Opinion: California Has Opportunity to Close Racial Health Gap

The California Black Women’s Health Project and other health and racial justice organizations are grateful to the California Legislature for supporting our bold proposal to fund community programs seeking to address systemic racism embedded in health care systems.

The California Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund would dedicate $100 million annually, a fraction of the state’s historic surplus, to innovative approaches to transform systems, eliminate disparities and improve health.

Volunteer Pilots Connect Remote Areas to Advanced Medical Treatment

An estimated 3.6 million Americans are unable to receive medical care each year due to transportation challenges. A nonprofit organization of volunteer pilots called Angel Flight West is working to connect California residents in remote areas with needed care.

Air Care Alliance estimates that 25,000 public benefit flights, such as those operated by Angel Flight West, take place every year in the United States.

The Central California Town That Keeps Sinking

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the farming town of Corcoran has a multimillion-dollar problem. It is almost impossible to see, yet so vast it takes NASA scientists using satellite technology to fully grasp. Corcoran is sinking.

Over the past 14 years, the town has sunk as much as 11.5 feet in some places — enough to swallow the entire first floor of a two-story house and to at times make Corcoran one of the fastest-sinking areas in the country, according to experts with the United States Geological Survey.

Opinion: Accurate Patient Data is Key to Reducing Health Disparities, Improving Care

To transform the future of health care, we must understand current care. This is especially true when it comes to addressing the multiple socioeconomic and other factors that drive health disparities.

Right now, our ability to reduce these inequities and increase quality of care for those most in need is limited because we do not have accurate and complete information about how our most vulnerable patients access health care.

Opinion: An Equitable COVID-19 Recovery Requires Renewed Public Health Investment

As a second-generation public health nurse, I can assure you another crisis will inevitably come. It could be a wildfire, poor air quality, extreme heat, another disease outbreak, an earthquake or bioterrorism. No one knows, which makes investment in our readiness so important.

Only one thing is certain: The next emergency will reveal our progress, and our failures, in addressing social inequities.

Opinion: California Must Take Action on Chronic Disease Among Children of Color

The upward trend in childhood chronic disease in California is threatening the health of the next generation, and racial disparities in those diseases are stark evidence of the deep impact that racism has on health.

A groundbreaking Senate bill could help the state begin to change course by prioritizing and investing in prevention of childhood chronic illnesses and creating actionable steps for implementation.

Toxic Blooms Are a Public Health Risk and Increase Water Treatment Costs

The waters in Clear Lake, the second largest in California, shelter a treacherous occupant — potentially toxic blooms of cyanobacteria. The harmful algal blooms are a threat to public health, recreation, and the local economy.

For the 18 public water systems that draw from the lake the noxious blooms are something else: an operating hazard that is complicating their treatment processes and increasing the cost of providing clean water in one of the state’s poorest counties.

California Tribes Call Out Degradation of Clear Lake

Seven years ago, after the fish died, Sarah Ryan decided she couldn’t wait any longer for help. California was in the depths of its worst drought in the last millennium and its ecosystems were gasping. For Ryan, the fish kill in Clear Lake, the state’s second largest and the centerpiece of Lake County, was the last straw.

Ryan is the environmental director for Big Valley Rancheria. She and others raised alarms for several years about increasingly dire blooms of toxic cyanobacteria.

‘I’m Scared of Getting Sick From the Water’

Like more than 300 communities across California, the tiny town of El Adobe in Kern County lacks safe drinking water. Since 2008, the arsenic levels in one of its two wells have regularly exceeded the safety standards set by federal and state authorities, often by more than double.

A 2013 report recommended the community consolidate with the larger water system in nearby Lamont. Residents are still waiting for that to happen. Some are losing hope.

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