Public Forums

Health Injustice

Universal Healthcare: Reality or Fantasy?

Throughout history health has been a primary concern of human beings, it is therefore, no surprise that Universal Health care is a highly appealing social objective for most countries in the world. Access to health care services means healthier people, and financial protection prevents them from being pushed into poverty. Universal healthcare is critical to sustainable development, poverty reduction and reducing social inequities. Universal health coverage is based on the World Health Organization constitution of 1948 declaring “health is a fundamental human right” and on the Health for All agenda set by the AlmaAta declaration in 1978. It is important to note that Universal coverage is the hallmark of a government’s commitment to improve the well-being of all its citizens. Therefore, it is perplexing the resistance to Universal Healthcare in the United States. America’s first serious push for compulsory national health insurance was in 1915 on the grounds that it was the responsibility of an enlightened society: Illness is is a major driver of poverty, so goes to reason that spreading the cost of sickness would benefit everyone by diminishing disease and dependency. That being the case we seek to explore the following: • Should health care be national? • What is needed to achieve it? • What services should be included in universal health coverage? • How this can be financed? • Is it too ambitious? Are countries succeeding in its implementation? • Countries at all income levels can take steps to move closer to universal health coverage. • How can we measure universal health coverage?

Mental Health

Heal Our Youth - Young Minds, Young Lives

This year’s World Mental Health Day Theme is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World” In today’s world our youth are vulnerable and building their resilience and helping them to cope with the challenges they face is essential. Depression is the silent disease that is claiming the lives of our youth. Recent statistics have shown that the rate of suicide in teens has tripled since the 1960’s making it the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds behind accidents. Youth and young adults living in undeserved and marginalized communities are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness. • Twenty-one percent of low-income children and youth ages 6 to 17 have mental health disorders. • Fifty percent of children and youth in the child welfare system have mental health disorders. • Sixty-seven to seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health • Eighty-eight percent of Latino children and youth have unmet mental health needs, compared to 77 percent for African-Americans and 76 percent for white children and youth. • Thirty-one percent of white children and youth receive mental health services compared to thirty percent of children of color. Although there have been recent efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness nationally, minorities are still less likely to seek mental health treatment compared to their peers. In fact a recent article reported alarming news that the suicide rate for African American children was twice the rate of Caucasian children. Join our panelists as we discuss the following: • Risk factors for depression • Signs and symptoms of mental illness that parents, educators, coaches and individuals working with our youth need to be aware of • Barriers to treatment • How do we help our youth build resilience • How can schools and other community programs provide support • What type of governmental involvement is needed to raise awareness • How do we teach adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health • How can adolescents and young adult learn to help support their peer

Food Challenges

Food Deserts in urban areas across America

Los Angeles has a severe food desert problem. Our urban food deserts are found in primarily lower income neighborhoods with majority Latino and African-American populations. The health repercussions of this influx of fast food is severe, (residents within these areas often suffer from obesity (childhood and adult), diabetes and heart disease), as the food offered in these establishments (Carls Jr., McDonald's, Arby's, etc.) offers little nutrients. Food deserts are a major problem in Los Angeles, and other cities across the United States. In cities such as Chicago and New York, food deserts have affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of its residents. Supermarkets are shutting down across the United States, especially in low-income areas where residents cannot afford fresh produce and healthy food products. The obvious solution to food deserts is to open more grocery stores in these areas that lack them. However, the solution is not that easy. Grocery chains, which offer the biggest variety of food at the lowest cost, still see food desert areas as ones that would bear them little profit. Food Deserts are a serious issue that unfortunately does not show signs of diminishing anytime soon. According to the USDA, currently 23.5 million people live in a food deserts in the U.S. While local movements to revitalize food deserts area can be effective and beneficial to the community it specifically works with, it won't solve the greater issue of food deserts. Are urban gardens the answer to the food desert problem? This panel will explore the impact on urban gardens on food deserts and seek to answer the following questions: • What are solutions communities can implement to eradicate food deserts • What are the sustainable solutions to food deserts • What is the governments role in eliminating food deserts • How can fast food chains and grocery stores help in the fight against diabetes and heart disease in low income communities • How do we deal with the underlying issue of economic and racial inequality impacting food deserts

