Author: Megan Baier

Campaign reminds patients to take their meds

A new national campaign sponsored in part by the pharmaceutical industry is trying to raise awareness about the importance of taking medications exactly as prescribed by doctors. Half of the 3.2 billion prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. every year are not taken properly , according to a study by the National Consumer’s League, leading to increased hospital visits, decreased quality of life for patients, and higher health care costs. Prescription non-adherence ranges from failing to fill prescriptions to reducing the dosage or frequency of a medication.

Art and advocacy in Salinas

Juan-Carlos Gonzalez is an artist and advocate for youth in East Salinas. He is deeply involved in planning and organizing of community events and uses art as a vehicle for social change.

A Second Chance in Salinas

Brian Contreras created 2nd Chance in Salinas, California in 1989 after a shooting took place outside of his home. For the last twenty-two years the non-profit has worked to address the city’s growing problems with gang violence and empower residents.

Breast cancer screening program will reopen soon

Low-income women over age 40 will soon be able to receive mammograms again through the state-run Every Woman Counts cancer detection program. The Schwarzenegger Administration shut down enrollment in the program in January and limited screenings to those already enrolled to woman over age 50. But the Legislature, as part of the budget, restored funding for the program to return to its former status.

City tries to clean up, green up, alleys in Southeast LA

The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles is beginning a new kind of community health project—cleaning up the dirty and dangerous alleys that surround the apartment complexes throughout South East LA and turn them into safe, useable spaces for residents to exercise and grow gardens. The project is just one of many that is funded by a $16 million grant the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health won from the federal economic stimulus package to increase the quality of life and access to healthy food and exercise for Los Angeles County residents.

Carson, Tongan Center, expand anti-tobacco programs

The Tongan Community Service Center in Los Angeles is working with the city of Carson to develop anti-tobacco policies with federal stimulus money in an effort to reduce the incidence of asthma and other diseases related to smoking and poor air quality.

State pays millions to track women who test negative for breast cancer

A state program that screens low-income women for breast cancer has been paying doctors and clinics $12 million a year to track women whose mammograms showed they were cancer-free. The program –- known as Every Woman Counts -– stopped accepting new patients Jan. 1 because of a self-described lack of funds. The $50 case management fees have been questioned by the Department of Finance, which says other big states don’t pay them, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, which recommended eliminating them. The money saved could be used to once again offer mammograms to women who qualify for the program.

Megan Baier

Local grants will aim to transform communities, improve health

A little known part of the federal health reform enacted earlier this year aims to improve health by improving the conditions under which people live. Part of a planned $15 billion investment in prevention programs, community transformation grants will provide money to clean up neighborhoods, rejuvenate neglected parks, and expand access to healthy foods.

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