Tag Archives: David Rohac

Thankful to be a Renegade

We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving

Definitely feeling the holiday weather settling in around us with the crispy cool mornings, the holiday lights starting to blanket the neighborhood, and the holiday spirit of generosity and goodwill warming our hearts. My brother sent me this beautiful music video of talented young artists performing We are the World from Manipur a state in the northeastern part of India.

Let’s check out the original version USA for Africa — We are the World.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 30, 2019… Do you feel the warmth and love in the air… A great day to be a Renegade.

Giving Thanks

November is a time of year when we gather around our loved ones and celebrate the things for which we are thankful.  Since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, this tradition has carried on from generation to generation of American families. 

In this time of giving thanks, I looked back over my blog posts from earlier this year and enjoyed seeing photos of students, graduates, alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff.  I am truly blessed to be the president of the best college the nation. Thank you!

As you can see, there really is so much to be thankful for this year!

HEAL Summit

Last week, BC organized and hosted an important conversation on how we can transform health in California’s rural communities. Health care professionals got the chance to connect with medical researchers, educators and policy makers at the BC Delano Campus for the Rural Poverty and Health Equity Summit, coming together to share all of the hard work that they do every day to make the Central Valley a healthier place to live.

This event is one of many that our stakeholders in health care and education will be organizing as part of the Rural Health Equity and Learning (HEAL) Collaborative. The HEAL collaborative came together when Dr. Kathy Murphy, started connecting educational institutions in response to a grant proposal and four months later, is now a thriving six-county network of organizations committed to improving health, education and economic outcomes in rural communities throughout CA’s Central Valley. 

If you are interested in joining the HEAL collaborative or if you know of an institution throughout our region that would be interested, please check out the HEAL website to get started.

Some of the most dire health outcomes in the Central Valley are related to poverty and the absence of accessible resources in our rural communities. Education is an important solution to these difficult societal issues… several sources, including the Partners for Rural Transformation and the Center for Disease Control, indicate that people with higher levels of education have lower rates of chronic disease and make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Norma Rojas has been a passionate member of the the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and served as the emcee for our summit last week.

Norma Rojas-Mora
Congressman TJ Cox

Congressman TJ Cox is active at the federal level to help the citizens of California’s 21st District live healthier lives. Cox serves on several congressional committees and caucuses related to community health, including the Asthma and Allergy Caucus, which is introducing funding to support remote respiratory care and access to asthma medications. He is also working on legislation to address opioid addiction, the vaping epidemic, diabetes, and hydrocephalus, a condition that causes an abnormal buildup of spinal fluid in the brain.

Panel 1

Dr. Kathleen Murphy, a pediatrician at Valley Children’s Hospital and an advisory board member for the Rural HEAL Initiative moderated our first panel about forming networks of collaboration to address health crises.

Dr. Kathleen Murphy
The Summit crowd was at max capacity!
Russell Judd, Nancy Burke, Sonya Christian, Tania Pacheco

The first speaker on the rural collaborative panel was Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd, who talked about founding the Valley Fever Institute to advance conversations on treatments for this devastating disease. Most of the important findings on valley fever are published directly out of Kern Medical Center, and the institute takes a 3-pronged approach of research, treatment and outreach to lift the burden off San Joaquin families who fight against Valley Fever every day. Last month, the group organized a town hall forum on Valley Fever at the Indoor Theater featuring TJ Cox.

Russell Judd
Sonya Christian and Russell Judd

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner is the Assistant Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, an organization established at Fresno State in 2002 to provide data and information on health policy issues in Central California. The group provides local experts and decision makers with data to help them take the appropriate action for Central Valley health outcomes while highlighting some overlooked systemic problems that are at the root causes of many health issues.

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner

Dr. Nancy Burke has relied on the help of community partners to build UC Merced’s Public Health program from the ground up, building collaborations with national, local and regional organizations to engage youth in public health policy. UC Merced has established the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center to research the harmful effects of vaping, and they’ve launched a separate initiative to address racial and poverty gaps in oral health care for children.

Nancy Burke and Sonya Christian

I was the last presenter in the first panel, and briefly highlighted two collaborative projects to address poverty — Early College partnership with the rural high schools and our collaboration with Housing and Urban Development to address low income student housing needs.

Panel 2

Our second panel revolved around air quality, which is linked to many negative health outcomes for millions of people throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Emanuel Alcala with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute moderated the air quality panel and provided an overview of our air quality problem. The Central Valley has some of the worst air in the country, particularly in rural areas that are centered around large industrial pollution sources.

