Author: Heather Gilligan

Allergens and pollution combine to increase asthma risk

Children living in poverty in California and elsewhere in the U.S. are much more likely to suffer from asthma than their wealthier peers. A new study suggests that a symbiotic relationship between pollution and allergens common in low-income urban areas makes children more vulnerable to the chronic illness.

Losing Babies

African-American babies are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. Are current prevention efforts enough to close the health gap?

Family shelters focus on kids

Contra Costa County has only two family shelters, which have struggled to meet the demand for help from homeless families. Now both shelters, with funding from First 5 Contra Costa County, have started to expand their assistance by including services aimed at setting very young homeless children on the path to a better life.

Palliative care helps critically ill children and reduces costs

The parents of critically ill children insured by Medi-Cal once had to choose between ongoing treatment and end-of-life care. A program to offer a third option, community-based palliative care, was launched in California in 2009. The program not only improves the quality of life for sick children and their families, it also saves the state money, a recent report found.

Disabled African-American students face frequent suspensions

African American students with disabilities are far more likely than white students to be suspended from California schools, according to the most recent data. Overall in the state, African Americans with disabilities have a 28 percent risk of suspension, compared to an 11 percent risk for white students. Researchers, advocates and family members say schools often show less tolerance for minority children who misbehave than they do for white students.

Study: Many jurisdictions already evaluate impact of policy on health

Mold in substandard housing makes breathing hard for kids with asthma. Poorly planned streets and sidewalks make exercising outside, or swapping a drive for a walk, more difficult. Housing and transportation aren’t policy areas obviously related to health, but such decisions directly affect our well-being. A recent study suggests that starting to take a holistic approach to policy, one that considers health in all decisions, may not be as hard as it sounds.

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