As the holidays and giving season approach, it’s a great time to start thinking of ways to give back to your community and the causes important to you.

This year, join us for #GivingTuesday – a national movement focused on charity on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and help build stronger, healthier communities.

Here are six ways to give back:

  • Volunteer your time. Our volunteer locator tool helps you find opportunities by zip code or keyword.
  • Support your favorite health cause. Our causes make it easy to support the issues close to your heart—whether it’s children, veterans, women’s health, or disasters. Pick one or create your own custom cause.
  • Share your #HealthySelfie. Follow three simple steps for a chance to win $500 to direct to your favorite charity from our charity partners.
  • Start a workplace giving campaign or create a custom Give Now page. It’s easier than ever to give back to the causes you care about at work with our GivingMatters365 platform or Give Now. These flexible tools are simple to use, plus we offer turnkey campaign materials and resources, and handle the set-up and processing of your campaign.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal Campaign. If you’re a federal or military employee, you’re eligible to give to the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. Join us this year and support the Combined Federal Campaign to defeat cancer, fight the deadliest diseases, and save lives.
  • Raise awareness and share critical health resources.

Giving Tuesday is November 28 this year, but giving back isn’t limited to one day. Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities all year long.

“It was the first time I was ever hooked to something and would get sick from not using. Then they took away my prescription. I ended up selling all my valuable stuff to buy pills on the streets. Forget some of my obligations. I hated who I had become.”

Jerry Chappell is one of the two million Americans living the nightmare of addiction to prescription pain medications. His story is not only compelling, but all too familiar to those of us who work in addiction medicine.

Addiction to prescription pain medications and heroin is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, I developed and ran an opioid use disorder clinic out of my outpatient practice in rural West Virginia. Although death by overdose was not considered a national epidemic or a political hot topic for the media, my neighbors, colleagues, friends’ parents, and many of the people living in the Ohio Valley were suffering and dying from their addictions.

The two years of engaging patients in a comprehensive medical/behavioral treatment plan, encouraging their participation in peer and community sober support systems, and watching them meet their recovery goals were the most rewarding years of my clinical practice. During these years, I learned that patients can manage their chronic disease when they are managed by qualified physicians, provided with evidence-based medicine, and administered proper medication-assisted treatments (MAT) and urine drug screens (UDS).  In 2010, I closed my practice and took a position in managed care.

The following two years were the most somber and frustrating in my professional career. At first I wondered, “Why are few of my colleagues experiencing the same feelings of reward and accomplishment that I had treating those suffering from addiction? Why are people still dying of overdose?” Then, I started receiving the not-so-infrequent calls, texts, and photos from my medical assistant back in West Virginia. Sometimes she would send snapshots of the latest evening news from her television screen. One after another were sad stories of previous patients having relapsed, been arrested, overdosed, or died. Even while writing this, I am haunted by feelings of guilt and questions of “What if I had stayed? Would they still be alive had I not left them?”

A great deal of my career since then has been dedicated to promoting quality care and services for those with Opioid Use Disorder. Over the last six years, those of us in the payer, or insurance coverage, industry have seen a “perfect storm” of events giving rise to the epidemic we see today. More potent pain medications have been manufactured and sales continue to rise. Increased utilization and demand for addiction services have quickly overwhelmed a system with few addiction specialists. A lack of industry-wide standards have resulted in extreme variance in treatment modalities.

These factors are not the primary reason that the opioid epidemic has received national attention: The face of opioid addiction has changed. Although still in existence, images of the poor, minorities, derelicts, and those on the fringe of society have been replaced by images of the rich, famous, young, and white. Methadone clinics have been replaced by posh destination facilities offering personal training, yoga, seaside views, and five-star culinary. Scholarships and graduation certificates replace the guarantee of transparency, outcomes, and results. An emphasis on “access to care” outweighs the demand for quality.

