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

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.

According to the 2017 American Community Survey more than 17,000 veteran’s live in San Luis Obispo County. This week in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday we will visit with members of the San Luis Obispo Veterans Service Collaborative (SVSC) about how we can honor the sacrifice of Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, by supporting these veterans, as well as the many active military and their families in our community.

Composed as a series of monologues and scenes, Teen Monologues is based on interviews and surveys from local teens and teen parents. Originally written and performed in 2003, Teen Monologues has since grown into an annual collaboration that builds on over a decade of teen stories. Directed by the renowned John Battalino, Teen Monologues seeks to give space for teens to speak out about topics affecting their everyday lives including healthy dating relationships, coming out, supporting friends through depression, communicating with parents and the social pressures to have sex. Over 600 students and parents are impacted by this touching play every year.

Climate change, also known as global warming, is the most important issue of our time. A warming climate affects every person in this county and every person on this planet. It will impact all aspects of our lives: from the way we work and the way we play to the food we eat and even the places we live. It is in all of our best interests to do everything we can while we still have time.

Carbon neutral by 2035 is the most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the nation, but it’s not just about emissions, it’s about health, equity, economy, community well-being, and sharing our lessons with the state, the nation, and the world.

According to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey, in 2017, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced 3.1 million violent victimizations and U.S. households experienced an estimated 13.3 million property crimes. To raise awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights, introduce the community to the important resources and services available, and celebrate progress achieved and honor victims and the professionals who serve them, the week of April 7–13, 2019 has been designated as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The Community Health Improvement Plan for San Luis Obispo County is a comprehensive five-year plan to guide the community’s strategic directions and priorities related to health. Created in collaboration with more than 95 partners in the non-profit, health care and government sectors, it describes how the Public Health Department and its partners will work together to improve community’s health, sets forth what they will strive to achieve and provides a road map for how they plan to achieve it.

Research shows that individuals with mental and substance abuse disorders may die decades earlier than the average person. These deaths are mostly from preventable chronic illnesses like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease that have often been undiagnosed, or left untreated. For these individuals, there can be many obstacles to care, including barriers to primary care, and challenges in dealing with a complex healthcare system.

While all of California is experiencing a housing crisis, the Central Coast may be feeling some of the worst impacts. Two recent studies ranked San Luis Obispo County fifth and seventh for being the least affordable housing market in the nation. The most recent ACTION Vital Signs report found fifty-nine percent of San Luis Obispo County residents reported spending one-third or more of their household income on housing costs in 2016.

Broadcast date: 2/14/19

Some people could be getting more than just chocolate for Valentine’s Day if they are not careful. Studies show that sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise nationally, including here on the Central Coast, and continue to hit all-time highs in the U.S. In August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2.3 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2017, a 10 percent spike from the previous year. This trend shows a steep and sustained increase in STDs since 2013.

Broadcast date: 1/17/19

Orchestra Novo’s Co-Creation Project (CCP) aims to make classical music accessible to underserved members of our local community by deploying music as inspiration for their creation of original visual art, helping community members express themselves in creative, empowering ways. The CCP then extends these works of imagination to the broader community as part of a live event blending music and visual art, building empathy and deeper recognition of shared humanity.

Broadcast date: 1/3/19

The 9th Annual San Luis Obispo (SLO) Jewish Film Festival is the premier event on the Central Coast celebrating Jewish culture from around the world. The festival offers features and short films, narratives and documentaries, as well as opportunities to meet the award-winning filmmakers in up close and personal discussions after each screening. You don’t have to be Jewish to join the celebration and celebrate Jewish culture, this film festival has something for everyone. 

Broadcast date: 12/20/18

The winter holidays are in full swing with ugly sweater contests, gift exchanges, family get-togethers, jovial music blaring in stores and company and friend gatherings for celebrations. However, for those who have experienced the death of a loved one, the holidays can be an especially challenging time.  It is not uncommon for grief to spike around the holidays when memories of good times and togetherness at the holiday season serve to remind us of our loss. A common question for someone grieving the death of a loved one however may be, “How am I going to get through this?”

Broadcast date: 12/6/18           

While many on the Central Coast will be enjoying the warmth of the holidays over the next few weeks with family and friends, those that are homeless may be caught out in the cold this coming winter. Although a 2017 Homeless Point-in-Time Census Report showed the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County has plunged since 2013 by 49% percent, homelessness is still a very real concern for many areas of the County, especially in the North County where services are lacking.

Broadcast date: 11/8/2018

Adventure Club San Luis Obispo is a unique outdoor and creativity focused day program for adults with neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and traumatic brain injuries. They have been guiding adventure programs for over twelve years, and currently serve more than seventy individuals on the Central Coast.  In addition to spending nearly every day in nature, exploring the outdoors, they also make movies, working with clients through improvisational acting and music to enhance connection and collaboration.

Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

Broadcast date: 10/11/2018

Most parents will agree that one of the biggest challenges of our time is parenting  children in the Digital Age. In a recent study one-in-three parents said they have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use in the last year. Parenting issues include struggles over video game time limits, social media safety, and internet addiction, just to name a few.

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