Category Archives: Public health

HJ23: Researcher-activists call for a non-police response to mental health emergency calls

Panelist Karishma Furtado, director of data and research at Forward Through Ferguson, listens to co-panelist Jia Lian Yang, director of storytelling and communications for Forward Through Ferguson and host-producer of St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” program, during the “Localize it: Transforming 911 in St. Louis” HJ23 session. (Photo by Zachary Linhares)

Removing 911 emergency call centers from police department oversight, placing them outside of police offices and training 911 dispatchers to do their jobs without racial and cultural bias are among the key recommendations of a Washington University report slated to be released in April.

Based on an analysis of more than 1.2 million calls to the St. Louis Police Department during five recent years, that report, “Transforming 911,” spotlights the excessive use of police force, including against people with mental illness in the city.

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams talks career highlights, COVID lessons at HJ23

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams responds to question by AHCJ Executive Director Kelsey Ryan. (Photo by Zachary Linhares)

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ youth and career path, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and advice for journalists were all on the table during his fireside chat on Friday, March 10, at Health Journalism 2023 in St. Louis.

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American Journal of Public Health dedicates issue to health inequities and justice

Photo by Maryland GovPics via Flickr

Health inequalities have long been a concern in medicine. A robust evidence base has been growing for decades regarding social determinants — such as poverty, neighborhood proximity to pollution, and education access — that contribute to higher risk of disease and poor health outcomes. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that these issues took center stage in the public eye.

A JAMA January 2021 article revealed that the hospitalization rate for Black patients with COVID-19 was more than triple that of white people, and Hispanic patients were hospitalized more than four times more often than white patients. Asian patients with COVID-19 had double the hospitalization risk of white patients. Similarly, Black and Hispanic people with COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to die from the disease than white people, and Asian patients were almost twice as likely to die than white patients.

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Survey: Lack of access to public health experts hinders COVID-19 reporting

Chart: AHCJ Right to Know Committee Source: “Covering Covid” Survey | Fall 2020See more graphics of survey results below.

Reporters covering the COVID-19 pandemic have often been unable to speak directly with public health experts, hindering access to complete and accurate information, according to results of AHCJ’s “Covering Covid” survey.

Nearly half of respondents reported that “always,” “most of the time” or “about half the time” they had been blocked from speaking with public health experts. More than half said that press briefings in their area have been led by politicians rather than health experts, and those briefings often failed to answer critical questions. Continue reading

Advice on repairing public trust in the CDC


Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis is the CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

With public trust at an all-time low in government scientists and public health agencies, what can be done to repair confidence in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an eye toward preparing for the next pandemic?

Though it may seem too early to be thinking about another pandemic, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based non-partisan think tank is doing just that. On Oct. 8, the CFR issued a report – “Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from COVID-19” – to provide a roadmap for getting the U.S. out of the pandemic and respond to the next one. Continue reading