On this special coronavirus episode of The Nurse Keith Show nursing career podcast, Keith interviews retired Santa Fe, New Mexico-based physician Dr. Victor LaCerva regarding the U.S. public health system, COVID-19 response, small acts of kindness and heroism, gratitude, and the latest evidence on the pandemic and its current course.

Victor La Cerva MD actively worked on violence prevention and wellness issues for more than twenty-five years. He is retired from his position as Medical Director of the Family Health Bureau, NM Department of Health, and holds an Emeritus clinical faculty appointment with the Department of Pediatrics at UNM Medical School. In 1984, he co-created the NM Men’s Wellness movement, exploring the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of men in our society. There are now seven organized events every year as this work moves into its 34th year.

In 1989 he organized four statewide workshops on violence with the NM Public Health Association. “Let Peace Begin With Us” was released in 1990, updated in 1993, 1996, and 2002, highlighting levels of homicide, suicide, child & elder abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault on a county by county basis. The documents also included general information about violence as a preventable public health problem, programs that are making a difference, and specific recommendations for action. A similar document on children’s mental health issues, “Listen to our Children”, was released in January 1998. He continued to “build the movement” as the NM co-chair for the 1994, 1996 & 2000 Silent Marches on gun violence, and the establishment of the New Mexico “Not Even One Team: Not one gun death in any young person is acceptable.” He was interviewed by Bill Moyers, in the 1996 PBS series on preventing violence, broadcast nationally, and consulted with the community after the Columbine school shootings.

Victor cares deeply about social justice and preventing violence, and believes that solutions are found by strengthening what is already good within ourselves, our families, our communities and our culture. His first book, “Pathways to Peace: Forty Steps to a Less Violent America” clearly articulates that vision. In early 1999, he released “Worldwords: Global Reflections to Awaken Spirit”, a collection of concepts from around the world that don’t have words in English, relating to peace and wholeness. He is co-creator of two award-winning videos, Man to Man (Emmy 1997) addressing issues of young men, and Stolen Childhood (Telly & Visions Awards 2001), which explores the adverse impact on children of exposure to domestic violence.

Dr. La Cerva released Masculine Wisdom in 2013. Drawing on various worldwide cultural and spiritual traditions, this book and forty-card set is designed to help men and women embrace a healthier vision of what it means to be masculine in the modern world. In 2018, he published Letters To A Young Man In Search Of Himself, and in summer 2018, Hazelden Publications will release Cornerstones: Daily Meditations for Young Men in Recovery. Victor holds the rank of sandan in Aikido, a Japanese martial art that accepts and redirects aggressive energy, so that neither the defender nor attacker is injured. This practice, combined with Buddhist explorations and Native American teachers, forms the core of a humanistic spiritual path. He has provided trainings internationally and in every state. His current focus is to bring to organizations, both large and small, practical wellness and stress reduction tools to improve personal wellbeing and efficiency. You can email Victor at heartsongsvittorio@gmail.com. His website can be found at MyHeartsongs.org.

Victor’s podcast can be found on Podbean, including ongoing coronavirus updates.

Some highlights of the conversation: 

  • Stephen R. Covey’s concept of The Circle of Concern vs The Circle of Influence
  • Only 12 states have mandated sick leave
  • The underinsured, the homeless, the uninsured, and other vulnerable populations
  • COVID-19 as a mirror for our society\
  • There are no short-term solutions for long-term neglect
  • The economics of the pandemic
  • Social injustice and social inequality
  • Will COVID-19 turn into a seasonal event?\
  • Influenza vs COVID-19 in terms of morbidity and mortality
  • The H5N1 bird flu emerged in China in February of 2020
  • How COVID-19 began in bats and how their immune system works
  • The health risks of so-called “wet markets” in China
  • Pigs’ ability to serve as reservoirs for highly spreadable viruses
  • You can pre-order “Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food” by Victor’s daughter, Gina Rae La Cerva
  • The Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard where Keith’s nephew’s wife is head of automation for the process of genotyping the saliva and blood of COVID-19 positive patients
  • The Wyss Institute at Harvard where Keith’s brother Ken Carlson, PhD is the newly-appointed head of COVID-19 research
  • Containment and mitigation are the pillars of public health response
  • The small Italian town that tested every citizen for COVID-19 multiple times and successfully contained the virus
  • Abbott Laboratories pending 5-minute COVID-19 test
  • Likelihood of Survival of Coronavirus Disease 2019 by Verity & Colleagues; The Lancet, March 30, 2020
  • The emotional fallout of COVID-19 and the grief process
  • The concept of “drinking in gratitude” is introduced on Victor’s 89th podcast episode
  • Keeping our relative privilege in mind
  • Meno male (Italian for “less bad”)
  • The potential for “herd immunity”
  • Summer and hopes for relief from COVID-19, and the potential impact of relative humidity and heat on the spread of the virus

DISCLAIMER: In these episodes regarding COVID-19, I reference the most up-to-date information I can, as well as adding personal opinions and reflections from me and my guests. Please note that the situation is changing by the moment, and any information shared in the course of any episode may not apply once new data or evidence emerges. Please also note that nothing shared in the course of any Nurse Keith Coaching COVID-19 podcast is intended for diagnosis or treatment; please consult your healthcare provider, your local Department of Health, the CDC, the WHO, or other reputable evidence-based sources. 

If you hear or read something I have shared that appears to be erroneous, if you can, please send an email me directly at keith@nursekeith.com. Thank you for understanding, stay safe, and keep informed.


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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