Fortunately, addiction medicine is now recognized as a medical specialty: research and clinical experience have resulted in standards of care, clinical guidelines, and evidence-based practice. The challenge now is combatting a billion dollar industry beholden to old, ineffective treatment practices, and replacing them with medicine-based and data-driven treatment models like we have for every other epidemic we have faced in modern times.

Perhaps one day the norm will be stories of people getting their lives back, year-over-year decrease in death by overdose, and practices based on science, research, and evidenced-based medicine. Hopefully we all will feel the sense of reward and hope that I did over a decade ago while practicing in rural America.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, utilize Community Health Charities’ opioid and addiction health resources for response toolkits, intervention guidelines, risk factors, and more. To learn more, utilize our charity partners’ additional resources: Shatterproof, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

About Dr. James

Dr. Frank James earned his law and medical degrees at Southern Illinois University. He is board certified in General, Child and Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatry as well as Addiction Medicine.

Dr. James spent his clinical years providing inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services in underserved areas in the Ohio Valley. He developed a specialty outpatient clinic for opioid use disorder (OUD). His treatment model focused on the integration of group therapy and psychotropic medication management with the use of urine drug screens (UDS) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

For the last seven years, Dr. James has worked in managed care. He provides large behavioral health organizations guidance in drafting evidenced-based benefit guidelines specific to OUD treatment and service, including level of care determination, MAT prior authorizations, and UDS coverage determination. His current focus is medical/behavioral integration and alternative payment model development for substance use disorder services.

Dr. James is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Finance Committee and Policy Committee. He is the vice chair of ASAM’s Payer Relations Committee, and alternate to ASAM’s board of directors for Region III.

Out of an estimated 18.5 million military veterans in the United States, four million are living with a service-connected disability. One in four military members show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental health condition.

They’ve sacrificed and served our country. They fought for us. Now it’s time to fight for them.

In the week leading up to Veteran’s Day, let’s show our thanks to our nation’s military, veterans, and first responders:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guideto coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite—visit our volunteer locator to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide thousands of military families free lodging close to loved ones hospitalized for an illness, disease, or injury; prevent veterans from being in the emergency room, homeless, and incarcerated due to mental illness; and construct housing for families of injured servicemen and women.
  • Share our Military and Veteran health resources—get peer support, learn mental health warning signs, find PTSD assistance or housing support, and more.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal CampaignMilitary and Federal employees are eligible to give during the 2017 campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. November 6-12 is the campaign’s Veterans Week—support our nation’s military this week and support the Combined Federal Campaign.

For more stories to inspire action this Veteran’s day, and all year, check out these articles from and about those who have served our country:

My Greatest Honor: Serving Our Country – David Selzer, Vice President of Community Health Charities

Not All Battles are Fought in a War Zone – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

This Veteran’s Day, Support Our Heroes – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

I Don’t Deserve a Medal – Amanda Ponzar, CMO of Community Health Charities

Related:

1,688,780 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2017. An estimated 600,920 people will die from the disease.

Our charity partners are working to save lives and turn these statistics around.

  • Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
  • American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is working to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
  • Susan G. Komen saves lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
  • Cancer Research Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to harnessing the immune system’s power to conquer all cancers.
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.

Join our charity partners this campaign season and build stronger, healthier communities free of cancer:

October 23—29, 2017 is the Combined Federal Campaign Cancer Awareness Week.

This week, Community Health Charities is celebrating the survivors who benefited from our charity partner’s hard work, including:

Vicky Davis, 55, says she’s finally beginning to feel like herself again after over a year of treatments and support from the American Cancer Society. She recently returned to her job working with children who have special needs, and she’s growing a support group of women in her community who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. She has only three more treatments and she’s anticipating breast reconstruction surgery in a few months. After that, she says, “I can go back to the life I once had.”

