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

Alcohol is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an estimated 1 in 8 women drinks during her pregnancy, putting her child at risk, and as a result every year thousands of infants are born with disabilities because they were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day held yearly on September 9th, is a reminder that there is no “safe” level of alcohol while pregnant.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Judge Charles Crandall, Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County and Dr. Nisha Abdul Cader, medical director for the Suspected Abuse Response Team, and pediatric consultant for Martha’s Place Children’s Assessment Center. They will discuss the importance of International FASD Awareness Day, which helps raise awareness about the range of conditions that can result from alcohol use during pregnancy. 

This past week Inc. magazine revealed its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Ten companies on the Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Monterey, made the cut. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies among independent small businesses in the U.S. Many well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000 including Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, and Patagonia,

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with San Luis Obispo County companies and owners that made the list, Mark Miller, owner, AM Sun Solar and Chris Richardson, owner of Richardson Properties. They will discuss building a successful business on the Central Coast, how the region works at fostering entrepreneurial growth, and how growth has enabled them to give back to the community. 

Redwings Horse Rescue and Sanctuary began in May 1991 as a non-profit organization in Carmel, California, with a mission to end the abuse, neglect, and slaughter of horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, and burros through rescue and foster care. In its first year, Redwings rescued 15 equines from abusive or life-threatening situations. Redwings rehabilitated these horses and matched them with adoptive homes.

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes are a National Natural Landmark and a perfect place to visit and enjoy nature. The Dunes Center, a non-profit organization located in historic downtown Guadalupe, CA,

promotes the conservation and restoration of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes ecosystem through education, research, and the support of cooperative stewardship. This beautiful natural history museum celebrates and expands appreciation for the region’s natural treasures and unique history. The Center is a must-see for anyone living on or traveling through, the Central Coast and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests with The Dunes Center, Alexis Elias, Executive Director, and Christina Hernandez, Outreach Coordinator, as they discuss all that the Dunes Center has to offer and their upcoming Reopening Celebration.

Sexual violence, intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, and stalking are serious public health problems that affect millions of people in the U.S. every year. To better support those ⁠affected by these acts of violence, RISE and Stand Strong, San Luis Obispo County’s two most trusted organizations dedicated to ending sexual assault and intimate partner violence, have merged into one larger, stronger alliance. This alliance will provide more comprehensive, inclusive services to those in our community who have experienced gender-based violence.

For over 25 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County has provided mentor relationships for over 3,300 children. The mission of Big Brother Big Sisters is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. 

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests from Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, Program Director, Laura Albers, Match Support Specialist, Lexi Frankiewich, and a 2021 volunteer Bigs of the Year, Jessica Micklus. They will discuss their work empowering kids in our community to achieve their full potential and what can be done to assist in these efforts.

The Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative (ERI) is a set of policy concepts, program ideas, and proposals to stimulate post-pandemic economic recovery and long-term vitality on the Central Coast, focusing on housing, clean energy, and infrastructure investment. Community members and stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on goals and objectives in the ERI, to date the initiative is supported by a growing coalition of elected officials and community leaders, and all members of the Central Coast community are invited to join this effort.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests involved in the creation of the Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative (ERI) and others, Andy Pease, author of the ERI and San Luis Obispo (SLO) City Council Member, Eric Veium, author of the ERI and Chair of the SLO Climate Coalition, Dr. Erin Pearse, Director of the Institute for Climate Leadership and Resilience at California University Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, and Anne Wyatt, Director, Tiny Housing Consulting & Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) SLO and co-chair of the SLO County ADU Task Force. They will discuss the proposed Economic Recovery Initiative meant to support a thriving Central Coast economy where all residents have access to affordable housing, good-paying jobs, and a high quality of life.

Stalking is a terrifying and complicated crime to address and navigate, however it is often minimized in our society. Media portrayals of stalking are often deeply problematic and lead to misconceptions being perpetuated further. In California State University Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) recent Campus Survey on Sexual Violence, 18% of respondents reported being persistently followed, and/or harassed, and/or pursued by someone in an unwanted way on or around Cal Poly’s campus, but only 32% of these students identified these behaviors as “stalking.” What is stalking? What does it look like? And, what help is available for survivors?

