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VINOTHCHANDAR VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The non-profit health advocacy group March of Dimes has released its annual preterm birth report card, and once again, San Joaquin Valley counties ranked among the worst in the state.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Health disparities research around the U.S. has shown that not only do Spanish speakers tend to receive less information and support related to their health ailments than English speakers, they’re also less likely to speak up about their symptoms. Ongoing research with local ties, however, aims to close some of those gaps.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In Fresno County, around 10 percent of all babies are born before 37 weeks of gestation. That’s higher than the national average, and among the highest of all California counties. For African-Americans, the numbers are even more concerning: From 2013 to 2015, black babies were 63 percent more likely to be born premature than white babies. But a new program in Fresno is trying to bring those numbers down by teaching women not just about health, but also about leadership and advocacy.

UCSF Fresno

For years, local medical and political leaders have been calling for a medical school in the San Joaquin Valley. Now the long-running UCSF Fresno graduate medical education program is getting a boost towards that goal. The university has announced that it is upgrading the Fresno program’s status to that of an official branch campus of UCSF. As Dean Michael Peterson told Valley Public Radio, the move is an evolution of the San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical education program, which had been run by UCSF, UC Davis and UC Merced.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

A new study from the UCSF Healthforce Center has ominous news for the valley’s health care system. According to the authors, demand for registered nurses in the San Joaquin Valley is projected to grow by 35 percent over the next 12 years. But at the same time, the region’s total number of RNs is expected to actually decline, creating a serious shortfall. Some estimates put the regional RN shortage as high as 10,000 by 2030. So what’s behind the decline?

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When we consider medical providers, what comes to mind may be doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. But what about pharmacists? A new law has allowed them to greatly expand their role to become providers—which could be good news for patients struggling to access doctors. But one major obstacle still stands in the way of pharmacists taking on patients. This latest installment of our series Struggling For Care begins with the story of a community pharmacist in Kern County looking toward the future.

Community Hospitals / UCSF Fresno

One of Fresno’s largest hospitals is expanding its partnership with a Bay Area health care giant, with the possibility of building a new facility in the future.

Community Medical Centers of Fresno and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in Oakland and San Francisco say the partnership will expand pediatric care at Community’s downtown Fresno campus, including plans for a new pediatric ICU and inpatient surgery services.

Community Regional Medical Center’s CEO Craig Wagoner says the partnership could lead to even more services in the future.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Valley Children’s plan for a new medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows might lead to the breakup of a long running partnership in local medicine.

The new program will train doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program. The hospital’s choice to have its own residency program means that the hospital’s 40 year medical education partnership with UCSF – Fresno could come to an end.

Children's Hospital Central California

Valley Children's Hospital has announced a plan for a new graduate medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows.

The new program will trains doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program.

The hospital says it has offered to sponsor the existing pediatric residency program,  which is a partnership with UCSF. Officials with Valley Children's say the hospital will continue to support that program financially until the hospital's own residency program is established.