Vicky’s life was turned upside down in October 2015 when she was called back after her regular, yearly mammogram. Biopsies found cancer in 2 lumps in her left breast and in lymph nodes under her arm. The first breast surgeon Vicky met with did not take her case seriously enough, she says, so she got a second opinion. “If I had not gotten a second opinion, I would not be alive right now,” said Vicky. “I’m getting the latest treatment approved by the FDA. I couldn’t get better care.”

“A lot of things happened to me in my life. I’ve always been afraid; always worried for my husband. Now I’m not as anxious. I’ve tackled the beast. I wasted too much energy being afraid. I’ve tackled this – I can tackle anything.”

Read Vicky’s full story on American Cancer Society’s website and learn how the organizations is attacking cancer from every angle.

I heard two things after my stroke:

  • “You look fine—I can’t even tell!”
  • Nothing.

Though said with good intention, both responses meant one thing: They didn’t understand what I went through.

For me, the hardest part of the stroke was the lack of support I found afterwards.

All of the effects of a stroke aren’t visible: Even after I regained use of the right side of my body, I wasn’t fully healed. I had to relearn English. Bright lights made me nauseous. Noises from the vacuum cleaner and lawn mower, previously routine sounds, would make me dizzy.

More than that, I didn’t know who I was.

It’s like being two different people in the same lifetime. I went from being a vibrant, social person to being paralyzingly shy. I felt a panic when around people and I had to tell my friends that I wasn’t interested in going out and being social anymore. Brownies were too sweet for me and most food was too spicy. I’m not as shy as I was initially after the stroke, but I’m still not my old, outgoing self.

Because I physically look fine, people assume that everything is back to “normal”—that I’m the same Charu as I was four years ago. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be her again—or if I’ll recognize her if I do. This is my new normal. Looking from the outside, you can’t see my struggles with depression. You can’t see me asking my husband when my mother’s birthday is or what the portion of my leg above my ankle is called.

As a society, we know so little about mental health. We don’t want to talk about it. And the fact that it is not visible makes it even harder for others to recognize and provide support.  This knowledge gap makes it difficult to connect with people and explain what you’re going through.

My advice, to anyone who has lived through a stroke or is the caregiver of someone who has, is to find support. Find a group of people who understand what you’re going through and can empathize and offer meaningful advice. My husband and I started facilitating a caregiver and stroke survivor support group, and being surrounded by a group of people who were living with similar symptoms and feelings and mindsets as me was invaluable—I was understood.

You don’t have to recover alone. To find support, resources, and wellness tips after surviving a stroke, check out Community Health Charities’ health resources for life after stroke.

Tuesday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

One in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness every year—that’s 43.8 million people living with a condition that impacts their daily living.

Take time today to prioritize your own mental health and wellbeing and consider the mental health resources:

Help the millions of people living with a mental health condition: support Community Health Charities’ Mental Health and Wellbeing cause and share mental health resources with your network.

In November of 2005, I discovered two sore, achy lumps under my left arm. The doctor saw me within a day, told me he didn’t like the look of the lumps, and asked that I arrange for a biopsy. My first “uh-oh” moment came when my doctor informed me that he had already called the surgeon and that he was waiting across the street to see me.

The surgeon saw me immediately and agreed that a biopsy was appropriate. He was heading out of town, but thought he’d better squeeze me in before he left, another “uh-oh” moment. I had the biopsy three days later—the nodes seemed normal. Wow, what a relief!

If your physician has bad news, they want to tell you in person. My doctor asked if I could come by his office to talk. Since I could not get back downtown that day, he asked if he could call me at home later in the evening. That evening, I took the phone and headed out onto the deck for privacy. He told me that there was a 30% chance that I had mono, and a 70% chance that I had cancer. My life changed.

A few days later, on Friday, a day the oncologist usually did not see patients (uh-oh), my wife and I met the oncologist.  As we waited in the very busy reception room, I actually said to my wife that I was still hoping for mono. She looked at me with patience and amazement and said, “We are waiting to see an oncologist, it is not mono.” That meeting was a complete blur.

