Saturday, January 16, 2010

Marin Farmer Mark Pasternak reports first-hand from Haiti

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Devil's Gulch Ranch &
DG Educational Services News
December 2009
News from Haiti
As some of you might  know, the entire Pasternak family went down to Haiti 2 weeks ago, to continue the Farmer to Farmer volunteer work Myriam is involved in which helps locals learn how to raise rabbits. Haiti Project

The family 'vacation' turned into a disaster, when the earthquake hit. The family is safe, I just spoke to Mark, and he and the girls are in transit back to SFO this afternoon. Myriam decided to stay on longer to help. KRON will be meeting them at the airport around 7:30 to conduct a live interview. KRON  also did a phone interview while Mark was in the Dominican Republic which you can hear at: KRON  There has been multiple news coverage:  KRON News   and Marin IJ

Below is an email received from Mark yesterday. Thanks to all who called out of concern.

Friends and Family,

The girls and I arrived last night in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic by C-130 US Coast Guard evacuation plane from Port a Prince. Myriam is staying there a few days to help a bit more.

The devastation is not to be believed. When the earthquake struck, we were just arriving at Rivera Foid, a compound run by Haitian sisters with a school and clinic, approx 30 miles south of Port a Prince. The 3 story school building completely collapsed, killing many, if not most of the 300-400 school children. We were pulling children from the rubble most of the night, doing triage and helping as much as possible with the limited resources available. The girls were troopers. We returned to Signeau, a hospital, school and farm, in the town of Leo Gane, in the country, 30 miles or so further south the next day around noon. We were able to get a brief email messege out that evening from a nearby UN compound where they advised us to go to the Port a Prince airport ASAP and evacuate. The girls and I did that Thursday AM, but Myriam stayed. After dropping us off at the airport, she went on to a village in the mountains about an hour North called Gran Boulage with 2 sisters in their jeep with their driver. Her plan is to leave within a day or 2.

Most multistory buildings within 50-100 mile radius of Port a Prince have been destroyed; UN headquarters, national government buildings, international embasseys, the national cell phone headquarters, schools, hospitals. The sea port is completely unusable, so they cannot unload cargo ships with aid supplies. The airport is very small, and cannot accommodate many planes at a time. It also has limited infrastructure for unloading cargo. Already planes cannot refuel at Port a Prince, limiting their payload capacity because they must fly there with enough fuel to fly out. Supplies of water, food and fuel in Port a Prince will shortly run out creating the very real possibility of widespread chaos in a city of 1-2 million people. There is very little heavy equipment of the kind that will be necessary to excavate many of the destroyed buildings, so that process will take many weeks, creating huge sanitation risks.

Haiti will be needing as much help as it can get.

The girls and I should be home Saturday evening.



Devil's Gulch Ranch & DG Educational Services

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Friday, January 15, 2010 eyes 'pharmacy of the future' - Chain Drug Review

News Breaks eyes 'pharmacy of the future'

January 14th, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO �, a health and wellness retail initiative launched by Elephant Pharmacy founder Stuart Skorman, plans a series of "pharmacy of the future" pilot programs this summer.

The nonprofit said Thursday that in several cities in the San Francisco Bay area, it's working to design and build turnkey wellness centers in chain stores containing pharmacies.

Each center, which will be adapted to available space in the host stores, will include an educational component, featuring live and video-based classes; health care professionals on hand to offer advice and guidance and supervise educational events; and a variety of high-margin natural products, such as food, supplements, body care and beauty items, and health-related books. said that the centers will be staffed by such health care professionals as pharmacists, qualified graduate school students, advice nurses, aestheticians, nutritionists and herbalists, and that all of the pilot programs will be designed to be profitable for the stores.

According to Skorman,'s solution for in-store wellness centers is based on concepts first developed at Elephant Pharmacy, which closed its remaining three stores in early February 2009.

"We are building on the widespread popularity in the San Francisco area for Elephant Pharmacy, which was essentially a store-of-the-future pilot program," explains the entrepreneur, who is the nonprofit's executive director and also helped invent Whole Foods Market. "A variety of organizations, including academic institutions, local governments and health care nonprofits, will be helping to both design and operate the different pilot programs. One city government is considering allowing 24-hour drive-through windows as an incentive for chains to participate.", too, said it aims to help retail pharmacies foster wellness through messaging. To that end, it has introduced a new healthy messaging section on its web site with 23 wellness messages designed to fit on in-store signs. The nonprofit plans to offer pharmacies new messages from health care practitioners and organizations monthly.

