Sunday, March 25, 2012

More Grad School Nerdiness

I have two projects left in program planning and evaluation. A letter of intent and an RFP response. Here are the topics I proposed to my prof.

1 - Political Economy Intervention.
*This would be based on my PRECEDE-PROCEED answer for the mid-term. Essentially that of looking at how to increase health by increasing the strength of the welfare state through electoral change.

2 - Attitude Change Intervention 1.
*Look at increasing positive attitudes toward comprehensive sex education by county staff and interns with APS parents.

3 - Health Equity Awareness and Attitude Change.
*Look at increasing awareness and positive attitude change toward the concept of health equity in Bernalillo County with priority populations being county officials and FaceBook users.

4 - Poverty Elimination Intervention.
*Increase awareness of Poverty and Income Inequity as a Public Health issue in Bernalillo County. Priority population are FaceBook users.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

3/18/12 Letting Go

This is one of those personal posts. The crap that just needs to be let go so I can move on.

I started my my first band when I was 15 or 16. I had some music lessons when I was 8 until about 11 or so. Stuff didn't stick because it wasn't what I wanted to play - it was classical and I liked some of it. Also there were always distractions around the house.

I actually wanted to start on the accordion but my grandmother didn't want me playing in bars. Don't blame her necessarily but that's been my tension a lot in life since... Play in bars? How much? etc...

I got my first accordion when I was 15. The band I helped to start played rancheras at first. Eventually we went to all English music. Another life long tension... starting in bands that play Chicano music and then ending up with a lot of standard English music.

At the same time there's just lots of great music that I love. There must have been a jazz station or something that I heard growing up because when I got to high school I got the idea that learning jazz piano would be a smart move. Maybe it was from listening to the college stations. That's the only place I could hear Esteban Jordan, outside of my own cassettes.

I signed up and there were all these horn players and the one piano player. They had all come from orchestra or been in jazz band awhile. Since I came "late" he said what horn can you play? I couldn't so he was like "what the hell are you going to do in my class then?" I said I could play guitar and bass. So he put me on bass. He put out a several sheet piece of music in front of me and said play that. I said what are the chords?

He figured out I couldn't read music and said, can't you sight read that? I said no, but if you let me take it home I can figure it out. He wouldn't let me. I said, can you write the chords above the music and I can do it. He said the only option was to sight read it and that he wasn't going to teach me how to do that.

Then he would do fun stuff in class like ask a question. He would say something like here's the note "a" - if you wanted to play A major what would the third be. I would raise my hand and he would wait a long time for the other kids in class. After they didn't answer he would say "OK what do you think it is?" I would say c# and he would then go into a long tirade at the other students because they didn't know this and the darn rock musician knows this. He never provided any positive feedback, just used me to beat up his other students.

Had he taught some jazz history he may have had to deal with the reality that early jazz was learned mostly by ear. The heavy reading didn't come until later.

He gave me a D or F for the first half of the semester and the regular piano teacher in the next room took me on. She said, pick some music and bring it into class and we'll work on it.

I went to the music store and brought into class some Rush and maybe Pink Floyd. I would go through and play parts and ask her questions. I came to a 13th chord and played it and she asked me "why did you get a bad grade in jazz class?" After hearing the story she went to talk to the jazz teacher, explained that I knew all the fundamentals and that I just read slowly. His response was "so what?"

She came back and told me she wasn't happy with how that happened. She taught me for the rest of the semester and that was cool but it wasn't what I wanted. I didn't quite know how to explain what I was looking for. Basically, I've been stuck in that for all these years. I've only had a few people show me things of value musically since then. I tend to pick stuff up by accident.

I think if I could buckle down and REALLY woodshed it for a year I would make some great strides. I know what I need to know, I just don't know the order of difficulty for some of what I'm trying to get. It will be a process of just going for it and taking it week by week and sometimes coming back to things I'm not ready for.

I'm a decent musician. I've been playing most of my life and can play a few instruments. The fun part will be getting to actually blend rancheras, jazz, blues, and funk. Hopefully there's an audience for it. If not it will still be fun!

I think finishing my comps and mid-terms opened my brain back up a little bit.


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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Political Planning

Dear friends: I’m in grad school for a Masters in Public Health (MPH).

I needed to write about the “PRECEDE-PROCEED” health planning model with an example of my choice for a mid-term exam. I turned in something similar to this. This is a slightly tweaked version from my actual mid-term answer. Enjoy…

One example of a Precede-Proceed application may be an intervention upon the political-economy. There have been studies that suggest that the political-economy influences poverty and income inequities in a society. The political economy is influenced by participation in mass movements, unions, political parties, and electoral systems.

Let’s assume that a mass movement has appeared arguing against the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of a few people in society, maybe the top 1%. Health promotion workers being concerned about the prerequisites of health as mentioned in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion get together to see how they can form a health promotion program in support of this movement. They looked at how to work on healthy policy, supportive environments, community action, individual skills, and reorienting medical services.

The ultimate desired result as expressed by the mass movement is an equitable society. Health promotion workers offer to provide support on these issues and develop a “healthy society” intervention. Listening to participants of the movement, and also having conversations with people from non-profits, social justice organizations with paid staff, the few radical elected officials, and other public health workers the health promotion healthy society team will develop a menu of well-researched issues which contribute to the concentration of power and resources, or toward an equitable society (depending on how research has been done previously), then present that to the stakeholders.

They also look at previous research and decide to provide health education on how political systems, economics, racism, sexism, classism, party in power, unions, and mass movement influence health. There is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the idea that a strong “Left” movement will make a difference in income equity, health, and general quality of life. They take diffusion of innovation theory, theory of freeing, and other health models and apply it to create a strong impact for health education approaches.

Electoral systems, laws around ballot access for political parties, and laws concerning unionization are identified as barriers to implementation of a “healthy society” intervention. Laws around gathering in public are also identified as barriers. Banking laws, especially mortgage lending laws, are seen as huge barriers as well. General distrust of unions, political parties, politicians, and a weakening of democracy by the two-corporate-party system is another huge barrier and interventions specifically around this start getting planned to present back to the group.

This information is taken back to a movement “general assembly” where the information is shared and is then discussed over the course of several meetings. The assembly feels ownership sufficiently to engage the health promotion team with planning around increasing participation in the mass movement, and decreasing the concentration of power through mandatory public financing of all elections. The health promotion team delves back into the literature and begins to design specific interventions that will help get more people involved in the mass movement, and also looks at the process for changing electoral financing laws, and other issues prioritized.

The general assembly creates a “healthy society” working group that meets regularly. Process evaluation is done at every meeting. It is decided that that every three months there will be some impact evaluation. Since this is not a funded project the members of the movement ask the health promotion workers if they would invest time in training a variety of people in evaluation so that an outcome evaluation may be done at the end.



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Sunday, March 11, 2012


My comprehensive exams were completed today for my Masters in Public Health. Hopefully it goes smooth and I can move on to finish these final courses without much hassle.

Hopefully I'll also get back to posting!



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