Stephen McDow

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Serve Now: Never Forget Millions In South Sudan Are Homeless!

  • An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar. The conflict also sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN bases around the country. UN Mission South Sudan
  • At least 40,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan are staying in horrific conditions at a UN camp. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
  • “Being a father is always about being able to provide for your son, sending him to school or a good hospital if he needs it.  But how can you say you’re a father when you’re just sitting here? I am just ashamed of being a father here. It would be better if we didn’t have to leave to be refugees. The world needs to support people in their lives so South Sudan can be developed and there can be peace in this world,” Gatluack Choul, South Sudanese Refugee


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ACT NOW: Ask The Senate To Pass Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Bill Through 2018

Hello –

I received this action alert asking advocates like you and I to urge the Senate to pass the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME bill (S. 1557). The bill would extend funding through 2018 according to the alert released by the team at Speak Now For Kids. Below is the action alert:

Thank you for your recent help to successfully urge the Senate to pass the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) bill (S. 1557), extending the program’s funding through 2018. Your help was invaluable, and made a big difference. Now, it’s the House’s turn to act on this important legislation.

We are so close to this important benefit for pediatric health reaching President Obama’s desk for signature into law. This is the final step in what has been a two-year process for reauthorizing the CHGME program.

Please help us fight for access to pediatric specialty care by contacting your Member of Congress NOW.

Why is the CHGME program important? For more than a decade, the CHGME national program has helped children’s hospitals across the country train more than 6,000 pediatricians and pediatric specialists to care for kids with critical health needs.

How can you Act Now for Kids?

Send a letter to your Member of Congress NOW.

Learn more about the issues on our website.

Join our community of champions and start participating in the conversation.

 Thank you again for continuing to support children’s hospitals and taking action to protect the future of our kids’ health.

-The Speak Now for Kids Team

Visit: for more!

Visit: for more!

Reflect Now: Juicing Will Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. Childhood obesity has many immediate and long-term health effects. The solution? Well…part of the solution is juicing!

If you make sure your child gets proper exercise, eliminate junk food and increase your raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans you will see a difference in attitude, energy, and BMI. Besides, parents may want to think about building a good eating foundation from birth to 16. Why you may ask? That way from 16 to adulthood your child will only crave the GOOD food. If you start following an increased raw diet, eliminate the junk food and have beef, sweets, and the occasional visit (once every 3 to 6 months) to your favorite restaurant to splurge on the calories, you will also see a difference in your child’s cravings. No longer will they crave a dose of cheese fries and fried chicken fingers or chips and dip…you will find they will go into the refrigerator and start picking out their kale, beets, carrots, strawberry’s and apples themselves. Isn’t that a parents dream? Well…it can’t be said enough: Start Juicing!

Consult your doctor for sure if you have any health risks and concerns and Start Juicing!

Note: I also filed this on CNN iReport: Stephen McDow

ACT NOW: Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

By: Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project

Take Action Now

It’s a stark reality: today’s kids may be the first generation in our nation’s history to actually live sicker, shorter lives than their parents. Today, one in three kids is overweight or obese and more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other long-term chronic illnesses. Reversing this trend will not be easy, but it is doable. And ensuring that schools serve or sell healthy foods is a good place to start, given that many children consume more than half of their daily calories at school.

Stephen Ornes – Science News For Kids

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a plan to update school meal nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years. The proposal would ensure schools serve more fruits, vegetables and whole-grains while limiting calories, salt and fat.

Some members of Congress raised concerns with two key provisions.

The existing, outdated standards allow as little as two tablespoons of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables—making the sauce on one slice of pizza equal to one full serving of tomatoes. USDA’s proposal would have closed this tomato paste loophole. In addition, USDA had proposed limits on starchy vegetables like potatoes. Combined, these two requirements would have put the focus on more nutritious, whole vegetables and encouraged kids to eat a wider variety of them, as recommended by the National Academy of SciencesInstitute of Medicine and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As part of the debate on the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress voted to restrict how USDA measures tomato paste, meaning one slice of pizza may still be allowed to count as a serving or half a serving of vegetables. The vote also bars USDA from requiring the limits on starchy vegetables in the cafeteria line.

This law could weaken the effort to make school meals healthier despite the fact that the American people support such efforts. More than three out of four voters—78 percent—believe that schools should be required to meet higher nutrition standards for all foods they serve or sell to students.