And in line with its mission of promoting wellness in pharmacies, has been advocating the elimination of tobacco sales by pharmacies, noting that such products conflict with pharmacies' standing as health and wellness destinations.

In fact, the nonprofit predicts that tobacco will be sold in few if any U.S. pharmacies within three years � especially if a major chain such as CVS, Walgreens or Walmart would go tobacco-free, which would push other retailers to follow suit to maintain their wellness message.

"We've been amazed at how strong the support is for throwing tobacco out of all pharmacies," comments Skorman. "The first mover will have the opportunity to pull off the PR coup of the century in the pharmacy industry. All the pharmacies have put wellness at the center of their marketing campaigns. But by eliminating tobacco from their stores, they will be sending a strong message to consumers that they really do care about peoples' health while their competitors don't."

In early November, proposed that limiting tobacco sales exclusively to pharmacies would significantly reduce smoking, since putting cigarettes and other tobacco items behind the pharmacy counter would give pharmacists an opportunity to provide smoking cessation education and suggest smoking cessation products. However, the nonprofit said pharmacy school leaders and anti-smoking groups strongly rejected the proposal because they think pharmacists � as health care providers � should not sell tobacco under any circumstances.

More News Breaks >>

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity ships to deliver relief supplies to Haiti

Press Room Details
Press Room Details

Royal Caribbean Cruises provides humanitarian relief to Haiti after earthquake

Miami - (January 15, 2010 ) - Royal Caribbean Cruises, one of Haiti's largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, today announced its plans to provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Port-Au-Prince. Royal Caribbean will be partnering with charitable organizations - such as Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation, and the Solano Foundation, the company's foundation in Haiti - to provide additional assistance to the people of Haiti. Royal Caribbean will also be delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via their cruise ships.

"The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Royal Caribbean wants to do its part to help out not only the general response, but also our hundreds of Haitian employees and their families through this disaster."

"In addition to our financial contribution, Royal Caribbean will continue to provide economic support through the continuous business we bring to Labadee," Fain added.

Leslie Voltaire, Special Envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations said, "Given the terrible economic and social challenges we now face in Haiti, we welcome the continuation of the positive economic benefits that the cruise ship calls to Labadee contribute to our country."

The benefits start with Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas' call today to Labadee, Haiti, which includes much needed supplies for the country.

The supplies were loaded on the ship during its call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and include items such as rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water and canned goods. In addition, 100 percent of the company's net revenue from the destination will be contributed to the relief effort.

In the next two weeks, the following ships are scheduled to call on Labadee with additional supplies: Navigator of the Seas on Monday, January 18; Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday, January 19; and Celebrity Solstice on Friday, January 22. When the supplies arrive in Labadee, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a long time partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

In addition to working with Food for the Poor to distribute relief supplies, guests sailing onboard Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises will be able to make a donation to Food for the Poor's Haiti Relief Fund, via a charge to their onboard account. Guests who would like to contribute immediately can visit Food for the Poor website to make a donation. Royal Caribbean also plans to use a portion of the $1 million donation to augment the company's Crew Relief Fund, which can be drawn on by any of the company's more than 200 Haitian crew members for assistance, as well as to match employee contributions to the partner organizations.

As the initial response effort gives way to the long-term recovery effort, Royal Caribbean will consider further support efforts.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises and CDF Croisieres de France. The company has a combined total of 39 ships in service and four under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Dubai, Europe and South America. Additional information can be found on Azamara Club Cruises website, Royal Caribbean website, Celebrity Cruises website, Pullmantur website,Croisieres de France website or Investor Relations website.

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

10 Things to do with your Angst about Haiti - Barry Schuler's Synapsis

10 Things to do with your Angst about Haiti

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We all know that the tragedy in Haiti is horrendous. I have been there and it was a very challenged country before the seismic devastation.

The angst about it in the Twittersphere is palpable. Watching @AlisonRosen seeking counsel from @LisaLikes on her UStream show was but a small example.

So here are a few tips on how to #dosomething and be a good citizen.

1. Donate Smart Money not dumb money. Don't blindly text a donation to make you feel good. Many are scams.

2. Money is not usually the most important resource initially. The US Government has now arrived with food, water and emergency shelter and heavy equipment.

