time out at the roundtable, vaccines are at the core of this episode more than ever before. Specifically, how U.S. vaccination rates are working to slow the spread, if International vaccinations can stem an influx of troubling variants into the U.S., what is going on with vaccine hesitancy, and when might we envision something like meaningful herd immunity. Those topics are far trickier than you might imagine. For example, up until now, herd immunity was a distant goal. Now it is coming into view, and we actually need to wrap our arms around what’s going to be acceptable for us as a country, and ultimately as a worldwide community. You’ll hear our panelists dig into herd immunity, discuss how we dig out of the tremendous psychological impact that the pandemic has had, and really wrestle with problems like continued inequity, vaccines for kids, and providing the pure convenient access for all Arizonans. It’s still a race between virus mutation and mass vaccination. For the moment it appears the U.S. is ahead of the game, but indications from states like Michigan are making many experts wary. So let’s get to it. March Madness may have been settled in terms of basketball, but for COVID we’ve transitioned to anxious April. Which means that it’s time to talk effectiveness, exhaustion, hesitancy, mutations, infections, frustrations, and more as of April 12, 2021.
40 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
E70: Page and the Pandemic
In this episode we’re headed North – right up to Glen Canyon Dam in fact. Not far from the now Insta-famous Horseshoe Bend lies the city of Page and a unique pandemic-era story with lessons for all of us. This tourism-oriented city didn’t suffer the kind of economic disarray that would have precipitated steep declines in well-being and health. Something else altogether transpired instead in response to COVID, and it happened in contrast to how things played out in other parts of our state. During the days when many Arizonans were still trying to figure out which way was up, and still more of us were deeply engaged in rapid cycle learning about how COVID worked, Page simply got to work. You’re about to hear from two people who galvanized the business community to act in order to prevent the loss of businesses, jobs, and residents during the pandemic. Page’s behavioral health, physical health, and civic health would all rise and fall on how well the city weathered the COVID storm. This is the story of how Page Arizona navigated pandemic waters economically, so that it could continue to support community health and well-being, as of April 5, 2021.
43 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
E69: COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 3/29/21
Fingers-crossed, you are about to listen to what might be the last March COVID-19 roundtable ever. We are moving towards the end of this pandemic; however, there are a number of complexities, policy decisions, and community-based issues still in front of us. Oddly, in some ways, this March feels a little like last March: (1) we are transitioning from one public health reality to another, (2) there are enough variables up in the air to make our immediate future more uncertain, and (3) there is a distinct sense that while the virus does not discriminate, COVID’s impact will. There is still a LOT to sort out. Not the least being how to adapt vaccination strategy, and specifically how to effectively address inequity in distribution. Also, what the heck happens inside each place of business once a governor lifts all mitigation orders and simultaneously nullifies local government orders. Those topics and more are the basis of this conversation. Just like March Madness is down to the Elite 8, it’s time to narrow our focus on the high seeds and Cinderellas that remain in the fight to beat back variants, avoid another surge like the one taking place in Europe, and navigate to a place of improving public health as of March 29, 2021.
