Category Archives: Social determinants

New report paints a grim picture of older women in poverty

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: MartinHots via Flickr

A significant percentage of older women are struggling to stay out of poverty, according to a new issue brief from Justice in Aging.

The report looks at reasons more women are aging into poverty than men, discusses the support systems that are in place to help older women, and recommends ways to strengthen and expand those support systems. Continue reading

Maine’s Medicaid expansion won’t help those who need dental care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Backers of Maine’s Medicaid expansion, approved by voters in 2017, have been locked in a court battle with outgoing Republican governor Paul LePage, an outspoken opponent of the step.

At the same time, Gov.-elect Janet Mills, a Democrat, has offered assurances that she will put the expansion into place “on day one” if it hasn’t been implemented by the time she assumes office in January, Joe Lawlor of the  Portland Press Herald reports.  Continue reading

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

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."

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

How state disease detectives track and prevent spread of STDs

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

CDC/ Sarah Bailey Cutchin

As sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, have surged 31 percent over the past five years, states are relying more than ever on disease detectives to halt that spread.

These detectives are called “disease intervention specialists.” They are trained to track down and counsel people who have been diagnosed with STDs and anyone they have had intimate contact with. The aim is to ensure everyone is tested and treated, preventing anyone else from getting the STD. Continue reading

Panelists explore what’s missing from Medicare

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

While Medicare may be a cornerstone of keeping older adults healthy and reducing poverty, it’s far from perfect. Closing huge gaps in coverage ­– some might argue chasms – could improve public health, reduce hospitalizations, help support cognitive function, maintain quality of life and save the health system millions of dollars. But it will literally take an act of Congress for anything to really change.

At October’s Gerontological Society of America Conference in Boston, experts at the “Medicare, What’s Missing” session examined links between systemic health and oral, vision and hearing health. They looked at some major policy gaps and potential fixes. While everyone agreed more needs to be done, true reform will likely happen by baby steps. Continue reading

2019 AHCJ Reporting Fellows on Health Care Performance named

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance to four journalists who intend to pursue significant projects in 2019. The program, in its ninth year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

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