The initial treatment consisted of six rounds of chemo, one round every 21 days. For five days after the chemo day, I took anti-nausea medication and a steroid pills. For those five days I barely slept.

My hair fell out on Saturday December 11th, just about 14 days after my first round of chemo and on the day of my then 8 year old son’s birthday party. My wife had arranged with Debbie, the woman who cuts her and the kid’s hair, to shave my head when the time came. At about 5:00 on a Saturday night when she was supposed to be at a Christmas party, Debbie stayed home late to shave my head. This was one of many acts of kindness and generosity that I remember so fondly and cherish.

Savor what is good. In 2005, it was a friend shaving my head. Now, it’s having completed six triathlons and one half-ironman with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) team. Accept the support you are given. My wife, family, friends, and later the LLS team were there for me during multiple rounds of chemo, a cell transplant, and a donor lymphocyte infusion.

Every “uh-oh” moment is eased by your support system. Thank you to mine throughout this journey.

           

Visit Community Health Charities’ health resources to find more support for cancer and other long-term health conditions.

Bill previously served on Community Health Charities’ national board. Read more about his diagnosis story and journey at his personal blog, Living Lumpy

Eight-year-old Gabriel Taye hanged himself with a necktie earlier this year.

A few days before this little boy took his own life, school video footage shows a classmate hurling Gabriel into the bathroom wall where the third grader was knocked unconscious. He laid on the floor for more than five minutes while multiple students walked by – some even poked his lifeless body.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Related:

Vanilla Ice had the right idea—are you listening to your employees?

Employers are creating wellness programs designed to improve the health of their employees. The programs revolve around improving employee health and can include anything from fitness challenges to rewarding regular doctor visits.

With a broad range of options, it’s important to implement an effective and helpful campaign designed for your employees specifically. When strategizing, ask for input.

  • Ask employees to anonymously complete Community Health Charities’ survey (sample only; we’ll customize one for you)—ask them what they’d like to see, what could be improved, and what they think your organization is missing.
  • Administer confidential health risk assessments. Find out what health issues most affect your employees and then identify the resources your employees need to live their healthiest lives—improved employee health can have an effect on absenteeism, productivity, and your bottom line. Use Community Health Charities’ resources to help provide the health support your team needs.

  • Host a roundtable on company culture. Make wellness part of your company’s culture. Host a conversation and discuss with employees how to best make wellness a part of the daily routine—the roundtable is the first step towards reaching this goal.

Your employees are your best resource—utilize them.

Make today, World Heart Day, the day you start making heart health a priority—incorporating a few healthy practices into your routine is all it takes.

  • Get moving and stay moving. Whether you’re training for a marathon or taking a brisk walk, find a way to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Getting your heartbeat up for 40 minutes three to four times a week can help fight off heart disease and stroke, as well as reduce blood pressure and stress levels.
  • Fuel up and eat mindfully. You are what you eat! Make sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs to keep you going.
  • Stop smoking and stay tobacco-free. Smoking increases your disk of a cardiovascular disease, as well as makes it harder for you to reach the rest of your health goals. Use American Heart Association’s resources to help you quit.

Check out all of American Heart Association’s suggestions for more ways to keep your heart healthy and utilize Community Health Charities’ heart healthy resources.

Trying to spark a healthy change in your office? Try adding some friendly competition to your workplace. Awards can be anything from the best parking spot, healthcare discounts, time off, a company-sponsored lunch, gift cards, or bragging rights!