3. If you feel compelled to donate money call the Red Cross or better yet walk into an office and ask how you might help. They might ask for clothes.

4. Let World Governments fund UN activities, they are not an efficient Philantropy.

5. Epic tragedies are best handled by the big US agencies. Fact: over 50% of the US Navy's mission is disaster relief. They do it extremely well.  It's something you should be proud of as an American.  If you are experiencing longer term depression over Haiti,  you could join the Navy, but that might be an over-reaction.

6. While you have this wave of #dosomething energy - open your eyes and look around you. There are many tragedic "mini Haitis" right here in the US. Spend Saturday volunteering at a homeless shelter. Instead of turning your head as you walk by a homeless person, talk to them directly and firmly. Ask them if they are hungry and escort them to the nearest shelter. Do NOT give them money. It will be turned into Rock in 30 minutes.

7. Look at the state of Education in the US. A nationwide dropout rate at 30%. In Detroit it's almost 80% LA 60%. The kids who exit our school systems become like Haitians inside the US. They are doomed to a lifetime of drugs, crime, health problems, low wages, prison. The numers are staggering - Three Million kids a year, lost by our education system! We need all hands on deck to fix this.

8. Point #7 should disturb you as much as the tragedy in Haiti. If it doesn't, stop reading this and go figure out your own junk. However if it does, Start getting yourself up to speed on the many programs that are working very hard to transform public education. Your own district likely has a foundation that supports your schools. Call them. Visit. Ask what you can do to help. This is a good place to make a donation - help prevent an American child from becoming someone who lives in conditions like a Hatian.

9. Become an Edu-warrior. No other issue, including Healthcare and the Economy requires more attention by every citizen. It all comes back to education

10. Big tragedies happen often and they create a lot of angst and emotion. If you dedicate 10 or 20% of your time to some worthy cause, no matter what it is, you can lay claim to your heart. The angst over "I sort of feel weird joking on Twitter with all this tragedy in Haiti" is a symptom that your Karmic balance sheet is out of whack.

Do Something

Great advice from someone who knows what to do.

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Journalist, physician, or both? What are the boundaries?

Watching CNN's Sanjay Gupta treating a 15-day-old infant in Haiti gives me pause. Bravo for providing care he's trained to do. But should the camera have been rolling? I think not.

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

A dilemma. How best to show I care - and do some good?

SFDoug: Seriously thinking that I should not go on a luxury Carribean cruise next week while people in Haiti suffer. Maybe I can feed hungry here.
Original Tweet:

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Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Novartis, BloodSource kick-off effort to increase blood donations by African-Americans - Sacramento Business Journal:

Currently, only one in five African-American who need a life-saving bone-marrow transplant will receive one because not enough African-Americans donate blood and bone marrow.

BloodSource and Novartis Diagnostics announced a partnership Monday to change that. The Sacramento-based blood bank and Emeryville division of the Swiss firm Novartis are kicking off an advertising and community outreach program over the next two months to encourage African-Americans to donate blood and register as bone-marrow donors.

The campaign is funded by a grant from Novartis, but the company declined to give the amount.

Sacramento is believed to be the first American city where such a campaign specifically reaches out to African-Americans. If successful, it could set a regional example of how to reverse a national trend that leaves thousand of African-Americans with little hope of receiving effective treatment for leukemia, sickle-cell anemia and other life-threatening diseases.

African-Americans make up 8 percent of the population in the Sacramento region, but account for only 2.3 percent of blood donations.

Bone-marrow transplants are often accompanied by a need for transfusions of matching blood types. Chances of a successful match between bone-marrow donor and recipient are much higher between people from the same racial or ethnic background.

Nationally, African-Americans are the least likely of any racial minority group to find a bone-marrow match.

“Donating blood and joining the Be the Match bone-marrow registry can save lives and will offer hope to another African-American on the other side of the country — or, quite possibly, a neighbor down the street,” BloodSource spokeswoman Leslie Botos said in a news release.

Novartis Diagnostics has been focused on solving unmet medical needs and the company is interested in improving the process for bone marrow transplants, said Dr. Cathi Petti, head of medical and scientific affairs for the company.

The division was formed in 2006 when the company bought Chiron Corp., a leader in blood safety testing for the transfusion industry.

For more information about the dates and times to give blood or to register as a possible bone-marrow donor, call BloodSource at 866-822-5663 or visit

(Disclosure: I work for Novartis.)

Posted via web from Doug's posterous