Author: Heather Gilligan

Hope in a Hidden 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

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

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.

Children with Delays and their Parents Find Help in Play

The cheerful sound of kids and their parents signing “head, shoulders, knees and toes!” filled a classroom in San Pablo on Monday morning. Despite the smiles and laughter, the play was purposeful, part of a playgroup for children with developmental delays. If it weren’t for the playgroup, offered at the First 5 Center in San Pablo, the mostly low-income, Spanish-speaking parents may have been hard-pressed to find help for their children.

Obama Initiative to Improve Lives of Young Men of Color Announced Today

The initiative, called My Brother’s Keeper, will seek solutions to the problems that face boys and young men of color in a public-private partnership supported by a roster of major foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Annie E Casey Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the California Endowment.* A total of 10 foundations have committed to raise $200 million and pledged $7.5 million to create a blueprint and coordinate action on the initiative.

American Heart Association Releases First Ever Guidelines to Prevent Strokes in Women

By Fran Kritz The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has released first ever guidelines to prevent strokes in women. “If you are a woman, you share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors,” said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., author of the new scientific statement published in the American

Different Climate Change Technologies Needed for Different Seasons, Communities

A study of several technological approaches to help counteract the effects of global warming finds that not all technologies are effective in all climates and all communities. “This is the first time…these approaches have been examined across various climates and geographies,” said Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and a senior sustainability scientist in the

Black, Hispanic Kids More Likely to Die in Car Crashes

By Fran Kritz Although car crashes among children age 12 and younger fell by 43 percent from 2002-2011, 9,000 children died during that period. The children killed in those crashes were more likely to be Black or Hispanic than white, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) According to the CDC, research has shown that using age- and

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