Tag Archives: disparities

Check out this primer on issues affecting health in rural areas

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.

Transportation 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.

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

Panel looks to Medicaid as possible housing partner to boost health

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.

Is housing a prescription for better health for the poor? And, if so, who pays for it?

That was the question before a several experts this month at briefing on Capitol Hill. Hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform, a nonpartisan health policy group, the panel examined the role of Medicaid and housing, and how the joint federal-state program also could be used to provide more stable housing with the goal of boosting health. Continue reading

New tip sheet offers resources for tracking geographic disparities in organ transplants

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.

David Wahlberg

David Wahlberg

David Wahlberg, a health reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal, is using his yearlong AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance to focus on how well the organ transplant system is working in Wisconsin.

The result has been a revealing look at disparities and access. His project so far has led to stories not only on access issues to liver transplants in Wisconsin and kidneys in Chicago, but also wider geographic disparities across the nation.

In a new tip sheet, Wahlberg offers AHCJ members tips on how to look at the organ transplantation divide for their readers.

Calif. water shortage highlights lack of another resource: time

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.

Reporters covering inequality know that one commodity the poor have very little of is time. Whether it’s a lack of transportation that means multiple bus rides to get to work, or rushing between two jobs with no time for cooking, there never seems to be enough time for life’s most basic tasks.

When it comes to health and inequality, I have heard countless stories about time (or lack thereof), from the inability to quickly get to a medical appointment to food “deserts” where access to fresh, healthy food is miles and hours away. But one thing I had not considered was the time it often can take to obtain something so elemental as water. Continue reading

Washington Post examines impact of Calif. water shortage on the poor

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.

With record rainfall in parts of the United States this summer, people in some of the nation’s wettest areas – including Washington, D.C. – may find it hard to imagine going even just a few days without rain showers.

But The Washington Post recently took a look at the impact of California’s drought on the poor in two of the state’s rural valleys. National reporter Darryl Fears traveled to Mecca, Calif., to show how the ongoing lack of water is hitting low-income residents especially hard, affecting what they drink, how they bathe and what they eat. Continue reading

Examining psychology, racism in wake of Charleston shooting

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 Public Health Image Library/Amanda MillsAn African-American boy is seen walking with a teacher in Atlanta.

Photo: CDC Public Health Image Library/Amanda MillsAn African-American boy is seen walking with a teacher in Atlanta.

“Our anxiety and fear is palpable,” New York Times reporter Jenna Wortham wrote recently.

Racism’s Psychological Toll,” written for The New York Times Magazine, highlights the emotional distress that victims of racially motivated aggression can feel and raises questions about the possible link to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The Q&A piece, along with several others, was part of the magazine’s look at racial violence in the wake of the June 17 shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead. After the shooting, a website linked to the white gunman charged in the shooting surfaced with a racial manifesto and photos of him with a Confederate flag.

Continue reading

Could the other SCOTUS ruling improve health for the LGBT 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.

Photo: Matt Popovich via Flickr

Photo: Matt Popovich via Flickr

All eyes were on the U.S. Supreme Court last week as it handed down its highly anticipated decision in King v. Burwell, affirming subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. The justices upheld the financial assistance, saying Congress saw it as critical to a functioning health insurance market. But could the court’s other big ruling have an equally profound impact on another group?

On Friday, the court ruled 5-4 in support of same-sex marriage, saying the Fourteenth Amendment gave such couples the right to marry and legalizing marriage in all 50 U.S. states. While an affirmation of LGBT rights, the decision could also be the first step in improving the health of same-sex couples, according to several health provider organizations that released statements soon after the landmark ruling. Continue reading

Reaching rural populations and providers: more from #ruralhealth15

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.

Medical student Russell Stanley (left) and Dr. Kevin Blanton (right) share the stresses and triumphs of providing care in rural settings at AHCJ’s June 19 Rural Health Workshop.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJMedical student Russell Stanley (left) and Dr. Kevin Blanton (right) share the stresses and triumphs of providing care in rural settings at AHCJ’s June 19 Rural Health Journalism Workshop.

Distance dominated much of the conversation at AHCJ’s recent Rural Health Journalism Workshop in Fort Worth, Texas, a vast state with wide open spaces and far-flung cities.

While such expanses can offer a quiet alternative to urban areas, panelists at #ruralhealth15 also noted that such isolation can impact not only health, but education and other community resources. And that can present another challenge: attracting health professions to rural pockets to provide needed care for residents. Continue reading

Percentage of adult Americans with cavities remains high, study notes

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 by ktpupp via Flickr.

Although tooth decay and tooth loss have been declining in recent decades, more than nine of 10 working-age Americans have cavities in permanent teeth, a new federal report shows.

“Among adults aged 20-64, 91 percent had caries and 27 percent had untreated tooth decay,” conclude the authors of a data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The data were drawn from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The survey, really an ongoing series of surveys, serves as a major tool for assessing the status of the nation’s oral health. NHANES’ size and depth make it unique. The study combines face-to-face interviews and physical examinations of a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 people each year. The work is overseen by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading

The reality of rural care: Covering the divide and distance

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: Len Bruzzese/AHCJMore than 60 people attended AHCJ's Rural Health Journalism Workshop on June 19 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJMore than 70 people attended AHCJ’s Rural Health Journalism Workshop on June 19 in Fort Worth, Texas.

At a glance, the Dallas-Fort Worth area doesn’t seem so remote. Touching down in northern Texas, there’s a glut of restaurants, a Starbucks (there’s always a Starbucks) and, soon, a maze of highways.

But head from the airport to AHCJ’s Rural Health Journalism Workshop (#ruralhealth15) in downtown Fort Worth, and one of the major health care challenges facing non-urban areas quickly becomes clear: distance. On the road from Dallas to Fort Worth stretch miles of pavement. One Texas injury clinic along the way doesn’t look much different than the auto shops and loan stores it is sandwiched between along the busy route.

In fact, this metropolitan region was the model setting for the more than 70 people who attended the daylong program – a vast state with many isolated pockets close to Oklahoma and other states with similar challenges that can put rural residents at the bottom rung of the U.S. health care system. Continue reading