Category Archives: Social determinants

Data suggests mixed progress in reducing tooth decay rates among young

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Joseph Bartmann via Flickr

Tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic health problem of children in the United States. Since the late 1980s, roughly one in four U.S. children have had tooth decay, a rate that has remained relatively stable over the decades, according to a new study based on extensive federal data.

While the study reveals recent progress in reducing and treating disease among preschool children, the prevalence of decay in the permanent teeth of older children and adolescents has remained static. Continue reading

In Baltimore, AHCJ fellows focus on health gaps

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jeff Porter/AHCJAHCJ Regional Fellows hear from Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner, during their kickoff event in Baltimore. The focus of the kickoff was social determinants and health disparities.

A flyer floating along the sidewalk on the way to AHCJ’s 2017-18 Regional Fellows meeting in Baltimore last month seemed to preview the challenges and discussions for the days ahead.

“Cash for diabetic test strips,” it read. Instead of patients using the strips to test their blood sugar, they were being encouraged instead to turn in their unopened boxes “and get cash on the spot!!”

It was an example of the health hurdles facing many residents here that nearly a dozen fellows from the Mid-Atlantic region would grapple with during their July gathering in Maryland’s biggest city. Continue reading

Research details how racial disparities, stress and poverty can affect Alzheimer’s risk

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Image: Shadowmother via Flickr

Stressful life events, poverty and racial inequities contribute to dementia risk in late life, according to new research unveiled at a recent global gathering of Alzheimer’s experts in London. One major stressful early life event may equate to as much as four years of cognitive aging, with African Americans are most at risk, one study said.

This and other studies presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2017) in July add to the growing body of evidence of the role that social determinants of health can have on Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Participate in an AHCJ webcast on addiction and recovery

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Reporting on health and medical topics inevitably involves minefields, especially in topics already rife with stigma, such as mental health. Despite the strides made in the U.S. in destigmatizing mental health issues, subtopics within the field remain frequently misunderstood and unfairly represented — and journalists sometimes inadvertently contribute to that. Continue reading

‘Invisible’ inmates face barriers to getting dental care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Paul Robinson via Flickr

The U.S. Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. A 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Estelle V. Gamble, declares that prisoners must be protected from “deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs.”

But how does oral health care fit into this picture? Continue reading