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Heroes Assemble at the San Bernardino County Library

348sThe San Bernardino County Library invites you to strengthen your superpowers and participate in our Summer Reading Program: Heroes Assemble!

Throughout the summer, we will be hosting amazing programs and activities as well as giving away fantastic rewards at all 32 of our branch libraries. Participating is easy: fly in to your local San Bernardino County Library to sign-up and become part of this read for rewards program to earn exciting weekly incentives. Reading for rewards is just the beginning. The Library will be hosting various super hero-themed programs including storytime, crafts, discovery time as well as awesome performers who provide exciting, entertaining and educational shows the whole family can enjoy. The Summer Reading Program is open to all ages so come on in and sign up the entire family. The best part – this program is absolutely free!

The fun doesn’t stop there. The County Library will offer special drawings for children and teens who meet the County Library Reading Challenge. The children’s challenge is to read at least 45 books or the equivalent in pages and minutes to receive a ticket. For teens, the challenge is to read at least eight books or the equivalent to get a ticket. New this year: each kid and teen who reached the challenge will receive a ticket for a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7” tablet at their branch library. Also, for every 25 items checked out this summer, receive a ticket for our countywide drawing to win one of the grand prizes which include Samsung Galaxy Tablets, a WiiU gaming system, a super hero-themed bike, and a kids Spider-Man Dune Buggy.

Check out the San Bernardino County Library website for details on the kick-off events and program information. Come sign up for the program and be a part of our Summer of Reading Challenge to increase summer reading participation among youth by 15 percent throughout the county.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision, by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County Library system, please visit www.sbclib.org/ or call (909) 387-2220.

Lupus’ Disproportionate Impact on Women of Color Must Be Known

By Steven Owens, MD, MPH, MA

May is Lupus Awareness Month and on May 20th specifically, health advocates and those directly or indirectly impacted by the disease called lupus will Put On Purple to raise awareness and to support the millions of people who are affected by the disease. For far too long, many Americans have remained unaware that more than 1.5 million people, mostly women, are affected by lupus, and that it is the leading cause of kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease.

How many people know that women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasian women? Sadly, many in the communities most affected, and even those within the medical community, are far less educated about the signs and symptoms of lupus than other equally and less threatening medical conditions.

Lupus has been called “a mystery disease” by researchers and physicians. It is a chronic, autoimmune disease with no cure that can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints and organs. It can even lead to death. It can take up to six years to diagnose if the medical provider is not familiar with its symptoms. There is no cure for lupus but there is hope! With early detection, managed care, reducing stress, and following a healthy diet and exercise plan, individuals with lupus, especially women, can strive for optimal health.

The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), along with other national and community-based organizations, is leading a campaign to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of lupus, to improve rates of early detection and early treatment so that patients with this condition have a better chance of living long, healthier lives.

The campaign targets women of color who are at an increased risk for lupus and focuses on educating public health professionals and primary care providers of the signs and symptoms of lupus as well. Individuals experiencing the following symptoms should discuss the possibility of lupus with their health care provider:

  • Achy, Painful or Swollen Joints;
  • Extreme Fatigue or Weakness;
  • Sudden, Unexplained Hair Loss;
  • Photosensitivity or Sensitivity to Sunlight;
  • Chest Pains; and
  • Anemia.

This May, DHPE and other partner organizations want to be sure that lupus doesn’t take the back seat but rather gets just as much attention as other chronic medical conditions that disproportionately affect women and minority populations.

In the same way that we support awareness and the funding of research for other diseases that devastate families, we need many more community leaders, health care institutions, health educators and medical professionals to rally around this effort to raise funds and support lupus awareness activities. Secondly, there is a need for increased participation in clinical trials from within the African American, Hispanic/Latina, Asian and Native American communities so that we can better understand this disease and more effectively diagnose and develop treatment plans.

Especially in minority communities, it is well known that women are usually the backbone and the glue that keep their families together. So, there is even more at stake if we don’t bring lupus to the forefront of community health advocacy. We must all play our part to increase funding and education about lupus, early diagnosis and treatment, and participation in lupus research in support of the people we love.

DHPE calls on women of color and health practitioners to join us on Put on Purple Day on Friday, May 20th, to raise awareness about lupus and in particular how women of color are disproportionately impacted by this disease. Encourage your organization, friends and loved ones to wear purple, in unity with and support of, those living with lupus.

Grab your camera, phone, or tablet and share your own “This is Why I Put On Purple” story with a photo! Be sure to share your organization’s Put on Purple participation on social media and use the hashtags: #dhpePOP and #dhpelupus. Whether you are living with lupus, caring for patients, researching a cure or know someone with the disease, it touches everyone. Join DHPE and the lupus community and learn the signs and symptoms of lupus today!

DHPE, a national public health association, was recently funded by the Office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, to implement a national lupus health education program. To learn more about lupus, visit www.lupus.org. For more information on the DHPE LEAP Program, visit www.bit.ly/dhpelupus or email LEAP Program Manager Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH at info@dhpe.org.
Steven Owens, MD, MPH, MA is director of Health Equity, Directors of Health Promotion & Education.

Metrolink to begin 91/Perris Valley Line service June 6

Metrolink and Riverside County Transportation Commission officials recently announced service along the 91/Perris Valley Line (91/PVL) will begin Monday, June 6. The 91/PVL is the first extension of Metrolink service since the Antelope Valley Line was built in 1994.

 “We are very excited the residents of the Perris Valley will soon be able to board Metrolink stations in their community and reach areas through Southern California,” said Metrolink Board Vice-Chair Daryl Busch, who is also the mayor of the City of Perris and a member of the Riverside County Transportation Commission. “Metrolink and RCTC staff has worked incredibly hard to make this concept a reality.”

The extension of the 91 Line will serve four additional Riverside County stations: Riverside-Hunter Park/UCR, Moreno Valley/March Field, Perris-Downtown and Perris-South.

Weekday 91/PVL trains 701, 703 and 705 will all originate at the Perris-South Station with service beginning at 4:37 a.m. In the evening, trains 702, 704 and 706 will all return to Perris with the last train reaching its final destination at 7:50 p.m. There will also be three round trips each weekday between Perris and the Riverside-Downtown Station. There will be no weekend service to or from the four new stations.

The 24-mile 91/PVL extension enhanced 15 at-grade crossings in Riverside County.  The variety of safety measures includes: flashing warning devices, gates, raised center medians, striping and pavement markings. The project also added pedestrian crosswalks at two railroad crossings and permanently closed two others.

To increase awareness of the dangers of crossing railroad tracks, a continuing public outreach program, “See Tracks? Think Train,” was launched in 2014 to select Riverside County schools, neighborhoods and community groups. Also, an extensive outreach campaign with the University of California, Riverside is ongoing.

For more information about Metrolink and the new service, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com/pvl.