Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Volunteering opportunities in Los Angeles

Here are some great suggestions for volunteering in Los Angeles!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

REPOST: Community service help launches a new and innovative charity fundraising program

This article talks about Community Service Help launching a new charity fundraising program.  


Community Service Help has just announced the launch of a brand new charity fundraising program that will help manage non-profit organizations’ court ordered volunteer programs. Called Community Service Help for Charities, the program is a free service for all 501(c)3 non-profits.

Recently, the courts have frequently assigned community service to at-risk individuals. Because many people wish to fulfill their community service obligations at a non-profit organization, this has caused many charities to become overburdened with scheduling, required supervision, insurance and other tasks to manage and track the individuals. Unfortunately, these issues have caused some charitable organizations to stop working with court ordered volunteers.

Thanks to the new charity volunteer management program at Community Service Help, non-profits will have all of the extra work associated with court ordered workers taken care of. The online community service program includes electronic supervision, volunteer hour tracking, time sheets and logging, court reporting, and any necessary phone calls and customer support.

In addition to being completely free for the non-profit organization, the new program’s benefits include a $20 donation for every volunteer referred, statistics and volunteer tracking, and— because of the lack of restrictions based on the person’s type of crime, location, age or disability—unlimited volunteer placement opportunities.

“Don't stress about your court ordered volunteers, let Community Service Help manage your entire court volunteering program,” an article on the company’s website noted, adding that through its innovative volunteering platform they will handle everything on behalf of the non-profit organization from start to finish.

“Rehabilitation is always more powerful than punishment. By giving someone a chance to enrich their life and gain new skills Community Service Help seeks to rehabilitate at risk individuals and provide them with the tools they need to be a successful member of society.”

Anybody who would like to learn more about Community Service Help and its charity fundraising program is welcome to visit the organization’s website at any time; there, they can read in-depth information about the new service and the very tangible ways it helps both non-profits and those who need to finish their community service hours.

SharonYounkin, Ph.D., served as the Director for Community Service Programs at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  More pertinent news about healthcare and community service can be found on this Twitter page.

Monday, 29 April 2013

The role of new technology in an improved healthcare system

Many experts now argue that there is a need to change the way the world views health care. The heavy dependence on clinics, hospitals, and on-care specialists has to be reduced, and people need to realize that the thing they need for an improved care experience may already be within their reach. A part of it may already be in their hands, even.

Image Source: healthcareglobal.com

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, a health economist and management consultant, recently wrote a paper for the California Healthcare Foundation on how new technologies can change patient care. On it, she reports that currently available mobile devices and other tools powered by today’s Wi-Fi technologies can be used to help individuals collect data and transmit them for a doctor’s perusal, whenever necessary.

With the widespread use of the sensor devices, which are placed in strategic areas in homes, clothing, or even the patient’s body, the need to stay in hospitals for long periods of time or the need to visit doctors often is lessened. Patients can live within the comfort of their own homes, knowing that their doctors and loved ones will be immediately informed of any developments on their condition.

Image Source: kurzweilai.net

As shown on this infographic, the patients themselves can easily peruse their daily records. If they find something amiss, they can just easily consult their doctor through the phone or through video chat. Meanwhile, with the system monitoring their health signals and comparing it with a pre-determined normal range, they can also receive timely reminders on what they can do to normalize their condition.

This system is not yet implemented, but with factors like the falling costs of the sensor technology, the discussions with health specialists, and the rising demand from health consumers for sensor-based devices, the prospects are reportedly bright for the widespread adoption of technology in an improved health care approach.

Image Source: fastcodesign.com

Sharon L. Younkin remains dedicated to her work in fostering communities with healthy citizens. Find updates about her work and interests on this Facebook page.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

REPOST: How cold sores could hamper memory

A study shows that viral and bacterial infections can be linked to memory loss. Read the details from this Time article:  