Emanuel Alcala
Emanuel Alcala, Kevin Hamilton, Dr. Sandie Ha, and John Moua

Kevin Hamilton from the Central California Asthma Collaborative described the challenges with diagnosing health problems related to air quality. Poor air quality can cause stress reactions in the body that manifest as any number of symptoms, and low-income communities of color don’t have the means to address the causal factors of their illnesses, so minor issues develop into major disorders that require emergency treatment.

Kevin Hamilton

UC Merced Public Health professor Sandie Ha talked about neonatal impacts in the Central Valley are affected by poor air quality and the importance of measuring indoor as well as outdoor air quality. She also emphasized the challenge in getting people to recognize the risks of poor air quality, including wide-ranging implications from blood pressure to diabetes.

Sandie Ha
Left to right: Kevin Hamilton, Sandie Ha, and John Moua

UCSF Fresno professor John Moua’s presentation focused on the implicit biases that many physicians have when they diagnose respiratory issues. Asthma rates are significantly higher in the Central Valley than the rest of the state, yet many primary care physicians are not up-to-date on the latest advancements in respiratory treatment. Many poorer families are also challenged to manage costs when they can barely put food on the table, Moua explained.

John Moua

Panel 3

TJ Cox moderated the panel on substance abuse issues, which is one of the issues that he’s most passionate about championing on Capitol Hill. While there are 70 million estimated drug users in the United States, Cox said that only 15 percent seek treatment for addiction, and substance use is on the rise with the teen vaping epidemic and the prevalence of prescription opioid abuse.

Congressman TJ Cox

Anna Song is with the UC Merced Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center. The group is working on creating smoke-free shared housing units for students, instituting smoking bans in parks, and providing parents with information about vaping lung disease and how to tell if their children are vaping.

Anna Song
Left to right: Anna Song, David Rohac, and Dr. Rais Vohra

Dr. Rais Vohra teaches family medicine at UCSF Fresno and serves as the Regional Director of the California Bridge program, which encourages evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, hospitality for addicts, and linkages to ongoing care and support groups. He shared some innovative new developments happening in the world of substance use treatment, including the advent of substance use navigators available in emergency rooms to advocate for patients with substance use problems, provide referrals to outside support services, and raise awareness about harm reduction medications like methadone and suboxone.

Dr. Rais Vohra

David Rohac is a psychology faculty here at BC, and I was excited to hear him share his research about prenatal alcohol exposure. This important research is published in a chapter of the book “Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment”, which is used in the curriculum for many college courses concerning alcohol addiction and substance use. The research shows that early exposure to alcohol in the womb can negatively influence a fetus’ development, and exposure to alcohol within the first trimester is more dangerous to fetal development than exposure to heroin. Prenatal alcohol exposure can be especially dangerous, as alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs, people have misconceptions about how dangerous alcohol actually is, and families often don’t know that they’re pregnant until late in the first trimester.

David Rohac
Nora Dominguez, Julianne McCall. David Rohac, Sonya Christian

Panel 4

Cindy Collier opened the last panel of the summit on developing compassionate, informed health care professionals. Approximately 7 million Californians live in areas with a shortage of health professionals, and many of them are in rural areas right here in the Central Valley. That number is projected to increase in the next decade if we aren’t proactive in training the next generation of health care professionals to close that gap.

Cindy Collier

Dr. Serena Yang, the Chief of Pediatrics at UCSF Fresno, expanded on that conversation, describing the ways that poverty and lack of transportation exacerbate provider shortages. The primary predictors for where a health professional will choose to work is based on where they train and where they can reap the most financial benefit, and Yang emphasized the importance of loan repayment programs to encourage our best and brightest to stay right here in the Central Valley.

Dr. Serena Yang

Adventist Health has been one of our partners with the Rural HEAL Collaborative, and CEO Sharlet Briggs described the challenges that she faces in trying to maintain a diverse and properly-trained workforce to meet the Central Valley’s needs. She emphasized their need for more physicians assistants and LVNs to serve as a bridge between patients and doctors. She also expressed the importance of expanding the specialized care in rural areas. Finally, she outlined the ways that provider shortage is only a part of the problem, and we need to be looking at how we can address homelessness, mental health and poverty.

