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

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.

Broadcast date: 9/27/2018

In 1998, The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County began its mission to provide the local community with an enduring form of local support. Today, 20 years later, this mission continues, by providing leadership and encouraging charitable giving for the issues that improve and enhance lives in the county.  In 2017 through a commitment to philanthropic leadership and the help of forward-thinking donors and community partners, they were able to distribute a record $5 million in grants and scholarships to support a variety of important work in San Luis Obispo.

Broadcast date: 9/13/2018

Constitution Day is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United Sates Constitution and is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. A focus of the holiday is to engage the community in an appreciation of the Constitution so that they are imbued with an understanding and appreciation for the individual rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Broadcast date: 8/30/2018

A revolution for aging better is happening in California.
 Baby Boomers are redefining the aging process. Today, over 90% of seniors in our community want to continue to live independently in their own home. More importantly, they want to stay connected to their community, and to continue to do the things that are important in their lives. Many cannot do this without some type of support system, and in the coming years, this system will become taxed as the Baby Boomers age, and resources become strained.

Broadcast date: 8/16/2018

The 2016 election was marred by an unprecedented disinformation campaign from sources at home and abroad. A recent survey showed that 66 percent of people asked believed that outside groups were actively trying to plant fake news stories in the mainstream media and that it was a serious problem. Since then a central strategy of the current administration is a sustained assault on journalists and news media. In an unprecedented response today close to 350 editorial boards join the Boston Globe in affirming their commitment to a free press and the truth.

Broadcast date: 8/2/2018

Drag has long played a large role in the LGBTQ community. Many believe the first person to throw a brick in defense at the Stonewall Riots, which is often considered the birth of the LGBTQ movement, was a drag queen named Marsha P. Johnson. 

Broadcast date: 7/19/2018

Parents are often confronted with significant barriers to obtaining high quality child care. Among these obstacles are often low wages and high costs.  Quality of care varies greatly, and limited or unexperienced providers are frequently an issue. While many working families continue to struggle to afford the cost of care, a growing body of research shows that quality child care is important to the foundational development of children and their potential to thrive. Whether or not we help working parents in their struggle has the potential to impact our communities for years to come.

Broadcast date: 7/5/2018

More than six months after the #MeToo movement began, its effects continue to be widely felt across the nation. Hardly a week goes by when another media story isn’t published. The movement which began by exposing the abuses of powerful men in the media industry, has now spread to numerous other industries and occupations, including a variety of well-known corporations and educational institutions.

Broadcast date: 6/21/2018

On June 9, 2016 California’s End of Life Option Act (SB 128) went into effect, and the state became the fifth is the U.S. to permit physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. That means that a patient who has been diagnosed as having six months or less to live can then request life-ending medication from their physicians. The law was and remains highly controversial, and now a series of recent court rulings has placed the law in jeopardy, and its future remains uncertain.

Broadcast date: 6/7/2018 

“Chosen Families” are the networks we form around ourselves that transcend genetic bonds -- it can be an especially important part of queer experience where people are sometimes rejected by their own relatives or may feel out of place with traditional American social norms.

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