College Behind Bars: How Education Transforms Lives

Do we truly believe that correctional facilities should be—well, correctional? If so, prison education opportunities have a lot to offer those behind bars—and the people and communities to which they return.

The latest PBS documentary, College Behind Bars—a film by Lynn Novick presented by Ken Burns—takes a look inside maximum and medium security prisons in New York State that have implemented the Bard Prison Initiative, a program hailed as one of the most rigorous college-in-prison programs in the nation. The initiative first received mainstream attention back in 2015, when three Bard College maximum-security inmates defeated Harvard undergraduates in a debate competition that went viral.

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Five Things Agencies Should Learn From The Washington Nationals

I love the Washington Nationals. From their first game in 2005, and from the old RFK stadium to “new” Nats Park to 106.7 FM, our family has watched or listened to every game we could.

As my daughters will attest as they perhaps roll their eyes, many of our dinner conversations during the season revolve around how they played the night before, how they simply must keep Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, why Manager Davey Martinez made the decisions he did, and when the pillars of the team like Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Matt Adams, and others would be healthy and back from the Injured List (IL). We also often wonder at how we are so lucky to have Charlie Slowes, Dave Jageler, Bob Carpenter, and FP Santangelo calling the games and how we love Dan Kolko and Bo Porter but miss Johnny Halliday and tells-it-like-he-sees-it Ray Knight.

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Combating the Perpetuation of Vaccine Misinformation: Health Communicators Have a Role and a Responsibility

“Health communication is the science and art of using communication to advance the health and well-being of people and populations.” (Society for Health Communication)

The World Health Organization (WHO) named vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite available vaccines, one of the top 10 global health threats for 2019. The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate can be complex, but as we have heard reported for several months around the current outbreak of measles, which had been declared eliminated from the US in 2000, the perpetuation of vaccine misinformation has reached a tipping point.

A recent call to action on the issue from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states, “Though robust scientific research demonstrates that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving, inaccurate and misleading content about vaccines proliferates online. As parents increasingly turn to social media to gather information and form opinions about their children’s health, the consequences of inaccurate information play out offline.”

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4 Ways Good Food Can Change the World

Can you imagine if there was one invention that could help people live healthier lives, reduce healthcare costs, boost the economy, increase education outcomes, and improve the environment? Now, imagine that it’s not an invention at all, but something that has been around for, well, ever, and something you not only encounter every day but also need to live. That’s right, I’m talking about food.

Humans—and Americans in particular—have a complicated relationship with food, as exemplified by fad diets, ever-changing (and often conflicting) dietary recommendations, the widespread presence of food deserts, and of course the obesity epidemic. But if approached and consumed in thoughtful, healthy, and sustainable ways, food can be a catalyst for positive social change. Here’s how.

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3 Lessons in PR and Education Equity from “America to Me”

Last year, just before school began, Starz premiered its critically-acclaimed documentary series, America to Me. The 10-episode series profiled students, teachers, parents, and school administrators at Oak Park River Forest (OPRF) High School in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

I recently finished watching the mini-series as a way to broaden my own understanding of racial equity in education. That’s because OPRF, with one of the most diverse student bodies in Metro Chicago, also suffers from a widening achievement gap between its White and Black students.

It’s only natural that I viewed the series through the lens of a PR professional, and I couldn’t help but notice the tie-ins to the skills needed by communicators. These skills are best exemplified by OPRF’s teachers, a handful of whom do their part to narrow the achievement gap. In the process, they serve as a master-class on how to build mutually beneficial relationships that allow them to serve their students’ needs—the same way communicators should conduct themselves to provide quality client service.

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