Author Archives: Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

How machine learning and artificial intelligence might influence social determinants of health

Photo: z rahen via Flickr

This might not seem specific to social determinants of health, but machines that can be trained in health information may become gatekeepers of the future. If the artificial intelligence and medicine intersect successfully, the result could prove lifesaving for people whom social factors leave at a disadvantage. Continue reading

For children born with or without heart conditions, social factors play a clear role in their cardiovascular outcomes

When it comes to health care disparities and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the divide widens early. A spate of studies published recently illustrates how social factors influence CVD outcomes from our earliest years.

For example, a report published in Pediatrics found that the increased obesity prevalence among U.S. adolescents is happening almost entirely among those in low- and middle-income families. Smoking, diet quality, and physical activity levels also tracked with household socioeconomic status for these children, based on the NHANES data used in the study. The only equal-opportunity metabolic derailment among teens in the United States appears to be prediabetes and diabetes. Risk factors for CVD overall declined for adolescents from 1999 to 2014, but significantly so only for those from high-income households. Continue reading

Event provides perspectives on California’s health policy landscape

Photo: Elliot Margolies via Flickr

Health Affairs held an October event in Sacramento on California’s health policy landscape (also available as a podcast).

Here are some highlights from the panelists, all of whom are excellent potential sources for stories about health care policy in California and around the nation: Continue reading

What happens to you when you’re autistic and police shoot your therapist, who is black?

Photo: Heather Vogell/ProPublicaCarlton Palms’ isolated campus of group homes and classrooms sits on a lake and includes some modular units.

The answer to that question comes in an 8-episode Aftereffect podcast, which begins with the day that Arnaldo Rios Soto was playing with a silver truck outside of his group home in Florida, accompanied by his therapist, Charles Kinsey.

A passerby in a car thought the truck was a gun and called the police on Rios Soto, who was 26 years old at the time. Continue reading

Tracking deaths in custody in America’s jails

Photo: Paul Robinson via Flickr

Gary Harki of The Virginian-Pilot came to his team’s sweeping series on mental illness, death and U.S. jails by way of a single incident: a young man who died in jail from direct neglect and bureaucratic incompetence for the crime of stealing a zebra cake and a Mountain Dew from a local convenience store.

The young man, Jamycheal Mitchell, had both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and his death, Harki says, was “just appalling,” especially as Mitchell was supposed to have been transferred to a mental health care facility. That incident led Harki to wonder how often people like Mitchell met this fate in America’s jails. And from that, the “Jailed in Crisis” series was born. Continue reading

The fate of Medicare: Politico’s special report on the safety net for senior citizens

Politico’s “The Agenda” section has published a special report on Medicare, now and in the future, and how it might fare in the current political climate. Baby boomers are weighing the system to the breaking point, and this series looks at the current threats and at the ideas being proposed to rescue the social welfare program for seniors. Continue reading