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by Joyia Emard

Are you abiding by the #StayatHome mandate (please say yes)? Bored yet? Here’s something to do that will only cost you about 10 minutes: Take the Census!

The United States Constitution mandates that the U.S. Census be taken every 10 years. The data collected:

Is About Money: The data collected in the Census dictates where how much of billions of federal funds will be distributed to state and local governments. The money gets used for things such as:

  • Healthy Food
  • Parks
  • Family Services
  • Roads
  • Housing
  • Economic Opportunities
  • Schools
  • Family Services
  • Safety
  • And, one of the most important things—to make sure your voice is heard.

Is About Fair Representation: Census counts are used to reapportion the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives.

Is A Civic Duty: Although participation in the Census is mandatory, it’s also personal. It’s a way to participate in democracy and let the federal government know you are here, and you’re not just a number.

Is About Redistricting: As the population shifts (which is shown in the Census data), congressional and state legislative district boundaries are redrawn so that the number of people represented per district is fair and proportional.

Is Confidential: Your responses to the questions are protected under Federal law: Your answers can only be used for statistics, not anything else.

Is NOT about getting in your business: It’s about representation. Although the federal government does the counting, here on the ground in California we need make sure we are all counted.

It doesn’t matter if you do it online, over the phone, or if you fill out the paper form that was mailed to you during the week of March 12–20. Available in 13 languages, the Census is a simple, nine-question survey with questions that include your name, address, sex, race, ethnicity, age, and whether you rent or own your home. Make sure you count everyone in your home, including family members and friends who stay with you most of the time. Also, make sure you self-identify yourself in regard to race, ethnicity, and gender.

Beware of Scams. Cons are posing as Census takers and trying to get your personal identification. Remember, Census Bureau representatives will never:

Ask about your citizenship status, or for sensitive information like your social security number, bank accounts, or payments/donations.

  • Reach out to you on behalf of a political party.
  • Use your responses for law enforcement purposes, to determine eligibility for government benefits or immigration enforcement.

Think about it. Out of the approximately 327.2 million people in the United States, California has far and away the largest population—39.56 million. Out of all those people, our voices need to be heard.

We are all California.

You count. You exist. Make sure you’re not ignored.

For more information, answers to FAQs, and more, visit the California All website.

BONUS: Watch the latest California Census television ad below, now airing in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Persian, and Armenian.







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Students will not violate the Nursing Practice Act

SACRAMENTO – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and California prepares for a medical surge, the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) wants nursing students to know they can help. During this public health crisis Business and Professions Code section 2727(d) provides that nursing services may be provided by unlicensed persons during an epidemic, which would include nursing students, without violating the Nursing Practice Act.

“The Board of Registered Nursing advises healthcare providers and the public that nursing students can be deployed to assist in healthcare facilities today” said BRN Acting Executive Officer Loretta Melby, RN, MSN. “These students will not be violating the Nursing Practice Act by providing services without a license.” To assist hospitals, clinics, and other providers, as well as students, BRN has developed a schematic that correlates a currently enrolled prelicensure nursing student’s academic progression with a similar role that is known throughout the healthcare community.

Read the complete news release here:


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It starts innocently enough by posting a picture of a sonogram and suddenly – months before he or she is even born – your child has an established presence on social media. Welcome to the digital world, little one.

Soon there’s a post announcing your child’s birth, and consistent updates follow: first smile, first tooth, first step, first time using the potty, first day of school. With so many milestones, it’s easy to understand why moms and dads want to share a few pictures of their little ones on social media and watch the comments and likes roll in.

But before long, those posts form a fully fleshed-out digital profile of your young ones. A 2018 study in the United Kingdom estimates that parents post approximately 1500 photos and videos of their children to social media sites by the child’s fifth birthday. With more than 228 million Americans using an ever-expanding array of social media sites, that may be a conservative estimate.

The phenomenon of parents posting information about their children on the internet is known as sharenting, a portmanteau of sharing and parenting. While it seems harmless, the abundance of information shared about children – full names and dates of birth, coupled with pedigree information like telephone numbers, location data, and mother’s maiden name – exposes children to the possibility of becoming victims of identity theft.

