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Home > Programs & Publications > Lunch and Learn Programs

Lunch and Learn Programs


DPE is sponsoring a series of Lunch and Learn programs and discussions on the health care crisis. Participants have included representatives from labor, government, academia, consumer, community and women’s organizations, public health groups, foreign embassies, and think tanks. For information about participation, email:

Information about the programs follows.
Please click on any underlined item to see the materials or a source relating to the topic.

Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq (Audio Part 1, Part 2)

·       Health Consequences of the War in Iraq and at Home -- October 5, 2006 (Audio Part 1, Part 2)

Barry Levy, M.D., co-editor of War and Public Health; Past-President, American Public Health Association (APHA); former Executive Director of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; and a panel:

Brooks Sunkett, Vice President, Public, Healthcare & Education Workers, Communications Workers of America, and a Vietnam vet.

Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer, Office and Professional Employees International Union, Co-Convener of U.S. Labor Against the War;
Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against the War, who served in Iraq as Cavalry Scout/Sniper with the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division;
Elizabeth Frederick, Military Families Speak Out, an organization of 3,000 military families who oppose the war in Iraq and have a loved one who served or serves in the military.
Moderator: Paul E. Almeida, President, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
Moderator: Ron Pinchback, General Manager, Pacifica Radio WPFW 89.3 FM.

·       Depression & The Workplace: Labor's Role in Promoting Wellness — August 2, 2006 (Audio Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status can suffer from depression.  No job category or professional level is immune.  Every year, 9.5% of the population, or about 19 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness – and there is a strong link between depression and other chronic illnesses.  The economic cost of this is high, but the cost in human suffering is incalculable.  Much of this suffering is unnecessary.  There ARE solutions – and unions have a key role to play in promoting employee health.  This program and discussion addressed the signs, symptoms, causes, and effects of depression, as well as treatment options, holistic approaches to achieving and maintaining mental and physical health, and the role of labor.

Marilyn Gaston, M.D., former Assistant Surgeon General, and Gayle Porter, Psy.D. licensed clinical psychologist; former faculty at Johns Hopkins and Howard Universities; Co-Directors of the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center, and co-authors of Prime Time:  The African American Woman’s Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness. (

Dianne Polowczyk, Ph.D., President-Elect, New York State Psychological Association, American Federation of Teachers:

Gwend Johnson, Director, Human Rights, Communications Workers of America:

Guest Moderator:  Pamela Brewer, Ph.D., host of MyNDTALK on WPFW, 89.3 FM; psychotherapist in private practice:

Workplace Stress, Depression, Costs Jobs, Money, Leads to Physical Ills
A Union Contract is Better for Your Health 

Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center:
New York State Psychological Association:
American Psychological Association:
WPFW 89.3 FM:
National Institute on Mental Health:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration:
Suicide Prevention Action Network:


·        VA Health Care: It's the System! — June 20, 2006 (Audio Part 1, Part 2)

For the last six years, customer satisfaction with the veterans’ health system, as measured by the annual National Quality Research Center survey, exceeded that for private health care.  Objective measures also verify high quality care.  This high level of quality in the nation’s largest health care system was achieved without huge budget increases.  Are there lessons we can learn from the VA?

The VA System:  John M. Bradley, III:  37 years in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and the House Veterans Affairs Committee, where he retired as Full Committee Staff Director in 2005.  Currently consulting.
Quality Care, Research, & Education: Omega C. Logan Silva, M.D., M.A.C.P. (1, 2, 3):  Past President, American Medical Women’s Association; Professor Emeritus of Medicine, George Washington University; Board of Directors, National Association of Veterans Affairs Physicians; Former assistant chief of the Metabolic Section & chief of the Diabetic Clinic, DC VAMC

On the Frontline:

·         Nurses:

Kathryn Parker, RN, Washington, DC VAMC; United American Nurses, AFL-CIO
J. David Cox, RN, Salisbury, North Carolina VAMC; American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO

·         Social Worker: 

