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The San Joaquin Valley lacks doctors. For every 100,000 residents, the Valley has 39 primary care physicians—22 percent less than the state average of 64—and an even lower share of specialists. The supply is also short for health professionals who accept Medi-Cal and plans through the Affordable Care Act.Simultaneously, the Valley has an outsized need for doctors. Home to concentrated poverty and some of the most polluted air in the country, the Valley’s four million residents suffer from elevated rates of asthma and obesity compared to the rest of the state. Life expectancies for poor and affluent residents can vary by as much as 20 years.0000017c-41c3-d5e7-a57d-69ef67290000“Struggling For Care” is a collection of in-depth reports, testimonials and panel discussions examining what this shortage means to residents, what some health professionals are doing about it, and why the Valley has such a tough time holding on to doctors in the first place.This reporting was undertaken as part of a project with the USC Center for Health Journalism’s California Fellowship.

Be Public Live: "The Valley’s Doctor Shortage: Impacts, Root Causes And Potential Solutions"

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Joe Moore
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Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio's Be Public Live event on June 1, 2017 focused on efforts to solve the valley's doctor shortage

The San Joaquin Valley lacks doctors. For every 100,000 residents, the Valley has 48 primary care physicians—25 percent less than the state average of 64—and an even lower share of specialists. The supply is also short for nurse practitioners and providers who accept Medi-Cal and plans through the Affordable Care Act.

Simultaneously, the Valley has an outsized need for doctors. Home to concentrated poverty and some of the most polluted air in the country, the Valley’s four million residents suffer from elevated rates of asthma and obesity compared to the rest of the state. Life expectancies for poor and affluent residents can vary by as much as 20 years.

On June 1, 2017 Valley Public Radio held a panel discussion featuring local health leaders about this issue, as part of the Be Public Live series of community forums. Moderated by FM89's Kerry Klein, the panel discussed the problem, their perspectives on what caused it and the efforts that may help mitigate it.

Panelists:

  • Michael Peterson, Associate Dean and Chief of Medicine at UCSF Fresno
  • Jason Bailey, Deputy Chief of Operations-Workforce Development at Clinica Sierra Vista
  • Sanjay Srivatsa, cardiologist at the Heart, Artery and Vein Center of Fresno

This event is part of a reporting project produced as part of the California Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the Center for Health Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

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