47 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
E68: Streets, Spaces, and Vibrancy
The Spark is taking it to the streets! Arizona overall and Tucson in particular had already been engaged in a variety of efforts to re-activate streets in ways that better connect us as people - harmoniously, whether those users are car drivers, transit riders, cyclists or people of various modes and abilities. And then? A little thing known as COVID-19 came a-calling. At first, our streets were nearly deserted. And then they weren’t. All of a sudden we had different needs, while other long neglected needs became urgent. As we transitioned through stages of the pandemic and social change in 2020, public and open spaces became more essential than ever, but in brand new ways. And that’s what this discussion is all about. How can we utilize streets – which can also be re-considered as perhaps the single largest public real estate investment of any place – in combination with open spaces in order to create community health, well-being and vibrancy? This conversation picks up where another report left off. Click the link below for "Creating Vibrant Communities," the 113th Arizona Town Hall Background Report. Throughout the course of last year and 2021, Community Town Halls are convening virtually to discuss the broader question of how to create community vibrancy. This podcast zeroes in on one chapter, the role of streets, transportation and open space. And wow, have things changed since COVID began. It’s time to talk about streateries, parklets, neighbors connecting in new ways, the realities of a how a downtown business district survives and thrives, how a nonprofit cancels some of its biggest events and does the same, and how a city can best support everyone’s efforts to create community vibrancy, as of March 22, 2021. Link: Creating Vibrant Communities, the 113th Arizona Town Hall Background Report
34 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
E67: COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 3/15/21
This episode marks an anniversary: one year since this podcast’s COVID-19 roundtable began. In those early moments while we were busy sorting out what we were facing it was fairly well understood that the pandemic was not a short-term event, yet this 26th roundtable discussion seems a little surreal as we all harbor guarded hopes for better days ahead. The last 12 months have been a terribly rocky road: (1) through politicization of public health interventions that disfigured the U.S. response, (2) through the prism of systemic racism with the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, (3) through rapid cycles of scientific data, healthcare experiences, and vaccine development, and (4) through the reality that American health care resources are not without limits. Many people stayed home. Many others risked their lives in essential roles. We are asked to distance from each other when all we wanted was to be together. We were unable to recognized life milestones in traditional ways. On top of all that, three longstanding American myths - of equality, abundance, and exceptionalism - got shaken to their core. Which is why it seemed like the right time to spend this roundtable separating the wheat from the chafe. What, and who, and how did we lose? What did we learn? If anything, what did we gain? How, as of this moment anyway, might we go forward? For that matter, what do the next one, three, or six months look like? These are the questions we’ll approach on our one-year anniversary of the Vitalyst Spark COVID-19 Roundtable. With apologies to Clint Eastwood, it’s time to take a look back AND a look forward at the good, the bad, and the ugly of COVID-19, as of March 15, 2021.
38 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
E66: Trauma Sensitive Schools in Arizona
In this episode we’re introducing you to a report and a concept that could make all the difference when it comes to improving educational outcomes in Arizona. The work of Trauma Sensitive Schools sits firmly at the intersection of both education and health. It’s nearly impossible to separate the two. They are interwoven when it comes to a young child’s capacity to show up ready to learn. They are intertwined when it comes to strong educational outcomes that are the basis of economic opportunity. And they are inseparable as key factors for a long and healthy life. As you’ll hear our guests remark repeatedly, everything starts with a true relational connection for our kiddos, and that’s what Trauma Sensitive Schools are all about. This episode is packed with paradigm shifting insights, so let’s get right to it. It’s time to talk about applying neurobiological insights to the very present and daunting tasks of improving health and educational outcomes in Arizona, as of March 8, 2021. Report Link - Creating Trauma Sensitive Arizona Schools: Building Resilience to Lessen the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences
39 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
E65: COVID-19 Roundtable Update - 3/1/21
Our roundtable is back. We’ve got a mixed bag of good news and bad news, along with some longer-term implications that we can’t totally be sure about yet. Regardless, it is important that we continue to have our experts share what they know and what they don’t, as well as project what may happen in the future. At times, they’re processing, sorting and adapting in real-time – kind of like we all have been since this pandemic first began challenging our daily lives at just about this time a year ago. Today, you’ll hear us processing the latest news on how the decline in cases and deaths has turned into a plateau, and possibly a newly unsettling trend of increase. Plus we’ll get more into how our healthcare system is doing, how statewide vaccinations are progressing, how new vaccines could help, and how what happens worldwide makes the difference for us in the U.S. and in Arizona too. There’s a lot to learn about in this episode, so let’s get right to it. It’s time to talk about what’s going on with Arizona’s rates of infections, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccinations, and more as of March 1, 2021. Link: Death, Through a Nurse's Eyes (New York Times video of Valleywise COVID ICU)
41 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
E64: 2021 Legislative Session Update
In the three years since this podcast originally launched, we’ve talked consistently about the need for policy change, yet we’ve never produced an episode focused on an Arizona Legislative Session. But that all changes today. In this, our 64th episode (cue the Beatles When I’m 64), we’ve got some policy champs on the line to talk about what’s going on related to health care, housing and food during this 2021 Legislative Session. The big question, of course, is “how does the pandemic shape what’s happening down there” – and we’re going to get right into that big time in this episode. It’s time to talk about what’s going on with food systems, housing and health care at the 2021 Arizona Legislative Session, as of February 22, 2021. Links: Arizona Food Systems Network Legislative Advocacy and Priorities Arizona Housing Coalition Instant Advocacy Vitalyst Legislative Priorities Arizona Housing Coalition Legislative Priorities
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