First there was the “dubious milestone,” as The New York Times called it, of black women for the first time facing an equal rate of breast cancer as white women. Then last week, a headline on the sharp uptick in the death rate among middle-class, white Americans, a finding startling enough to merit front-page treatment in The Washington Post.
It’s no secret that there are racial disparities in cancer rates, longevity and other areas, so why the recent headlines? Continue reading
While end-of-life planning may be more common by providers and patients, there are “substantial” racial disparities when it comes to hospice use among some older adults, according to a new study. Researchers found that end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients who were African American or Native American were 44 percent less likely to take use hospice care than white patients. Asian-Americans were 43 percent less likely to do so. Continue reading
Photo: Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe November issue of Health Affairs looks at food as a social determinant of health. AHCJ members can access the journal for free.
When it comes to food as a social determinant of health, the issue can be daunting for reporters. Is it about cost? Or access, location and time, or maybe behaviors, education and literacy? What about obesity and other diseases? There are so many factors that it can be hard to settle on an angle to investigate.
If you’ve thought about trying to cover food as a health issue but haven’t been sure exactly where to start, the November issue of Health Affairs could be a good launching pad. The journal, which is available free for AHCJ members, dedicated the issue to food – from shopping habits and menus to Medicaid costs and obesity. Continue reading
Organizers of free megaclinics at city stadiums and rural fairgrounds frequently describe their efforts as “Band-Aid” solutions to a much deeper problem with access to health services in many communities.
The shortage of oral health providers in poor and isolated areas is often severe, for example. The need for dental care tops the list of many of the people seeking care. Continue reading
I first heard about Dr. Lawrence D’Angelo of the Children’s National Medical Center in a story I read over the summer in The Washington Post’s local section.
D’Angelo, division chief for adolescent and young adult medicine at the Washington D.C. hospital, recently had begun seeing patients at CNMC’s new Youth Pride Clinic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. After being profiled in the Post, the clinic quickly booked up.
So it seemed natural, in expanding healthjournalism.org’s focus on health disparities, to seek his advice on communicating and covering health issues among young LGBT people. In a new AHCJ tip sheet, D’Angelo offers his advice culled from working with LGBT patients for more than three decades.
In this piece, he offers practical advice about how to pose questions, as well as background on the overall health issues facing this particular population. He also calls for including the “Q” (for questioning) in stories about LGBT issues because so many young people see their sexual identity as still evolving.
Photo: Lesbian Romance via photopin (license)A new report by the Obama Administration presses for an end to so-called “conversion therapy” for young LGBT people.
Controversial conversion therapy targeting lesbian and gay young people should be banned, the Obama administration said, releasing a new report criticizing a practice that aims to convert such youth into a “straight” sexual orientation.
“We would support and have supported making it illegal for young people,” Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser, said during a press conference call about the report.
Asked whether the practice should also be banned for adults, Jarrett said, “Our focus has really been on banning conversion therapy for youth. Adults, in a sense, make their own decisions about what to do.” Continue reading
Update: This webcast has been postponed. We will update with a new date and time ASAP.
OK, I just realized the title for this blog post surely marks me as not a millennial.
But a growing body of research has been looking at this core group of young U.S. adults and their behavior when it comes to birthrates and other health-related issues as well as what that may mean for the nation’s future population. Continue reading
This map from the U.S. Census shows the 2013 poverty rate for U.S. children ages 5 to 17 in families.
It’s about that time.
If you’ve been covering social determinants for a while, you’ve likely familiarized with the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual release of income, poverty and health insurance coverage data. If you’re new to health disparities, welcome to an annual rite.
Although the statistics measure the previous calendar year, they can provide a useful overall picture of how the United States is faring when it comes to income inequality, as well as access to health care. The figure is considered the nation’s official poverty rate.
The Census Bureau will release its latest findings for 2014 on Wednesday, Sept. 16. So what can we expect and what should you be looking for? Continue reading
A lot has been said lately about the geography of health, with maps citing longevity by ZIP code, and other health risks such as smoking or obesity broken down by states, counties and other typical boundaries. But rarely do you see it cancer mapped by congressional district.
It’s a project the American Cancer Society recently took on. The research and advocacy group recently released a report looking at cancer rates across the United States by congressional boundaries, found higher rates in districts in the South and Appalachia, while lower rates were in Mountain states. Why further break it down by 435 lawmakers’ districts? Continue reading
Photo: Susan HeaveyTransportation and other social determinants of health are covered in the Rural Assistance Center’s recently updated guide on the topic. Seen here is an older form of rural transportation from Fort Worth, Texas, where AHCJ recently held a workshop on rural health issues.
When I flew to Forth Worth, Texas, recently for AHCJ’s Rural Health Workshop, I should have read this first.
The Rural Assistance Center, a collaborative and federally-funded information portal on rural health and related services, offers a topic guide on the social determinants of health, specifically looking at social factors such as affordable transportation, access to food and the environment and their impact on people’s health.
The recently updated guide, “Social Determinants of Health for Rural People,” is a great primer for anyone starting to delve into how certain aspects of life for those living in less populated areas affect their well-being. Continue reading