John Shalanski, DSW, Wilkes-Barre VAMC; American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO

·         Benefits Rep

Danny Soto, Disabled American Veterans

·         Moderator: 

Moderator: Paul E. Almeida, President, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO

Article:  The Best Medical care in the U.S.:  How Veterans Affairs transformed itself – and what it means for the rest of us

Disabled American Veterans:
American Medical Women’s Association:
United American Nurses:
American Federation of Government Employees:


  • Mental Health in the Aftermath of War, Hurricanes & Other Disasters – April 26, 2006

    A program and discussion about post-traumatic stress disorder, displacement and other mental health issues, including services, models and resources:

    • Katrina Survivors:  Kevin Washington, Ph.D., counseling psychologist; C.E.O. of R.A.M. (Restoring Ancestral Memories) Enterprises, motivational and empowerment consultants:
    • Veterans:  Richard (Rick) Weidman, Director, Department of Government Relations, Vietnam Veterans of America:; former New York State Veterans Programs Administrator.
    • Resources:  Anne Anderson, Coordinator, Psychologists for Social Responsibility:; main author of Remembering September 11, 2001:  A Manual for Caregivers Useful Websites for responding to mental health issues in the aftermath of war.
    • Youth:  Kevin Dwyer, Past-President, National Association of School Psychologists:; Consultant to NYC Turnaround for Children, a school reform and mental health service system partnership with New York City’s schools:
    • First Responders:  Patrick Morrison, Director, Department of Occupational Health and Safety, International Association of Firefighters; facilitator of critical incident and peer counseling services post 9/11 and in the Gulf Region:
    • Guest ModeratorPamela Brewer, Ph. D., psychotherapist in private practice; host of MyNDTALK on WPFW, 89.3 FM, a weekly program focused on relationships and mental health resources, and several MyNDTALK Specials on the psychological impact of Katrina:


  • Health Consequences of the War in Iraq -- February 23, 2006 (Audio Part 1, Part 2)
    Barry Levy, M.D., co-editor of War and Public Health; Terrorism and Public Health: A Balanced Approach to Strengthening Systems and Protecting People, and most recently, Social Injustice and Public Health; Past-President, American Public Health Association; former Executive Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; and a panel, including
    Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer, Office and Professional Employees International Union; Co-Convener of U.S. Labor Against the War;
    Brooks Sunkett, Vice-President, Public, Healthcare and Education Workers, Communications Workers of America;
    Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against the War;
    Elizabeth Frederick, Military Families Speak Out
    (Click on the underlined name for the transcribed presentation).

    Article, Iraq War’s U.S. Health Impact Goes Beyond Troops

    U.S. Labor Against the War:
    Communications Workers of America:
    Iraq Veterans Against the War:
    Military Families Speak Out:




  • Focus on Women: Pro-Active Strategies for Longer and Healthier Lives -- August 18, 2005
    Rising health care costs are central to women’s health. More than one-quarter of non-elderly women and two-thirds of uninsured women forgo medical care due to costs, according to a national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among those who see health professionals, large percentages of women say no one talks to them about diet, exercise, nutrition, smoking, screening tests, STDs, or HIV. All this and more addressed in a program which included vital information and winning strategies to achieve wellness and wholeness for individuals, their families, and communities (

    The program and discussion were led by Marilyn Gaston, M.D., former Assistant Surgeon General, and Gayle Porter, Ph.D. (licensed clinical psychologist), co-authors of Prime Time: The Complete African American Woman’s Complete Guide to Health and Wellness, (
    Co-Directors of the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center; and Carolyn Jacobson, Outreach Coordinator, Cervical Cancer Prevention & Director, Contraceptive Equity Project, Coalition of Labor Union Women,


  • Universal Health Care in America  For Universal Health Care in America, Look Beyond the Beltway: States Are Leading the Way
    -- June 7, 2005