Ensuring schools serve healthful, well-balanced meals supports the efforts parents make at home to feed their kids nutritious food and teach them how to make healthy choices.  Thousands of schools across the country—in communities large and small, urban and rural—already are proving that they can serve healthy meals that kids will eat at an affordable price. They’re serving more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy items, while featuring fewer fried foods on their menu, and it’s working. But thousands of other schools have not made these changes, so USDA’s stronger standards are urgently needed to help our kids.

Because kids who eat well aren’t just healthier; they also perform better at school. Ultimately, that affects all Americans—benefitting our economy while also reducing health care costs.

USDA must finalize the nutrition standards in a way that will not only improve school meals, but ultimately, the long-term health of our children and nation.

Take Action Now

ACT NOW: Medicaid Matters for Kids Month

The Children’s Hospital Association sent out this action alert regarding the importance of protecting Medicaid for young people. Medicaid funding is very important to protect. Young people can’t learn and prepare themselves for 21st century learning and jobs if they are not healthy.

Congress is making funding decisions that will impact children’s health. As various proposals are made public, it’s clear many lawmakers are still unaware of the critical

Children's Hospital Association

Children’s Hospital Association

importance of Medicaid to the health of our nation’s children.

With that in mind, the Children’s Hospital Association has declared March as Medicaid Matters for Kids Month – during which child health advocates will work together to raise awareness of Medicaid as a child health program by sharing patient stories, facts about the program and writing to members of Congress. You can follow Medicaid Matters for Kids month and read some amazing stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

We need your help in this effort. Please take just three minutes to send a letter to your legislators and let them know this is not the time to be cutting vital health care programs for kids like Medicaid.

The facts are these:

  • More than one in three American children receives care through the Medicaid program and children account for half of all Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • Approximately five percent of children on Medicaid have severe and complex medical conditions; these children account for approximately 45 percent of Medicaid spending on children due to the severity of their illnesses.
  • The role of Medicaid is especially critical to medically complex children, who often must travel across state lines to receive care from a limited number of pediatric specialists, while also receiving care closer to home from a wide range of health care professionals, often without clear coordination.

Therefore, it’s clear that any budget proposals in the 113th Congress must preserve Medicaid’s unique role in children’s health care and must not undermine the sickest children’s access to Medicaid or the program’s ability to provide care for these children.

Please take just three minutes to send a letter to your legislators and help them understand the importance of Medicaid. By following the link you’ll be taken to a pre-written letter to your legislators, which you are encouraged to customize with your words and stories.

We need to be the voice for our children – please send your message today.


ACT NOW: Protect America’s Young People By Ensuring They Have Quality Pediatric Hospital Care – Urge President Obama To Fund The Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program (CHGME)

Dear Friends,

Pediatric Resident With Young Person © 2011, ISU Family Medicine

Closing the achievement gap also includes eliminating the lack of access to pediatric health care among American young people. Conversely, maintaining that very access to pediatric health care depends on a prepared pediatric workforce.

Tell President Obama to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program (CHGME) in the 2013 budget. This is a cut we can’t afford to make. The pediatric residents and pediatric resident specialists who rely on CHGME funding ensure access to quality pediatric health care for American young people.

Eliminating the CHGME would have a lasting negative impact. For example, poor health trickles down to an ineffective learning day for millions of K-12 students, mainly from indigent and immigrant families. The CHGME helps ensure young people receive the care they need to remain healthy and enter the school day prepared to learn.

ACT NOW and protect America’s young people by urging President Obama to support the workforce who serves their pediatric care needs.

Sick Young Person In School ©

ACT NOW (Closed)

Note: The National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals – the public policy affiliate, provided the letter below. I made minor changes to the letter below by removing the words “children” and “kid” for “young people” and you may edit that for yourself or send as is.


Stephen McDow

Dear President Obama,

As you prepare your 2013 budget, it is absolutely imperative that funding is maintained for the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program. CHGME supports the training of 40 percent of pediatricians in our country – nearly 5,600 per year – and has broad bipartisan support. This program is so important to our nation’s children’s hospitals and the millions of young people they serve. By cutting funding for this program, you risk young people across the country being denied access to the care they need and deserve. Simply put, less pediatric specialists means longer wait times and a lower quality of care.

Last year, you attempted to eliminate funding for this program. Luckily, Congress was able to restore the majority of funding so this important program can continue. You should not risk our young person’s health by cutting CHGME as an attempt at minimal savings in your budget.

I appreciate your attention on this matter.


Your Name

ACT NOW (Closed)