Join Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests Kara Samaniego, Assistant Director of Wellbeing at California University Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, which directs the Safer program, and Jatzibe Sandoval, Legal Advocate with Stand Strong as they discuss the issue of stalking and how to recognize and respond to this serious crime.

American Indian Health & Services, Inc. (AIH&S) is one of 41 non-profit Urban Indian Health Organizations nationwide which seek to provide culturally competent care to meet the needs of the Urban Indian communities they serve. For over 20 years, AIH&S has been committed to promoting and providing quality services to improve the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives and all other community members of Santa Barbara. They envision a vibrant community where American Indians, Alaska Natives, and the community are nurtured and values include a balance of care for the mind, body, and spirit.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests from American Indian Health & Services, Inc., Scott Black, Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Foster, Community Wellness Manager, and Dr. Jonnie Williams, Licensed Clinical Psychologist with AIH&S Behavioral Health Department as they discuss how the community health care center provides culturally-grounded and trauma-informed programs and services for the American Indian/Alaska Native (and entire community) in response to the unique needs of the community.

The theme for Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Understanding the ocean’s role in climate change and how we approach business and conservation associated with the oceans are a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis.

Join us in a celebration of Earth Day, as host Kris Kington-Barker speaks with Benjamin Ruttenberg, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and director of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences. They will discuss the threat that climate change poses to our oceans, marine life, and coastal communities, as well as talk about how a move toward a blue economy can help.

 

  Voices of the Earth deals with the troubled relationship between humans and the natural world. Compiled by Charles Junkerman and Rush Rehm Voices of the Earth brings together some of the greatest environmental voices from across the centuries to celebrate the anniversary of Earth Day. With a cast of 90 different characters – poets, naturalists, scientists, politicos, deniers, and heroes, Voices of the Earth presents a kaleidoscope of views on the earth we inhabit, and the existential crisis we face.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Rush Rehm, Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, and Classics, Stanford University and Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT), and Magnus Toren, Executive Director of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur about this inspiring work and its call to action.

 

Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. Due to a gender gap in pay, it takes women an extra three months of wages to make up the difference. On average, women working full time and year-round are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man who works full time and year-round. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

Since 1970, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) has incubated and innovated real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Their current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. At CEC, building community resilience is at the center of everything they do. 

The 27th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) will be here soon and it will be one of our most unique Festivals ever — a predominantly virtual experience. This world-class annual festival, along with events throughout the year, provides a venue for international and local filmmakers, exposing an ever-expanding range of audiences to new ideas and experiences. This year’s film lineup will feature 111 presentations, including 30 feature films, 63 short films, and 18 music videos.

The Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts of San Luis Obispo (PASA) vision is a community of lifelong learners who become competent caretakers and peace leaders for our world. To do this they have developed programs for students to strengthen individuality, seek their potential, and maximize their opportunity to learn and contribute. Join Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with members of The Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts of San Luis Obispo (PASA)—Sandra Sarrouf, PASA teacher, cultural worker and founder of Cultural Creations; and Dara Stepanek, PASA teacher, integrative nutrition coach, and restaurant owner. They will discuss the mission of PASA to inspire a deep understanding of self and others through a learning culture that celebrates creative innovation, enriched collaborative experiences, and connection through core human values.

As of today, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 400,000 people in the U.S. and while hope is on the arisen, with two vaccines currently being distributed, the virus is still considered to be “widespread” on the Central Coast, with hundreds of new infections reported daily. So, what should you do if you come down with the virus? Is it okay to go to the doctor? The hospital? How safe is the vaccine? And, how can you make an appointment to get vaccinated? 