By sharenting, parents are making the decision to participate in social media for their child, depriving them of their ability to make the decision to participate or not participate for themselves when the time comes. Sharenting also runs roughshod over the child’s ability to cultivate their own identity, both in and out of the digital space.

Before you share a photo to social media, consider the following guidelines from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

1) Familiarize yourself with the privacy policies of the sites and be cognizant of the risks. Even if you post something with the intent of sharing it with a limited audience, security breaches and the potential for the site to change or violate its own policies without your consent are real-world possibilities. Even if you limit the audience of the post, friends can intentionally or inadvertently share information with third parties.

2) Set up Google Alerts for your child’s name so you can monitor where information about your child appears.

3) Consider sharing anonymously without disclosing your name or the names of children so information can’t be tied back to you.

4) Use caution before sharing location. Sharing information about the physical location and family routines can increase the risk of child abduction.

5) Give your child “veto power.” Demonstrating that you respect the child’s choice helps to build their sense of self and gives them a voice in the decision process.

6) Never share a photo that shows your child in any state of undress. You may view these images as cute and harmless, but they pose an easy target for pedophiles.

7) Consider the impact of sharing on your child’s current and future sense of self and well-being. Children model the behavior of their parents, and when parents overshare, children are likely to mimic the observed behavior in adolescence and adulthood.

If you’re a parent guilty of oversharing, or a victim of it yourself, it may be helpful to speak with mental health practitioner licensed by the California Board of Psychology or the Board of Behavioral Sciences. You can check the license of a mental health professional at www.search.dca.ca.gov.

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In the news this week, there have been stories about members of car clubs gathering up unused N95 respirator masks and donating them to hospitals. Plus, hardware stores have signs on their doors stating they have no N95 masks in stock.

Why would a bunch of motorheads and hardware stores have N95 respirators? Originally, the masks were made for mechanical/industrial use, not medical purposes.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “The ‘N95′ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.”

The N95 is a descendant of gas masks created by scientists in World War I and II; soldiers used them to clean the air supply. Miners used similar masks, which utilized fiberglass as a filter, to prevent black lung disease. Although they did the job of filtering out small particles, they were huge, heavy, and hot—masks wrapped around the whole head and were usually made of rubber. “All the respirators were these giant, gas mask-looking things,” Nikki McCullough, an occupational health and safety leader at 3M, which manufactures N95 respirators, said is a recent interview with Fast Company. “You’d wash them out at night and you could wear them again.”

The first masks were efficient, but not so easy to use or wear. Scientists at 3M went back to the drawing board to develop something a little more user-friendly, and, on May 25, 1972, the modern N95 respirator mask was approved. The single-use masks used a melted polymer that was air blasted into layers of very small fibers. When viruses, vapor, or silica particles are caught in the fibers, they get caught in the maze. In addition, 3M added an electrostatic charge to the material, so even smaller particles get pulled in.

Masks then and now: Vintage reusable mining respirator (left) and modern, single-use N95

The new N95 respirators are comfortable and breathable, but they are single use. Why? Because the masks are overachievers—they get more efficient as they’re worn; new particles stick to particles already caught in the mask, which is extremely efficient, however, after a while, it becomes hard to breathe.

That’s why the lifespan—the optimum wearing time for the N95—is about 8 hours. Then the respirators are pretty much full. And, unlike their predecessors, you can’t wash them out and put them on again.

N95 respirators were used in industrial applications such as in car painting, mining, and construction, years before they were adopted and adapted for medical use. Medical applications didn’t occur until the 1990s, when doctors started wearing them to stop the airborne spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. In China, the N95s were worn by citizens during the SARS outbreak (2002–2004) and by people in Beijing to protect themselves from the air pollution. Today, they are rarely used in hospitals—only when outbreaks of severe respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, call for this kind of top-grade respirator.

