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Community Briefs

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Black Male Teachers:

Do you know any Black males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out of state for "FREE”?

Several Black Colleges are looking for future black male teachers and will send them to universities/ colleges for 4 years FREE.

The 'Call Me MISTER' program is an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers particularly among South Carolina’s lowest performing public schools.

Program participants are selected from among underserved, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities.

The program is a collaboration between Clemson University and four historically Black colleges in South Carolina: Benedict College, Claflin University, Morris College and South Carolina State University.

The project provides: Tuition for admitted students pursuing approved programs of study at participating colleges.

An academic support system to help assure their success.

A cohort system for social and cultural support.

Visit www.callmemi for more details and the online application or call (800) 640- 2657.

Stimulus Money Available For Employers

Hiring, Training Federal stimulus funds are available now through the East Valley Special Education Local Plan Area for employers in Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Lake Arrowhead, Redlands, Rialto and Yucaipa, for those who are hiring and training new employees.

The funds are available to firms who hire recent graduates from local high schools.

Contact Guy Williams, business linkage technician for the East Valley SELPA, for more information at (909) 252-4518.

County History Day Competition Set For March 20

About 150 students representing 18 schools in San Bernardino County will participate in the History Day competition at Summit High School on March 20.

The event, which will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m., has three divisions:

Elementary (Grades 4-5), Junior (Grades 6-8) and Senior (Grades 9-12). There are 91 entries in all the divisions, representing six county school districts and one private school.

The event is sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

Summit High School is located at 15551 Summit Ave. in Fontana

Senator McLeod Recognizes Census Partners

On Saturday, March 20, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod will be recognizing 2010 Census Partners that have committed to support the Census Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Centers and Testing/Training sites at the Ontario Open Air Market, 7407 East Riverside Dr., Ontario.

RSVP with Rosendo Torres at (909) 771- 5817 or Victor Yu at (818) 268-0878. For more information, contact (909) 984- 5131.

Union Bank, KCET Honor Los Angeles African Americans As Heroes

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Union Bank, N.A., and KCET recently partnered to honor four extraordinary Southern California African Americans as Local Heroes during its 13th Annual Local Heroes Awards celebration. The Local Heroes award recognizes the leadership and dedication of the recipients to serving their community. The honorees received their recognition in the company of family and friends at the KCET Studios in Los Angeles. This year’s honorees were:

• Areva Martin, Special Needs Network, Inc.;

• Billy Mitchell, Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy (SAPPA);

• Shonte Henderson, Los Angeles County Superior Court; and

• Millicent “Mama” Hill, Mama Hill’s Help.

Video profiles, produced by and broadcast on KCET throughout the month, showed a glimpse of the spirit behind each honoree’s personal triumph and determination and preceded their presentations.

“It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of each of our honorees,” said Union Bank Executive Vice President Julius Robinson, head of Corporate Social Responsibility and chairman and chief executive officer of the Union Bank Foundation, who emceed the event.

“Their selfless acts of courage are exemplary of Union Bank’s core belief in community service.”

Entertainment for the evening included a performance by Hollywood’s Da’ Poetry Lounge co-founder, Brutha Gimel, and selections by the P.S.A.L.M.S. (Praising, Serving, Adoring, Loving and Magnifying Our Savior) choir, representing the City of Refuge Music Ministry.

To view the Local Heroes video profiles airing on KCET throughout the month, visit kcet.org. For more information about the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit www.unionbank.com/heroes.

Jerome E. Horton Hosts Free Tax Preparation Events

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Jerome E. Horton, Vice Chairperson of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), is providing free tax preparation and efiling for the public starting Monday, March 15.

“Tax season should not be a great cause of worry as we are providing plenty of free income tax help at convenient community locations to help the people who need it most,” said Vice Chairperson Horton. “Please take advantage of this wonderful service as our volunteers are trained and eagerly awaiting to help their neighbors.”

