Tuesday, April 18, 2017

CD 8 Cynthia Brehm

Candidates for elected city offices were all asked the same questions by the Bexar County Medical Society and have submitted answers to those questions as shown below. 
This information is provided as a service from the Bexar County Medical Society, but is not an endorsement.
BCMS does not make endorsements of any candidates for office nor of elected officials. 

Cynthia Brehm
City Council District 8
2017 Mayoral/City Council Candidates
Health Care Questions

1.   Despite affecting everyone in this community, "community health and wellness" has not been a big priority at City Hall. "Community health and wellness" had one third of the ranking that "streets" received in community input via SpeakUPSanAntonio. Yet it impacts our well being, workforce, economic development and the prosperity of San Antonio.
What health-related areas do you think deserve increased attention, priority, and local resources, and, if elected, how would you elevate the discussion of these health issues at City Hall and lead effective action to improve health and healthcare in our community? 

Health and wellness is an area San Antonio should focus on. According to the sanantonio.gov website, “[j]ust under1 million adults (71%) in Bexar County are classified as overweight or obese based on their Body Mass Index.” Further, the website goes on to say that “[i]n 2014, 14.2% of Bexar County adults had been diagnosed with diabetes…” There are other areas of concern that require our attention such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, which all circles back to proper nutrition and exercise.  These are not the only areas of concern in Bexar County. Other health issues include teen pregnancy, congenital syphilis, air quality, drug abuse, and tuberculosis just to name a few.
Educating the public is critical in creating a change within our community. Adding health care tables to Town Hall Meetings to where citizens can gather information and get their blood pressure checked, blood sugar levels, BMI, and nutritional information resources would be a good start. Creating a team of professionals that can go to schools and present healthcare issues and answer questions for students. Starting a mobile RV that will go into blighted or elder neighborhoods for well checks might be an idea. Dissemination of information in both English and Spanish will be key factors in educating the public.
 2.  Bexar County is the primary source of funding for indigent health care in our area through the Bexar County Hospital District and University Health System. How would you, if elected, promote cooperative efforts to increase services and access to care for the citizens of San Antonio?

This can be accomplished through community services, education and dissemination of information in both English and Spanish. See my answer in question 1.

 3.  The disparity of health care between our poorest and wealthiest zip codes/districts is quite striking (Bexar County Health Collaborative 2016 report). How would you, if elected, reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for our lower income communities/citizens?

Eliminating or screening those that abuse the system, so that those with real needs can get the healthcare he or she requires would be a great start. There must be a system of checks and balances. Too many people that are able bodied people are robbing from the disadvantaged to avoid paying for healthcare to save money. As I mentioned earlier adding a Mobile Wellness Mobile that would go into the poor neighborhoods to heighten education and provide simple checkups would be beneficial.

  4.  San Antonio has a high incidence of obesity and diabetes mellitus and has been ranked as high as second in the nation for obesity in recent years. Past city efforts attempting to improve these rates, such as trying to reduce the prevalence of sugary drinks in our community, have been met with controversy. What ideas do you have to reduce the incidence of these chronic health issues?

 I like the idea of adding fitness equipment to parks under a gazebo for easy access. They have been doing this in California for a number of years and have proven to be successful, for example they have a fitness center at Venice Beach that is open to the public. Adding more lighted hiking trails to parks or neighborhoods would encourage citizens to get out, as well as bike paths.
5According to the CDC, child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. The goal in preventing child abuse and neglect is clear — to stop this violence from happening in the first place. What local policies, resources and efforts will you support to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families?

There are too many infants and children suffering from abuse and worse yet death because of ignorance. By providing family wellness instruction to go along with prenatal care we can begin remedying the situation. It needs to be made into a comprehensive program. It grieves my heart beyond measure to read in the newspaper that an adult male in his 20’s thought it was okay to take a 14-month-old toddler by the ankles and toss her into the air and watch her fall. When the child was injured and unresponsive, he shook her and was taken to the hospital where sadly, she passed away from her injuries. These young parents need to be taught how to care for a child—what is proper and improper care. For example, how to support the baby’s neck, what to expect from a newborn baby, how often to feed, and what to feed, sanitation of bottles, hygiene, teaching a child to speak and reading to a child, discipline insofar as what is acceptable and unacceptable according to Child Protective Services. etc. Lastly, COSA should begin using PSA’s to create a dialogue within the community about the Baby Moses Law using social media, the City website, billboards, radio, television, and adding it to all correspondence on envelopes as a message to the public. I was told that San Antonio has the highest incidence of child abuse totaling 5000 cases per year, and that is too much.