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Dangerous Drift

Dangerous Drift

By Lily Dayton In the predawn hours of Oct. 3, 2012, two farm labor crews arrived at fields southeast of Salinas to harvest lettuce. A light breeze blew from the north across rows of head lettuce and romaine. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the workers started to smell an acrid odor that some described as paint, others as cilantro seeds or diesel fumes. The workers’ eyes began to burn and water; many complained of nausea, headache, dizziness and shortness of breath. No pesticides were being sprayed at the time, but still, the workers were displaying classic symptoms of pesticide illness.
Community, Farmers Split on Pesticide Regulation

Community, Farmers Split on Pesticide Regulation

By Lily Dayton More than 35,000 Monterey County schoolchildren will attend schools near fields treated with high levels of potentially dangerous pesticides—including chemicals that are known to harm the brain and nervous system, cause genetic mutations and disrupt hormonal regulation.

Probation Officer’s Love of Soccer Saves at Risk Kids


Probation officer Gina Castañeda in action, coaching the young men of the Aztecs in Watsonville, Calif. Photo: Lily Dayton/CHR


By Lily Dayton

Coach Gina Castañeda stands in a player box at the edge of the indoor soccer arena, yelling above the cheers of the crowd to the teenage boys in purple jerseys darting across the playing field.

Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Activists Use Super Bowl 50 to Galvanize Prevention Efforts

By Lily Dayton Writer, performing artist and human rights activist Brooke Axtel stands on a stage constructed on the 50-yard line of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, speaking to 1,500 rapt audience members—some whose eyes tear up as she recounts her experience as a survivor of sex trafficking at age 7.
Latest News

Caregiving Crisis and the $15 Minimum Wage

Caregiving Crisis and the $15 Minimum Wage


By Matt Perry

It was one of those uncomfortable moments that journalists both dread and love.

Sitting in a Pasadena conference hall amidst a sea of caregivers and nursing home operators, I listened to a panel of experts outline the essential skills needed by caregivers.

The advice was stellar: besides clothing and toileting seniors, caregivers should be compassionate and empathic.

California’s effort to improve cancer registry signals shift to preventative care

California’s effort to improve cancer registry signals shift to preventative care

By Joshua Emerson Smith

California’s Department of Public Health is partnering with a major hospital chain to improve the way patient information is reported to the California Cancer Registry in hopes of making the data more consistent and useful to researchers and policymakers.

The cancer registry, which tracks patient data, including treatments, outcomes, medical histories and geographical information, can serve as an important tool for not only pathologists but environmental policymakers.

Transporting Seniors, Heroic Measures

Transporting Seniors, Heroic Measures

By Matt Perry


Inside the lobby of a Redwood City assisted living center, driver Eric Wong helps 90 year-old Shirley Beitch stand and grasp her walker. Then he guides her outside to his Subaru Outback parked at the curb.

Wong opens the passenger door and flips out a handle behind the seat, and Beitch grabs it to stabilize her as she turns.

Chronic Pain Patients Caught in the Middle as Feds Restrict Painkillers

Chronic Pain Patients Caught in the Middle as Feds Restrict Painkillers

Photo: File/Thinkstock

By Lynn Graebner

New federal  restrictions on prescription painkillers are having an unintended consequence: many chronic pain patients can’t get the relief they need, and some are even resorting to illegal drugs to help them cope.

Over five years 7,400 people have died in California alone due to prescription opioid overuse and overdose, according to the California HealthCare Foundation.

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California Focus: Daniel Weintraub

Virtual clinic hopes to make an impact in Watts

By Daniel Weintraub


Residents of poor, inner-city neighborhoods have a notoriously difficult time getting access to health care. Gloria McNeal has a simple solution to that problem: bring health care to them.

McNeal, dean of National University’s school of Public Health and Human Services, is director of a new, nurse-managed health clinic the university is setting up in the Watts community of South-Central Los Angeles.

Would managed care really be better for kids with special needs?

By Daniel Weintraub

Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to force California’s sickest, most vulnerable children into managed care health plans. But those children – or at least their families and the doctors who care for them – are fighting back.

Managed care is the concept invented a generation ago to control health costs by paying doctors or clinics a set amount per month per patient rather than reimbursing them for every service rendered.

To fight obesity, we need healthier communities

By Daniel Weintraub


At first glance the conclusions from a recent study on obesity by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research seem obvious: people who are overweight or obese tend to have a less healthy diet and exercise less often than people whose weight is normal.


But behind those findings is another, more compelling story:


Minorities are more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites.

Pressure builds to boost reimbursements to dentists in Medi-Cal

By Daniel Weintraub


Jim Wood tells a story about teeth that makes him smile.

Wood — a dentist and a state assemblyman from Sonoma County — remembers the time a patient of his who was an elementary school teacher told him about a student suffering from serious dental problems. The little girl’s family was poor and they lived in a rural area.

Why reducing poverty — and stress — might be the key to better health

By Daniel Weintraub

Look at the health data for just about any collection of neighborhoods in California and one thing will soon become clear: Poor people are sicker and, on average, die younger than people with higher incomes.

The medical profession, social workers and health researchers have known this for a long time.

California Voices

What is it about giving thanks that makes us healthy?

By Eric Nelson
In remarks made to a conference convened this summer by Cal Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), renowned gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons explained why giving thanks is so appealing to so many. “Gratitude has the power to heal, to energize and to change lives,” he said. More specifically, gratitude increases our emotional well-being, improves our capacity to get along with others, decreases depression and increases our resilience after suffering emotional or physical harm.