Tax help is provided through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Volunteers participating in the VITA program have been trained by the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board. The participants volunteer their time and talents to provide this free service to individuals who may find it difficult to complete their own returns.

The volunteer program offers free help completing both federal and state income tax returns to the elderly, blind, disabled, and low-income taxpayers.

Volunteers can assist taxpayers in claiming the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a federal incentive for low-income individuals and families.

Taxpayers earning less than $43,279 can qualify for a “refundable” credit that can total up to $5,657. “Refundable” means that you do not have to have a tax liability to get a refund check from the government.

The volunteer sites offer free efile. Efiling has many advantages such as getting your state refund back in 7 to 10 days. The volunteer sites provide help in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

To make an appointment, contact the site nearest you. The sites are located at: West Covina District Office, 626.480.7200; Culver City District Office, 310.342.1000, Norwalk District Office, 562.466.1694, and Van Nuys District Office, 818.904.2300.

Community Briefs

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Supt. Dr. Art Delgado Kicks off Campaign for County Superintendent of Schools

San Bernardino County Superintendent candidate Dr. Art Delgado, Superintendent for San Bernardino City School District will be hosting his official campaign kick off this Sunday, March 14 at 1069 South Mount Vernon in Colton, CA from 1:00 to 3:00 pm Superintendent Dr. Art Delgado campaign kick off will be held at his new headquarters in Colton, centrally located in the County wide race for Superintendent.

Refreshments and food will be served.

Spring Dance

The Perris Hill Senior Center invites seniors to the Spring Dance. This event will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. sponsored by the Visiting Angeles Living Assistance Services for seniors ages 60 years or better. This event will include music, dancing, and a light lunch. Tickets are $5 per person. The Perris Hill Senior Center is located at 780 East 21st Street, San Bernardino.

For more information, please call (909) 384-5436. American Legion Post 710 D.J. Larry will be performing every Friday and Saturday at the American Legion Post 710, 2181 W. Highland Ave., San Bernardino. There is a dress code and it’s 21 and over. For more information contact (909) 880-1336.

Riverside Arts Walk

Awaken your artistic senses and celebrate the diversity of arts and culture in the Inland Empire. Browse over 20 different art galleries, studios and museums with exhibits in various art mediums. Special performances, poetry, theater, hands-on art activities, refreshments and more are some of what you will experience at Riverside Arts Walk.

Become a part of the pulse! Riverside Arts Walk is every First Thursdays from 6- 9 p.m. in Downtown Riverside. For more information call 951.682.6737 or visit www.RiversideCulturalConsortium.org.

Ethnic Special Needs Children Face Longer Wait for Health Care

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New America Media, News report, Vivian Po --

Last week, Deborah Dalton, a 50-year-old African American mother, was ecstatic to receive the oxygen concentrator that finally arrived at her San Francisco residence. Her son suffers from Down syndrome and severe sleeping apnea, and he needed it desperately.

The oxygen concentrator, a device connected to a breathing machine to ensure unobstructed breathing during sleep, Dalton said, was supposed to arrive last November. She and her son had waited for four months to get it, despite frequent phone calls.

In fact, Dalton was not the only one who had to wait for medical assistance. Many parents with children with special health care needs also find themselves standing in longer lines, no matter whether it’s for medical devices or for getting an appointment with pediatric specialists.

Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) are those who have, or are at increased risk for, a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition. They require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally. CSHCN are those with conditions that include Down syndrome, autism, developmental delay, and other mental and physical disabilities.

“The wait has been crazy,” said Dr. Gregory Janos, president of Children’s Specialty Care Coalition (CSCC), a non-profit association representing more than 1,000 pediatric specialists in California. CSCC released a statewide survey in December 2009 to determine a patients’ waiting time for pediatric specialists. Medical directors from nine medical groups, representing 2,000 pediatric specialists, were surveyed.

Pediatric specialists are physicians who are uniquely qualified to treat children with complex and chronic conditions because the developing bodies and emotions of children are significantly different from those of adults.

