Kris Kington-Barker

Host of Central Coast Voices

Kris Kington-Barker has worked in healthcare fields ranging from mental health to hospital administration over the past 30 years and has served as a volunteer and board member for many central coast non-profit organizations.   She owns and operates a local business and, since 2006, has been providing private management consulting with a focus on strategic planning and leadership development for healthcare organizations and nonprofits.

Kris is currently the Executive Director for Hospice of San Luis Obispo, President of the board of the Long Term Care Ombudsman of SLO County and a member of ACTION for Health Communities. She became involved in radio in 1986 when she started hosting Health Matters for KVEC as a volunteer. Kris later hosted Voices on KCBX from 1999 to 2001, and now co-hosts Central Coast Voices with Fred Munroe.

Ways to Connect

While you may not be able to leisurely peruse the shelves of your local library right now, it doesn’t mean the library still can’t be your haven during the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries have quickly changed how, where and when they offer services amongst the continuing pandemic, finding ways to allow the community to access the myriad of valuable resources they have to offer. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with San Luis Obispo County Libraries' Christopher Barnickel, Chase McMunn, Aracelli Astorga and Sharon Coronado as they discuss how County of SLO Public Libraries are working to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, this is not just an election year, but also a very important year for everyone to participate and be counted as part of the 2020 U.S. Census. Due to the pandemic, both of these civic duties have become more complicated. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, and Michael Latner, Ph.D., Cal Poly political science professor and Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, as they discuss the integrity of the 2020 election and plans to make voting safe and accessible to everyone. In the second half hour, Kris speaks with representatives from local organizations, who amid COVID-19, are working to prevent an undercount in the 2020 Census within 'hard-to-reach' communities. Guests include Devon McQuade, development and communications coordinator with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition; Brandy Graham, veteran support programs manager with CAPSLO; and Micki Wright, a senior volunteer services representative.

For weeks following the death of George Floyd and during the protests that have followed, activists across the country have called on community leaders to “defund the police.” But what does this really mean? And is this the solution that we need? Why do we as a community need to rethink public safety?

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Coast businesses has been immense. Results from a survey issued to local business owners by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce suggest severe impacts on the business community due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Jim Dantona, president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Jocelyn Brennan, president and CEO of the South County Chambers of Commerce, about the business and economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the Central Coast. They will discuss their efforts to assist businesses and organizations weather the closure, navigating confusing HR issues, and help businesses prepare for a safe, successful, and sustainable reopening of the economy.

COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations, including the LGBTQ+ community. According to research, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans are more likely to become unemployed as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests Michelle Call and David Weisman of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance (GALA), and Jamie Woolf, chair of Tranz Central Coast, as they discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the LGBTQ+ community of the Central Coast, and how Pride is shifting it’s a celebration this year. 

Child care is essential to the economic vitality of any city. Unfortunately, like many businesses and organizations, child care providers are suffering greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Join Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with several guests—Shana Paulson, children services manager with CAPSLO Child Care Resource Connection; Raechelle Bowlay, CAPSLO'S quality early learning manager and Child Care Planning Council coordinator; Monica Grant, CEO of the San Luis Obispo County YMCA; Kim Love, director of Bright Life Playschool in San Luis Obispo; and Jamie Sanbonmatsu, director of Valley View Children’s Center in Arroyo Grande and member of the We Are the Care Initiative—about the continuing need for child care in the community and the challenges providers face in re-opening amid the pandemic:

Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Heidi McPherson, CEO with the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County, Garret Olson, COVID-19 emergency operations manager with the SLO Food Bank, Lisa Fraser, executive director with the LINK Family Resource Center and the Center for Family Strengthening, and Janna Nichols, executive director with the Five Cities Homeless Coalition. They will be talking about the struggle of nonprofits to help meet the basic needs of the community as well as what a global depression could mean for their organizations and the local populations they help.

Nursing homes have been ravaged by coronavirus throughout the nation. Data shows that people who reside or work in long-term care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and a new report shows that as of April 23, 2020 there have been over 10,000 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (including residents and staff), in the 23 states that publicly report death data, representing 27% of deaths due to COVID-19 in those states.  So how is the Central Coast responding to the threat of COVID-19 in local long-term care facilities? What is being done to protect both residents and employees? And what is the future of nursing homes?

Many nonprofits are already feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic: increases in demand for services, health and safety concerns, and volunteer shortages. Canceled fundraising events, shutdowns and an economy in turmoil due to the crisis have led to a decrease in revenue. These effects are likely to continue for some time and may even worsen, while for many nonprofits, the needs of their clients continue to grow. How are local nonprofits meeting the demands? How will they survive when they are most needed? What resources are available to help?

The United States has lost 10% of its workforce as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Newest reports show that almost 17 million Americans filed jobless claims in the last three weeks. With the economy in a coma, small business owners and workers are struggling to find ways to survive. Are there ways for businesses to get help during the crisis? What are some innovative approaches that companies can use to stay afloat?

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is stressful to the community in numerous ways. Individuals may have fear and anxiety about catching the virus for either themselves or their loved ones. People may be experiencing loneliness from isolation due to the stay-at-home orders. And many individuals may have increased worry due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. How will their business survive? How will they pay their mortgage or rent? How can they get food for their family? The coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially for those who already suffer from mental illness. How are these individuals able to continue treatment?

As coronavirus cases in the world and the U.S continue to soar, we will talk with local experts about what you need to know to stop the spread, stay safe, get tested and how prepared we are to fight this outbreak, as well as what are the political implications of this pandemic for the U.S.