The latest research shows that viral and bacterial infections could have lasting legacies on cognition.
In a recent study, researchers found that people with higher levels of common infectious agents in their blood — including Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex type 1 that causes cold sores — are more likely to have memory and cognitive problems than people with lower levels.
The researchers are not the first to make the connection. Other studies have linked infections and their effects on the body, such as inflammation, disruption of lipid production, and amyloid plaque build-up, with circulatory disorders such as heart disease and stroke. And these in turn have been linked to memory disorders like Alzheimer’s anddementia. Some studies even suggested that memory loss may be a result of the brain reacting to invading infections.
In the latest study, researchers analyzed the memory in 1,625 people around age 69, living in New York City. They compared the scores on these cognitive tests against blood samples from the participants that detected five common infections: Herpes simplex type 1 (oral) and type 2 (genital), cytomegalovirus, the bacteria responsible for causing pneumonia, and H. pylori, which is found in the digestive tract and has been linked to inflammation in gum disease and heart disease.
Participants who had higher levels of infections were at 25% higher risk of scoring low on a cognition test called the Mini-Mental State Examination, which tested for recall. The association was strongest among women, participants with lower education levels, those on Medicaid or without health insurance, and people who did not exercise regularly. “This observation provides some indirect evidence that the negative effects of chronic infection might be mitigated by beneficial behaviors such as physical activity, and evidence is accumulating that exercise has anti-inflammatory effects,” the authors write.
The researchers continued to test the memory of the participants every year for an average of eight years, but the infections were not linked to changes in memory and thinking skills as time went on. That could mean that the the infections had already altered the memory and cognition of the participants. “The damage [was] already done at the time of enrollment,” said study author Dr. Mira Katan of the Northern Manhattan Study at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and a member of the American Academy of Neurology in an email response to questions about the results. “Another explanation would be that our duration of follow-up may have been insufficient to detect a change.”
How could infections that the body essentially fights off leave such a lasting legacy on cognition? Although the scientists aren’t sure, they have some theories. It’s possible that chronic, or persistent infections from the pathogens are leading to an overall higher level of inflammation in the body, and over time, that damage can compromise the blood vessels in the brain that contribute to making memories. Or, the infectious agents could be directly causing cognitive decline.
If the link between viral and bacterial infections and memory loss disorders is confirmed with further research, it could reveal new ways of thinking about, and treating memory loss. A viral or bacterial agent that’s driving memory problems could lead to a bigger push for controlling such infections from a public health perspective, and focusing on new, antimicrobial approaches to treating disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. In a corresponding editorial, Dr. Timo Strandberg of the department of medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland and Dr. Allison Aiello, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health write: “Undoubtedly, demonstrating that old-age cognitive disorders, including [Alzheimer's disease], are slowly progressing diseases of viral etiology would revolutionize the dementia research field (and be Nobel Prize worthy). However, great challenges remain.”
One of those is the fact that no study has established conclusively that pathogens can cause cognitive decline. But the latest findings suggest that infections, and the levels of inflammation, could potentially be used to better identify at-risk populations.
“While this association needs to be further studied, the results could lead to ways to identify people at risk of cognitive impairment and eventually lower that risk. For example, exercise and childhood vaccinations against viruses could decrease the risk for memory problems later in life,” said Katan in a statement.

The study is published in the journal Neurology.

Sharon Younkin has worked as the Director for Community Service Programs at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This Facebook page provides more updates on public health and the careers that abound it.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

MLK Jr. or Gandhi won't be back: You are the heroes now

It is said that great people are made, not born. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi are such people. Heroes in their own right, they grew up in different worlds and experienced hardships and sorrows which transformed them from ordinary men into heroes who fought for equality and freedom in their countries.

Image Source: seattletimes.com

Image Source: mahatmagandhionline.com

Given the prevalence of violence and suffering in the world today, the need for modern-day heroes who can save this world from inequality and injustice has never been more apparent.  These heroes are ordinary people who aspire to make a difference, just like what Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi achieved. 

Modern-day heroes are open-minded people who live with their morals and ethics intact.  They campaign against violence and poverty, and lend a helping hand to the less-fortunate without any hesitation.  Most importantly, they fight for what they believe in to achieve their goals.

Image Source: ctp.gr

Many people have already started paving the way for change. These include A-list celebrities, like Angelina Jolie and George Clooney, business moguls, like Warren Buffett, and even ordinary individuals, like Linda Shoemaker and Sharon Younkin.

Image Source: nydailynews.com

People don’t need to be wealthy or educated to become modern-day heroes.  All they need is the drive to succeed in improving the lives of others.

Visit this Twitter page for links to articles about philanthropic efforts by modern-day heroes around the world.