Women’s Health

Viva La Vulva: feminine health thru art

This panel will view the disparities in female sexual and reproductive health through the lens of art. Women of color in the U.S. are resilient in a number of respects, yet they continue to face more health challenges than white and Asian women. Ever wonder why African American and Hispanic women have poorer health outcomes compared to white women, especially in the area of pregnancy and birth? Why do American Indian and Alaska Native women have significantly poorer health than other women of color? Why are African American women experiencing higher rates of new aids cases? What is female genital mutilation and why should you be concerned about it? What is female sexual dysfunction and how bringing together the art and medical community can be the answer. The Viva La Vulva panel will open up a dialogue about what affects a woman’s physical and sexual health over her lifetime. The panel will also answer the questions posed and explore how we can affect change in caring for women of color.


Featured Panelists


Zeahlot Lopez is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Licensed Cosmetologist helping humans rebuild their spirit. Guided by her intuition, clinical training, life experiences, and some luck she currently helps individuals and families lead a happier life! Aside from providing mental health services to better the lives of her clients, she enjoys providing coaching services to entrepreneurs and those looking to increase their emotional intelligence. She enjoys comedy, singing in her shower, and cooking new dishes. Recently she was featured on the television network Univision, speaking on challenges associated with Mental Health and in LA Voyage magazine as a featured entrepreneur. 


Dr. Cara Quant, a resident physician, created and organized Viva La Vulva after she noticed how men's sexual issues are regularly discussed in the medical community, but women's sexual health issues are often overlooked. She understands that the language of art can be used for education and as a means of healing. She brought together a diverse team of people with a share division to bring the idea of Viva La Vulva Art Exhibition into reality. 


Afsana Monir is the executive director and co-founder of Project New Yorker, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the livelihood of marginalized and underprivileged immigrant women and girls by helping them explore opportunities and educating them to overcome the challenges of city life through technology. Afsana immigrated from England with a strong background in Law which she continues to utilize in her fight to help the community’s needy members. Afsana moved to United States from England after finishing law school. She worked as a Legal Counsel in the immigration law and human rights arena at Duncan Lewis Solicitors in London, where her focus was to serve indigent people who could not afford to hire a lawyer. Prior to coming on board with Project New Yorker, she worked closely with the underprivileged people across NYC.

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Tanyika "Tann" Moore is a speaker who has conducted countless seminars regarding personal development, self-image and assertiveness.  She is also a producer, director, classically-trained actress, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and founder of Power and Purpose Productions Inc. where the mission is to raise mental health awareness through the dramatic and fine arts. PPP Inc. is committed to partnering with corporations, organizations, schools and other entities to educate through theatrical productions, workshops and other arts-related modalities. 
Tanyika is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) working in private practice at Tanyika Moore Healing Arts, in Valencia, CA where she assists clients in reaching goals and managing challenges. She is also the author of, “The Cinderella Syndrome: When the glass slipper no longer fits”, which was awarded The Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Nonfiction/Self-Help and introduced the world to Hip-Help ™, a term coined by Tanyika. Tanyika's VisitIN ™ Vision Board Workshops help individuals and groups identify and clarify goals . This fun and relaxing workshop experience utilizes creative expression and wellness modalities to encourage the participant(s) to spend time getting to know themselves better. My motto is: Artistic observation evokes possibility, power, and purpose.


Nicolas Schwalbe - Before beginning his Master’s degree in Social Work at USC, Nicolas earned a BA from Harvard University where he studied the intersection(s) of music, philosophy, religion, literature, and spirituality. His current research focuses on Nada Yoga, the “Yoga of Sound,” exploring how sacred texts can be re-contextualized to complement and enrich the evidence-based methodologies developed for practitioners in the helping professions. Nicolas’ research informs his group therapy work with adolescents at the psychiatric inpatient unit at Gateways Hospital in Los Angeles and he was recently a featured presenter at the International Conference on Mindfulness, the NASW conference, and the USC Integrative Health conference. Nicolas is also devoted singer, songwriter, and musician.