 

Have you ever wondered how people persevere despite roadblocks and obstacles? The Resiliency Project seeks to learn how people experience setbacks, opposition, and oppression while retaining (or ultimately regaining) mental and physical well-being.

Court Appointment Special Advocates (CASA) of San Luis Obispo County has been serving foster youth in San Luis Obispo County for over 25 years. They advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their parents because of abuse or neglect. At any given time, there can be up to 500 foster youth under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, and CASA has dedicated, caring volunteers working with at least half of these children to be a consistent presence in their life and advocating for the best interests of these abused and neglected children within the court system. That leaves more than 200 children still waiting for help from CASA.

French Hospital Medical Center’s Beyond Health campaign will redefine the health care experience for our community and lead us into the future. By doubling the capacity through a $130 million campaign, the medical center can grow with our community and provide the most advanced technologies patients deserve. Listen in and learn what this transformative expansion will include, and how it will impact the health of Central Coast residents.

Despite research that shows a majority of Americans say they would like to see more women in top leadership positions – not only in politics, but also in the corporate world, we know women rarely self-nominate themselves, even though when they do run for political office, statistics show that they win at an equal or better rate than men.

Many might not know it, but among homeless veterans, women are the fastest growing group. A 2017  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report showed the number of homeless female veterans increased by 7% from 2016 to 2017, compared to only a 1% increase for male veterans and estimated that more than 3,500 female veterans were homeless on a single night in January of that year. So why are so many women vets now homeless, or facing homelessness? And what can be done to help?

The United States is supposed to be a representative democracy. We elect decisionmakers to represent us and make decisions in our interest. But as state legislatures have become more responsive to a smaller, wealthier, and healthier subset of voters, they have restricted access to health care for the broader population and have failed to address many health and environmental challenges within the communities they govern. The most vulnerable populations have, consequently, experienced worsening public health disparities. At the federal level, environmental and public-health policies, and the science these policies depend on, are being dismantled at an unprecedented rate—exacerbating existing inequities and opening the door to even greater harm.

By the time they graduate from high school, one child in the every 20 will have experienced the death of a parent. Additionally, they may also experience deaths of a sibling, close grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend. Children coping with a death of someone important to them may feel their struggles are invisible to those around them. And they often can be. Children’s Grief Awareness Day was initiated in Pennsylvania in 2008 from a desire on the part of students to bring attention to the struggles their grieving classmates faced. Often in silence. 

In 1984, the founders of  the Access Support Network (ASN) witnessed an urgent need in the community to provide advocacy and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. From that point on, the ASN has grown and adapted to the unique needs of the community. Working toward a healthy community, ASN also offers prevention education opportunities and now also provides supportive services to residents living with Hep C and their loved ones.

Created in 2011 as a response to a widely reported incident involving a cross burning in Arroyo Grande the Diversity Coalition of San Luis Obispo County believes the strength and success of our community and nation, is based on honoring our diversity. Their vision is to promote positive human understanding and behavior, through charitable, scientific and educational efforts, of the equality of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities and attributes, as well as all other characteristics comprising individual identities.

The California Department of Aging estimates that by 2030, the 60-and-over population will be 40 percent larger than it is now, or about 960,000. This is a growth rate more than 10 times faster than the projected rate for the rest of the state. It’s estimated there will be twice as many Californians 80 and older in 2033 as there are today.

Prevention is the key to public safety, and fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire, how to prevent fires and how to reduce wildfire risk.

Mission Community Services Corporation(MCSC) is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for potential entrepreneurs and small business owners to become self-sustaining, successful contributors to their communities, with special assistance for women, low-income, minority, veterans, and non-profit businesses in San Luis Obispo, Kern, and Monterey Counties.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder. Nearly one million people will be living with Parkinson's disease (PD) in the U.S. by 2020, which is reported to be more than the number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig's disease combined. It is estimated that 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year. Currently, more than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD. The disease affects each patient differently and the symptoms can change from day to day. There is currently no cure for the disease, but there are many treatment options for patients.

What does it mean to be in a polyamorous relationship? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "involving, having, or characterized by more than one open romantic relationship at a time." Today it is just one of many new relationships gaining popularity. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that one in five people in the U.S. engage in some form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) at some point in their lifetime. Are open relationships and non-monogamous relationships really that common? Are polyamorous relationships the new normal?

The health of an individual is much more than going to the doctor or hospital. The conditions of the environment where individuals live, work, and play all impact health. Education, crime, community setting, economics, for example, all ultimately impact the health of the community. To address this today, hospitals are responsible for evaluating the communities that they serve and every not for profit hospital in the United States is required by the state and federal government to prepare a Community Health Needs Assessment. This allows the hospital to get outside of its four walls and into the community, providing a holistic evaluation of the community served by the hospital.

Despite years of aggressive efforts to tackle the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, tobacco use—largely cigarette smoking—still kills more than 480,000 Americans every single year. In fact, cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users.

Central Coast Roller Derby (CCRD) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of women of all ages. CCRD was founded in January 2006, by two local women Heather Coss a.k.a. Rotten Peaches and Carey Jones a.k.a. Senorita Cheeba, and since it’s conception, has hosted numerous home bouts that have allowed CCRD to donate over $50,000 and countless volunteer hours to help local San Luis Obispo County charities.

Award-winning journalist Katy Butler is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Her new book, The Art of Dying Well will help you live well as possible for as long as possible and adapt successfully to change. The book shares helpful insights and true stories to help you learn how to thrive in later life, even with a chronic medical condition, get the best from our health system, and make your own “good death” more likely.

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