According to the survey, the waiting time for a pediatric specialist is between 16 and 114 days. For example, autistic children have to wait an average of 54 days to see a pediatric neurologist; diabetic children have to wait 56 days to see a pediatric endocrinologist, and children with heart conditions have to wait 39 days before they can see a pediatric cardiologist.

Janos, who is also the medical director at Sutter Medical Center’s Children's Center in Sacramento, said that if the wait for a non-emergency doctor visit exceeded two weeks, it could jeopardize a child's health. “A child who should see a specialist can end up in an emergency room and be seen by a non-specialist, which is not adequate and can be dangerous, ” he said.

Janos explained that the long wait was due to a shortage of pediatric specialists in the country. He said medical students are reluctant to enter pediatric specialties because their medical reimbursement rates are only two-thirds of those of adult specialists. Yet, they need to stay longer in school and shoulder heavier school loans.

Pediatric specialists require four years of medical schooling, three years of training in pediatrics, and three more years of training in their chosen specialty, in order to graduate. Moreover, on average, pediatric specialists bear $103,000 in loans after graduation, while MD graduates only carry $87,000 in loans.

Many ethnic minorities are discouraged from studying pediatrics because the communities they serve are often from a lower income group and covered by insurances with lower reimbursement rates. Therefore, it will take longer for them to repay the debt upon graduation. Reports show that only 5 percent of historically underrepresented minority specialists can clear their debt in five years, compared to 16.5 percent of non-historically underrepresented minorities.

But more importantly, pediatric specialists have been leaving California since the recession hit, when reimbursements were lowered due to cuts in medical expenses, but taxes and cost of living remained high, Janos said.

The CSCC survey shows nearly 22 percent of current pediatric specialist positions in California remain open, with recruitment time averaging one to two years. Pediatric cardiologists, neurologists and gastroenterologist have the highest number of vacancies.

As a result, pediatric specialists, such as those working at Janos’s medical center, are seeing 20 to 30 patients a day. Some specialists have to turn some patients away for want of time.

According to kidsdata.org, a data and resource website that offers more than 300 indicators on the health and well-being of California’s children, 27.6 percent of CSHCN have difficulties getting the specialty care referrals they needed.

It is especially true for low-income families who are covered by public insurance with lower reimbursement rates, such as Healthy Families and MediCal.

Nancy Lim Yee, executive director of Chinatown Children Development Center in San Francisco, an organization providing mental health services to children and which accepts MediCal, said even a few years ago, the reimbursement of an assessment test on developmental delay could range from $600 to $900 with private insurance, while MediCal only reimbursed around $100. She believes the gap is even wider today.

Minority parents have even fewer choices, Yee explained, because they generally choose from a pool of bilingual or culturally competent specialists they can trust and communicate with. Families are also traveling farther to find that fit, or to where translation services are provided.

Even doctors who made the referrals are feeling frustrated. Dr Peter Ng, a public health pediatrician at San Francisco’s Chinatown Public Health Center, and who has been doing referrals for more than 10 years, said referrals could bounce back and forth for three to four months before he manages to lock down appointments for his clients.

Apart from requesting authorization from insurance providers, which is becoming increasingly strict and time consuming, Ng also needs to do massive follow-up communications with the specialists to make sure his clients do not get dropped because of the heavy workload of the specialists.

In order to eliminate some of the referral difficulties and decrease the waiting time for these children, Yee and Ng started a project approximately two years ago, where Ng brings a pediatric psychiatrist to his clinic once a week to provide basic diagnosis and recommend medications for children with behavioral problems.

Yee and Ng said the project has been quite successful, but more pediatric specialists are still needed.

To help relieve the workload of current pediatricians, Janos suggested teenagers from 14 to 21 see adult specialist with pediatric training. Inclusion of programs that provide loan incentives to medical students who have interest in studying pediatrics could also be considered.

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