Tag Archives: Children

How two U.S. health agencies are examining social determinants

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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to healthcare. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to health care. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data is the new king of journalism, but when it comes to some aspects of the social sciences – such as the social determinants of health – the numbers can be a bit tricky to nail down.

That may be changing. The U.S. Department of Health recently announced two separate initiatives targeting health disparities.

First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month announced a pilot program to tie medical services for beneficiaries to housing, food, transportation and other social services. Continue reading

How the Flint water crisis has further exposed health disparities

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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

A water crisis brewing in Flint, Mich., for nearly two years exposed children and others to lead from contaminated water. It also exposed health disparities from infrastructure. Glass of Water via photopin (license)

A water crisis brewing in Flint, Mich., for nearly two years exposed children and others to lead from contaminated water. It also exposed health disparities from infrastructure. Glass of Water via photopin (license)

The ongoing water quality crisis in Flint, Mich., highlights many public health issues, but shines its brightest light on health disparities, too.

Residents of the struggling community, about an hour northwest of Detroit, began complaining about problems with their tap water almost as soon as the city – under the control of a state manager – began pumping water from Flint River to fill the gap after switching providers in 2013.

It’s something that would have never happened in one of Detroit’s wealthier, leafy suburbs, according to Nancy Kaffer, a political columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Continue reading

Tip sheet includes lessons about reporting on pregnancy exposures

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.

Photo: Guillermo Ossa via FreeImages.com

Photo: Guillermo Ossa via FreeImages.com

In the past several decades, an explosion of research has looked more closely at how exposure to certain substances during pregnancy affect the child after birth. One of the biggest challenges of this research is that nearly all of it is based on epidemiological/observational studies. Therefore, the studies can show an association between an exposure and an outcome, but they cannot show evidence that the exposure actually caused the outcome — and the difference is crucial. When looking at exposures during pregnancy, so many confounders enter the equation that it’s hard to think of all of the possible covariates, much less actually account for them all. Continue reading

Reporter’s piece targets impact of poverty on children, community

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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

Brie Zeltner

Brie Zeltner

Brie Zeltner has been covering northeast Ohio’s health care industry for more than eight years at The (Cleveland, Ohio) Plain Dealer. But earlier this year her work garnered fresh attention when she became the inaugural winner of the Urban Health Journalism Prize.

Her 2014 piece took a deep dive into the effects of poverty on children’s health in the city. She combed several databases to create a critical snapshot of poverty and its impact on births, asthma, behavior and stress, among other health issues. She also took a closer look at local efforts and programs aimed at mediating the impact and addressing the city’s health gaps among its youngest residents.

Read our conversation with Zeltner about how she went about pulling together her award-winning piece.

Dental care rates improve for children with public coverage but gaps persist, study says

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.

Photo: Clappstar via Flickr

Photo: Clappstar via Flickr

More American children are obtaining dental services now than a decade ago. What’s more, a longstanding gap in dental visits has narrowed between publicly- and privately-insured children, according to a new state-by-state analysis of dental utilization trends from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI).

The picture is far different for adults, who at all income levels are making fewer trips to the dentist. Adults with private coverage remain far more likely to get care than those with Medicaid dental benefits, the study found. Continue reading