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Hope in a Hidden Public Health Crisis

Hope in a Hidden Public Health Crisis

First in a series of three stories about violence as a public health crisis.

LaVerne Vaughn made a decision after she served prison time in her late 30s: She’d live the rest of her life a free woman. Vaughn, now in her early 40s, with a platinum pixie cut and a steady, empathetic gaze, kept her promise to herself. Several years after her release, she started working in violence prevention and helping ex-cons in Richmond, Calif., find their footing after prison.
Why Young People Kill

Why Young People Kill

From Crime to Cure 

Second in a series of three stories about violence as a public health crisis.

Dwayne Taylor went to a party at the Ida B. Wells housing project one mid-May night as the Chicago weather was warming to the promise of spring. Once there, according to court documents, Taylor met up with three friends and made a disastrous decision: to rob someone. They left the party and drove around until they found a victim, 21-year-old Tedrin West. Taylor carjacked, abducted and robbed West before shooting him in the back of the head. As her son lay dead in a parking lot, West’s mother called his stolen phone. A man answered.
Stopping Homicides, One Shooter at a Time

Stopping Homicides, One Shooter at a Time

Third in a series of three stories about violence as a public health crisis. 

Joe McCoy is intimately familiar with the violence epidemic in his hometown of Richmond, Calif. McCoy is one of six outreach workers employed by the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), a city agency. They patrol the streets to tackle the problem of shootings and murders with an approach that seems counterintuitive. They find young men and teens—as old as 25 and as young as 13—identified as likely having been involved in previous homicides and shootings. Then they offer them mentors, access to social services, life-skills trainings and even financial support.
Left Behind by the Affordable Care Act

Left Behind by the Affordable Care Act

Photo of Dominga Sarabia by Lily Dayton, design by Cathy Krizik

By Lily Dayton

Santa Cruz resident Dominga Sarabia* began to itch after taking the antibiotics a doctor prescribed to treat her ulcer. Her skin prickled with hives, and her hands, face and throat swelled until she feared she wouldn’t be able to breathe.

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No Room at Rehab?

No Room at Rehab?

Photo via kphotographer/Flickr

California’s broad response to fraud may limit access to addiction treatment

By Hannah Guzik

A 12-year-old girl is in foster care, but could be living with her father – if he could find a place in an outpatient drug treatment program.

The girl, her father, and the judge and social service workers managing their case want the child and parent reunited.

Death With Dignity: Living Funerals, Death Midwives and Conscious Dying

Death With Dignity: Living Funerals, Death Midwives and Conscious Dying

By Matt Perry

Every day in America, mourners gather for solemn events to remember the lives of dear, departed loved ones at a funeral or memorial service.

But for those exploring “conscious dying,” sometimes the loved one is still alive.

The nascent trend in “living funerals” is part of a growing movement in death midwives who shepherd the living through the dying process.

Promise of Health Care Reform Unrealized for Former Inmates

Promise of Health Care Reform Unrealized for Former Inmates By Alisha Wyman One year after the rollout of key health care reforms, the promise of the ACA is unrealized for many ex-offenders, as officials work to implement sweeping changes.

Fight the Power: A Medical School for Aging

Fight the Power: A Medical School for Aging By Matt Perry Founding father John Adams has one thing in common with California elder Frank D. Vincent. They both fought for their independence.

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California Focus: Daniel Weintraub

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.

Diabetics account for nearly 1/3 of hospital stays

We've long known that diabetes and its related illnesses cause havoc in people's lives and drive up health care costs, but a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has quantified the damage done with a sobering new statistic: nearly one-third of hospital stays by Californians age 35 and older involve a person who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

The ACA and women’s health

The ACA and women’s health

The Affordable Care Act has several provisions aimed at improving women’s health. In this infographic, the Journal of the American Medical Association lays out some of the issues women face and how the ACA might help. Click on the thumbnail to see the full graphic.

How wealth drives health — and what we can do about it

By Daniel Weintraub

California is a land of health extremes, and to see what that means, you need only travel a few miles from the state Capitol.

Placer and Yuba counties border each other about a half hour’s drive north of downtown Sacramento. Both places are largely rural. But the similarities end there.

Health before — and after — health care

Even as lawmakers in Washington D.C. drove themselves into a bitter partisan divide over federal health reform in 2010, an unusual experiment across the country in Oregon was amassing evidence that the rancorous debate in Congress was focused on many of the wrong things. And if what Oregon’s experience is telling us now is accurate, the Affordable Care Act will be neither the boon to America’s health that its supporters claim nor the threat that its detractors fear it will be. Why? Because expanding access to health insurance and even health care — the primary goal of the ACA — might not make us healthier, at least not in the the short term and not in the ways most people seem to believe.
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.

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