Author: Kate Campbell (Page 1 of 25)

Understanding COVID: Facts and Nuance

Dr.  Neela Sandal, founder of the Atma Clinic in Lawrence, discussed the COVID virus and the public health response.  Dr. Sandel says it is important to distinguish between facts and anecdotes when trying to understand COVID. While the public health response to COVID maximizes safety, he believes a more nuanced approach is sometimes needed.

For example, it is understood that advanced age is a significant risk factor for a serious reaction to COVID. However, there are many people over age seventy who have contracted COVID who have experienced relatively mild symptoms. The elderly who do experience serious or life-threatening symptoms exhibit one or more of the following: compromised exercise tolerance, metabolic fitness issues, vitamin D deficiency, cellular nutrition problems, or compromised immune function.

We have learned that COVID behaves like other viruses in its class and is spread primarily by aerosol transmission rather than by touching hard surfaces.  Ninety-nine per cent of cases are asymptomatic.  Children who contract COVID are largely asymptomatic and are not big spreaders.  Mask use, social distancing, and vaccination continue to be important tools in fighting viral spread. 

It is very hard to prove immunity at present.  Evidence suggests that antibodies persist after infection from six months to five years.  Therapies and treatments continue to develop to assist the medical community. 

In conclusion, Dr. Sandal says age is too general an indicator of vulnerability. He emphasizes that asymptomatic spread is rare and that natural infection provides robust immunity. 

Dr. Sandal received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas and did his Family Medicine Residency at the University of Arizona.  He took additional training in Interactive Medicine.  The Atma Clinic provides a personalized and holistic approach to medicine.

Sebelius: Political Divisions Make Governing Difficult

Kathleen Sebelius, former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services and the 44th Governor of the State of Kansas, spoke with Lawrence Central Rotarians on February 3, 2021.

Sebelius is well known for her instrumental role in overseeing the development and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She is also remembered by Kansans as a popular and productive two term governor. Sebelius is a Kansas University graduate and presently resides in Lawrence. Upon leaving government service she founded Sebelius Resources, a company that provides strategic advice to businesses, nonprofits and higher education. The Secretary serves on numerous boards including the Dole Institute, Common Cause and the Kaiser Foundation. She is considered to be an expert on global health issues.

Sebelius is a long-time friend of Governor Laura Kelly and shared the challenge with her of working with a divided government. She spoke about the particular difficulties of advancing the Affordable Care Act.  She commented on funding  Kansas education, both for K-12 schools and for post-secondary institutions.  Sebelius answered questions ranging from child health care legislation to the fate of the state-owned Docking Building in Topeka. The former Secretary demonstrated an impressive range of knowledge and experience in state and national politics.

Osher Zooms Its Programs to Kansas Seniors

Linda Kehres, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, was on the job only a few months before the organization was forced to reorganize its program delivery of continuing education programs to area seniors. Face-to-face classes in 2020 were out of the question during the pandemic. The solution was Zoom. Teachers successfully adapted their classes to the popular online platform, and Osher was back in business.

Presently, Osher’s highly-qualified instructors present classes in three weekly 90-minute sessions.  There are no tests, grades or homework.  Classes are scheduled at various times of the day and the week.  There is a $50 fee for each course.  The age of the average participant is 74, but there is no age restriction. 

Over 100 classes are offered this spring, and 46 of them are new offerings. History topics are the most popular and courses are also offered on literature, art, music, current events, religious studies, film, entertainment and geography.  Osher is always look for new teachers, sponsors, and donors. 

The program is a great way to expand horizons at a time when travel and contact with others is limited.

The local Osher Institute was established in 2004 and is affiliated with Kansas University.  Philanthropist and businessman Bernard Osher established a foundation in 1977 to encourage continuing educational opportunities for seniors.  Presently there are over 100 Osher Institutes through out the country. 

What Does It Mean to Be Trauma-Informed?

Kim Polson, Executive Director of Community Children’s Center (CCC), used the acronym ASRI to explain the “trauma-informed” concept. 

Trauma-informed means to be Aware of the prevalence of trauma, Sensitive to its impact, Responsive in order to begin change, and Informed about practices that help those who have experienced trauma to cope with the world.  One of CCC primary roles in Douglas County is to deliver workshops to develop ASRI skills for caretakers and educators of young children. The training can move organizations in all sectors along the trauma-informed continuum.

CCC was founded in 1985 to establish one the first Head Start programs in the country.  When the organization’s Head Start delegate role was eliminated in 2018 by the Federal government, the CCC Board envisioned a new set of tasks for itself in Lawrence and Douglas County.  The new role retains the mission:  “…to bring about a greater degree of social-emotional competence and school success for young children and their families experiencing economic, educational and social challenges by providing caregivers with training, coaching and support.”

CCC recently received funding to develop an online hub for all things early childhood in Douglas County.  The hub will be a community-wide, cross-sector partnership.  The site will provide a  “one-stop shop” for those caring for children, birth to 5 years of age, and will “connect the dots” for creating logical pathways and seamless online navigation. 

Public Art Generates Dialogue

As Rotarians eagerly told stories about their encounters with pieces of art that were special in their eyes, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy easily confirmed that art delights the public most when it generates dialogue and discussion.  

According to Hardy, art should inspire learning, challenge assumptions, and cause reflection.  No longer do artists wish to be didactic and “tell” the  meaning of what they create.  Rather, the shifting goal of art is to leave the walls of traditional museums and meet the public wherever they are. 

Memorials in particular stimulate public dialogue.  Rotarians shared their personal favorite pieces, sharing the reasons why each was memorable and meaningful:  the KU campanile dedicated to those who served during World War II; field art created by Stan Herd; the buffalo by Jim Patti located on Clinton Parkway & Lawrence Avenue; the shuttle cock sculptures and Monet’s water lilies at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City; the 9/11 Memorial in New York City;  and the monument to Winston Churchill in London, England.  The group acknowledged that the bike racks that Lawrence Central Rotary commissioned and placed around town are also pieces of public art.

JIm Patti’s buffalo sporting a holiday wreath
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