Left to right: Sharlet Briggs, Dr. Serena Yang, and Thelma Hurd
Sharlet Briggs
Thelma Hurd

UC Merced’s Director of Medical Education Thelma Hurd emphasized the role of academic support as the key to reducing the health workforce shortage in the Central Valley. Only 20 percent of students who enter a medical program actually go on to work in the medical field. With the right support and mentorship through organizations like MESA, we can make sure that our students aren’t falling through the cracks even as we reduce the equity barriers that keep many low income students of color out of the medical field. She also talked about developing programs to get children interested in STEM and health careers as early as elementary school.

Sonya Christian and Thelma Hurd

Closing

At the close of the summit, we were all excited to hear from Julianne McCall, a neuroscientist and representative from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Planning and Research. She praised all of the attendees for participating in this broad-reaching discussion about making medical practices more equitable for all Californians, and shared information with the group about a new innovation known as precision medicine.

Julianne McCall

Precision medicine is an emerging approach toward disease treatment and prevention that accounts for a patient’s distinctive genetics, environment and lifestyle. As this field develops, the ultimate goal is for medical treatment to be accurately individualized at the chromosomal level instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all, general population approach characteristic of current defined medical science. To jumpstart our state into this exciting future, Governor Newsom’s office launched the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, offering grants to institutions across the state that advance precision medicine research. A requirement of the grant is for institutions to advance partnerships between researchers and their community, which will give rural communities the opportunity to provide input into the research.

One lucky raffle winner and Tamara Baker
BC staff and attendees who helped make this event possible
Abel Guzman and me

Thank you Delano Regional Medical Center and Kern Medical for being our sponsors. Thank you Abel Guzman and the Rural Initiatives team for getting the Delano Campus ready for the event. Thank you Lori Ortiz for leading the logistics. Thank you Tamara Baker and Jana Castillo for managing the event. Thank you to the planning team who put the programming together: Dr. Kathy Murphy, Dr. Nancy Burke, Norma Rojas, and Cindy Collier.

Child Development Film Festival

The Child Development departments at BC, CSUB, and Taft College came together to host a student film festival in the Indoor Theater last week.

Students from the three colleges created one-minute PSAs about working with children. The entries were then judged by a panel of notable community figures including Congressman Kevin McCarthy, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Mayor Karen Goh. Students covered a diverse variety of topics in their videos, including childhood PTSD, encouraging healthy life choices, and teaching sign language at a young age. A BC student took home the first place prize with a video about special needs children.

Thank you to BC’s Bernadette Towns, Taft College’s Becky Roth, and the Child Development Team at CSUB for working together to put together a fun event for all our students.

Surveying the Homeless

Perla Villegas Samantha Pulido Sarah Aguirre Jordan Thomas Gian Gayatao
From left to right: Perla Villegas, Samantha Pulido, Sarah Aguirre, Jordan Thomas, and Gian Gayatao
Jordan Rude and Perla Villegas
Perla Villegas and Jordan Rude

On Sunday, November 24, Professor Jordan Rude organized a team from BC to help him with a data project…. surveying the homeless at Central Park. We had student volunteers from Student Life, BCSGA, and Outreach to collect data for Professor Rude by passing out surveys and collecting the responses. Thanks to the volunteers who came out to help!

Dream Big Conference Hosts Record Attendees!

On Friday, November 15, Bakersfield College hosted close to 350 high school students and chaperones during the Dream Big Conference. Focused on promoting college going among first-generation, English Learners, and migrant students, the Dream Big Conference provided an engaging experience in a variety of formats to help students understand opportunities and ways of paying for college

Staff and student volunteers ready to greet students and chaperones!

The day began with breakfast and a welcome provided by Dr. Anna Laven, AB 540 Program Manager. Attendees then heard from a moderated student panel facilitated by Manuel Rosas, EOPS Counselor and LUPE Faculty Advisor.

Volunteers for the event including staff members, student assistants and student leaders.

Following the student panel, attendees were introduced to the campus through an engaging scavenger hunt led by Marcela Gamino, EOPS and CARE Educational Advisor. Students then heard presentations on three topics, including career education, the EOPS, AB 540 and NextUp Programs, and opportunities provided by our rural initiatives. The day ended with an informative session on paying for college facilitated by the Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium.