The N95 is efficient but not perfect—it has to seal onto the face to work, rendering it inefficient for children and men with beards. But right now, it’s the best tool medical personnel, including doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others in the healthcare field have to protect them against COVID-19 to protect themselves—and their patients—from the virus.

Federal legislation signed on March 18 now allows makers of N95 respirators to produce tens of millions of masks starting immediately and get them out to U.S. health care workers as soon as possible.

Like the models before it, the design of the N95 is evolving. Right now, 3M, Honeywell, and other companies that manufacture the N95 are tweaking and re-tweaking the technology to improve the current model’s efficiency, technology, and wearability. Although the N95 respirator looks the same on the outside, the microscopic world on the inside is changing for the better. “We’re always improving the technology,” says McCullough. “We have thousands of scientists at 3M working on [it].”

NOTE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

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On March 18, 2020, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced that the state tax filing and payment deadlines have been postponed from April 15 to July 15 to bring some relief to taxpayers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/news-releases/2020-3-state-postpones-tax-deadlines-until-july-15-due-to-the-covid-19-pandemic.html

On March 20, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that federal tax deadlines are now pushed back to July 15 as well.

Whew. Still, you still have to file and pay.

But you don’t have to have the added expense of paying someone to file your federal taxes—not if you are part of the 70 percent of the U.S. population—100 million people—who qualify to file your federal taxes for free.

Haven’t heard of it? Not many people have. If your total adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less, the Internal Revenue Service’s  (IRS) Free File program allows you to file your federal return at no cost to you. The IRS has partnered with 10 different providers, including H&R Block, Turbo Tax, and others; just go to the IRS site, pick the provider that matches you the best, and go.

You knew there was going to be a catch, right? It’s this: Be careful where you click.

A number of ProPublica articles were published in 2019; ProPublica research findings showed that the companies in the Free File program were steering eligible filers to paid services instead of free ones. In December 2019, the IRS updated the agreement with the tax companies and revamped the program; now, the companies are prohibited from hiding their Free File web pages from Google searches. Plus, the IRS created its own online tax filing system, which is the safest place to find a tax provider.

But a loophole still remains.

The IRS/tax company agreement doesn’t apply to advertising. So, when you search for “free tax filing” on a search engine, ads—just like when you search for anything on the Internet—are the listings that pop up first. Right at the top. Some legitimate free file offers don’t show up until the second page of listings.

Confusing? That’s the idea. How confusing? An audit released on February 3 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that 14 million people who qualified for Free File last year paid what ProPublica estimated could amount to about $1 billion in tax prep services.

The moral of the story: If you qualify for free federal tax filing, don’t download an app, don’t click on an ad. Go directly to the IRS Free File page and start your journey there.

Once you have the numbers from your federal return, you need to file your state return. If you qualify, the FTB also allows you to file your state taxes online for free via the CalFile program.

If you don’t qualify for these programs and need to pay to have your taxes done by a professional, make sure he or she is licensed by the California Board of Accountancy first.

And start gathering your papers and receipts now. July 15 will be here before you know it.





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Reprinted from CaliforniaCensus.org.

Check the mail! As of March 12, Californians are receiving invitations to participate in the 2020 Census. The invitation includes information on how to fill out the Census form and includes a unique Census ID that links you to a physical address. Use your Census ID to access the Census form online, by phone, or by mail. You will enter your unique ID login to complete the form.

All Californians are able to respond online or by phone, with limited households initially receiving the paper form. Californians will need to use their customized Census ID to respond online or by phone. Every Californian can now respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov and by phone by calling the numbers available below.


  • English – 844-330-2020
  • Spanish – 844-468-2020
  • Chinese (Mandarin) – 844-391-2020
  • Chinese (Cantonese) – 844-398-2020
  • Vietnamese – 844-461-2020
  • Korean – 844-392-2020
  • Russian – 844-417-2020
  • Arabic – 844-416-2020
  • Tagalog – 844-478-2020
  • Polish – 844-479-2020
  • French – 844-494-2020
  • Haitian Creole – 844-477-2020
  • Portuguese – 844-474-2020
  • Japanese – 844-460-2020
  • English (Puerto Rico residents) – 844-418-2020
  • Spanish (Puerto Rico residents) – 844-426-2020
  • Telephone Display Device (TDD) – 844-467-2020

As of March 12, all lines are offering live customer service representative support providing information about the 2020 Census and assistance with the questionnaire. Callers to the English and Spanish language lines will be routed through the Interactive Voice Response system prior to being transferred to a customer service representative. Callers to all other language lines will be greeted in that language by a customer service representative. Support on all language lines will end on July 31, 2020.

What Californians Need to Know About the 2020 Census:

  • The Census is a simple, confidential 9 question survey
  • Questions include: name, address, sex, race, ethnicity, age, and whether you own or rent the home
  • Californians should self-identify in regard to race, ethnicity and gender
  • Make sure you count everyone in your home, including any friends or family members who are living and sleeping there most of the time
  • The Census Bureau will never ask about your citizenship status, or for sensitive information like your social security number, bank accounts, or payments/donations.
  • The Census Bureau will never reach out to you on behalf of a political party
  • Your responses to the Census are protected by law and cannot be shared with, or used by, any other government agencies. Answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes, to determine eligibility for government benefits or immigration enforcement
  • For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit californiacensus.org

Should you have any questions about responding to the 2020 Census, please reach out to info@census.ca.gov.

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shutterstock_197028332Although the latest information about concussions suffered by high school athletes is a mixed bag, a recent study shows increased awareness about traumatic brain injuries is fueling positive advances.

Statistics on concussion rates in high school sports from the 2013–14 to 2017–18 school years compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics  show concussion rates in competition decreased among all but one of the sports studied—football, in which more concussions occur than any other sport. However, the study also noted that concussions suffered during football practices had decreased.

The findings, released in October 2019, were based on 9,542 reported concussions in 20 sports: boys football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, baseball, cross-country, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, and track and field; girls volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, track and field; and coed cheerleading.

The survey found the three sports with the highest concussion rates were:

  1. Football, with 10.4 concussions per 10,000 exposures.
  2. Girls soccer, with 8.19 concussions per 10,000 exposures.
  3. Boys ice hockey, with 7.69 concussions per 10,000 exposures.

Concussions—a brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head—were defined by the study as occurring as a result of practice or competition, requiring medical attention, and being diagnosed as a concussion. Research has shown repeated blows to the head, such as collisions in football or heading a soccer ball, can lead to long-term memory loss and other serious health issues.

The study found that, among all sports, most concussions (63.7%) happened during competition. Only one sport, however, had a higher concussion rate during practices than competition: cheerleading. Authors of the study said that a potential reason for the higher practice concussion rate could be unfavorable training conditions such as hallways or asphalt. Some states don’t recognize cheerleading as a sport, they noted.

Researchers credited new legislation that came with heightened awareness about the seriousness of concussions with a sharply lower rate of recurrent concussions across all sports—8% of concussions reported were recurrent, a 40% drop.

As of 2015, all 50 states have adopted some type of concussion legislation requiring that an athlete be pulled from any competition if a concussion is suspected, and those athletes can’t return until being cleared by a physician.

Limitations of the study include data coming only from high schools that have athletic trainers, and the probability of underreported concussions, a common practice by athletes who don’t want to be taken off the field or court.

Any athlete who potentially suffers a concussion should be examined by a physician. The Medical Board of California licenses allopathic physicians and pediatricians in California, and the Osteopathic Medical Board licenses osteopathic physicians and surgeons. To check the status of a physician’s license, go to the Department of Consumer Affairs’ license search page at http://search.dca.ca.gov.



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You may notice that your favorite song can have a soothing effect after a bad day at work or school. Your worries drift away, your muscles relax, the tension eases – it’s evidence that music can have a therapeutic impact on a human body, mentally and physically.

A dialysis patient listens to music while receiving treatment.

A dialysis patient listens to music while receiving treatment.

However, there’s a bit more to the practice of music therapy than simply turning on a well-loved record.

