Author Archives: Samueli Institute

On Human Flourishing – an interview with Linda Kaufman

Human Flourishing Blog_image Podcast

At Thanksgiving millions of Americans focus on gratitude, home and hearth while thousands of veterans are without shelter. While the societal factors that contribute to homelessness are complex, organizations across the country are successfully reducing homelessness among veterans to functional zero. This week Samueli Institute’s twice monthly podcast features a discussion with the Reverend Linda Kaufman of Community Solutions on how major American cities are essentially ending veteran homelessness forever.

“Houston has declared zero veteran homelessness. Salt Lake City is just about there. Phoenix is very close and New Orleans at the end of last year got to functional zero,” explained Kaufman. “The communities that have reached functional zero are able to maintain homelessness that is rare, brief and non-recurring.”

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On Human Flourishing – an interview with Patty Shinseki

Human Flourishing Blog_image Podcast

In honor of this week’s Veterans Day observance, Samueli Institute’s twice monthly podcast, On Human Flourishing, features an exclusive interview with teacher, military family advocate and Army spouse Patty Shinseki. Shinseki and Jonas discuss unique challenges facing military families—especially school-age children—and what lessons society as a whole can learn from the resilience of military communities.  Continue reading “On Human Flourishing – an interview with Patty Shinseki” »

Teaching Skills for Life


What should sweating vegetables sound like? What does finished salmon feel like? Participants in the Teaching kitchen program now know thanks to the expert guidance of Chef Woods.

SSG Melissa Woods or Chef Woods, as she’s known in the kitchen, is the head culinary instructor for a 12-week Teaching Kitchen training program. The program, now in its second cohort of students is a multi-faceted approach to lifestyle education that focuses on building culinary, nutrition, exercise and mindfulness skills.

The program’s goal is to increase skills and confidence in the kitchen, support lifestyle changes, and improve the overall health and wellness of its participants.

Learning through Experience

We all know we should eat healthier, live healthier, stress less, sleep more, but what we don’t always know is HOW. HOW do you eat healthier without breaking the bank or overdosing on boring salads? What is my sleep quality?

The concept of the project is to look at all areas of a person’s life. Participants learn what keeps them from being healthy and what some small changes are in exercise, sleep, nutrition, cooking, and stress that will make a big impact in their challenge areas.

A Bit of Healthy Competition

Participants are active duty service members, about half of whom are participating with their spouses. Couples have an opportunity to learn together and grow as part of the program.

Camaraderie, shared experiences and healthy competition fuels the group. At a recent course a couple was laughing at the difference in their sleep time and quality. Pictures of dishes that participants had made at home flash across a screen in front of the classroom: green beans with touch of olive oil and lemon pepper; chipotle chocolate chili; vegetable barley soup; and roast chicken. Oohs and ahhs from the participants follow along with some back-slapping for motivation.

For some of the participants, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to focus on the idea of their health in a larger context. With the help of their expert instructors, the participants will leave the program armed with more than just recipes, but with confidence and know-how.

When asked if she needed help making quinoa, one participant said, “I don’t need a recipe. I’m a good chef now. I can do it.”

On Human Flourishing – an interview with Dr. Geoffrey Ling

Human Flourishing Blog_image Podcast

Director of Biological Technology at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Geoff Ling, MD, PhD, joins Samueli Institute CEO Wayne Jonas, MD, to discuss technology and healthcare on an episode of the Institute’s podcast, On Human Flourishing, released today.

“This is real science-fiction stuff,” remarked Jonas in his introduction to Dr. Ling, and Ling delivered on that promise offering updates on DARPA projects that let patients missing limbs control robotic arms with their thoughts.

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The Future of Health Care is Now


Imagine a health scenario where patients receive care that promotes health rather than simply preventing disease. Where patients feel empowered to take charge of their health and are able to access different models of care in addition to their yearly check-ups to stay healthy. This is not mere fantasy, and in many health care centers this is a reality. For patients suffering from chronic pain, alternative methods of care may vastly improve their health outcomes.

Models of self-care such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture or even as simple as taking a walk can do wonders for an individual’s overall health. Robert Bonakdar, MD, a physician at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, Calif., recently joined Dr. Wayne Jonas for a podcast. In the episode, Dr. Bonakdar specifically addresses the concerns of pain patients. Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans and their needs go beyond management.
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