  • Walking—Challenge your coworkers to see who can take the most steps in a week. Research shows that walking reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can track your steps with fitness trackers or an app on your smart phone. Post a chart with everyone’s stats in the office and update it every day to keep the competitive streak going.
  • Water drinking— Drink up! Hydration is key to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep a white board in the kitchen and have everyone write a tally every time they consume 8 ounces of water.
  • Sleeping—Getting enough sleep each night is important for your physical health, emotional health, and overall productivity at work. Challenge your coworkers to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night one week. The department with the highest success rate wins.
  • Bringing lunch—It’s easier to know what’s in your food when you’re the one making it. Challenge your office to bring a healthy lunch to work twice a week for a month. With a variety of healthy ideas, healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

Community Health Charities has a variety of health resources to help motivate your employees. Check them out, challenge your coworkers, and maximize employee wellness!

This September 11th, remember those who have fallen by supporting military and veterans in need. 1 of every 4 active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, our nation’s heroes and the families who care for them need a tremendous amount of support.

Here’s how you can honor our active military and veterans on September 11th:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guide to coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite, visit our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide critical physical and mental health programs focused on hope and healing, support for families’ of injured veterans, employment and job training programs, and more.
  • Share our Military and Veteran Health Resources with someone in need.

Thank you to our service members and all those who support them.

Disaster response is not just about rebuilding homes—it’s about rebuilding lives.

Thousands of lives have been affected by Harvey and Irma, both inside their paths and out. Family and friends of our staff have lost everything, been displaced from their homes, and are living in shelters while their communities recover and grow during the storms’ aftermath. Shelly Douglas, a staff member, had a friend recently pass in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Amid the heartbreak, the solidarity and support we have seen has been uplifting—dedicated staff, charity partners working around the clock, and supporters, like you, giving to support communities in need. Funds raised through our Crisis and Disaster Response fund provide everything from emergency medical and healthcare services to mental health and wellbeing. Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time and resources, as it is more than supplies and buildings—it’s rebuilding and restoring the lives of individuals, children, and families.

We’re building stronger, healthier communities. Together.

Wildfires: it’s more than just the burn; it’s the health impact

Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions in 2011.  The fine particles dispersed into the air during fire are linked to a range of health conditions, ranging from burning eyes to aggravating chronic heart and lung diseases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.

  • Use common sense. Stay inside if it look smoky outside or you’ve heard reports of unhealthy air conditions.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay up-to-date on news coverage and visit AirNow for your area’s air quality.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Avoid anything that burns—wood fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.—plus, steer clear of candles, wait to vacuum, and do not smoke.
  • Run your air conditioner. Filter clean air rather than bringing contaminated air inside.
  • Talk to a doctor. If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children you may want to leave the area.

Take American Lung Association’s special precautions if you have lung disease, chronic disease, or diabetes.

Cause an impact for those living with dangerous air quality by supporting Crisis and Disaster Response and utilizing our crisis resources.

A healthy diet and active lifestyle affects a whole lot more than weight: USDA research indicates that a healthy diet full of nutritious food plays a part in preventing chronic disease.

Whether you’re planning school lunches or making healthy changes to your lifestyle, it’s hard to make a big change all at once. To get started, try these four small changes to make your health and long-term wellbeing a priority.

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables work to maintain a healthy blood pressure, possibly protect against certain types of cancer, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Use these creative ways to slip fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains help maintain a healthy digestive track and keep your blood sugar steady, lowering your risk of diabetes. Check out the USDA’s tips on adding whole grain to your diet, as well as the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate tool to ensure you’re getting enough whole grain in your meals.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy. While dairy can promote bone health, consuming too much high-fat dairy can result in high cholesterol levels. This can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these ten simple steps to make sure you’re making the right dairy choices.
  • Vary your protein routine. Switch it up! Protein fuels your body, so make sure you’re balancing the kinds you’re eating. Regularly consuming lean protein can help maintain heart health, relieve the symptoms of arthritis, and more.

Check out our health resources for more ways to feel healthy and energized!

What’s your company’s biggest cost?

According to a study by PWC, financial stress could be costing you—big time.

The study found that one in three employees reports that their personal finances are a distraction at work—and 46% of those people said they spend three hours or more a week thinking about or dealing with their personal finances at work. This results in $5,000 in productivity loss a year per employee.

To combat this, U.S. employers are implementing financial wellness programs for their employees.

This doesn’t mean better insurance policies, 401k policies, or the occasional bonus—It means offering programs that teach employees how to manage their finances: budgeting within their means, growing a savings account, utilizing insurance, and more. Whether it’s free employee consultations, workshops, or online resources, see what you can do to reduce employee financial stress and increase productivity.

Health and wellbeing is all-encompassing and includes financial wellness.  Check out a few of the financial resources by one of our charity partners.

Community Health Charities hosted our 7th Annual Health Heroes at Work Recognition Heroes Breakfast on August 18 in Denver, Colorado.

The event celebrated Colorado businesses’ and nonprofits’ amazing work to build stronger, healthier Colorado communities.

“The Hero’s Health breakfast in Denver was an awesome opportunity to celebrate the amazing working taking place in the community.  I enjoyed meeting representatives from local charities as well as all of the campaigns,” said Shelley Hayes, Vice President of Customer Solutions at Community Health Charities. “Seeing Colorado come together to build stronger communities inspires me both personally and professionally.”

The event was emceed by Corey Rose from 9News, an award-winning journalist who annually hosts the event. Beth Bowlen, daughter of Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, was the keynote speaker. Beth is a prominent part of the Denver community and previously worked as the director of special projects for the Denver Broncos. She currently serves on multiple nonprofit executive boards, including Alzheimer’s Association.

Don Parsons, a retired surgeon general working at 9Health Fair, was this year’s Health Hero of the Year. Don has been with 9Health Fair for 10 years, serving on the Medical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees and working as the site coordinator at the Summit County Fair in Frisco. His dedicated spirit demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the medical, health, and wellness of communities in Colorado.

Community Health Charities recognized local company partners whose campaigns excelled. Recipients of the 2017 Campaign Excellence award included Great-West Financial, Kaiser Permanente, King Soopers/City Market, and TIAA. Winners of the 2017 Campaign Success Award included Pinnacol Assurance, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Hyatt Regency Denver.

9News ran a segment on Parsons and Community Health Charities.

Thank you to all that attended the breakfast—and to everyone that continues to work to build stronger, healthier communities.

Everyone loves a barbeque—but this classic option isn’t the only way to honor America’s workers this Labor Day. Try one of our three unconventional ways to celebrate Labor Day this year:

  • Volunteer! Labor Day honors Americas’ workers, but many of them—nurses, emergency responders, police officers, and farmers to name a few—can’t take the day off. Use our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Organize a Volunteer on the Spot event at your workplace this week—and labor for a good cause. You and your coworkers can make a difference on your lunch breaks or in between projects without leaving the office with the onsite volunteer projects in our guide.
  • Begin making employee wellness and engagement priorities in your workplace. Make sure everyone you work with is happy, healthy and able to perform their best.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, North America will see the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse we’ve had since 1979.

While it’s tempting, it’s dangerous to look directly at the eclipse. The sun’s rays are much more powerful during an eclipse than a normal day, and since the retina does not have pain receptors, you can’t feel your eyes being damaged.

Try one of these easy tips to prevent retinal damage or eclipse blindness:

  • Purchase eyewear specifically designed for looking at eclipses. Ordinary sunglasses are not a substitute—keep your eyes safe and get the real thing! Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for more details.
  • Install a solar filter on your telescope, camera, binoculars, or other viewing devices. Simply looking through these while wearing solar eyewear will not do! These devices magnify the sunlight, making the rays even more powerful.
  • Pinhole projection is another safe option for viewing. This involves passing sunlight through a small opening (such as a hole punched in an index card) and projecting an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface (for example, another card or the ground). Do NOT look at the Sun through a pinhole!

For complete safety information, visit the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Eclipse 101 page.

Unsure when the eclipse will be visible in your area? Check here.