    Few people seriously expect this Congress to enact the far-reaching reforms that are needed. In response local movements have emerged in a number of states with the common goal of winning universal coverage. This program featured Marc Blum, Executive Director, America’s Agenda: Health Care for All, which was launched in October 2004 for the specific purpose of leveling the playing field for statewide universal health care campaigns ( and leaders of highly promising statewide campaigns in Massachusetts (Barbara Roop and Michael Carr, Co-Chair and Campaign Manager respectively for Health Care for Massachusetts ( and Illinois (Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care,

    The program included an update on California, where the state Senate voted in May 2005 to establish a statewide universal health insurance system, ( from Don Bechler, Chair, San Francisco Health Care for All,

    Article, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine Leading the Way on State Universal Health Care


  • Getting and Keeping Health Insurance (or Finding Affordable Care if You’re Uninsured) -- May 12, 2005
    A program and discussion led by Jim Brown, Director, Health Insurance Resource Center, Actors’ Fund of America, who runs the Access to Health Insurance/Resources for Health Care Website:

    The AHIRC database was created by the Actors’ Fund in 1998 as a health insurance resource for artists and people in the entertainment industry. Since then, it has expanded to include resources for the self-employed, low-income workers, the under-insured, the uninsured who require medical care, and many other groups, including union members.

    The extensive database can be accessed by clicking on a specific state. Information can be found by subject (top tool bar), including: Rights/Protections; Insurance Guidelines; Complaints/Appeals; Provider Guides, Medical Debt; Universal Health Care - or by category (left tool bar).


  • Do We Get What We Pay For? International Comparisons in Health Care -- October 19, 2004
    We spend twice as much on health care as other developed countries, yet judging by lifespan and infant mortality, we are less healthy than most. This program and discussion, led by Gerard Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Health Policy and Management and International Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management, put U.S. health care in international perspective.

    Dr. Anderson’s PowerPoint presentation, Why Is the United States so Different From Other Countries? looks at the U.S. in comparison to other countries with regard to health expenditures, the cost of pharmaceuticals, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, life expectancy, infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer survival rates, kidney transplant survival rates, mortality for asthmatics, patient safety, patient centeredness, and timeliness.

    A DPE Fact sheet, The U.S. Health Care System in International Perspective provides additional information.


  • Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care -- August 24, 2004
    Members of racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive routine medical procedures, are more likely to suffer from preventable conditions, and tend to receive lower quality care - even at equivalent levels of access to care. A groundbreaking Institute of Medicine (IOM) study evaluated potential sources of these disparities, including the role of bias, discrimination and stereotyping at the individual, institutional and health system levels, and recommended policies and practices that may eliminate the inequities.

    This program and discussion was led by Brian Smedley, Ph.D., Study Director and principal author of the IOM report (Power Point presentation: How Can We Intervene To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care? from the Institute of Medicine report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare); and Sheila Thorne, President and CEO, Multicultural Healthcare Marketing Group (Power Point presentation: Leading the Way to Cultural Competence in Healthcare).


  • Understanding the Power of the Health Insurance Industry -- May 11, 2004
    How did the industry evolve? How do we understand its power? What are we up against?

    This program and discussion with Jon Gabel, Vice President of Health Systems Studies, Health Research and Educational Trust (Power Point presentation: Understanding the Power of the Health Insurance Industry); and Gail Shearer, Director, Health Policy Analysis, Consumers’ Union, a nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers. The publisher of Consumer Reports, they report on current issues of concern to consumers (

    The Physicians’ Proposal for Single Payer National Health Insurance -- February 5, 2004
    Politics aside, we could all have better health care for less cost. This program and discussion featured Quentin Young, M.D., National Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), former president of the American Public Health Association, and a leader in public health and social justice issues for more than 50 years. PNHP is a nonprofit organization of physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals that support a national health insurance program. Specifically, PNHP believes that a single-payer system (where the government finances health care, but keeps the delivery of health care to mostly private control) is the only solution to solving the United States’ many health care problems (

    Article, Single-Payer Health Advocate Urges Union to Join

CDs of several programs are available

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