Take a Few Minutes to Change the Way You Think About Health

Changing the way we see, think, and understand health is the first step we can all take in leading a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our community

I’m going to show you a series of images and videos and I want you to tell me what the first word is that comes to mind. Note: This is not a Rorschach test.

First, look at this set of images.

Now watch this.


… and maybe watch a few more seconds of this one.


If the first word that came to mind was anything other than health, I don’t blame you.

Too often, we miss the big picture—pun definitely intended—that health happens in all sorts of places outside the doctor’s office. First and foremost, it happens in the neighborhoods, schools and via access to prevention we either have or don’t have. Overlooking how our systems contribute to or detract from our health leads to all sorts of hidden biases that result in major costs to ourselves, our families, and our communities. We need to focus on our neighborhoods, schools, and access to care. The imagery you just saw is working to change this and lead us to confront these hidden biases that ultimately lead to poor health for us all.

Take the first set of images, for instance. These ads created by my workplace, The California Endowment, are now on billboards and bus shelters across California. When we see or hear about the undocumented, you may have thought and felt a lot of complicated things, sometimes out loud, sometimes quietly, sometimes a little of both. But whatever your thoughts or feelings, these ads sum it up in dollars: providing health care to otherwise uninsured individuals, including undocumented residents, can result in significant cost savings to the state and federal government. In fact, the Institute of Medicine, a component of the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that lack of health insurance in the U.S. costs between $65 and $130 billion per year, due to health impairments and years of productive life lost of all uninsured. 

The video after that was produced by students at Howard University in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, and points at another important health issue. Before they can even get started in life, too many young people of color face barriers on the way to adulthood. They are growing up in communities marked by interconnected barriers of bias, poverty, violence, lack of opportunity, underfunded schools and low-wage jobs that do not represent pathways to future health and success. When our boys and men of color are prevented from being healthy, safe, and ready to learn, it costs us big time. If you live in California, for instance, you can get involved in supporting this work here or on our Tumblr. If you live out of state, we encourage you to get involved with similar coalitions building a movement to support the health of boys and men of color in your community.

The next video is a trailer for a documentary written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not necessarily in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures. Further, women hold only three percent of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65 percent of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Changing the way we (literally) see, then think about, and finally understand health is the first step we can all take in leading a healthier existence for ourselves, and for the communities in which we exist.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

Keep Reading Show less