Category Archives: Social determinants

Some help with the challenges of tracking down lead data

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.

Lead contamination continues to make headlines more than a year after the Flint municipal lead crisis in Michigan hit the national news. The public outcry over the government’s response to dealing with the Detroit suburb’s lead-contaminated water spurred reporters across the country to revisit lead issues for their audiences.

The problem goes beyond lead-tainted pipes that were contamination source in Flint. Continue reading

Cincinnati journalists spotlight how the heroin epidemic has put a generation at risk

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Nadja Robot via Flickr

On Monday, analysis from the Congressional Budget Office showed that 24 million more Americans would become uninsured over 10 years if the U.S. House Republican’s bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becomes law. Coverage of the CBO report overshadowed other news last week that the proposed American Health Care Act also would slash insurance coverage for those who are addicted to opioids and other drugs, according to reporting in USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Deirdre Shesgreen and Terry DeMio on March 9 reported the bill would freeze the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions and limit federal payments to the states for all beneficiaries. That would result in a disproportionately adverse effect on patients coping with mental illness and addiction, they wrote. Continue reading

Experts urge hospitals, doctors to address health equity

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: National Academies of Medicine, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity, January 2017.A National Academy of Medicine panel recently made recommendations on addressing health disparities in a variety of communities. Their findings also were released in comic book format.

Amid wider changes being debated for the nation’s health care system, what is in store for communities seeking to narrow the health divide? That was the challenge discussed in recent National Academies of Medicine expert panel charged with studying how to improve health equity.

Their findings looked at how communities can close the equity gap by addressing social determinants of health. The report, “Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity,” also looked at how achieving health equity could in turn boost localities by helping to build vibrant communities, bolster societal ties and reduce costs. Continue reading

Uncertain outlook for pediatric dental benefits in a post-ACA world

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Oral health advocates are closely watching Capitol Hill.

Many are worried about the future of children’s dental benefits under proposed Republican plans to repeal or replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Continue reading

Reporter uncovers ripple effect of her state’s Medicaid policies

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Patrick Feller via Flickr

Houston Chronicle reporter Jenny Deam last year wrote an in-depth story about how a mill is closing in a Texas town cost people not only their livelihood but also their health coverage. Because the mill was so crucial to Cuero’s economy, that closure had ripple effects that overshadowed the beleaguered community.

Deam’s Aug. 8, 2016, story, “No job. No insurance. No chance at ‘Obamacare.’ No safety net in Texas. Welcome to Cuero,” is a sharp reminder that many of the uninsured are hard-working people – or at least they would be if the mill had not closed and left them without work and insurance. Continue reading