Music therapy uses music-based interventions, or moments of change, to address a person’s cognitive, social, emotional, psychological, physical, physiological, and spiritual needs. Starting as far back as the early 1800s, music therapy has been growing from a niche treatment into the formal clinical profession as it is known today. Music therapy courses are offered at universities across the country, including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Music therapy is used in cognitive and neurological development. Perhaps the most famous music therapy client is former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In 2011, Giffords sustained a brain injury when she was shot at a congressional event in Tucson, AZ. The bullet damaged the left side of her brain – the language center. Despite this, Giffords’ music therapist used melody and rhythm to force Giffords’ brain to create a detour through the intact right side of her brain, where music is processed.

Music therapy can also normalize the hospital environment, helping clients to manage anxiety, stress, and pain. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics in July 2013 on pediatric patients aged 3 to 11, researchers from the University of Alberta found that patients who listened to relaxing music while getting an IV inserted reported significantly less pain, and some demonstrated significantly less distress, compared with patients who did not listen to music. Additionally, in the music-listening group, more than two-thirds of the health-care providers reported that the IVs were very easy to administer, compared with 38 percent of providers treating the group that did not listen to music.

Music therapy also provides an outlet for emotional expression and support. Jaelyn Glaz was just days away from her ninth birthday when she died following a long battle with cancer in 2018. Music therapists from UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital came up with a gift for her grieving family to help them remember Jaelyn’s love for music and dancing. Using a recording of her heartbeat, they collaborated with Jaelyn’s family to create a new song, “Jaelyn’s Heartbeat Song,” to the tune of Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance,” and offered the Glaz family something to help them get through the tough times.

If you’re wondering if music therapy is right for you, contact a medical professional licensed by one of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ healing arts boards. You can check the license of a medical professional at www.search.dca.ca.gov.

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Consumers and licensees are urged to protect themselves

 The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) is encouraging consumers and licensees at hair and nail salons, spas and barber shops to take precautionary steps to protect themselves from diseases.

“The profession of our licensees requires physical contact with consumers. It is essential for everyone to be proactive in washing their hands to prevent the spread of disease,” said BBC Executive Officer Kristy Underwood.

BBC is recommending the following to its consumers, licensees and inspection staff to prevent spreading viruses and diseases.

  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work, school, or other people if you become sick with symptoms like fever and cough.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending all individuals practice everyday prevention measures such as covering coughs and sneezes into a tissue or upper sleeve and frequent handwashing. The CDC has provided a video that demonstrates proper hand washing at https://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/healthyliving/hygiene/fight-germs-wash-hands.html.

According to the California Code of Regulations 983 (b), “Every licensee or student performing services shall thoroughly wash his or her hands with soap and water or any equally effective alcohol-based hand-cleaning product immediately before serving each client.”

“Consumers have the right to ask their professional if they have washed their hands before services are provided,” said Underwood.

BBC is also providing hand sanitizer to staff members who conduct safety inspections at salons, spas and barber shops. They are encouraged to partake in frequent handwashing when possible.

Printer-friendly versions of this news release are available in the following languages.




Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese



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The Medical Board of California (Board) has appointed William J. Prasifka as its new executive director. A native of California, Prasifka comes to the Board from the Medical Council of Ireland, where he has served as its chief executive officer (CEO) for the past four years. Prasifka will officially start his position with the Board in June.

“The Board has hired a very strong leader, someone who has been in a variety of government-regulation environments, including the regulation of physicians,” Board president Denise Pines said. “I think that Mr. Prasifka will bring fresh eyes to the work that we have been doing and help us rethink the way that we are doing things.”

Prior to leading the Medical Council of Ireland, which regulates the country’s 23,000 physicians, Prasifka worked as the financial services ombudsman for Ireland’s Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau, chief executive officer/chair of the Competition Authority (Ireland’s statutory body responsible for the administration and implementation of competition law), and as a commissioner for the Commission for Aviation Regulation.

He is a 1984 graduate of the Columbia University School of Law, New York, and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with 12 years’ experience in leading law firms in both Ireland and the U.S.


Click here to view the news release on the Medical Board’s website.


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