Across the globe, businesses of all sizes are recognizing that supportive policies and practices increase organizational productivity, while also boosting the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the overlapping lines between work and life, and provides a unique opportunity to consider how family-friendly options may be incorporated at businesses everywhere. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Wendy Wendt, executive director of First 5 San Luis Obispo County; Maggie Payne, program director with Atascadero Children’s Center; and Molly Kern, director of governmental affairs with San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. In the second part of the program, Kris will be talking with Kelly Boss, HR director with IFixit; Zihad Naccascha, partner and cofounder of Carmel & Naccascha LLP; and Angela Toomey, HR director with Morris and Garritano.  They will explore the many benefits of family-friendly workplace policies, and identify opportunities for change.

In November, the city of San Luis Obispo released a draft Active Transportation Plan for public review. Over the past two years, staff have been engaging with the community to develop this plan—the first of its kind in the city—which will include both bicycling and walking needs. Join Kris Kington Barker and SLO active transportation manager Adam Fukushima and sustainability manager Chris Read,  as they discuss the proposed strategy for increasing bicycling and walking in San Luis Obispo and opportunities for the community to share their thoughts.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to widespread economic impacts. Rising unemployment has left a record number of individuals in possible housing insecurity due to loss of income as a result of shelter-at-home orders, quarantines, illness, school closures, and other COVID-related factors. In August, nine prominent institutes and organizations released new research that concluded that 30-40 million people in America are at risk of losing their homes by the end of 2020. What type of housing assistance is available during these difficult times? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Central Coast legal experts—Kate Lee, attorney with Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, and Sadie Weller, attorney with San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation—as they discuss avenues available for rent and mortgage relief as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Data shows that immigrants are among those hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19. In California, undocumented immigrants represent 10% of the workforce, and paid approximately $2.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2019. Immigrants do the essential work that sustains us all, yet they have been excluded from many of the federal COVID-19 relief assistance programs. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with guests working as part of the collaborative effort with SLO County UndocuSupport and 805 Undocufund—Joel Diringer, San Luis Obispo County community health advocate; Genevieve Flores-Haro, associate director of the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project; Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, program director for the Center for Family Strengthening and Promotores Collaborative of SLO County; and Mariana Gutierrez, Family Resource Center program supervisor with Community Action Partnership of SLO County (CAPSLO)—as they discuss how to to provide financial relief to meet the basic and emergency needs of immigrants.

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all families, but for families caring for children with disabilities, it can be especially challenging. According to the last US Census Report, one in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability. How are they coping? What resources are there for them in the community? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Kaycie Roberts, executive director with the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center, member of the San Luis Obispo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committee and parent of a child with autism; April Lewallen, board chair of the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center and V.P. with PathPoint' and Rebekah Koznek, parent and chair of the Community Advisory Committee (C.A.C.) with SELPA, as they discuss how they are coping during the pandemic.

Voting is now underway for the 2020 General Election. This election will be like no other in U.S. history. So far, more than 5 million people across the U.S have already voted early in the presidential election. What do you need to know to vote safely and be sure your vote is counted? What options are there available for voting locally? How can you make sure that your absentee ballot is delivered and counted?

Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with guests about the 2020 election: in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder, and in the second half hour with members of The League of Women Voters (LWV) of San Luis Obispo County— Julie Rodelwald  and Juliane McAdam. They will talk about the purpose of the LWV, commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment this year, and importance of LWV efforts to Get Out The Vote.

 

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and intensified systematic racism in many of our institutions. In August the National Urban League reported that Black Americans are infected with COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of white Americans.  Research suggests that Black Americans, and other communities of color, appear to be at greater risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 due to a history of racism that creates differences in health and access to care and other resources needed for good health. 

Depression and anxiety continue to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus continues across the U.S. it has created a level of isolation not previously seen before. Fear for our health, and that of family and friends, financial strain, food shortages, and much more brought on by the pandemic, can bring extraordinary stress into our daily lives. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July 2020 found more than half of U.S. adults reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, an increase of 20% from when the same question was asked in March 2020. 

One of the many untold effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the toll it is taking on patients without the coronavirus. During the initial wave of COVID cases, staying home was universally urged to protect people from exposure to the infection, but, in the process, many people ignored serious medical issues that should have sent them to their provider or an emergency room. 

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. 

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