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

As communities throughout the state continue to look for opportunities to increase the availability of clean energy, many are looking at the feasibility of forming Community Choice Aggregations. What is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)? CCA allows communities to pool together participating electricity customers for purchasing and generating power on their behalf.

Since 2010 the County of San Luis Obispo has seen a marked increase in the number of people with disabilities. ACTION reported in 2013 at least 14% of survey respondents either had a permanent physical or mental disability that substantially limited a major life activity, or there was someone in their household who did. Although many would consider access for people with disabilities as a civil right, too often people with disabilities are treated as a social minority.

Nationwide there are more than 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In San Luis Obispo County alone, ACTION estimates veterans make up close to 10% of the population.  Reports suggest that some 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD and/or Depression.  It’s believed that 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment. PTSD can have potentially lethal consequences. Asking for help is extremely shaming, especially for combat arms soldiers.

What is human trafficking? This serious offense carries no simple answer to that question. This problem, inherent in almost every country across the globe, is multifaceted and complex and its victims are increasing in numbers.  The human trafficking industry globally earns an expected $32 billion every year. And California is no stranger to these crimes.

Opiod abuse and addiction to such drugs as heroin and prescription painkillers, like oxycontin, is considered  a serious public health issue, and can have potentially devastating consequences on the individual, family and community.  What treatment options are available for individuals battling this deadly disease? How can we work as a community to help families and individuals dealing with these issues?

In 2013 ACTION reported more than three quarters of the people they interviewed in San Luis Obispo County were concerned about drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse. Among these groups of drugs, rates of opiate addiction across the nation are increasing at alarming rates.  Last year, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) noted a dramatic 183% increase in emergency room intakes associated with pharmaceutical opiates and opioids from 2004 to 2011. Heroin intakes also increased by 21%.

While heart disease and lower respiratory disease remain leading causes of death in the U.S., 25% of household income is spent on transportation and 40% of car trips are less than 2 miles. In spite of these statistics, Americans are changing their behavior. From 2000 - 2011 we have seen a 47% increase in bicycle commuting in the United States. In San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles that number increases to an incredible 80%.  

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 that 23-percent difference.

About 60 percent of Americans say that making sure their families are not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important,” yet 55 percent have still not communicated their end-of-life wishes to their loved ones. “The Conversation” is often avoided in our culture, but when is the right time to have it?  How do we start the discussion?  

In San Luis Obispo County, the average cost for full-time infant care in a childcare center is $12,795.  As California’s economy continues to recover, who is there to ensure an adequate supply of high quality and affordable early childcare and education for our children as parents begin re-entering the workforce in increasing numbers?  Host Kris Kington-Barker will be joined by Raechelle Bowlay-Sutton from the San Luis Obispo County Child Care Planning Council to discuss this topic.

Many in our society have a “lock 'em up and throw away the key” mentality when a teenager's life veers off path and they become problematic.  The Bakari Mentoring Program at Cal Poly University believes that many of our youth can be re-directed through their intensive program that instead builds career and life skill development opportunities.

It’s no secret that there is social pressure in grade school to look good and to fit in, but what if a family has little or no ability to provide appropriate clothing so that a child can attend school?  With 14,000 children in our county living below poverty level, many kids literally wear the same pieces of clothing to school every single day.  The Assistance League works to provide needy school aged children with new clothes so that they can focus on schoolwork and not be ashamed of how they look.

It is easy to see how looking out for the best interests of our children can benefit our community, but it is a challenge to articulate what this really means, and where do we state this as a public priority? The Children's Bill of Rights is a set of goals that tries to establish both of these issues, by writing up a set of desired outcomes, or "Rights" for our children so they have the best chance at thriving that we can provide for them. Host Kris Kington Barker will be joined by guests Susan Hughes and Misty Livengood from the First 5 of SLO County to discuss this topic.

Central Coast Voices addresses the many ramifications of change and how today's choices will affect tomorrow's community. The show's topics and guests focus on raising public awareness through credible and valid information about local and regional concerns.

One of the most important aspects of planning for our community's future is understanding the present. To help do this the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo conducts the Vital Signs reports, which is the latest in a series of reports issued by ACTION for Healthy Communities. The report provides real data on community issues from homelessness to education to quality of life topics.

As traditional western medicine focuses more on care and cure, a gap widens for individuals with serious and life-limiting illnesses who need care and comfort but are not ready for hospice care.  Palliative Medicine enhances the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses by relieving symptoms, pain, and stress.  Host Kris Kington Barker talks with health care professionals about the growing need for Palliative Medicine and its benefits.

This week Kris Kington Barker talks with Tony Huffaker, Director of Counseling for Hospice of San Luis Obispo County.  Tony discusses the upcoming International Survivors of Suicide Day.  We will hear what the Day is about, misconceptions about suicide, and where people can go for support.

This week Kris Kington Barker talks with Steve Mahr and Fred Aguilara from the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast. They discuss the national healthcare plan roll-out from the viewpoint of an institution that will be providing care, and is involved in helping people to sign up right now. They address the most common misconceptions about the plan, including what your choices are and the state of the website.

This week on Central Coast Voices, Kris Kington Barker talks with Joyce Ellen, Randy Harris, and Julie Cox from the Area Agency on Aging. They discuss the results of their recent Elder Needs Assessment study and will be able to give a current picture of the many facets and life situations of Central Coast seniors. They also share how our counties are working to address these needs.

This week on Central Coast Voices, Kris Kington Barker will be talking with Stephanie Teaford and Chuck Stevenson about the upcoming Healthy Communities Workgroup. Their project is understanding the way our communities build our buildings, workspaces, roads and more, and that these environments affect our health. Designing environments for better health will be done by city leaders, planning commissions, and school boards and will be the focus of the upcoming workshop.

This week on Central Coast Voices,Kris Kington Barker will be talking with Bruce Howard from Otter Productions and Steve Larian director of Cal Poly Arts. Each of them will be discussing the trials and tribulations of booking and selling entertainment acts in our communities.

Central Coast Voices…hears from Joel Diringer, who is a Central Coast health consultant and advocate, and Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo's County Health Officer. This week's topic will be learning about healthcare reform and starting to understand its many complexities. Learn how this dramatic change in US healthcare will be affecting you and our community.