College Experience Panel (left to right): Jovana (Panel Moderator) Mayra, Marlene, Erick, Pedro, Mayra, Elizabeth, Manuel Rosas (Panel Moderator & LUPE Faculty Advisor)

Co-leads organizing the event included Angela Blanco, KHSD Education Liaison, Dr. Anna Laven, Maria Baltazar, NextUp and CalWORKs Program Manager, and Jaime Lopez, Rural Initiatives Program Manager.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Matthew Moon

My name is Ramon Carreido, and I am a sophomore here at BC. During my time as a Renegade, I’ve encountered many friends, co-workers and people who have helped shape my academic career, but no one has played a bigger role than my swim coach Matt Moon.

Matt Moon and Ramon Carriedo

I am a BC athlete who has been a member of the swim team for over a year, and I’ve enjoyed the intense training and preparation that Coach Moon has put us through, whether it’s holding our breaths while swimming two lengths of the pool or throwing us into events that we’ve never swam before.

I swam for all 4 years at Wasco High, including qualifying for Valley in my junior and senior year. After high school, I knew that I wanted to keep swimming competitively, so I talked to Coach Moon the summer after graduation and decided to swim for BC. After the first week of winter training, I quickly learned that I was not in high school anymore. We start the day off at 6 a.m. with one hour of weight training and another in the pool before going to class, only to come back at 2:30 p.m. for another 2-hour practice, which was a big change from our regular routine at Wasco High.

Many athletes don’t get to work with coaches that practice what they preach, but Coach Moon is in the weight room getting reps in before we even arrive at 6 a.m., and he is always there for helpful tips on diet choices and keeping our bodies in competitive shape.

Coach Moon has not only shaped my academic career but my life. After going through all of this intense training, I’ve learned that all of my hard work will eventually pay off. I have implemented this mentality into every element of my daily life while juggling school, my job as a student working in the Marketing office, and swim. I know that all of my efforts will only make me a stronger person. This Thanksgiving, I’m super blessed to swim for Coach Moon here at BC.

Renegades We’re Thankful For: Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang

My name is Juan Reyes, and I am a sophomore student and student employee at BC. I’m thankful for Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang, the graphic designers for BC’s Marketing and Public Relations. I’m glad to have their friendship and guidance throughout my time as a student worker, and I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent in the office together.

Eric Carrillo and Dylan Wang and sonya christian
Graphic Designers Eric Carrillo (left) and Dylan Wang (right) received a President’s Leadership Award earlier this year.

Eric and Dylan always make Ramon and I feel welcomed and encourage us to talk about our experiences to learn from one another. Thank you Eric and Dylan for being amazing coworkers and friends.

Fun Photos

Budget Open Forum

The semi-annual Budget Open Forum occurred last Monday in the Levan Center.  This informative event featured presentations by Mike Giacomini and Teresa McAllister.

Juan Torres Delivers Grapes

Tarina Perry sent over this photo of Juan Torres, Delano Site Operations Coordinator, who often brings our office fresh-picked grapes from local vendors.

Carlos Barbaran Stays Dry

On Wednesday, Carlos Barbara had a unique way to stay dry in the rain.

Carlos Barbara

Seen on Social Media: Thankful Faculty

Erin Auerbach, BC Journalism faculty, posted recently that she’s thankful for opportunities like these for our students. Way to go, KGET!

Love this picture that Alberto Vargas clicked of Nicky and me.

Football Lands Nine on the SCFA North All-Conference List

Our football team just wrapped up their 2019 season and we have nine student athletes from the team that were honored this week with post-season honors. Congrats to the following players and thanks for representing BC with pride!

SCFA North First Team All-Conference

SCFA Noth 2nd-Team All-Conference

Skydiving into Memorial Stadium

Enjoy this video from our final home football game of the year when skydivers from Skydive San Joaquin Valley parachuted down to the field of Memorial Stadium with the game ball and the American flag. What a view!

Renegade Athletes of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (11/10-11/16) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Emma Gross, Women’s Soccer – Emma anchored the Renegade defense in games last week against Santa Monica and Antelope Valley as the team closed out the 2019 regular season. Emma was also honored this week as a member of the 2019 CCCAA All-State Team, an honor given to only four defenders in the state. 

Edgar Gonzalez, Men’s Soccer – Edgar assisted on three of the four goals scored by the Renegades last week as the team clinched its first conference championship in school history. This week Edgar was also named to the CCCAA All-Region team, the WSC South 1st Team and as WSC South Offensive Player of the Year. 

Loved the way our Renegade Basketball players do a dance move when one of them scores a 3-pointer. Check it out.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Sonya Christian


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever