Archivos Mensuales: noviembre 2012

College Students Wonder: What Is Obamacare?


With the Supreme Court upholding Obamacare, and President Obama being re-elected, Obamacare is now inevitability. Obamacare is an overhaul of our current healthcare system, which will bring changes such as expanded Medicare coverage, an expanded time period in which young adults can be on their parent’s healthcare coverage, and making it harder for insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing health conditions.

However, there is both a lack of the facts on Obamacare and quite a bit of misinformation as well. A quick Google search of Obamacare will reveal a plethora of websites dedicated to discrediting this attempt at health reform. If one were to go off of what they found on page one of a Google search for the term “Obamacare” they would not come away with an encouraging picture of what it will do.

President Obama Signing The Health Care Bill

President Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House. March 23, 2010. Photo: Keith Ellison.

One segment of the American population that will be particularly affected are college students. Many are under 26 and are on their parent’s healthcare. Many college students will also be living with the changes that Obamacare will bring for many years. The individual parts of the new law will go affect incrementally. As a result, the full effect of it will not be felt until 2020.

Despite how much of an effect the law will have on college students, even they are not well informed on what Obamacare entails. This is not even taking into account whether or not students feel positively or negatively about it. It is rather about the lack of general knowledge on what it does.

The full text of what Obamacare includes can be found at This is the actual bill, so the language used can be quite technical. A simplified, but not complete, overview of Obamacare can be found at


The “Driving” Force of Dentistry



The colorful and cheerful Ostrow dental van, parked and ready to service the public.

Both Irene Reyna and Meyerer Miller smile intently after their interview of mobile dentistry
Photo by Timothy Whitfield

Southern California’s remote or under-served areas tend to be areas without dental services available.  This leaves many people to go without getting any dental care or attention.  The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has been providing care for these areas since 1968.  USC’s program now features many vans that include everything from sterilization to portable dental equipment.  The idea behind the Mobile Dental program was to originally serve the entire population that had difficulty receiving care, but now the program has taken a different approach and targets children.  The program first started serving migrant farm workers in between Bakersfield and the border, but now also serves low-income children as well. The school attacks the issue with their QueensCare Mobile Dental Program and Neighborhood Mobile Dental Clinic.  The QueensCare van has taught over 5,000 children in the Los Angeles area proper techniques for oral health care.  The Neighborhood dental van has provided quality care for over 15 elementary schools 10,000 kids.  Van visits to schools are invaluable because they offer professional care for no cost to these children.  The mobile vans that visit Los Angeles’s schools are meant to treat and increase awareness for children from kindergarten to fifth grade.  Before every child receives the free goodie bag they must learn what foods to stay away from while understanding how to brush and floss properly.  The service is available for visits and claims to be cheaper than other practices.  The students will operate on patients under the supervision of their teachers so both the students and the patients receive quality care.  Meyerer Miller and Irene Reyna are two people that spend their time every week to help sponsor events and coordinate oral health fares for the children of Los Angeles.  Having the opportunity to speak with them about the subject helps gain an understanding and respect not found online or in a packet.  Irene and Meyerer explain that the dental “vans” are not really vans. There is a smaller van named after these programs’ founder, Charlie, but most “vans” are large trailers containing a dental office with multiple dental workstations.

Among the three different mobile clinics programs, all of them have different sources that financially sustain the programs. Irene explains that the Mobile Dental Clinic is funded by several private organizations. QueensCare foundation steps in to fund the QueensCare Mobile Dental Clinic. Lastly, the Neighborhood Mobile Dental Van’s funds come from a Good Neighbor Campaign that collects donation from school faculty. Within the UCS’s introductory packet, Meyerer provides a detailed chart containing a synopsis of the amount of people serviced within the last decade. The packet also contained the “At a Glance” paperwork that summarizes a handful of the community health programs by which USC is affiliated.

Profesora adopta el veganismo por razones éticas y de justicia alimentaria

Este año, el CDC reporta que el 43% de latinas en este país padecen de obesidad, siendo el segundo grupo más obeso en Estados Unidos, después de las afroamericanas. 

Pofesora de CSUN, Linda Álvarez
Photo by: Joanna Renteria


“¿Qué vas a comer? Aire?!” Fue la respuesta de la familia de Linda Álvarez, después de contarles que ya no comería carne ni ningún producto derivado de los animales.

Álvarez de 35 años es profesora de Estudios Centroamericanos en la Universidad Estatal de California en Northridge. Por diez años, la costarricenseamericana, ha seguido la dieta vegetariana. Los últimos cuatro años, ha seguido una dieta más estricta, la dieta vegana.

Un vegano, o vegetariano estricto, no consume ningún producto que provenga de animales.

Fue a la edad de 25 que la costarricense se encontró con un artículo donde conoció más sobre el maltrato a los animales. Fue ese artículo que la motivó a educarse sobre el tema.

“Comencé a leer muchos libros y articulos que tienen que ver con la salud, que tienen que ver con el tratamiento de los animales”

Aunque Álvarez creció en Los Ángeles, California, los platillos que acostumbraban a comer en casa, tenían una gran influencia costarricense, como el gallo pinto que es la combinación de arroz y frijoles, o los llamados moros y cristianos. Igual que olla de carne, un caldo muy típico de Costa Rica, que es una combinación de verduras con carne.

El cambio de alimentación no fue fácil para la costaricienseamericana, pero es algo que de lo que se siente muy apasionada.

Desde el 2009, Álvarez dedica su tiempo a salvar animales domésticos y a trabajar como voluntaria en “Farm Sanctuary”, un albergue para todo tipo de animales.

De acuerdo con “Farm Sanctuary”, en el 2007, el 95% de las gallinas que proveen millardos de huevos para el consumo anual, pasan la vida enjauladas, muchas veces sin poder moverse ya que de cinco a diez gallinas comparten la misma jaula.

En el 2010, se sacrificaron casi 35 millones de vacas en Estados Unidos.

El problema, además del maltrato a los animales, según Álvarez, es que la carne viene enferma e inyectada con hormonas.

“Esta dieta vegan es motivada por razones de salud y también razones políticas y económicas”

Álvarez, quien creció dentro de comunidades latinas, comenta que las opciones nutritivas no están disponibles. Es una cuestión política que está afectando a estas comunidades gravemente.

“Estamos viendo problemas que no teníamos antes”,agrega Álvarez.

Este año, el CDC reporta que el 43% de latinas en este país padecen de obesidad, siendo el segundo grupo más obeso en Estados Unidos, después de las afroamericanas.

Álvarez se alimenta con vegetales, frutas, muchas lentejas, frijoles, y granos. Comidas que no cuestan mucho dinero y que son mucho más saludables que la comida rápida, o la comida artificial.

“Muchas de las injusticias que sufrimos en las comunidades es por lo que comemos y por lo que no comemos”, comenta la costaricienseamericana.

Para Álvarez la justicia social empieza con la protección de los derechos de los animales, el acceso a la salud y la buena alimentación.