health disparities

Monica Davalos, Fresno State and UC Merced

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness about the connection between race and health equity, raising the question - how might this experience change public health policy moving forward? Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock explored the topic, and the calls to declare that racism is a public health crisis, with Dr. Venise Curry, a health advocate and board member with The Climate Center, Monica Davalos, research associate with the California Budget and Policy Center, and Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced.

Fresno County Department of Public Health

 

When we seek to quantify the toll that COVID-19 is taking on our communities, we typically turn to official statistics like confirmed cases, hospitalization rates and, of course, death counts. But what if that final tally is an undercount, and the death toll is really much higher?

Whitney Pirtle, Tania Pacheco-Werner and Chet Hewitt

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an analysis of national data that found that Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to catch COVID-19 compared to whites. To discuss the implications of those findings, and what it means for the battle against the virus here in the San Joaquin Valley, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced, Dr.

On this week’s Valley Edition: What does a 16th century Albanian village in Italy have to do with one of the longest running religious celebrations in the Valley? We find out at the annual St. Elia celebration in West Fresno.

 

We also hear how a scientific study on emotional support helped Valley women get through breast cancer - and may help reduce health disparities among ethnic groups.

Later, we explore the politics of homelessness, and why Sacramento hasn’t been tougher on vaping. 

Flickr user Robert Valencia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For the second year in a row, California’s rate of premature births has increased. But according to new data, the trend is even more alarming in the San Joaquin Valley.

Across California, 8.6 percent of live births are premature, according to the health advocacy organization March of Dimes. That means they were born before 37 weeks of gestation. The group gave the state a B on its annual premature birth report card. Of the 15 counties ranked in the report card, Fresno County scored the worst, with a prematurity rate of over 10%. Both Fresno and Kern Counties earned a C.

VINOTHCHANDAR VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Health organizations in Fresno County today announced a new initiative to reduce premature births. 

Right now, 11.1 percent of births in the county occur earlier than 37 weeks—that‘s far more than the state average of 8.3 percent. The new initiative, a collaboration between Fresno State, UC San Francisco, Fresno County and other groups and agencies, endeavors to reduce that to only 7 percent by the year 2025.

Sandra Flores of Fresno State is the director of the initiative.

California HealthCare Foundation

Medi-Cal recipients in California continue to face big challenges when it comes to actually accessing care, especially in the Central Valley. That's the conclusion of a new report by researchers at the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research and the California HealthCare Foundation. 

The study looked at survey data from across the state for both Medi-Cal enrollees and those with private insurance provided through their employers. 

Shana Alex Charles is one of the study's authors.

Building Healthy Communities

An ad that a local non-profit group wants to run on city buses is the center of controversy, after Fresno officials say it’s too political. As FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the group wants more parkland in older parts of town.

California Lawmakers Look At Unequal Access to Health Care

Mar 12, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers spent a large part of Wednesday hearing about ways to make health care equally accessible regardless of race, ability or sexual orientation. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento found, policymakers say solutions will start with better information.

Assembly Health Committee Chair Rob Bonta says eyes may glaze over when the conversation turns to data. But developing different methods of collecting data could reveal problems faced by specific groups of people.

A new ranking of health outcomes in California counties has grim news for San Joaquin Valley residents. Out of California's 60 counties, all six San Joaquin Valley counties  in the bottom third of the state. Fresno County ranked 46th, Tulare 49th and Kern 54th. 

Counties in the Bay Area led the survey, with Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara occupying three of the top five spots.