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“Building Healthy Communities” Highlighted In Book About Challenging Health Disparities


If you’re a regular Valley Public Radio listener, you probably already know that your health depends a lot on where you live. But just 10 years ago, that field of research was still emerging.

One of the first journalists to tackle that issue in depth was Suzanne Bohan, at that time a reporter with the Bay Area News Group. Her 4-part series on zip code-level disparities and the social determinants of health earned her a White House Correspondents’ award in 2010. Since then, she’s bolstered her reporting with more stories not just of health disparities, but also of grassroots organizing and a massive statewide campaign that’s led to hundreds of policies and laws that have served to improve the health of Californians.

Last month, she collected all this reporting in her second book, entitled Twenty Years of Life: Why the Poor Die Earlier and How to Challenge Inequity. Listen to the audio above for an interview with Bohan about the book and about how health advocates in California are working to solve health disparities.

Editors note: The California Endowment, which started the Building Healthy Communities program, also is a supporter of Valley Public Radio.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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