Month: September 2010

Fostering health, hope and opportunity

Health isn’t just about the doctor’s office. For all of us, but especially for a young person, health begins in our community. That truth was echoed throughout a two-day national town hall in Los Angeles to address the health disparities facing boys and young men of color. Community leaders and experts from across California and the nation convened because a growing body of research shows that the health of boys of color stems from their neighborhoods, their schools, their environments.

Success stories: Stockton kids take back their park

Williams Brotherhood Park in South Stockton was plagued with gangs and crime. Families stopped going there and parents told their children to stay away. But a group of area youth decided they wanted their park back. They started a campaign to reclaim the park and won the support of local community organizations and, ultimately, the city. Now the park is cleaner, the bathrooms are open and families and kids are returning. LeCresia Hawkins, special projects coordinator for Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin, which has offices in the park, tells the story.

Wealth can shape health in California

Money can’t buy you love, but it might buy better health. People who live in wealthy neighborhoods live on average ten years longer than people who live in concentrated poverty. That’s why some experts say that the best way to improve public health is not through technological advances and breakthrough drugs, or even through better access to primary care. Instead, they say, policy efforts may be better focused on reducing the wealth gap in the United States.

Insurers threaten to pull out of childrens’ market

The controversy this week over several health insurance companies pulling out of the children’s market because of new provisions in the federal health bill shows how tricky it can be for legislators and regulators to try to find the sweet spot between market-driven conditions and total government control.

California unemployment: the causes and implications for the future

California’s unemployment rate is now nearly 3% higher than the national rate. In August 2010 California’s unemployment rate was 12.4% compared to the national 9.6% unemployment rate. The state’s unemployment was this much above the national rate once before in the early 1990s as a result of the large loss of aerospace jobs. The state’s job losses, then as now, were far larger than the national job losses and the state’s recovery took longer. Moreover, the aerospace job losses were permanent, not cyclical losses. Still by 2000 and for several years thereafter California’s unemployment rate was near the national average. What are the causes of the current high unemployment rates in California and what does that mean for the near and medium term economic future?

Violence and Faith in East Oakland

In the past three years, two bullets shattered the front window, a teenager was shot just outside and the downstairs neighbor was mugged. Before that, a woman’s lifeless body was unearthed from a dumpster less than a block away. But this area of East Oakland — where the neighborhoods of Fruitvale and San Antonio meet — is where Dr. Joan Jie-eun Jeung chooses to live with her husband and their six-year-old son.

For medical student, a road home

Sabrina Silva-McKenzie, a fourth-year medical student at UC Davis, grew up in Stockton. She will be applying to family medicine residency programs this fall to complete her training and become a practicing physician, and she wants to stay in Northern California, possibly returning home. At an early age, her parents ingrained into her the stewardship of community engagement and service. They operated a pharmacy, and she accompanied them on home deliveries. Customers became friends and the family business became a public trust. When she begins to practice medicine, Sabrina wants to carry on that tradition.

ARB: fine particle pollution kills 9,200 per year

More than 9,000 Californians are dying prematurely every year because of the health effects of the kind of pollution emitted by diesel trucks and heavy equipment, according to a new study by the Air Resources Board, the state’s air quality regulator. The study is the first released by the state to claim that the microscopic particles emitted by engines burning diesel fuel actually cause early deaths, rather than simply being correlated with them.

Three SD communities square off over Mid-City redevelopment

For nearly seven decades, the Pearson Ford car lot at Fairmount and El Cajon Boulevards in central San Diego was a piece of San Diegans’ collective conscious. Its familiar jingle echoed unchanged on radios throughout the county until the cars cleared out in 2008. Now, with the empty land awaiting redevelopment, the site evokes tension more than it does regional nostalgia. That’s because it sits at the crossroads of three communities that each represent a distinct socioeconomic stratum in San Diego and, thus, harbor different hopes for what might fill it in. Wealthier residents in Kensington and Talmadge want a departure from the social services that have dominated redevelopment in the area since 1994, while those in City Heights fear such a departure might fuel gentrification and an exodus of low-income residents.

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